Adobe Lightroom

Photo organizing, manipulating

Adobe Lightroom is an imaging software that’s excellent for keeping track of large numbers of photos, and also provides an extensive range of processing and manipulation functions. I’m working on version 2.3 as I write this; the 3.0 beta was just released. The program’s broken into five intuitively designed modules: Library, Develop, Slideshow, Print, Web.

Making web galleries is ridiculously easy, and printing is much more intuitive in Lightroom than Photoshop (at least CS2, my current version). Now that there are graduated filters and advanced cloning/spot removal in Lightroom, I only do really serious retouching in Photoshop. I’m not sure if it’s as useful for processing jpegs as it is RAW files (I don’t shoot jpegs), but the RAW converter is comprehensive and a pleasure to use. The keywording and metadata functions are great for retrieval, and you also have the option of duplicating everything you import from your CF/SD cards onto a second drive for instant backup. It also converts RAW files directly to DNG (best for long-term storage) upon import, if you choose.

Lightroom’s one of my all-time favorite pieces of software. I don’t enjoy the pixel pushing aspect of photography a fraction as much as I enjoy taking pictures, but it’s less painful with Lightroom. I haven’t used its main competitor, Aperture, but have been told by friends who’ve used both that Aperture doesn’t offer image manipulation capabilities on par with Lightroom.

-- Elon Schoenholz 01/6/10

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