“The object of a question is to obtain information that matters to us, and no one else.”
- Sean Connery as William Forrester in "Finding Forrester"

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

What is Lightroom For?

While working at a youth event last weekend I had some downtime while the attendees went to their workshops. So, I brought along Scott's Lightroom Book to keep me occupied. As I was reading, and enjoying the funniness (it's a word!), I got a couple of questions from people about what Lightroom is and what it does. So, for the uninitiated, I thought I'd share a little bit about what this cool new program is.

Lightroom was designed with photographers in mind to act as an organization, processing, and output tool for your digital photos. With Lightroom's Library Module you can import your photos, organize them into collections, rate them, apply keywords for easy searching, and separate the good from the not-so-good. In the Develop Module you can apply all of your processing from adjusting your white balance and exposure to fine tuning color to converting to black and white to applying a split tone and edge vignetting. From there you can export your images into a variety of formats, create a slideshow, publish a web gallery, and print.

While you can do some small touch ups - like fix red eye, crop and straighten, and limited cloning and healing - LR is not meant to be a one-stop-shop for all of your imaging needs. You don't have the manipulation tools that Photoshop offers, but then again, that's not what Lightroom is for. Lightroom is built to be your digital darkroom not your design platform. It takes the processing power of ACR, the organization of Bridge, the ease of the automated web photo galleries, and gives it all some extra umph! and elegance. It's definitely not a replacement for Photoshop, but once you get your hands on this fabulous imaging tool you'll see just how powerful it is and how quickly it will become central to your digital photography workflow.