Many photographers are still asking, What is Lightroom and why should I use it?

by George Mann

Many of us that have now been using Adobe Lightroom for over a year, have forgotten that most photographers in the world have not even tried it yet, or even know what all the fuss is about. So I searched some of the internet photography forums this week and found that a lot of photographers are still asking the very basic question, "Why should I switch to Adobe Lightroom?"

These aren't all the reasons of course but they are representative of the most common reasons given by Lightroom users at this time.

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1. It's simplicity, at first it seems confusing and intimidating because of all the various panels, sliders and buttons, but once you realize that you can not ruin your photos, no matter what you do, since all controls and adjustments in the application are non-destructive, than the sliders are just tools to be explored at will.

2. The fact that it is truly non-destructive, this can not be stressed enough. It takes a while to get used to the idea of working with a non-destructive tool. At first it seems like someone has given you a hammer and told you to go ahead and smash your grandmother's crystal vase, "don't worry it is a non-destructive hammer, the vase will put itself back together when you push the reset button". Incredibly in Lightroom it does just that.

3. Very easy Hue, Saturation and Luminance adjustments, yes I agree with that, all the color adjustments are easy and non-destructive.

4. Easy roundtrip editing between Lightroom and Photoshop CS, you just select edit in Photoshop CS (the file will be converted to TIFF or PSD), make your changes in Photoshop CS and save. The results will be automatically available in Lightroom (as a TIFF or PSD file).

5. Any image editor can be assigned to be a second external roundtrip editor, the instructions are the same as for using Photoshop CS. Most photographers seem to choose Photoshop Elements, I am using Nikon Capture NX as the second external editor.

6. Batch editing, really useful for event photographers but probably of limited use to photographers who like to massage the best they can out of one image at a time. It does come in really handy though if you have goofed and assigned the wrong camera setting to whole day's worth of shooting.

7. Assigning keywords and ratings to a large number of images on import and immediately after import. If you have the self discipline to perform this little task religiously, it will make it really easy to find your images, next week or even a few years down the road.

8. Download the free trial and try it yourself, if it works for you and makes you enjoy your photography more, it is the right application for you.

5 Comments

Doug
2007-05-11 17:22:28
Having switched from an arcane combination of a Canon-proprietary image downloader, a Canon image viewer, and Photoshop, I'm extremely pleased with Lightroom- it kills off the need of the previous first two apps with it's import (and!) auto-import functions, and in many cases cuts out the need of Photoshop altogether. It's the best deal in town for quick reviews and fast adjustments.
Roy
2007-05-12 07:11:39
Other resaons (for me anyway):


Cross-platform - I still work with PCs, having recently gone back to Macs as my main workhorse (CS3 was a factor in that - and Vista). You can open a Lightroom database on an external drive on either a PC or Mac (not simultaneously) - provided the pictures are accessible to both platforms it all works fine.


Speed - that's another big plus for me, particularly when compared to the Mac-only 'opposition' (Aperture).


Compatibility - I'm all Adobe now, and it works well. Truth be told though, I hardly open Photoshop since starting to use Lightroom.

Steve
2007-05-12 11:35:47
One little clarification for potential Lightroom users who don't use Photoshop CS, and use Elements instead.


Lightroom integrates Elements as it's primary external editor if CS is not present on the machine.

Tim
2007-05-14 00:33:25
Don't forget the Printing module and how easy it is to manipulate one or more images on one or more pages.
dave
2007-10-07 01:39:24
Wow, lots of talk about cross platform, primary external editors etc. And still no plaim and simple information on what lightroom is. So, as a newbie to imaging software what is lightroom, how is it different from the photoshop 7 I have that I'd like to upgrade?