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Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2

By Heath McKnight

Adobe's Photoshop Lightroom 2 is a wonderful photo management software that works hand-in-hand with Photoshop, or independently, giving users a complete workflow from start to finish. Plenty of new features make this a must-have tool for all photographers looking to streamline their work.

Features and Workflow
Lightroom 2 (version 2.1 and Camera RAW 4.6 as of this writing) enables users to import photos (formats including RAW, JPEG, etc.), process them if you wish, and manage the images. There is 64-bit support for latest versions of Windows Vista and OS X Leopard (10.5.x), it works well with the latest version of Photoshop, offers better file management than previous versions to keep things organized, has batch processing, output sharpening, and more.

 


There are four main functions in Lightroom 2, and they can be easily accessed via the menu in the upper left-hand corner. They include Library, where you manage your photos; Develop, where you can do some editing; Slideshow, where you can create slideshows; Print, with excellent tools to ensuring a good print; and Web, which is completely flexible to get photos prepped and uploaded to the Web.

Lightroom 2 interface

 
 
 


Importing images is a cinch; I plugged in my Nikon D60, and launched Lightroom 2. It recognized the camera, and I was able to select where I wanted the images to go and the software imported them. A small navigator window showcases the picture you've selected, which also appears in the main window, but if you move your mouse cursor over the library of images, the navigator will showcase those images. But unless you click on a specific photo, it won't change in the main window.


Many of the same tools found in Photoshop are here, including a crop tool, local adjustment brush (see below), red eye removal, and more. Simply click on the "Develop" icon in the menu, and you can start doing some nondestructive editing of your photos.

When working with RAW files, you can now edit on localized parts of the image using the local adjustment brush without having to open it in Photoshop. According to an avid photographer friend of mine who owns both version 1 and 2, the first version only allowed RAW editing of the entire image, not specific areas.

Nondestructive editing options include adjusting hue, saturation, and luminance; tone; removing red eye; and more. The Library option includes all photos you've imported from a camera, memory card, CD, etc., and includes a histogram (also found in Develop), Quick Develop tools, and more. Creating a slideshow is easy, along with printing and exporting to the web. Like I said, a complete workflow, whether you use Lightroom 2 by itself, or with Photoshop.

You can even just import and manage photos, then print the images, export them to the web, open them in Photoshop, or do some editing with powerful tools within the program. This is the strength and flexibility of Lightroom 2.
   For a complete listing of current and new features, visit http://www.adobe.com/products/photoshoplightroom/features/.

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2 is perfect for any type of photographer, and as I mentioned a couple of times, can be used by itself with the tools and options available, or with Photoshop. It costs $299 for new users, $99 for the upgrade; you can also download a 30 day trial before you purchase it. Visit http://www.adobe.com/products/photoshoplightroom/ for more details.


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Heath McKnight is a filmmaker and author who has produced and directed several independent feature and short films, including Hellevator, 9:04 AM and December. He is currently web content manager for doddleNEWS. Heath was also a contributor to VASST's best-selling book, "The FullHD," and has written for TopTenREVIEWS and Videomaker.


Related Keywords:digital photography, digital camera workflow, digital mimaging, image management, RAW image processing

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