An essential part of the photography process is the treatment we apply to the images we took with our cameras. Old time methods for achieving this result ended up with the term “post-processing”, mostly because it was quite a complex process, involving chemicals as well as good equipment in order to bring to life the pictures we had in the camera. As some terms tend to stick, digital methods for developing pictures are also known as “post-processing”, with the difference of only requiring one element in order to complete the task: a computer.
Even if we can say we only need a computer for digital post-processing, that is partially true, as we also require specifically designed software in order to “process” the pictures taken; in short words: we need an image editor for processing the pictures but that image editor must be focused on photography, not vector graphics (which are the most common type of image editors). Then, by reducing the range of software to the ones capable of performing such tasks, we end up with two popular possible options: Adobe Photoshop and its half-brother, Adobe Lightroom.
There is way too much to speak about regarding Photoshop; even non-designers know about it since Photoshop became part of our daily life in almost everything we see: magazines, brochures, advertisement, visual effects on pictures, etc. But what about Lightroom?
Born in 2006 as a spin-off project from the Adobe Photoshop creators, this amazing software has pushed its way up until becoming the standard of photography post-production; only facing software like old Apple Apperture (now Apple Photos) as potential competitors. So, I would like to invite you into the journey of discovering the top ten reasons for using Adobe Lightroom as our main partner in digital photography.
Unlike other software we may encounter through the process of finding a good one, Adobe Lightroom was created with the aim of helping photographers, not for any other task. Therefore, Lightroom has a good bunch of tools only meant for digital post-processing, so we don’t need to search all throughout the internet in order to check if the tools in the software we are testing fit our needs, Lightroom makes sure of that even before you install the software.
Everything is right there for you to try: split into modules, each module tells the functionality of the tools contained in it even before we try them. We all know now that Library module is meant for storing pictures as well as importing them into the software, that Develop module is where we manage the post-process of our images, the Print module is for printing our pictures and so on. Inside each module, you will find panels stacked as tabs, where sliders and tools make possible almost everything you can imagine that Lightroom is capable of.
Say goodbye to the old days of shooting in JPEG. Adobe Lightroom, as well as Photoshop, both work as a RAW development application; a format that normally can’t be opened with most image editors, as is not processed. Get the most from your images by working with RAW: only your skills as a photographer will tell how stunning the picture is going to become while you process it.
You will find yourself quickly knowing where to go as long as you practice your skills with Lightroom. The software will adapt to your needs, meaning you won’t need over 50 hours of training with video tutorials in order to learn how it works; Lightroom is intuitive, therefore you will love to work with it.
We can spend a whole evening talking about presets and yet there would be plenty to talk about. Presets are everything in Lightroom: the only extra “tool” we need, the very core of Lightroom’s Develop module. Let yourself fall in love with such a wide offering of presets and be sure to check out our products.
Even if we don’t have layers like Photoshop does, Lightroom works in a non-destructive way, meaning that after we import the picture and apply all the adjustments needed, you will have to export the file in order to access to the developed version of it; the original file will remain as such. When you are not sure about which adjustment you should apply to your image you can always work with Virtual Copies, creating as many as you need for the task you aim to complete. And if all else fails, don’t panic! With a right-click you can always reset the image to its default values.
Lightroom features several modules focused on post-development work. After you finished with the adjustments of your image you can either export it for digital use, print the photo, make it part of a slideshow, design a book with it or even submit the image as part of a media gallery for a website. As you can see, every single application of the processed image is available in only a few clicks.
Do you want to apply the Selective Coloring effect to your image? And what if I tell you this can be achieved in Lightroom without extra software? This stunning application provides a feature called On-Image editing that can be found in the HSL/Color/B&W panel. A small circle on top of that panel switches Lightroom to targeting only selected areas of your image, where you will later on apply adjustments to it.
A client is not sure of the work you did with their image? No problem, Lightroom can save the day with Before/After view mode. With several display modes for these kind of views, Lightroom will display both the original file and the current version with all the adjustments applied. The good thing is that you can always use this mode, regardless of the stage of adjustment you’re working on.
Lightroom not only works for editing pictures, but also for teaching users where they may need to improve. As you can quickly adjust Exposure, Highlights, Shadows, Whites and Blacks, that also reflects on the Exposure you apply to the camera, the Shutter Speed, Aperture and ISO values for the image. You’ll then find yourself not needing to develop your image that much regarding the Basic Adjustments, but doing it for further enhancements.