Despite the recent controversy regarding its move to Creative Cloud (and CC’s pricing model), Adobe still produces a fantastic, stand-alone piece of software for photographers, called Lightroom. It’s also part of the Creative Cloud, which is subscription-based, but the standalone-product is more than sufficient for most photographers and also – unlike CC – comes with a perpetual licence.
Lightroom has been my software of choice from the day it was originally released. I use it for cataloguing, archiving, tagging, selecting, enhancing and publishing my RAW files. I use it for jpgs too, but its real power lies in how it handles the RAW files.
I’ve been using Lightroom 5 beta for the past few months as every time Adobe updates the software I’m a bit sceptical about the ‘new’ features. Sometimes they are genuinely new features, but often just enhancements of the existing ones, which did not always justify the price tag.
The past versions of Lightroom – as good as they were – always seemed to lack some key features that came as standard with Photoshop. When Lightroom 5 beta – or more recently the full version – was released, I got really excited when I saw that some of the missing features were finally added. Plus we got some really cool extras which this time make the £60 upgrade price tag worth it. (It’s around £100 if you’ve never owned a copy of Lightroom before).
My favourite features in the latest version of Lightroom include:
– The Upright Tool, which allows you to straighten wonky images.
– Smart Previews – now you can work with images that are not present on the same drive where Lightroom is installed, even if that drive gets disconnected.
– The Advanced Healing Brush, which sounds like re-discovering the wheel if you’ve used Photoshop in the past, but the addition of this tool to LR5 means you don’t need to switch to Photoshop if you want to make some minor adjustments.
Adobe produced quite a few video tutorials to go with the release, here are five of my favourites:
Top 10 hidden gems:
Working with offline images using smart previews:
Moving between Lightroom 5 and Photoshop:
The new Upright Tool:
Enhancing isolated areas of an image:
There are many more official short tutorials on Lightoom 5’s official YouTube channel (39 at the time of writing).