Most people are familiar with Photoshop and its complexities yet many are still unaware of Adobe’s other photo tool, Lightroom, and it’s advantages over Photoshop. I have been using Lightroom since its release in 2007 and have seen it evolve into a very powerful, yet simple to use tool.
Today I’ll give you an overview of the product and will cover specific features in future posts.
What is Lightroom?
Lightroom is a one-stop shop for storing (and finding), processing and exporting photos. Whether you are an amateur or a pro, Lightroom has features that will help you manage your photos. This workflow tool enables you to edit your photos non-destructively and has seamless integration with Photoshop.
Lightroom vs Photoshop
Photoshop is Adobe’s Premiere photo editing software. Whilst it is a very powerful tool, it can be overwhelming for the novice user.
Lightroom is a much simpler tool to use and has a much broader scope than Photoshop. Whilst Photoshop enables you to edit your photos with a great deal of flexibility, that’s all it really does. Lightroom, on the other hand, works with you through the entire photo workflow, enabling you to download, catalog, edit and showcase your work. Coming in at $186AU / $149US it’s also much cheaper than Photoshop.
Lightroom is a less powerful editor than Photoshop but it’s no slouch. In fact I spend 80% of my time in Lightroom and mainly use Photoshop for my complex or feature edits.
Find your Photos
When you import photos into Lightroom it records the location of your photos making it easy to find your files even if they’re on a hard drive in your cupboard.
In addition to going through the folder structure to find your photos, you can search the photo’s metadata (information about the photo) to find what you are looking for. You can search for photos
- you have starred or highlighted,
- by the photographer,
- by the camera and / or lens used,
- by the geographic location
- as well as any keyword you’ve added.
Of course to take advantage of some of this metadata you will need to input some information (eg. the photographer, location etc.) but spending a few minutes doing this when you import the photo will serve you well in the future.
Edit your images
While Photoshop is difficult for newcomers to pick up, Lightroom is very intuitive. It comes with a number of presets pre-installed to help you get creative with your photos. Lightroom can help you crop your photo, remove spots, add contrast, fix exposure and convert to Black and White to name but a few.
Everything you do in Lightroom is non-destructive which means that it won’t change your original photos. It also means that if you make a mistake or change your mind, it’s really easy to go back through the history and undo…
If you find you want to do something more complex, you always have the option of exporting the photo into Photoshop. The photoshopped photo would be added to your Lightroom catalogue, making it easier to find in the future.
Automate your workflow
Lightroom gives you the ability to automate tasks making it quicker to edit multiple photos. You can create presets to give multiple photos the same look, rename your photos, export your files (eg. to print in a particular size) and to add metadata (eg. to add copyright info).
Showcasing your images
Lightroom has modules enabling you to easily create photo books, montages and posters, slideshows to music and stunning web galleries to share with your friends.
I’ll be covering different aspects of Lightroom in future blogs however if you can’t wait to learn more, take a look at the videos on Adobe TV.