Will Lightroom make my life easier?

Jennifer Wilson

I’m your guide here at Simple Scrapper. Our community helps people find what fills you up and fits your life in memory keeping.

August 24, 2009

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I was traveling for work (again) this past week and (eek!) without my personal laptop. I stayed a few extra days to play tourist in the town that was my home from 2004-2008 – Washington, DC.

I was eager to get my photos edited and up on Flickr, but my work machine only had GIMP and Bridge. There was not a RAW processor in sight.

In a moment of insight, I thought it would be fun to test out Lightroom. I’ve been skeptical, thinking the potential benefits of a new application were not that great when compared to adding one more thing to my already cluttered hard drive. I was wrong!

Lightroom (affiliate link) combines the best of Adobe Bridge (organization) and Adobe Camera RAW (editing) into one tool that makes your life super simple!

It has only be a few days, but I already have some initial thoughts.

1. Workflow: While Lightroom essentially lets you perform the same edits as ACR (plus many more), you don’t have to operate in a separate dialogue. I found this very helpful for editing when I had chunks of time. It was much easier to see where I had left off, since Lightroom marks your photos as having been cropped or having adjustments made. Lightroom also will let you filter, sort and organize in an endless and customizable array of ways.

2. Editing: Presets, presets, presets! It’s not so much as what Lightroom will let you do – most everything can be found elsewhere. It’s what Lightroom will let you save! Set up your own file naming structure or even an entire export routine. You can even add watermarks! Don’t forget, you can import one (or many) of the endless creative presets you see around our community – antique grunged b&w anyone?  I also appreciated being able to edit curves (not available in PSE) and having vignetting options.

Concerns

  • I am not a big fan of catalogs, since they do too much of the thinking for you. On some of my exports, I forgot to check “add to catalog” and now I am not quite sure how to make sure everything is there. Do you catalog all versions of an image? Do you stack or unstack?
  • I plan to install Lightroom on two machines. Does all metadata transfer, like with Bridge? Any tips for editing in multiple locations?
  • I can’t figure out how to auto-import from the camera as DNG. Export customization seems more robust than import. Is there a super-secret import dialog I’m missing?

Awesome Tip: Use F2 to conduct a batch rename of your images!

I feel pretty certain I will be purchasing Lightroom (affiliate link), but I’m still figuring it out. As with any new software, there is a bit of a learning curve before you can maximize the potential. I do know though, that I was not giving Lightroom nearly enough attention.  It is truly one solid option for the simple scrapper!

Don’t forget to check to see if you can get a discount through your school or employer!

So, readers, would you like to hear more about Lightroom? Anyone out there contemplating the switch with me? Lightroom users, what do you want to know?

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7 Comments

  1. breeoxd

    Hmm Iw as wondering about lightroom, but I already use PSC3 and I didn’t know if I really needed another adobe editing program since I don’t have an slr…

    Reply
  2. Stan

    Jennifer,

    Does lightroom give any benefit to someone working with jpegs (say like from a point and shoot) or are the benefits really only for raw shooters?

    Stan at Scrappers Workshop

    Reply
  3. Jennifer

    I’ll reply to both of your comments here. I don’t mean to imply that the benefits of Lightroom are only to DSLR owners and/or RAW shooters.

    Regardless of the original file type, Lightroom allows you to perform non-destructive edits. Lightroom never touches your original file, which is actually great for editing JPEGs!

    Here’s a link to an article and video tutorial on this subject:
    http://thelightroomlab.com/2008/12/understanding-lightrooms-non-destructive-image-enhancement-system/

    Reply
    • Jennifer

      I’ll also add that you can jump into Photoshop or PSE at any time to do heavier editing directly to pixels.

      Reply
  4. Chris A.

    From a P&S camera (& PSE) user – love Lightroom, but think each person would be different and should give it a try.

    I don’t catalog my pictures, I mainly use the keywording feature. A great resource is Matt’s Killer Tips blog:

    http://www.lightroomkillertips.com/

    He has some great information on cataloging here:

    http://www.lightroomkillertips.com/2009/the-truth-about-this-whole-cataloging-thing/

    Also, I love Scott Kelby’s Lightroom 2 Book for Digital Photographers. I’m still learning!

    Reply
  5. Christine

    I LOVE Lightroom! There is no way I could do this Project 365 and blog everyday thing if it wasn’t for Lightroom and the exporting preset I made to batch export web-sized images. And being able to apply the same edits to multiple images in the click of a button.

    I second the Lightroom Killer Tips blog, I love it. There’s free presets over there too. I use one of Matt Kloskowski’s auto adjustment presets when my photos are imported into Lightroom, so that they are sharpened, defogged, and ready for more edits if necessary. Saves me a ton of time when the photos have good exposure and color already.

    And here’s his tutorial on managing your LR catalogs on multiple computers. http://www.lightroomkillertips.com/2008/friday-video-moving-between-laptop-and-desktop/

    Reply
  6. Jennifer Wilson

    I had a feeling there were a lot of Lightroom lovers out there!

    Reply

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