Photoshop CS is the undisputed leader in digital imaging, but for many photographers, it contains a lot of tools that are rarely used, if at all. That’s why Photoshop Lightroom was incredibly popular when it was introduced, with a step-by-step workflow designed to speed through the steps, from importing to processing and sharing, with tools that are more intuitive for photographers.
The newest version includes organizing and enhancing both images and video clips, as well as new ways to share. Location-based organizing helps you find and group photos by where they were taken. This can be done automatically if your camera recorded GPS data, or you can tag images manually.
New image-adjustment tools make it easier to fix common problems. Highlight and Shadow Recovery can rescue details in the darkest and lightest areas of your photos, and new brushes, including a White Balance brush, allow you to make localized fixes.
Lightroom 4 also supports your video clips. Import and organize them and even make simple adjustments like trimming clips, correcting exposure or applying one of a handful of special effects, such as black-and-white. Lightroom also makes it easy to share your video (and photos, too) on the web. Facebook and Flickr export tools are included, and you also can download plug-ins for additional services. A new book-creation tool lets you make your own photo books that can be finished as a PDF or uploaded to Blurb for professional printing and binding.
There’s a lot to like about the latest Lightroom. Maybe the biggest news, though, is the new lower price—the full version of Lightroom 4 is just $149 (down from $299), or upgrade for $79. Windows and Macintosh. Contact: Adobe, www.adobe.com.
Numerous effects presets for both photos and videos allow you to experiment with different image styles. You also can create your own presets for custom effects that you can use over and over again.
SNAPSHOTS & HISTORY
The Snapshot tool lets you capture an image in its current state, with all of the adjustments you’ve made so far. If you make more adjustments and then you decide you want to revert to that earlier state, your snapshot takes you back in time effortlessly. You also can step backward with the traditional History palette.
These controls let you change your view of the image for side-by-side or split-image before-and-after views. Soft Proofing gives you an approximation of how your image will be reproduced in different color spaces.
The photos from your most recent import are shown here for easy navigation of your latest project.
Workflow in Photoshop Lightroom is presented in step-based modules. Selecting a module here changes the tool palettes to focus on a specific task, whether that be importing, enhancing or exporting your images.
The Develop module is probably where you’ll spend most of your time, as you make enhancements to your images here. Below the Histogram display are icons that let you select tools for cropping, removing red-eye, adding a graduated filter or making localized adjustments with a brush. Below that, a scrolling palette offers many global adjustments, covering everything from basic exposure controls to sharpening, noise reduction, lens corrections and more.