Sunday, January 10, 2010

Lightroom 3 Beta : Part Two

In the last post I took a first look at Adobe's Lightroom 3, a product that you can grab in Beta from the Adobe Labs website.  I was impressed by the layout of the user interface, the look was pleasing and it was pretty easy to find out how to perform tasks with little guidance.

The application is setup in five major modules; Library, Develop, Slideshow, Print, and Web.  I took a quick look at the first two modules in my first post.  I would like to tell you a little bit more about each of the modules now that I've had more time with Lightroom.

I'm finding that the library is a great way to organize photos.  An average photo shoot will result in several hundred photos, of which I'm pretty happy if I get one great photo.  (I'm hoping that the more practice I get the better I'll get at shooting, but I'll be the first to tell you that it's pretty much dumb luck right now).

As I was saying, I'll take multiple shots of one target and usually get one that I like better than others.  Maybe the lighting changed a bit between shots or I moved just a bit to get a better angle... there are many reasons why I'll have more than one shot of the same target in a photo shoot.  Lightroom has many ways to look at your catalog of photos.  The default view is the Grid View, there is also a Loupe View for looking at one photo at a time, a Compare View and a Survey View (I'll go a bit more into this view and options for flagging in the next blog post).  I wanted to touch on Compare view because this nice feature let's you compare photos side by side.  When in the Library module, select your photos, using CTRL to select multiple and then choose the X|Y button.  This will allow you quickly tell which of the photos you like best.

Once I was able to identify the photos that I wanted to organize into an area where I could re-visit at a later time, I found that within the Library module there is a way to catalog / organize photos into Collections.  Collections are a great way for me to go through my entire catalog and sort photos from specific photo shoots into organized groupings.  Below I created a new Collection called "Randoms".  To group a photo or multiple photos into a Collection, select the photos and then click the Collection drop down icon and choose "New Collection", you'll be asked to name the Collection and have the option of adding the selected photos. 


Another option on the Library module is located under the main Navigator and is called "Publish Services".  This caught my eye as I noticed that there were options for "Hard Drive", which I believe is a basic export locally, and the other was the ability to publish to Flickr.  After a little bit, I remembered my Flickr account password and I was able to setup the connection for Lightroom to publish directly to my Flickr Photostream. I did have to verify through Flickr that I wanted Lightroom to be able to do this, but once I did that it was as easy as putting in my login and password and choosing a default naming convention and publishing location.


With this feature setup, I was able to drag and drop a photo on the "Photostream" line under the Flickr Publishing Service and once I did that it is queued up for publishing.  Choose publish and as you can see in the photo above, there is a status bar above the Navigator that let's you know the progress of the upload.  This was an easy feature to setup and I could see how users of Flickr would like this integration.  I can only imagine that other Publishing Services will be added in the future, things like TwitPic, Facebook, etc.

While I was working within the publishing / sharing part of Lightroom, it had me thinking about the other modules, so I moved on to the Slideshow module.


This module is pretty straight forward, you want to show a collection of photos in sequence.  Select your photos, select from a default list of templates or customize to fit your needs, adjust options such as watermark information, shadowing, and many other options, perhaps add a soundtrack and your done.  Publishing output gives you two options, MP4 and PDF.

Within the Print module, you can print your photos.  Go figure!  The best part about this is the ease of which you can choose popular templates to print your photos in... just like the types that photographers offer in professional packages.  You can mix and match photos into a custom package, or print multiple sizes of the same photo easily, as shown below.


The last module is the Web module and it's by far the most exciting to me since it allows you to create Flash enabled pages to show off your work.  I'll go deeper into this section and more features to organize your photos on my next Lightroom post.

So far - I really like what Adobe Lightroom has to offer the photo hobbyist and professional photographer.

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