Thursday, 14 August 2008

Lightroom 2.0

I've probably mentioned before that I'm a big fan of Adobe Lightroom. For anyone who shoots RAW (and almost anyone serious about photography should) and uses a PC, it's an invaluable tool for processing and cataloguing images. The big problem with digital is that you end up shooting lots more, as there's no constraint as there is with film. I estimate I shoot about 10 times the quantity of images that I used to in film days - and that's with very infrequent use of "continuous" mode. I have no idea how many frames the guy with the white-lensed Canon EOS1Ds that I saw on the boat to the Farne Islands the other day got thru just getting there - it sounded like tearing cloth...

Anyway, Lightroom (LR) gives the best way I've found yet of sorting thru images, cataloguing them, tagging them and evaluating them. I was a user way back in the v1 public beta days, bought it as soon as it was available, have upgraded religiously, experimented with the public v2 beta, and finally loaded the new v2.0 version last week. It's worth every penny of the £69 for the upgrade with some important new tools, including a localised adjustments brush and a graduated filter.

There's a run down of what's new on Matt Kloskowski's excellent "Lightroom Killer Tips" blog ( ). Also see here:

On Tuesday (Aug 12), Matt drew attention to some really useful presets (templates for adjustments in LR) for grad filters produced by Sean McCormac. Sean is a regular contributer to the Adobe Lightroom Flickr Group I co-admin ( ), and extremely knowledgable. His comprehensive set of filters cost just €5 (plus VAT) and are a huge timesaver (see ). In fact, I notice that one of my co-admins, who quite rightly objects to people ripping the unknowledgable off for presets that they can easily make themself, has also downloaded them.

Adobe have posted a really useful video tutorial on the "Develop" module - where the above changes are located - here:

I couldn't realistically do photography without LR (I suppose other tools are available, but not necessarily on a PC platform). The more you shoot, the more you need it. The following image is an example. Not much changed, except tweaks to exposure, contrast and saturation, plus sharpening, but take my work for it that the image would have been pretty dull without it - and processing probably took less than five minutes!

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