Why use Lightroom?

November 23, 2009

Lightroom, Photo Tips

Hi All. My name is Jeremy Pollack, a photographer in central Connecticut. I am going to be joining you here at the Digital Photo Experience blog once a week to talk about Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. We’ll be talking about how and why to use Lightroom, tips for workflow, organization, use of the develop module, output and more and, of course, have some fun along the way!

So let’s start with the big one – Why use Lightroom?

When people ask me “what is Lightroom” I usually start with a stock answer – It is a workflow solution for the digital darkroom. Heck, it IS the digital darkroom, minus the fixer and pitch black film room. Then I usually drift off into superlatives and gush for a while. I am a very critical user of software and hardware, so when something transitions from used to a useful tool to “how did I ever live without this??” I know it is good!

What do I mean by “image management solution” and “digital darkroom”? Well, after you take your photos, from the moment that you sit down at your computer, Lightroom is your central hub for all image processing. You import your files on to your computer using Lightroom’s import module. You organize your files using Lightroom’s Library. You “develop” your images using Lightroom’s Develop module. If you want to make pixel level changes, Lightroom handles converting the files into the appropriate format and sending it to Photoshop or the pixel editing application of your choice. Once you save it there, it goes right back into Lightroom automagically! Finally, you upload to the web (Flickr, Smugmug, web sites, blogs), export files, print and create beautiful web galleries all from within Lightroom’s Export function, Print module and Web module.

Why Use Lightroom?

No more bouncing between Picasa and Photoshop or Elements and Explorer/Finder and keeping an organization straight in your head and assigning and searching keywords via Bridge and manually uploading to Flickr and … and … and I don’t miss that stuff.

The other big question I usually get is – Do I have to shoot in RAW? Well, no, you don’t HAVE to. But all the cool kids are doing it! Seriously though – the two biggest reasons people generally give me for not shooting RAW are file size and it is a pain in the butt to deal with the files! Well, file size I can’t help you with (Well I can help a little, but that’s for a later posting) except to say that memory cards and hard drives are ridiculously cheap these days. As for being a pain in the butt? Well, Lightroom solves that problem. Lightroom makes no differentiation between RAW files, JPG files or any other file that it supports. So it is just as easy to work with those RAW files as it is JPG files, and once you get used to the freedom gained in a RAW file, you’ll never go back.

Why else use Lightroom? Not only does it simplify your whole workflow, it is easy! Now, I’m not saying you are going to become an expert in an hour. How long has it taken you to learn Photoshop or Elements or Picasa and learn them well? But compared to many of those applications, Lightroom is a snap. Give it a week, or better yet, a month, and you’ll be rocking and never want to go back! And, conveniently enough, Adobe will give you a 30-day trial if you go here and sign up – http://www.adobe.com/products/photoshoplightroom/ There are even a slew of feature and basic how-to videos here – http://www.photoshopuser.com/lightroom2/

So click that link, download Lightroom 2 and change the way you work your photos!


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- who has written 20 posts on The Digital Photo Experience.

Jeremy is a photographer who lives in Connecticut. Jeremy is an expert on Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and his goal is to share a piece of our reality in a way that perhaps the viewer had not considered. You can follow Jeremy on twitter at http://twitter.com/jeremypollack


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  1. […] simply offering the ability to edit your photographs, Lightroom gives you a unified interface for organizing, editing, printing and sharing your pictures. The Library module is a fantastic place to start good organizational habits by importing into […]

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