John Galea's Blog

My blog on Gadgets and the like

Adobe Lightroom

If you’d rather I have a video of similar content on Youtube.

Ok, I have to admit it, I am probably the last person on the planet that hasn’t used Adobe Lightroom. A couple reasons for this, I HATE the paid subscription model, and I imagined Lightroom was as tough to learn and use as Photoshop. I’ve been using Paint.net as my photo editing software, it’s free, it’s simple and it works. I’ve stayed away from the time consuming quagmire of touching up photos, you can spend an inordinate amount of time working on editing photos, yet another reason I stayed away. Well, I had some photos of a less common bird called a Northern shrike, and they were a little dark. So my boss, who is a photography pro took the photos and in short order brightened them up. Damn him, the results were so impressive I asked him what he did. He shared with me what he’d done and it was enough to get me to decide to try Lightroom. They have a 7 day trial. You have to give them your credit card, and the charges start 7 days after your trial start, but you can cancel before then and loose nothing. Charges are monthly and there are a couple different plans. You pay whether you use it or not, by the way. I have no intention of using their cloud, and want nothing to do with my photos ending up on Adobe’s site, so I don’t need space and just want the desktop version of Lightroom. Well I bought the Photography plan 20G (smallest they offer) which includes both Photoshop and Lightroom for $12.99 plus taxes. Getting started with Lightroom is a little confusing to start off with, it works differently than others so you have to adapt to it. First off you download Creative Cloud. Don’t get confused by the name you can choose to use ONLY the desktop version, which is what I do, and ignore their cloud offerings. From Creative cloud you then can download Lightroom and Photoshop. Creative cloud is big, 550M and seems to update reasonably frequently. From Creative cloud you can turn off sync, this keeps your photos from being uploaded to Adobe without your knowledge. Lightroom is another 1.3G, but Photoshop is the big bruiser at 2.93G. Initial downloads are LARGE to get going, so if your on limited usage on your internet, or a slow connection be aware.

Once downloaded you get to start with Lightroom. Lightroom assumes it will be the center of your photography universe and all photos will flow through it. In this mode photos are imported into Lightroom, versions of the photos are kept as you edit them, and when your ready you export the photos from Lightroom. Lightroom keeps a database that these photos are all stored in. This catalog (in adobe’s terms) can be found by clicking preferences, local storage from inside Lightroom. This catalog can grow quickly. If you want to use Lightroom with the same photos on different machines, Adobe recommends this get’s put on a removable drive. This catalog can GROW indefinitely. You literally have to delete photos that have been imported into Lightroom, and you then have to permanently delete them or Lightroom keeps them in a trash bin. This catalog is supposed to be automatically backed up, if that’s happening I don’t see it. All this is to say, is this is unlike any other photo editor that you can simply file open or drag and drop into … Anyway, I’m use it by importing the photo, editing it, exporting it and deleting it once done.

So now we have the basic ideas on how to get started we are off to the races. Adobe included a brief quick start tutorial and it was SUPER helpful. It got me started with the basics of Lightroom. The thing that makes Lightroom incredible, and I have to say within the 7 day free trial I was hooked, is that Adobe have made an interface that is so incredibly simple it’s amazing. As always, when you want to edit, your best to start out with raw photos. They contain lots of info that Lightroom can use and the image is completely untouched, unlike the JPGs that have been compressed, noise introduced and the like. The editing concepts come down to the following, and they are all terms that are so familiar for photographers that they are pretty self explanatory:

Light
color

there are a few others like effects, and details, to date I haven’t played with these. And then there is optics. From the data in the photo Adobe knows what lens you used, it’s settings, and can correct for aberrations from your lens. I’m lucky my lens was known to Adobe, my GFs Nikon P900 was not.

Optics

One of the COOLEST things from within these edits, is you can copy all of the setting you changed, and then paste these same edits into the next image, for example, if you have a set of shots done together. This REALLY speeds editing.

Of course you can also do cropping, which for me is the most common thing I use it for. You can choose a custom crop or keep the image with the aspect it was taken in, which I love.

Photos can also be tagged with keywords, and these tags are stored in the EXIF data of the photo, and displayed by windows of anything you export, they can even be searched for by windows based on this tag. Very nice. They do not have a comprehensive EXIF tag editor in Lightroom, or not that I have found.

When your done, you simply export it it from Lightroom, with lots of options. One of these options includes a simple, and easily applied watermark. You can design more complicated watermarks if so inclined.

I was a little concerned about how Lightroom would push my system, it’s a Core i5 with 8G of memory and an SSD. I have to say, performance has been fine, and not an issue. More memory is always good, Lightroom is heavy, but for me, my existing laptop was usable.

I have to say, I am thoroughly impressed with what you can do, quickly, easily and on a short learning curve with Lightroom.

Here’s the before and after edit of the Shrike I was mentioning. I was able to increase exposure, touch it up a little to make the white and black pop and of course crop the image. You can also see the simple watermark which is one tick box on export!

February 24, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment