Many professional photographers and serious hobbyists have been
Lightroom 2 as an integral part of their editing workflow. With
Adobe Lightroom 3, even more photographers are likely to adopt it
as a one-stop photo-editing resource.
Lightroom’s core purpose has always been to provide tools for
sorting, organizing, developing, and publishing photos, but version
3 upgrades Lightroom’s flexibility with its new noise reduction
engine and improved RAW processing, as well as the streamlined
Importing images into Lightroom 3 is simpler, which makes
finding and defining your source and destination easier. Lightroom
has also added direct support for tethered image capture for Nikon
and Canon cameras, so you don’t need to use the camera’s own
Once you’ve loaded your images into Lightroom, you can begin
work in the Develop module. This module’s most obvious change is
the direct access it gives you to all collections and recent
folders. The bigger news, though, lies in how the module processes
RAW files. Specifically, Adobe has rewritten the tool’s
demosaicing, sharpening, noise reduction, and vignetting
algorithms; and you can now add filmlike grain to your pictures.
The noise reduction enhancement is very welcome, offering
more-precise controls for reducing or eliminating noise while
retaining more detail. For image files previously processed in
Lightroom 2.5, you can choose to apply the new noise algorithms or
use your old edits.
The Develop module’s Lens Correction reads image metadata and
automatically corrects distortions inherent in the specific lens
used for the shot. Adobe supplies some lens profiles, and Lightroom
works closely with the free Adobe Lens Profile Creator, enabling you to create a
profile for any other lens you use.
You can now import, catalog, and preview video without leaving
the Lightroom interface. The Slideshow module improves video
output, too, by simplifying how it handles music and MP4 export.
For example, select your music file, and Lightroom will
automatically calculate the appropriate duration of each slide to
have the show sync with the length of the loaded music file. Then
you can customize your fade times.
The most notable change to Lightroom 3’s Web module is that you
can now use watermarks. You can save several (such as logo,
copyright, and name) to your Web pages, or you can edit right
there, when you need to use them. This is a great production
advantage when you need to upload a bunch of images.
Lightroom Publishing Manager keeps track of which images you’ve
uploaded to your Website, and which ones you’ve modified since
uploading them (so you can republish them). In addition to managing
FTP uploads, Lightroom pemits easy upload to Flickr. Uploads to
Smugmug and other sites suitable for more serious photographers are
possible but require third-party plug-ins.
Given its deep improvements, Lightroom 3 is a compelling upgrade
for photographers who depend on the program for smoothly importing,
cataloging, and preparing their images. The superior noise
algorithms alone make the upgrade worthwhile, and various tweaks to
the workflow will save you time and hassles in any production
environment. If you don’t yet use Lightroom, now is a great time to
jump in with both feet. You may sharply reduce the time you spend
doing repetitive but necessary tasks, leaving you free for
Note: The “Download Now” button takes you to
the vendor’s site, where you must register to download the
software. For more information about this product, see
–Sally Wiener Grotta & Daniel Grotta