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Thread: Why use Lightroom?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Northern Virginia

    Why use Lightroom?

    I've been using Photoshop since version 5.0, and used Corel Photopaint before that, when Photoshop was an Apple thing. I'm up to CS4 now.

    And it seems as though it does what I want it to do, except that Bridge is dreadfully slow on my old dinosaur of a machine.

    But I keep seeing people talk about Lightroom. I sort-of thought it was an alternative to Photoshop supposedly more suited to photographers rather than print shops, but I see many who use both. Can someone who loves Lightroom in addition to Photoshop explain what they use it for?

    Rick "who has read the blurb but isn't getting it" Denney

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Glendale, AZ

    Re: Why use Lightroom?

    Lightroom has some editing capabilities but all edits are non-destructive. It's primary purpose is organization. Think of it like Bridge with some editing capabilities. You can set the meta-data organize, search, rate, label, flag, etc. inside LR. It also has the ability to create collections which are like virtual folders. You can put photos in the collections without moving them from their physical location on disk. It is all about organizing and managing a large library of photos with some convenience tools in addition.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Massachusetts USA

    Re: Why use Lightroom?

    Lightroom is for handling a large number of small files. With Large Format, we have a small number of very large files.

    If your typical files are a few MB at most, and you need to view them quickly and perform group edits on them, then Lightroom is for you. For example, you're a pro and need to apply color correction to 3000 digital photos you made during a wedding - then show them to the client on a large monitor for their selection.

    Like you I use Photoshop, and Picasa to organize and view files. It's worlds faster than Bridge or even the native Apple software. It's free. Did I say fast ?

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Mar 2010

    Re: Why use Lightroom?

    The way I explain it (in very basic terms) to my students is that Photoshop can be thought of as a virtual darkroom and Lightroom as a virtual minilab.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Jun 2002

    Re: Why use Lightroom?

    A lot of mainstream wedding photographers who have just gotten into it since the advent of digital cameras only shoot jpgs and edit in Lightroom. It does everything they need and they can apply corrections to entire batches of images, make fancier web galleries, have greater control and more options than Adobe Bridge.

    Think of Adobe Bridge as Lightroom "Lite". Usually features migrate down to Bridge as a newer version of Lightroom comes out. Personally I like ACR and Bridge fine, mostly. Try using the free software bundled with digital cameras if you want agony.

    Be glad they don't force us to buy it with Photoshop.

    And no, I doubt it will not run faster than Bridge or PS on your older machine.

  6. #6
    eoghan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Berkeley, Ca

    Re: Why use Lightroom?

    It is a lot more then what has been generally been portrayed, it is a full editor and not just for making macro changes, it was designed from the ground up for photographers unlike photoshop which is much more of a graphic design tool despite its name. It uses the same RAW rendering engine as photoshop, so files rendered it it are the same as in photoshop. I particularly like the printing module, much nicer then photoshop.

    I recommend downloading the free eval and trying it out for yourself.

    For anyone interested in software design for photography or even just photography listen to some of the lightroom podcasts made by George Jardine when it was it its first Beta, interesting stuff you get to hear the developers discuss software design choices with real photographers including Jerry Uelsmann, Pete Turner, Richard Benson, Bill Atkinson.

  7. #7
    Unwitting Thread Killer Ari's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Ottawa, Canada

    Re: Why use Lightroom?

    Batch editing.
    It's much easier to export hundreds of files at once in order to, say, reduce TIFFs to JPGs. Whatever work you want to keep, you just export it to desktop or a folder. The rest stays, as was mentioned, in virtual folders.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Gabriola Island, BC, Canada

    Re: Why use Lightroom?

    I shoot much more digital than LF
    so my comments may not pertain to the typical LF shooter on this forum

    I frequent this forum because I do have several LF cameras and enjoy stretching myself and my photography in new directions

    don't have any profound new insights to add beyond what has already been submitted. The tools in PS are much more powerful than in LR so you can modify/improve an image to a much greater extent than only using LR. I am referring to things like the ability to do selections, the ability to have layers, more sophisticaed filters etc etc.

    a point that is worth adding because this thread (or the earlier version I should probably say...) is the merits of upgrading. I currently use PS CS3 and LR 2.4. Both have now been superceded. The conundrum that Adobe creates for you is that in order to use PS for RAW processing you need to buy the most recent version if you have recently purchased a new digital camera (as I just did). That gets expensive if you are upgrading your PS all of the time. However you can upgrade LR for about a third of the cost so that way you always have the latest RAW converter and can still make use of the power of PS. You simply export the RAW file you processed in LR as a TIFF or PSD file to PS and proceed. I plan to upgrade to LR3 shortly.
    you can find my images on flickr at:

  9. #9
    bob carnie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Toronto, Ontario,

    Re: Why use Lightroom?


    I use photoshop to work on files for printing using precise moves.
    I use lightroom to quickly compile a presentation to clients. Lightroom is very fast and efficient to work on many common images, basically do five or six moves on one image and then paint over hundreds of similar images to give the same look.
    Pitching jobs require lots of selections and lightroom is a very fast program to work in.
    Once images are selected they are taken into PS for final edits.
    I consider Lightroom Photoshop lite.


  10. #10
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Albuquerque, Nuevo Mexico

    Re: Why use Lightroom?

    I use Lightroom in lieu of Bridge these days. It is great for managing large numbers of digital files for my business-though I end up opening almost all files in PS too. If I was only doing B&W film scans though, I wouldn't bother with LR at all and just use Bridge.

    at age 68
    "The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
    But I have promises to keep,
    And miles to go before I sleep,
    And miles to go before I sleep"

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