How Good Is Lightroom 5?

It’s fabulous!images

How fabulous? Well you can do very high-end professional digital editing of raw files by cropping and clicking two buttons! (auto exposure and auto white balance) or you can use any number of free presets that are floating around online.

This thanks to Jack Davis who recently taught a great course at CreativeLive.com on Lightroom 5, my Lightroom 5 image processing is super fast and super good.

Lightroom 5 is a stand-alone $150 (cheap) professional photo editor and database. For pro-level photographers or advanced amateurs who are shooting raw images LR5 is ideal.

Unlike Photoshop (used to sell for $800) which you can get now only on a monthly subscription from Adobe (which at $50 for all Adobe products is a steal if you’re running a pro-level photo company) LR 5 has no additional expenses.

No additional expenses that is unless you want to add external editing software such as NIK’s complete set (which I own) or OnOne’s software or Alien Skin. There’s others as well but you don’t absolutely must have them but these external editors sure can create some amazing images (Silver Efex Pro and HDR Pro from NIK I’d still consider essentials no matter what.)

Anyway I highly recommend LR 5 and now I’ll get back to my editing a special event I shot over the weekend 🙂

I’m Back

Been away travelling and, yes taking tons of photos, plus I’ve been sick as dog for almost seven weeks now with…wait for it…a cold! Been checked three times for pneumonia and each time my lungs were clear as a bell.italy-4290348

So what’s new?

First off there’s a new version of Lightroom (Lightroom 5) for $149 (upgrades are $79) and I highly recommend Lightroom.

Why?

Lightroom is a state-of-the-art professional quality photo editor. You can edit your JPGs (pre-processed photos done in camera) and raw images. Lightroom also allows the use of free presets and external editors like NIK’s fabulous editors. I own NIK’s entire collection.

Lightroom 5 is, in addition to being a fabulous photo editor, also a data-base. Lightroom 5 never directly imports your images but creates a JPG view which it uses to create a text file which it saves to the raw files (This isn’t quite true but close enough for our purposes here.) and thus is called a non-destructive photo editor. Where Photoshop and some other photo editors including IPhoto from Mac actually changes the pixels in your image as you work on them, Lightroom never touches your original fie and only outputs a copy with the changes and saves those changes to a text file that it attaches to the original image.

This is very cool.

If you are only shooting JPGs lesser (and cheaper) photo editors will work for you but if you’re shooting lots of raw images you will want Lightroom.

For example I shot a couple of thousand raw images in Italy. Using Lightroom my first job was to mark those images I wanted to edit.italy-5020233

Out of 2,000 images I ended up with 462 which my wife is going to grade for use in book she wants to publish and use for Christmas presents next year.

It took me several hours over a couple of days using a calibrated monitor in a somewhat darkened room to pick my images. Knowing my wife, she might go through all my rejects and dupes to make her own picks. Then she’s likely to want changes to my edits which include black and white and grungy effects.

If we weren’t making a book I’d be tempted to shoot the vacation in JPGs which would have come out of the camera pre-edited needing only a little brightening or darkening and cropping. I’ve learned to shoot more in JPG for special events where I’m shooting thousands of images (like the Toronto Zombie Walk) and don’t want to spend the next week in front of the computer.

But if I was shooting in light that was complex or varying in type I’d be shooting raw and I’d be using a Sekonic light meter and a ColorChecker Passport.

BTW all the Italy shots were done with either Olympus E-PL2 and E-PL-5. I brought an Olympus flash that works remotely off camera and a small Gorilla tripod. Italy is the only place I’ve ever seen where street vendors sell pocket-size tripods. Tells you how important a mini-tripod can be to getting great vacation images. (More on this later.)