Need more photo management grunt than iPhoto can deliver? Adobe’s Photoshop Lightroom is for you, enabling photographers to import, select, develop and present large volumes of digital photographs, with the express aim of letting photographers spend less time sorting and organizing images so they can spend more time what they love doing most – taking photos.
While Adobe left the Apple video editing space when it stopped producing Premiere for Mac as Apple’s iMovie and Final Cut Pro software captured the hearts and minds of Mac owning videographers, photography and Photoshop has always been close to Adobe’s heart.
And while Adobe did cease production of a Mac version of Premiere, the Apple’s Intel-based Mac resurgence, along with the ever cheaper prices of Mini DV tape based video cameras and the widespread introduction of high definition capable models, with both standard and hi-def video cameras also able to record to tape, mini DVD and hard drives, has caused Adobe to re-evaluate the Mac market, with Premiere coming back for the Mac.
But it’s the professional digital photography space that Adobe’s latest seductive software package targets. Professional photographers who deal with large volumes of digital images, as opposed to happy snappers who mostly have collections of family and holiday photos and are happy with iPhoto, is the main market for Lightroom 1.0.
Adobe wants to convert all those fashion and portrait photographers, photojournalists, wedding, landscape and commercial photographers – along with what Adobe calls ‘passionate personal photographers’ who have moved beyond happy snapdom into a the more prosumer space and now ‘demand the same level of quality in their tools’.
Adobe also expects Lightroom to be used by educators and students, calling students ‘the next generation of professional photographers honing their skills in the classroom’.
One big question is just how different Photoshop Lightroom is from the existing Photoshop CS2. Adobe tells us that Photoshop CS2 is for detailed pixel-level editing and compositing, but photographers face a variety of workflow concerns beyond image editing”.
Lightroom is different in that it addresses these needs in a “photographer centric way”. Lightroom is made up of modules, each dedicated to an essential photographic task. These include the Library for importing and managing photos; the Develop module for processing even hundreds of photographs at a time; the Slideshow, Web and Print modules to easily present photos on your screen, online, or in print.
Adobe says that Lightroom also goes further in allowing you to manage raw files even if they are offline, with automatic importing from the folder on your computer used for tethered shooting.
If you’re wondering how Lightroom deals with your precious original photographs in RAW, JPEG or other formats, Adobe says that Lightroom is a completely nondestructive editing environment, because your photographs are never changed. Instead, the changes you make
to your photographs are stored in metadata as a series of instructions. Adobe have also updated Camera Raw.
In addition, Lightroom supports over 150 native camera raw file formats, in addition to DNG, TIFF, and JPEG - the formats primarily used in digital cameras, and Adobe claims, more of them than any other developer. In addition, Photoshop Lightroom also supports the Photoshop PSD file format, for enhanced integration with Photoshop CS2.
So, back to the non-destructive photo editing: Adobe says that whether you are viewing your photos on screen, creating a web gallery, or making prints, Lightroom is simply applying those instructions to the original, untouched photo file. This allows photographers complete flexibility, control, and creative exploration, with the knowledge that any change applied to an image is 100% reversible at any time—
today, tomorrow, or years in the future.
Lightroom works on Windows XP SP2 or Mac OS X 10.4.3 or higher, and as a Universal applications, works on both Power PC and Intel-based Macs. Both the PC and Mac versions offer the same features, but Lightroom is not yet certified for Windows Vista. It will run but the inbuilt CD/DVD burning technology doesn’t yet work with Vista’s CD/DVD burning functions.
Lightroom will debut at a “special introductory price of US $199”, but reverts to US $299 after April 30, 2007. Educational pricing discounts are also available.