- Even though it is a very powerful software application, Lightroom has an elegant and simple interface. The learning curve is pretty low and excellent results can be obtained in a matter of minutes.
- The develop module offers a lot of easy to use tools for cropping, lens correction, color enhancements (brightness, contrast, saturation, etc…), noise reduction and much more.
- One of the biggest advantages of Lightroom is that all adjustments that are made are non-destructive, meaning that at any time it is possible to undo the changes or simply view the original pictures.
- Lightroom’s main element is a database that contains all the modifications, the details about the collections, etc… Therefore, all of the retouching and other adjustments made in Lightroom require almost no space on the hard disk, unlike other editing applications.
- An essential part of pictures classification is the use of keywords and other metadata. Lightroom has very handy tools to assign such information to the pictures, as well as advanced search options.
- Besides displaying the pictures in folders that mimic their location on the hard drive, it is also possible to create collections (in which pictures are added manually) or smart collections, based on search criteria (for instance, all of the pictures taken in July with a specific camera and including the keyword “beach”).
- There are a few ways to compare and classify photos, which makes it easy to select them for printing or online publishing, particularly when there are series of very similar pictures.
- The publishing services allow to easily export pictures for printing, digital frames, as well as publishing on Facebook, Flickr, Picasa Web and other online albums.
- There are plugins (some of them free and other, commercial products), that allow extending Lightroom’s functionality.
- To save time with repetitive tasks, Lightroom allows you to create presets in every step of the photo processing, from import to printing or internet publishing, through keyword assignation and retouching, among other things.
With the advent of digital photography and other electronics products, such as smartphones, that have picture-taking abilities, people now take more pictures than ever, and the organization of those becomes more important.
In the past I’ve used other application to catalog my pictures, both Open Source and commercial products, but they had neither the power, ease of use nor the flexibility that Lightroom offers.
Lightroom really is a useful application, for amateur as well as professional photographers. It is obviously not absolutely indispensable (neither is a computer, of course 😉 ), but there is no doubt that using Lightroom to organize your pictures may help you save a lot of time. The fact that it is not free probably is important to many when deciding whether to use Lightroom instead of a free application; nevertheless, to me it is so good that it is worth every cent.
With my next post, I’ll start a series of tutorials in which, besides talking about the basic functions and tools, I’ll give you tips on how to make the best out of Lightroom and being more productive, based on my own multi-year experience with it.