13/365 Tools of the trade – part 1

Lightroom.  Software that just works the way you expect it to.  As it should be.

13/365 Tools of the trade - part 1

It could be argued that for an amateur, Lightroom is a little OTT and that I could make do with something like Photoshop Elements that is half the price.  So why is it that I think it is worth investing in Lightroom?

  • it’s just so darn easy to use.  Everything is where you think it should be.
  • Version 2 has clone and heal as well as localized adjustments so you can change the exposure, colouring etc all from within your cataloguing application.  Which means never having to fire up a separate editor unless you really want to make significant changes.
  • When using RAW photos, you get 100% control over the conversion process.  And you’ll want to use RAW because it has far more detail in it, especially if you’re trying to take pictures in low light with no flash without changing to a stupidly noisy ISO.
  • It’s lossless (no JPG is created until you export) and you can apply the same settings to every photo in a batch – in Photoshop Elements you’d have to choose for each one you import.  And talking of which…
  • … when importing RAW photos, you don’t get the standard transitions applied to JPGs (standard, neutral, portrait, landscape, vivid etc).  Lightroom 2.2 has now got the full ‘camera presets’ from Adobe built in.  So you can start with your RAW picture looking like it did on the back of the camera and work from there, rather than from a slightly bland and grey looking pure neutral image.
  • You can organize your photos every which way you like.  Want to find photos taken on a certain day, with a specific tag, that are portrait orientation, taken with your 90mm lens?  You can!

Heartily recommended if you use RAW as your shooting format on your DSLR. Read more here (including a free 30-day trial – what have you got to lose?).  And if you’ve already seen the light, a great place to learn more is this book:


And you can pick up lots of handy hints from Matt Kloskowski’s Lightroom Killer Tips.

Technical notes

Nikon D90. Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 AF. Built-in flash. 1/50 at f/8 ISO 200