What’s So Great About Lightroom?

Since I teach photography to lots and lots of students and camera clubs I never know which photo editing package to use.images

So,  over the years I seemed to have managed to have bought just about all of the most popular ones. For example, I had Photoshop Elements and Picassa on one of my PCs. I got a copy of Nikon’s excellent (but unfortunately discontinued) NX Capture 2 on my MacBook Pro. Because I bought Photoshop Elements way way back when, Adobe offered me a low-cost promotion to buy PhotoShop which I jumped at saving hundreds of dollars. Of course for MAC there’s IPhoto and based on my positive experience with IPhoto’s bookmaking abilities I bought Aperture as well.

There are tons of other smaller photo editors out there and most do the same things.

For example all of them will edit JPG images. Most will work on raw images, TIFFS, DNGs and can handle propriety formats used by the various camera manufacturers. They all will crop, lighten or dark your images. Some come (like LR) come with built in noise reduction software and many will create books, slideshows, albums and output images to web programs like Facebook or web galleries on Flickr or Smugmug.

So all that’s good but what’s so great about Lightroom?italy-5020233

I’ve been using Lightroom since the first days and for years I’ve been using it badly. Not that my images didn’t look great but I wasn’t using half the features of Lightroom (which is now up to version 5.4) and is available from Adobe on a 30-day trial and can be had as a subscription package with PhotoShop for $9.99 per month (which I have). I was sort of like buying a Corvette but never getting out of first gear.

So how did I get better at Lightroom?

Easy. I started to teach classes at photo clubs in how to use Lightroom.  🙂

When you teach two things happen: First I read a couple of Lightroom manuals from front to back and so far I’ve watched over 100 hours of video training on Lightroom (Thanks to Laura Shoe and Creativelive.com) and then, second, I incorporated what I learned into my own workflow.

So here’s a tiny part of what I’ve learned:

  • Lightroom is nondestructive. (This is huge! LR never touches my original images.)
  • Lightroom is a database. (LR always knows where your images are kept and can find them using word searches.)
  • Lightroom uses presets. (I wasn’t using presets. Dumb! Presets make LR sing and can be bought or created.)
  • Lightroom is fast. (Because LR only makes changes to small data files you don’t need tons of computer power to use it.)
  • Lightroom is cheap. (Compared to PhotoShop LR is a steal and it can do just about everything PS does thanks to plug-in external editing programs.)

If your southern Ontario camera club would like a one-night introduction to Lightroom just let me know. There’s lots to learn and lots to enjoy using LR.

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