- Lightroom is the natural companion to some of the mainstream image processing software.
- Think of it like this: Lightroom works on large collections of images all at once, mainstream image processing software (e.g. the Photoshop editor) works on single images.
- Lightroom is great for batch processing (and organising) whilst Photoshop (and the other software reviewed here) is great for producing refined adjustments to single prints (e.g. such as those you are preparing as a fine art image for exhibition).
- Lightroom has some processing power, Photoshop has more.
- Lightroom has many fans because it is very good at what it does.
ADOBE PHOTOSHOP LIGHTROOM
Lightroom started out as an image cataloguing program.
Library Mode allows you to organise images. It also allows the wholesale editing of all of the (selected) images at once. Lightroom can work with large image libraries, create Collections (and Smart Collections), and thereby produce a kind of photograph filing system. The beauty of Collections is that images from different folders can be included without them having to leave their folders. For example, you may have folders organised by dates, but Collections organised by location.
- Batch processing of the basic adjustments required for a set of images can save a great deal of time as compared with processing each image individually.
- For example, you can enter the Keywords that are common to all of the images just once, and they will be added to every image selected.
- Not only does Lightroom enable you to carry out image processing but it also provides a workflow structure that is probably not equalled by any other imaging software. Many of the professionals whom I know use Lightroom as their preferred tool for importing images, organising them, making adjustments to them, and for outputting them in whatever form they find useful.
The five modes that can be used in Lightroom are:
Library, Develop, Slideshow, Print and Web.
- In the Develop Screen much of the editing you need to do can be done within Lightroom (such as adjusting exposure, contrast, colours, clarity, white balance and saturation) without the need to go into Photoshop.
- Lightroom also allows image processing to take place in a non-destructive way. In other words you can retrieve your unprocessed original image at any time.
The Develop screen looks like this:
On the right-hand side are the histogram view and a panel of adjustment tools.
As you edit the image your changes show as live changes to the image (in the above example I have
carried out some split toning).
- On the left-hand side there is an extensive column of Presets, with the effect of each Preset showing in the little window at the top of the list.
- That is not to say that Lightroom can now do everything.
For example, Photoshop (or whichever advanced image processing software you have) is needed for working in layers.
- However, as editing takes place within Lightroom it does not change the original image file until you export and save those changes as new files.
- This non-destructive form of editing is seen by many as valuable.
- A History Panel allows you to reverse to any point in your sequence of image adjustments.
The Slideshow screen allows you to create settings for a slideshow, including setting:
- the character of borders
- the layout of each image
- and titles.
In addition you can control the Playback options.
There are options to export the file as a .PDF or as Video.
The Print screen within Lightroom (see below) is very useful.
It enables you to dictate the size and look of the printed output.
Web output can be edited for the whole Photo Gallery - saving an enormous amount of time compared with setting each image size separately for web display.
- Adobe Lightroom is an impressive tool for organising and carrying out batch image processing. In addition single images can receive detailed editing, though with a few limitations (as compared with full image processing software).
- It is powerful tool for preparing images for different styles of output: slideshow, print and web display.
- If your processing requirements are not too demanding I would opt for Lightroom as an every-day working tool rather than Photoshop CC.
- As with Photoshop CC, there is more to Lightroom than can be summarised in a short review, so go to the appropriate page on the Adobe web site and see whether Lightroom would be a valuable tool in your image processing work flow.
Lightroom 6 - though not the most recent version is still highly functional - and can be obtained from Amazon:
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