Lightroom: Day 1

If you love iPhoto, I warn you–stop reading now. Once you read even a little about what Adobe Lightroom can do, you’ll want to try it. Once you’ve tried Lightroom, you simply won’t be content with going back to iPhoto. I’m only 1 day into the 30-day trial of Lightroom, and I’m done with iPhoto. I haven’t even tried Apple’s Aperture yet. If you’re still reading, it’s already too late. I can’t be held responsible for the money you will almost certainly spend.

Metadata Browser

After importing around 200 photos into Lightroom, this was the first feature I played with. It lets you filter which pictures you see by any one of a number of variables, including lens (if you use more than one), aperture, shutter speed, and ISO speed rating. So two clicks let me see how all the photos I shot at a shutter speed of 1/500th second looked. Two more clicks, and I could see how everything I shot with my 50 f/1.4 looked, or how what I took with my zoom lens looked.

Quick Develop

This feature enables you to apply changes to crop ratio, white balance, and tone (including exposure) across multiple photos. So when I needed to change the white balance in a group of my shots, it was as simple as selecting the group, changing white balance to “Flash” from “As Shot”. The same is true of underexposed shots. My friend Sandro pointed out four photos that were underexposed. I simply selected the four he pointed out, and pressed the button for +1/3 of a stop until they were bright enough for my taste. In retrospect, a single click of the +1 stop button would have been even faster.

Develop

This is the step in Lightroom’s workflow where you make more detailed changes to individual photos. Each change you make to a photo shows up in a “History” widget to the left, so you can rollback individual changes with ease. I only cropped photos here, but I could have changed any number of things about them.

Web

While this feature isn’t so much about the photos themselves as it is about how you can share them, this part of the workflow is where Lightroom really shines. Generating this page took a few clicks, and a couple of slider moves.  On top of that, I didn’t even have to use another application to upload it to the web–I did it directly from Lightroom.  There are quite a few different page templates to choose from.

The features I’ve described so far barely scratch the surface of what Lightroom can do.  One of the things that impresses me about Lightroom is not just the amount of things it does that iPhoto can’t (or does badly, *cough* iWeb *cough*) but how much less time it takes to handle hundreds of photos by comparison.