The point of this post is not to give a full blown review of Lightroom 3 (LR3). There are enough of those out in the ether. My point is to tell you how I use this piece of software and what parts have become crucial to me.
First up is the new watermarking feature. Love it! One more reason to not have to launch Photoshop for redundant tasks. I can now export web-sized watermarked images with my logo for quick uploads to Facebook, blog posts, and Flickr. Especially when doing large batches of watermarks, this saves me hours of tedious work. Thank you Lightroom Dev Team! Previous versions of Lightroom only allowed text export for a watermark. The use of my logo staying at relative sizes to multiple sized outputs is fantastic.
Second, Noise and Custom S-Curves. The new noise reduction is superb for being able to apply at the RAW level in large batches. I still use Imagenomics Noiseware for mission-critical images (such as iStock uploads) with its ability to reduce noise separately on the Shadow, Midtone, and Highlight levels. My cameras are bad in the shadows but typically not elsewhere. For large events, big batches, and a light first pass, the new noise feature works well. I usually run the noise reduction at the 15-25 level in LR3. Your results may vary. Along with Noise, the ability to have finer control over the tone curve is nice too, and goes hand in hand with noise if you raise black and midtone levels too high. For Lightroom 4, I want even more fine tuning capability in tone curve profiling, but the steps are in the right direction. Again, working with a batch of files, I can now process without needing to open any other program, saving me time and money again.
In General, LR3 just feels more robust and powerful. I spend the bulk of my time in the Library and Develop Module. Leave the Print, Web and Slideshow discussions to others.
My third impression is the Smart Collections. Once again, they save me so much time and effort. For instance, the ability to separate your photoshoot into different camera bodies/serial numbers, especially for Weddings and multiple camera/multiple shooter events, epic! Export in camera/shooter bunches for a nice linear export. And the ability to use Smart Collections in the Develop module? Someone at Adobe was listening.
I feel if you use LR1 or LR2 you should definitely upgrade to LR3. Just seems more pro-grade in your workflow. Less application switching, faster response.
That said, here are some issues that still perplex me.
Really? I can’t delete a photo from a Smart Collection? Trying to find the logic in that one, seems arbitrary and frustrating to have to flip in and out of collections to delete a blurry or unwanted photo.
Vibrance Brush! give me one, I want it, and I want it now. Please add this in a point release. Although I worry about even more selective coloring popping up in peoples portfolios. (you know who you are)
Preferences? Not so intuitive. Can we get a better menu system please. Trying to make simple changes is awkward.
Oh, and maybe a simple crop feature in the Library mode? That would be super too
Now that said, here are some questions for you.
1. How do you manage Catalogs? One per shoot? Catalog for photo type? Which yields the fastest performance?
2. Does anyone use the pixelated automask feature on brushes?
3. What is your favorite aspect of LR3?
4. What do you want to see in LR4?
Thanks for playing along today, more pictures next time
Josh loves a good adventure and some of his favorite wedding and engagement shoots have involved “getting crazy” or going somewhere special to the couple.
Josh is a Texas native and long time Pflugerville resident. He started his photography business in 2009 and has never looked back. His photo business even allowed him to be daddy-day-care before his two sons reached school age. Over the years his business has expanded to include just about every type of photography including automotive, editorial portraits, corporate events, sports and food. Through it all, he has continued to love wedding photography for genuine moment, the fast pace and the diversity of subjects it offers. Josh is a co-founder of North Austin Pfoutographic Society and a resident instructor at Precision Camera & Video in Austin, Tx.