Is Adobe Lightroom for beginners? Short answer, absolutely! Why? What is it? How would I use it?
There are other articles, blogs and resources available to explain Lightroom vs Elements vs Photoshop. Rather than getting into a comparison chart, I thought I would explain how we use Lightroom 5. Then you can decide if it may work for you. Importing the images – we shoot in RAW and we have Lightroom import and convert to Adobe’s digital negative (.dng) format, keeping photographs sorted, processing them and exporting them into different formats with different information embedded or attached is a quick overview of how we use Lightroom.
So, what about the home user. Have you ever started looking for a photograph, you know who was in it (grandma and Uncle Fred) but you can’t seem to locate the photo and you know it is on your hard-drive…. This is where Lightroom is a lifesaver. When you add your photos to Lightroom’s library you can key word them. An example would be you add family member names, the year, location and event (Christmas, wedding, family reunion, etc.). I will admit it will take time when you first import you entire library into Lightroom, but then you search on a few key words and quickly have the matching photos displayed!
Processing the photographs – correcting for white balance, exposure and many other issues is easy in Lightroom. The feature I like best is that the edits are “non-destructive.” Have you ever edited a picture, maybe cropped it then later realized you wanted to whole photo? In Lightroom, with one click you can just undo all of your edits and you are back to the original image as imported into Lightroom. In future posts we will look at editing options in Lightroom. But here are two photos to show you how effective Lightroom was at “saving” a photo I thought was a lost cause. This was shot in Colorado on the American Lake Trail in Aspen. It was getting later in the afternoon and the sun was going behind the ridge line. The setup for a classic metering problem and I fell victim to it – I allowed the camera to meter on the sunlight coming over the ridge, not on the terrain in front of me. I was able to adjust the exposure in Lightroom and fix most of the issues. The resulting photo shown here is a quick fix as I didn’t spend too much time editing.
Exporting the photos out of Lightroom is another great feature. If you are going to post a photo to Facebook, you want to reduce the size and resolution of the photo for faster uploads. If you are going to print the image, you will want to export it at a higher resolution. If you want to add your own watermark, such as your name, to the image, you can do that as part of the process. For each of theses scenarios you can set up an export profile and just select the appropriate profile when you are ready to email, post or print your photos.
There is a bit of a learning curve for Lightroom, but Adobe has very good training videos on the website. In addition, there are many other sources of training videos on the web. Lighroom will do a good percentage of the edits that Photo Shop does and most that they average user needs. For a purchase price of $150, the program is well worth the money spent. For more information about Adobe Lightroom 5
If you use Lightroom, what are your thoughts?