Adobe Lightroom is one of the most popular programs when it comes to photo editing and image processing. A spearhead of the Adobe Creative suite, this software provides many settings and tools for photo professionals. According to figures reported by Adobe, between 35% and 45% of American photographers use Lightroom on a daily basis for their work. It is therefore very likely that these figures are also representative of the use of this tool in the rest of the world.
A real alternative to Photoshop for most basic edits and processing, Lightroom remains to this day one of the most intuitive photo software programs, no matter the audience. So, what are its features and benefits? We review the role of Lightroom and its potential for photographers.
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Lightroom, must-have software for photo management
Amateur and professional photographers often have to manage hundreds, even thousands, of photos. This requires being able to store them, but above all, to be able to find them at any time.
Lightroom allows you to store photos and access them at any time, whether you want to export them or edit them. In addition, its management system includes essential filing tools. Thanks to keywords and filters, the software allows you to label files and not waste time finding them when necessary. In other words, Lightroom works as a catalog of photos, which the user can use as they wish. From hierarchical folders to multiple collections, photographers are spoiled for choice when organizing their work.
As you will have understood, the role of Lightroom goes far beyond the strict framework of photo editing and image processing.
Lightroom, a tool that saves time
With some software, photo editing and image processing can sometimes take hours. For photographers, the stakes are high, since it is a question of spending less time behind the computer to facilitate pure creative work and the taking of photos.
In this regard, Lightroom is particularly effective, since its editing and image processing tools are very intuitive. With just a few clicks, you can remove elements in the background, make imperfections disappear on a face, adjust colors, contrast and brightness, etc. Moreover, with its quick selection, its batch feature for hundreds of photos or the application of all kinds of presets, the work and processing time are considerably reduced.
Moreover, thanks to the saving of all the modifications, in the form of instructions, and to its action history, Lightroom guarantees that you will never have to restart an editing process, even when modifying it.
Lightroom, a solution that preserves original files
Unlike most other software, starting with Adobe Photoshop, which requires saving a new file to save changes, Lightroom preserves the original photos. Indeed, all the alterations are included in a separate catalog and take the form of simple saved instructions. In this way, it is never the photos themselves that are modified.
In order to benefit from the editing of a photo, it is necessary to export it, in a format possibly lighter than the original file (RAW, etc.).
As we have seen previously, this ability allows access to an action history, which lists the various modifications that have been made since the beginning of the file editing process. It is therefore possible to return to any stage, to restart or modify said settings.
In addition, Lightroom is able to create virtual copies, making it easier to compare different edits to the same photo.
Lightroom, software that includes presets for social networks
At a time when social networks are inescapable, and photos are part of the daily life of many content creators, it is difficult to ignore the problems inherent in this type of file. For example, it is common knowledge that Facebook, Twitter or Instagram compress the photos uploaded to their platform. Unfortunately, in some cases, this can significantly degrade the quality of the image compared to the original version. For example, this is a common situation when the file is too large.
To alleviate the problem, Lightroom offers a number of export presets, which allow photos to be resized for each platform. For this, nothing could be simpler, just choose the social network concerned and let the software do it.
Lightroom, a tool with complementary services
Adobe’s great strength is undoubtedly to offer complementary services with all its subscription plans, including Lightroom.
On the one hand, the service inevitably includes 20 GB (about 4,000 JPEG files) or 1 TB (about 200,000 JPEG files) of Adobe’s cloud storage. In particular, it is an ideal solution for photographers who have to save thousands of photos. On the other hand, once set, Lightroom automatically saves the original version of the image and the modified version.
Of course, Adobe’s cloud is accessible from any mobile device or computer, whether for simple viewing or editing. In all cases, each edit is immediately recorded and transferred to all work platforms.
To a lesser extent, although still a handy tool for new photographers, Adobe also includes its Adobe Portfolio service for any subscription. This allows photographers to create a professional gallery, visible on both computer and mobile devices.
Lightroom, a constantly updated solution
Since its creation in the early 2000’s, Lightroom has experienced a multitude of different versions. Even today, its great popularity means that it benefits from regular updates from Adobe.
To begin with, the list of new compatible cameras is constantly being expanded. It must be said that the market is evolving rapidly and that to remain the leader in photo editing and image processing software, Lightroom must be as much of a generalist as possible.
Similarly, a few months ago, Apple users working on a macOS computer were able to benefit from an improvement in the compatibility of the software with the brand’s new processor. Also, another recent update supported Apple ProRaw images. In general, Adobe is heavily invested in improving Lightroom for Apple-branded media and devices.
At the beginning of summer 2022, and against all expectations, Lightroom arrived in a field where it was not necessarily expected: video. Adobe had decided to standardize video editing and photo editing. After an initial foray into artificial intelligence a few months earlier, this has now been further enhanced to allow users to also edit videos in Lightroom. Now, for example, certain parameters can be copied and pasted from a photo to a video, and vice versa. While this update has initially concerned only Lightroom CC, there is no doubt that Lightroom Classic CC will also benefit in the coming months.
Finally, each new Lightroom update is also an opportunity for Adobe to offer new presets for photos and videos.