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First Look: Adobe Lightroom 2, Photo Management

updated 06:00 pm EDT, Mon August 11, 2008

Adobe Lightroom 2

Every Mac includes a copy of iPhoto for storing, organizing, and editing digital images. For casual users, iPhoto works fine, but serious hobbyists and professional photographers require more powerful tools. One option is Apple's Aperture program but a second option is Adobe's Lightroom 2.

Unlike Aperture that only runs on Macs, Adobe's program runs on both Macs and Windows. Adobe has also designed the program for the future since it can run as a 32-bit or 64-bit application. The default mode is 32-bit, which allows a Mac to access up to 4GB of RAM, but if your Mac exceeds 4GB and runs Mac OS X 10.5, you can make the program run as a 64-bit app by right-clicking on its icon in the Finder window and choosing Get Info. Then clear the Open in 32 bit mode check box.



Since most digital cameras name images with generic, and cryptic, titles such as DSC_023, you can use an automatic renaming feature. Now you can import a batch of files from a digital camera and rename them all to something more descriptive of the event, such as "Summer vacation 2008 (23 of 47)."



Storing pictures may be easy, but the real key is finding them again. Beyond using descriptive file names, the program also provides a variety of different ways to tag your pictures with color codes, star ratings, flags, keywords, and even metadata that identifies the type of camera or lens used to capture that particular image. By tagging each picture in so many different ways, you'll have multiple ways to find, sort, and organize your pictures no matter how many images you store.

Besides supporting pictures in TIFF, JPEG, and PSD (Photoshop) format, this app also supports over 190 different camera RAW file formats to insure that whatever digital camera you use, you'll be able to save and edit your pictures.

Since few pictures are perfect, the program offers basic editing tools for modifying colors, contrast, brightness, and exposure. For safety, all editing is non-destructive. Instead of directly manipulating a file, this app always leaves the original picture untouched and saves any changes you make in a separate file. This gives you the option of selectively removing any past changes made to an image while always retaining the original.

The program also allows selective editing and modification. Instead of changing the brightness or contrast of an entire image, you can modify just the parts you want to highlight. Such selective modification allows you to enhance your pictures and turn an ordinary image into an extraordinary one.



Most of these editing tools should be adequate for correcting or touching up most images, but if you need to do major modifications, you also have the option of editing a picture directly in Photoshop CS3.

In previous versions, you would have to export a picture, load it into Photoshop, make modifications, save this modified version, and then import it back into Lightroom. With built-in Photoshop integration, you can load Photoshop and edit a picture without going through a messy file import and export process.



To show off your pictures, you can print them on paper, publish them on a web page, or display them on the screen as a slideshow. For printing images, the program can create pictures in common sizes. For displaying images on web pages, it can optimize the file size and visual quality.



With a $299 price tag, Adobe Lightroom 2 is for serious photography hobbyists and professionals who require a wealth of organizing, editing, and printing features unavailable with the much simpler iPhoto program. Lightroom 2 may be comparable to Apple's Aperture, but with its new features such as Photoshop integration, Lightroom 2 may have staked its claim as the program of choice for digital photographers.




by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. pottymouth

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    oh boy

    More like "First Look: Adobe Lightroom"

    Besides the 64bit and selective editing (which truly is an awesome new feature), wasn't all this c*** in Lightroom 1?

    "In previous versions, you would have to export a picture, load it into Photoshop, make modifications, save this modified version, and then import it back into Lightroom."

    What previous version was that? Some old, pre v.1 beta? Lightroom has been well integrated with Photoshop since it's release.

  1. manleycreative

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Also ran my...

    No sh*t! What is this writer talking about? He mentions two new features then they trip over themselves rehashing what version 1 had and acting like it wasn't in version 1!
    Really, keep up with your software.

    "One option is Apple’s Aperture program but a second option is Adobe’s Lightroom 2."

    There's ALSO Lightroom? It's a second option? Why not a first option? Aperture was dead when it hit the shelves and Lightroom is still superior. It has things that make immediate sorting and editing so much more streamlined. I'm still going through backdoors to do the same thing in Aperture.

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Have you even used

    Aperture 2? And isn't Photoshop CS3 the same program that STILL can't edit a true 32-bit RAW file (it gets converted to a 16-bit image after initial color correction)? I wonder how Lightroom handles RAW images. At least all the adjustments you make in Aperture are done in 32 bit. That's more than Photoshop can say. Plus the levels in Aperture are worth the price of admission.

    Stop being Adobe fanboys. They have dragged their feet on true 32-bit and RAW editing for years now, and simply for Apple releasing Aperture they have threatened to make CS4 still a 32-bit app while the Windows version will be 64-bit.

  1. Athens

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -1

    haha

    MacNN deleted my comment about how much they get paid by the companys to post these review ads which is what it is, a ad.

  1. chirpy22

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    hmmm

    all of these photo/image browsing/editing programs seem to dwell on the assumption that everyone keeps their photos on their hard drives or an accessible server. how about having some built-in cataloging so that we can find images that we burn to disc for archiving?
    then we won't have to purchase an entirely separate app to do that.
    or... i could just buy (now microsoft-owned) expression media and have that feature as well as almost every feature in iphoto and lightroom already built in.

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