A Look at Lightroom
Until recently, I was an avid Apple Aperture user. Upon the news, however, that Apple would no longer be supporting Aperture, I made the switch to Adobe Lightroom. I admit that I was (1) nervous about migrating thousands of images to a new platform and (2) not sure about paying a monthly fee for the software vs a one time purchase. As it turned out my images transferred without a problem and, at $9.99/month for Lightroom AND Photoshop, the cost is well worth it.
I plan to cover specific Lightroom features in more depth in future posts, so for now let’s take a broad look at the software. We’ll start with the obvious question: What the heck is Lightroom? In a nutshell, Lightroom is a tool that you can use to organize, post-process, print, and share your photos.
The screenshot above gives you a feel for the Library panel within Lightroom. To the far left, you can access my folders and collections. In the center, you have a grid view of all of the images within a specific folder or collection. To the right, you have access to metadata tools for adding keywords, titles, etc. You can change the size of the thumbnails or, if you prefer, double-click on any thumbnail to get a full size view.
The Develop module is where the real magic happens. Here you have access to a number of “presets” on the left. Think of presets as recipes for a specific look. Adding a particular preset to an image will immediately apply a specific set of adjustments. Each of those adjustments can be further tweaked to your liking. Want to start from scratch? No problem – the panel on the right provides access to a series of adjustment sliders that allow you to change exposure, shadows and highlights, saturation, clarity, etc. Additional options allow you to adjust the tone curve as well as the hue and saturation of individual colors. You can also apply sharpening and/or noise reduction, add a vignette, and even correct lens distortion. Watch for future posts detailing the powerful editing tools within the Develop module!
The more I experiment with the Print module, the more I appreciate its flexibility and potential. As with the Develop module, you have access to a wide variety of presets on the left panel – in the Print module these are called templates. Of course, each template can be modified to your liking using the tools in the panel on the right. You can also build your own print template from scratch. You have the option to print a single image or to add multiple images to the page. Once you have a design that you like, you can print to your printer or to a jpg file.
The Lightroom export dialogue is equally powerful. Not only do you have the option to export your images in a variety of sizes and formats, but you can also save your commonly used settings as presets. The export dialogue also allows for direct export to email, CD/DVD, and your favorite plug-ins.
Please note that this overview has barely scratched the surface of this tool! I’m looking forward to sharing more details on my favorite Lightroom features and showing you how I use Lightroom to process my images.
I’ll see you in the lab!
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