Sunday, June 10, 2007

My Lightroom Software is Here!

I know how much you all have been waiting in anticipation since my last post for my copy of Adobe Lightroom 1.0 to arrive. Well, you'll be happy to know that it arrived in the mail yesterday. I was so excited about its arrival that I almost couldn't wait to open it and install it. But alas, we had other plans that kept me from playing with it until later in the evening.

Along with the software, I purchased Scott Kelby's "Lightroom book for digital photographers." This book was an addition to "Adobe Lightroom Workflow" by Tim Grey that I already purchased a week ago. From what I have read so far, I would recommend both books. Grey's book helps you get familiar with the different sections of Lightoom. While Kelby's book is more focused on "how to" tips for different projects that you can do in Lightroom.

Now, to the meat of why I did this post.

The Adobe Lightroom package comes with a CD in a jewel case. The Users Guide, and a coupon for Adobe Photoshop Users magazine subscription.

Okay, enough with all the pictures. I think we have all seen what comes in a box of software. Can we get to the software discussion already?

Boy, your testy this morning.

No, your just irritating me with this nonsense. We want to hear your thoughts of Lightroom.


Adobe Lightroom falls under the new Photoshop family. The difference is that it is far easier to work with for usual photography changes. If more elaborate modifications or major customization is required, it interfaces nicely with Photoshop CS2 (I know because the books say so and I own CS2 and have tried it).

Lightroom takes a new approach to handling photos which is different than any other software I have used on a Windows machine. (I have never worked on or owned a Mac since I started getting into digital photograhy.) The workflow is to have a library of photos that you can work with, makes changes to, and output them to some format. The five stages, or modules as Adobe calls them, of the Lightroom workflow are: Library, Develop, Slideshow, Print, and Web.


As you can guess by its name, the Library module collects all of your photos into a single place. You can view your photos as thumbnails in a grid or a single image at a time. This is the file management module and how you Import your files into the program. Once the photos are imported, you can work on photos directly in your Library module for simple changes.

The one issue that I have found with Lightroom is a feature that I have come to like with Picasa is the "Watched Folder" feature where is recognizes changes to files in a given folder and adjusts the library accordingly. In this version, Lightroom cannot do that since it works off its own database and not the actual folders and files. This seems to be a common gripe among users on the Internet. I see this as minor and only requires some rethinking in my workflow process.

Another issue that I have found is that I cannot use my network server as the Library. Adobe chose not to support networked drives with Lightroom. I see this issue as my way of keeping a backup. I have all my photos local on my laptop and then use Karen's Replicator to backup the files to my network server. No big deal.


The Develop module is where all the magic happens. You can make all of your heavy duty changes to your photos in this module. What I really liked about Lightroom is that it supports changes to both RAW files as well as JPEG files in a non-destructive manner. This means that it saves changes to it database without actually modifying the original RAW or JPEG files. Once you are happy with the changes, you can export the changed image to either en external editor such as Photoshop CS2 (or CS3), or select a third-part editor for additional rework, such as airbrush touch-ups. The exported images are separate files from the original so you still have a copy of the original in addition to the new copy. Another gripe I have seen on the Internet has been that Lightroom does not allow multiple copies of the same file even if they have different extensions, i.e. JPG, DNG, NEF, TIFF. I can see where this can be confusing or an issue, but right now, I don't have this gripe.


I have not used this module, so I don't know what it does. Therefore, I cannot write anything about it.

So, off to the next module.


I have only used this feature once and I must say it was pretty cool and fairly easy. I added a watermark to my photo and looked really good, even though Cathie was not please with the picture of her that I chose to print for my office desk.

I haven't tried it but I thought that I read that Lightroom can interface directly with online developing companies. This would be cool if it can happen. I'll have to update when I play with that module more.


I have only played with this feature once as well. I found a trick that allows me to upload pictures directly to flickr using their flicker uploader program from within Lightroom. Very cool, although I found some of the limitations of the uploader tool, but that is a different discussion.


All in all, I am still very pleased with this program. I know as I get more accustomed to its features and understand its capabilities more, I will love it more and more. If anyone makes changes to their photographs and is looking for a great program to both manage photographs AND edit them, this is the program.

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