I first saw Lightroom at MacWorld Expo last January. About three minutes into the demo, I was lusting for it. You see, I happened, at that point, to be writing about the importance of winnowing and making an initial presentation to the client from the results (for the second edition of my book, Digital Photography Expert Techniques).
It was frustrating, because although Photoshop is perfectly capable of doing that job well, it's just not fine-tuned for that purpose. With Lightroom, it was immediately apparent that you could actually flip through files just as fast as you could flip through slides on a light table. If you found a series of half a dozen shots of the same thing, you could instantly click one image to see a 100 percent magnification. You knew right away whether that shot was sharp enough to make the grade. It was also really easy to compare images and to re-arrange their order so that you could really see what worked best with what.
Now, you may be saying, "So what?, I can do all that in Bridge." You'd be perfectly right, too, as long as you don't mind spending a couple of hours winnowing the results of a day of shooting. Lightroom also makes it much easier to perform all of the other organizational work in the digital darkroom in high-speed mode. Now, here's the real clincher: It works all the magic you can work in Camera Raw, including batch renaming, ranking, creating galleries and slide shows, and outputting contact sheets and presentation layouts in a perfectly logical workflow order, and in a fraction of the time it takes Camera Raw to do it. Furthermore, it does all of that with any image-file format, so JPEG shooters can enjoy the same benefits as Raw photographers.
I've written a 22-page PDF to help you get started with Lightroom.
First, go download the latest version of the public beta (currently for Mac only, but Windows to come soon).
Next grab my PDF, "From Darkroom to Lightroom," and start enjoying the Lightroom workflow today.
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