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  #1  
Old 10-03-07
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Thumbs up Adobe Lightroom: thoughts from a convert

Like many others, I downloaded the Beta version of Lightroom last year, it was far from full featured at the time and rather slow. I could see some potential, though frankly its method of workflow was different to my existing one and consequently it was not long before I uninstalled it.
Since that time and especially after the release of the full version, I had heard great things about the program and decided to download the Trial version towards the end of February. It promised to be the one stop solution for the Pro photographer, incorporating asset management software, Raw file conversion, as well as jpeg adjustment. Then there was Slideshow production, Web gallery production and a print module.

Frankly, Iíve been blown away by this program. Once you get to grips with the way it works, Iíve found it easy to learn, it has an intuitive interface and most tasks can be worked out easily without the need for manuals. I have to be honest and say that for years now Iíve been a big user of Windows Explorer to manage my folders, and later of Adobe Bridge for Raw file adjustment and other Photoshop related tasks. Lightroom goes far beyond this though, and it only took just over a week for me to make the decision to buy it. The boxed version was ordered direct from Adobe, and it took only a couple of days to arrive.

I store my personal images on a 320gb external drive, so decided to try importing key folders from that. I say import, though in reality the actual files are not imported onto your C drive. They stay in their original location and only a thumbnail preview is imported. This means of course that vast numbers of images can be imported, catalogued etc without it filling up your C drive. If you donít use an external drive then obviously importing files from youíre My Docs folders, creates the shortcut thumbnail just the same. Anyway it was not long before I had imported over 6500 files in a series of folders, and all had been given basic Keyword tags. Keywords btw can be refined and added to files and folders very easily at a later date. It must be said at this stage that files imported from an external drive donít disappear when the drive is switched off, the folder name simply appears in red and the thumbnails can still be viewed though obviously not adjusted. As soon as the external drive is switched on the files are accessed again and the folder names revert to their normal state.

In the Develop module, we have the raw conversion and file adjustment element of Lightroom. Iím not going to go into all that can be done to your raw files here, suffice to say the adjustment controls are infinitely better than Photoshop CS2 and Adobe Camera Raw. The ability to fine tune and alter colours, saturation, hue etc have been a revelation to me, and the ability to do spotting with the Clone and Heal tools whilst still in Raw format is brilliant. Not only this, but spotting done on one file can be applied to a batch of similar files. This is going to save a lot of time. One of the major benefits for me was that it seems so much easier to separate out tonal areas like highlights and shadows, or different areas of colour etc and adjust them without affecting other areas too much. For anyone who cares to look there are some great little video tutorials on the LR website. The before and after option also is a brilliant way to clearly see the changes you have made. Once adjustments are made to the files in a folder they can be exported to another location, in any format, colour space or size you want, and if itís only 1 or 2 files they can be opened in Photoshop or your other manipulation program. It doesnít take you long to realise however that the need for further manipulation is greatly reduced as most tasks can be done in Lightroom.

Lightroom is not the only program that will allow you to rate images, Bridge does that, but it is so easy to rate your favourite shots from a shoot, then add them to a new ĎCollectioní These are just like a virtual folder where you can easily access your favourite shots. Again the files are not duplicated, rather a shortcut thumbnail is created, it allows you to find and work on images more easily. From a collection, for example you could move on the Slideshow or Web modules and simply work on the shots in your collection.

I have also been impressed with the Slideshow module. It allows you very quickly, without the need to work on the converted jpeg to create extremely attractive slideshows, and even export them to PDF so anyone can view them in Acrobat.

The web module is equally slick, having a variety of ready made templates to create HTML and Flash style web galleries, and with a built in FTP program its easy to upload directly to your web space.

In the Print module there are a variety of ready made templates for different contact sheets and print sizes. It is easy though to create your own. I prefer for example a 6x4 (24 image) contact sheet and it took me only a short time to get it exactly how I wanted it. The ability also to add a watermark or a personal nameplate to prints is also possible here, positioning it exactly where you want and with the opacity you want

So, is it all good? Iíd be interested to hear from other users, but Iíve had the occasional hiccup, where the program briefly freezes, as though its trying to catch up with what you have asked it to do. Now this could be because Iím working on files from an external drive, Iím not sure, so any comments from others would be welcome. I havenít done any timings in the print module but my impression was that it took quite a while to start printing, though I suppose it is assimilating a lot of data, and even Bridge has to process and create the Contact Sheet in Photoshop before you tell it to print, and there is none of that in LR.

