Monday, October 27, 2008

Lightroom 2

So over the past few days, I've been using Lightroom 2. It manages my photos and allows me to edit them non-destructively. Yes I had to say that emphatically and it even bears repeating. The changes you make in Lightroom are non-destructive. All of your changes are stored in a side-car file. (i.e a separate file that's linked to the original). This file contains all of the "instructions" for the edits you've done. If you aren't happy with them? Hit the reset button. Poof. All gone. Back to square one. You can also go through and selectively undo steps if need be.

I wouldn't call myself a guru yet but what I have seen so far has been impressive. The spot remover is probably my favorite gizmo. Select the tool, size your cursor to the size of the dot and click. Lightroom hunts around for an appropriate spot to match and fills in the blank. Its that easy. I was stumped temporarily when I came across a hair or some kind of fibre in some of my shots. In those cases I just used multiple points.

Black and white conversions are done nicely and you can fine tune them easily. There is a preset to do either high-contrast black & white or low-contrast black & white. From there you can go into the grey scale menu and adjust sliders for 7 different hues (Red, orange, yellow, green, aqua, blue, and magenta).

Dodging and burning seem more intuitive for me in this program. I don't think its any harder than other programs but the way the controls are setup just seem to work for photography better. e.g. You adjust the exposure by the amount you want and the value is measured in stops.

There is a myriad of options and features I haven't even scratched the surface on such as keywording and ratings. I imagine you can do selective desaturation but I haven't figured out how yet. I also haven't figured out how to export pictures to JPG with any degree of control. I dumped out about 37 Jpgs in high quality full size. I'd like to be able to control the file size and output size as well however.

Overall however, my experience has been favorable and I am certainly contemplating making Lightroom my tool of choice.

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