Five new features I'd love to see in Lightroom

by Michael Clark

This week as I was thinking about a topic for this blog I remembered some features that I would like to see in a future version of Lightroom and I thought I would share those with you. Of course all of this is just conjecture - luckily for all of us Adobe is listening and we can all submit our feature requests for future versions of Lightroom online. You can submit your own feature requests here:

So here are some features that I have wished for since I first started playing with Lightroom - as it is currently Lightroom is better than anything else out there that I have found - but to make it even better here are some things I would add:

1. Make it even faster.

With the latest upgrade to 1.3 Adobe has made Lightroom faster but it would be nice to see it run even just a little faster. I also just updated my imaging machine to a very fast Apple MacPro and that has vastly improved the operating speed of Lightroom. It isn't slow on the new tower but it would be nice to see the import process get a little faster - especially the time it takes to render previews. This improvement might require faster computers rather than a change in the software.

2. Make Lightroom the Digital Asset Management tool!

As I have mentioned before in my blog posts, there really isn't anything out there that I like in terms of a digital asset management tool. I am hoping that the Lightroom engineers can make Lightroom the DAM tool that we have all been waiting for - one where we can have huge catalogs (100,000 + images) of high resolution raw image files imported into Lightroom with no performance penalties.

3. Make the compare mode work with more than just two images.

As a sports photographer it would be really nice to be able to view five or more images side by side and go to the 1:1 preview on all of them at the same time instead of just two images as it is in the current compare mode. This would make the editing process much faster for those of us that shoot lots of high-speed sequences. Even for portraits this could be very useful to compare facial expressions and sharpness.

4. Add local adjustments for contrast, saturation, vibrance, etc.

Lightroom already has some local adjustments - red eye correction and cloning/healing, but it would be really sweet to have the ability to adjust hue, saturation, luminance, vibrancy and other aspects of a part of an image in a similar manner to Nikon Capture NX's U-Point technology. This would keep us in Lightroom just a little longer and perhaps simplify what can be a complex process in Photoshop. Of course we already have this capability in Photoshop but it would be nice to make basic adjustments in Lightroom and not have to deal with time-consuming selections in Photoshop.

5. Add sharpening to the web gallery images.

One of my long time issues with the very powerful Web Module is that the large previews aren't quite as sharp as they could be - they need some form of sharpening so that they look their best when viewed by a client. If Adobe were able to introduce a sharpening dialog like the one in the print module it would be a huge improvement to the Web module.

Well, there you have it, just my thoughts on some additions that would make Lightroom a little nicer for my workflow. Lightroom has come a long way in a short while if you ask me. And my workflow has been improved immensely by using Lightroom - I can't even imagine using my old workflow anymore.

That's it for this session. See you next week.

Adios, Michael Clark


Richard Costin
2007-11-26 02:15:21
Very good list there, couldn't have said it better myself.

With regard to local adjustments, how about every matte you create is assigned a number, which you can then select for the options in develop panel, or something similar involving tabs or grouping?


Pavel Tcholakov
2007-11-26 03:45:30
It would be useful to add more lens corrections, preferably automatically tied to a particular lens/focal length/aperture setting. E.g. if I know that my lens X required +0.25 vignetting correction at 16mm and f/5.6, it should be able to apply it automatically at import time. Another very useful addition would be barrel distortion correction. DxO-style optical flaw corrections would be even better!

These, combined with the local editing tools suggested (and dodge & burn too, please!), would make Lightroom a one stop shop for many photographers.

David Medina
2007-11-26 06:04:55
I second the list particularly number 2 and 4. I would add a #6, some kind of "light table feature" like the one found in Aperture. It is a great tool when designing wedding albums.
Steve Sutherland
2007-11-26 06:29:34
Regarding item 3. Isn't this already available using the Survey View? Select multiple photos and type N in the library module.
Brian Wall
2007-11-26 07:31:40
I once read (maybe Bruce Fraser?) that Photoshop was really becoming a plug-in for Camera RAW. I hope someday that the digital imaging pieces of PS will become another module in LR. PS will still exist in its multi-faceted capabilities for illustrators, graphic artists, etc, but LR will contain all of the digital imaging functions so the photographer will only need LR.
2007-11-26 10:36:58
As a DAM tool I would really like LR to be able to "Show Duplicate Images" wether have teh same name or not. I have many images and sometimes there are duplicates.

Tim Sewell
2007-11-26 13:48:27
Maybe I'm missing something, but I can't work out how to assign anything other than the three bog-standard colour profiles when exporting to JPEG. Assuming it's not there already (and please tell me if it is) I'd really like to be able to do that for when I output my print orders, which often don't otherwise require PS-ing.
2007-11-26 14:46:14
I totally agree with you! Expecially the missing sharpening in web module. I'm able to create my own Lightroom galleries, either Flash and HTML, but I don't use them because of the lack of sharpening tools in Web module.
2007-11-27 09:34:47
> 3. Make the compare mode work with more than just two images.

Yes, it's a shame the Survey mode doesn't let you preview multiple shots at 1:1, but I still find it very useful. If I want to zoom a single shot, I double-click to select it, then click to zoom to 1:1. Then I hit 'N' to return to Survey. When I double-click the next shot, it opens as 1:1.

2007-11-27 10:24:07
All the posts about Web sharpening ... Can someone enlighten me pls?

I imagine that we all use some sharpening settings in the develop module. While I understand why there's a choice for additional sharpening when you print, because simply print output requires more sharpening than screen output. Correct? If so, why would you want to sharpen again when you output to screen with 72dpi resolution. Wouldn't you end up with halos in most images? I guess not, if you didn't sharpen in the develop module, but I fail to see why or how you wouldn't do that.

Sorry I just don't get it.



Steven Erat
2007-11-27 10:46:04
Regarding item 3, to the immediate right of the Compare View (C) icon is Survey View (N), which I prefer to call Multiple Compare. Although there is little control over how many images can be compared such that they line up side by side, I believe that screen resolution is a key factor. On a 30" Mac Cinema Display, 6 vertical images can be lined up side by side.
Michael Clark
2007-11-27 11:00:24
Marek -

Anytime an image is resized it will need a little sharpening to look its best, especially if you go from a large high re file to a small jpeg preview which is essentially what is happening in the web module. Take a high res file, drop it to 600 pixels and add a little sharpening to it in photoshop and you'll see the difference very quickly - this is a small but key point.

And this is an output sharpening step. The sharpening in the develop module is meant to correct the blurring added by the anti-aliasing filter in the camera (if you shot RAW).

2007-11-27 15:50:30
And to this I would add, output sharpening when exporting (for subsequent upload to printing sites for ex.); collections from saved searches, per channel tone curve; non-round spot removal.

2007-11-28 11:49:38
Hi Michael,

in my case where I never shoot RAW (and perhaps that could be the difference) I used to run sharpening action for any Web output image I developed until I found out that for anything up till 800 x 600 at 72dpi (average monitor or LCD) it made close to zero difference. But I do understand that for other shooters, work flows and photos it could be different and more meaningful. I would think it would be a disaster if they didn't put it into print module, but I already mentioned that.

One thing I'd like them to change (make better ..) though would be to give more options in print module as far as framing (being able to use any tif, jpeg file as your frame or mask), adding text (more than one text field ...) etc. I don't mind the round trip to PS, but when you have 20 prints to do, it gets tiresome very quickly.