In summary then, LR will pretty much do all the basic tasks for you, and seems to be a one stop shop for the average Pro photographer. The cost of £125 + vat. is not an inconsiderable amount, though to put that into perspective its about 3 tank fulls of petrol, a meal out for four maybe, or a new household appliance for your wife. For the Pro, it shouldnít be too much of an issue, and can easily be recouped one way or another.
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Last edited by Stephen; 11-03-07 at 09:19 AM.
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Old 10-03-07
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Question Re: Adobe Lightroom... thoughts from a convert

Steven,
Would you say this program would hard or easy for someone new to photography like me ?I have been thinking about purchasing this program but have been hesitant. Once I get my business started I plan on doing most of my work outdoors. I want to make sure I purchase the right programs for my business. What do you think?
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Old 10-03-07
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Re: Adobe Lightroom... thoughts from a convert

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Originally Posted by cowcrzy06 View Post
Steven,
Would you say this program would hard or easy for someone new to photography like me ?I have been thinking about purchasing this program but have been hesitant. Once I get my business started I plan on doing most of my work outdoors. I want to make sure I purchase the right programs for my business. What do you think?
Its hard for me to say if Lightroom is suitable for your needs Jennifer. Its a program that essentially is aimed at Pros I suppose, and especially Raw users. However its certainly one that you could grow into and get immediate results from. I've worked for years without anything like this, so it couldn't be considered essential and there are lots of cheaper and smaller progs around that do some of the things LR does. LR just brings it all together in a new way in order to improve the workflow of a busy photographer.
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Old 10-03-07
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Re: Adobe Lightroom...thoughts from a convert

I've been playing around with LR this afternoon, and especially the Slideshow and Web modules. I created a Quick Collection of 11 images taken from a folder of Raw files taken in 2003 when I visited the SW USA. We were at Page Arizona and went on a float trip down Glen Canyon on the Colorado. One of those must do things, that stays with you for life.

I have created a web gallery HERE which incorporates a slideshow and a PDF slideshow HERE which will run in Acrobat, if not straight in your browser, in mine the mouse wheel moves the slideshow on.
Feel free to have a look they will give you some idea of what can be done literally in a few minutes, straight from the raw files
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Old 10-03-07
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Re: Adobe Lightroom...thoughts from a convert

As I've mentioned before, being a Mac user I went the route of Aperture, which does the same kind of thing.

I'd agree that this kind of workflow software makes life a lot easier. If you use RAW, shoot more than a few photos per session and need to do things with the images you really should look into this.

Aperture's books are very impressive. Here's a quick web gallery:

http://homepage.mac.com/manpf/New%20Album/
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Old 10-03-07
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Re: Adobe Lightroom... thoughts from a convert

I have downloaded the 30 day evaluation. Prior to this I have been using CS3 beta for a tryout. I have now reached a decision that I would be better to stick to CS2 and get Lightroom for day to day tasks ( I use raw) instead of upgrading to CS3 (the new functions in this seem to be in Lightroom). Of course, like everything this is another learning curve and I must admit the concept seems a bit daunting). Was impressed with your test gallery etc Stephen. I have just used Powerpoint to assemble a collection of peoples photos - will try out the images in Lightbox.

Trevor
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Old 11-03-07
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Smile Re: Adobe Lightroom...thoughts from a convert

Steven ,
Thank you so much for your reply. I understand that I need some time to become more "seasoned". But I work daily on my photography putting every spare minute I have to this. I am ambitious and dedicated And have the will to succeed. I hope someday to become as fine of a photographer as you and many of the other fine people on this website. I value your opinions and thank you from the bottom of my heart.
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Old 15-03-07
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Re: Adobe Lightroom...thoughts from a convert

Just had an email from Dabs.com They are offering Lightroom for £109.97 +vat. I paid £125 +vat direct from Adobe, so this seems like a bargain and an offer not to missed,unless of course you have seen it cheaper
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Old 16-03-07
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Re: Adobe Lightroom...thoughts from a convert

I've come across some pretty cool video tutorials by Michael Tapes tonight http://www.whibalhost.com/_Tutorials.../06/index.html
This program is amazing
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Old 02-04-07
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Re: Adobe Lightroom...thoughts from a convert

Hi Stephen.
I attended a LR teach-in yesterday, hosted by Sid Jervis and Richard Earney. Each has his own LR websight, (Lightroom-extra.com and inside-lightroom.com)
Sid is a freelance photojournalist and Richard, I think, is more on the software side. They are running them for a while, I think, in Oxfordshire, for £35.00, which I found to be well worth it. (I had to travel 140 miles to get there! )
Regarding Michael Tapes, I thought his videos were very good, but then wondered if there was perhaps too much hard information being hammered in for the amateur to take in? Although I'm new to digital photography, I'm pretty comfortable with both computers and (film) photography so am just having to get them all together.
Far easier than Michael Tapes videos I found is the Luminous Landscape downloadable 10 part training video. The two guys who present it are a lot easier going than Tapes and don't seem to come across as thought they are going to want you to buy something soon.

Anyhow, although what sort of training suits the individual best, I can only endorse your approbation wholeheartedly. So much easier than even PS Elements, Paintshop Pro etc., never mind Photoshop. And £125 may be a lot of dough, but it's only what you'd have to pay for a lesser prog. (When does the discount period run out?)
I am buying PS CS3, but really think that LR would more than do for the vast majority of photographers. I love it!

Jim
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Old 02-04-07
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Re: Adobe Lightroom...thoughts from a convert

Thanks for the info on the tutorial sites Jim, I'll definately check those out.

Its my feeling that LR isn't a program aimed at beginners, and frankly they might have struggled at the seminar last week. I think its aimed at Professionals, who needed something to improve their workflow. In that respect the current price is well worth it. I think the offer ends at the end of April, though it may be worth checking out the Dabs offer too.
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Old 03-04-07
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Re: Adobe Lightroom...thoughts from a convert

That was *ME* struggling last week!
You're absolutely right, LR is ideal for the more advanced/pro photog., but I have to say that I find it so intuitive, that after a little help I have been able to whiz around, whereas PSP and Elements (in its latest incarnation) leave me a little bemused. Perhaps I haven't given them a chance, but for me, Photoshop allows one to wonder around much more easily.

ddigit's post also reminds me that I'm glad I didn't upgrade to CS2. It was so similar to CS, whereas CS3 is a *real* jump forward. Don't you love those non-destructive filters?

I do feel that with the current crop of DAM software, there really is something for everyone and even the complete tyro shouldn't be afraid of giving it a go.

Talking about software, I've had to run Firefox as my browser. So is it Firefox or the forum software that gives me the spelchucker?

Jim
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Old 03-04-07
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Re: Adobe Lightroom...thoughts from a convert

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim View Post

Talking about software, I've had to run Firefox as my browser. So is it Firefox or the forum software that gives me the spelchucker?

Jim
Agree with your other points Jim
As for Firefox, I much prefer it to IE, though I'm using a FF derivative called 'Flock' and there are some worthwhile additions in this version. If you refer to the spell checker in the context menu, this is a FF plugin iirc. and not the forum software.
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Old 08-04-07
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Re: Adobe Lightroom...thoughts from a convert

Thanks for the interesting post Stephen. I too have lightroom which I got for free as part of the deal done by Adobe when they bought raw shooter premium.

I have been thrilled with the programme and when I compare it with RSE it far exceeds my expectations. I do have one small gripe and that is in RSE when you converted a RAW file it automatically flagged that RAW file as "Converted". In lightroom this doesn't happen and I have taken to manually flagging converted files with a green filter. Like I said minor.

best regards

Josh
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Old 08-04-07
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Re: Adobe Lightroom...thoughts from a convert

Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Bear View Post
Thanks for the interesting post Stephen. I too have lightroom which I got for free as part of the deal done by Adobe when they bought raw shooter premium.

I have been thrilled with the programme and when I compare it with RSE it far exceeds my expectations. I do have one small gripe and that is in RSE when you converted a RAW file it automatically flagged that RAW file as "Converted". In lightroom this doesn't happen and I have taken to manually flagging converted files with a green filter. Like I said minor.

best regards

Josh
Hi Josh, though this is an issue I've never seen as a problem, I like the way you have solved it for yourself.
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