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Adobe Lightroom 2.0 Reviewed

imaginginfo screenshot lightroom 2
This is the Library view of Lightroom 2.0 where you edit through your images, selecting those you wish to work on further.
Photo courtesy Diane Berkenfeld

imaginginfo screenshot lightroom 2
This is the Develop module where you make adjustments, corrections and other creative changes to your images.
Photo courtesy Diane Berkenfeld

imaginginfo screenshot lightroom 2
This view is of the Slideshow module.
Photo courtesy Diane Berkenfeld

Few software programs could be said to have had a greater impact in the workflow of the professional photographer, than Adobe's Photoshop, but Adobe Lightroom is one of them. Earlier this year, Adobe released version 2 of its stand-alone image management title that also offers powerful image editing features.

For the majority of images, Lightroom may be the only image editor needed. That is unless youíve got to do major retouching or masking. Lightroom, and similar titles such as Appleís Aperture let you speed up your workflow. Lightroom offers more powerful image management and editing down of images than does Bridge, which is part of Adobeís Photoshop software.

Lightroom 2, like its predecessor, offers modules where different types of work is done. They include Library, Darkroom, Slideshow, Print, and Web. You edit through images in the Library view, alter exposure, etc. in the Darkroom, create slideshows in Slideshow, do your printing setup in the Print view and create web galleries in Web.

For the photographer who shoots hundreds or thousands of images per job, being able to quickly edit down to your favorites, or best images, means that you're more productive. Adobe more tightly integrated Lightroom 2 with Photoshop Creative Suite 4 (CS4). Also new for this version is 64-bit processing support. Lightroom 2 also supports multiple monitors, for those who like to configure their workspace across two monitors. The latest version of Lightroom also offers volume management across multiple drives, which is important for the photographer who has images stored on multiple drives, servers or computers.

A feature that is super-important to most professionals, is the ability to enhance images without being destructive to the file. In Lightroom 2, Adobe has enhanced the adjustments that can be made to files nondestructively on raw files as well as jpgs, tiffs and psd files.

One of the new features I like is the suggested keywords, which adds an applied keyword to other images that share a capture time that is close enough to the original image you've named.

The first version of Lightroom had a pixel limit of 10k, which has been lifted, allowing the import of images 30,000 pixels per side in Lightroom 2.

Adobe has also added basic keyboard shortcuts, something I use all the time, whether Iím editing images or typing an article.

In this version, Adobe moved the lens correction panel to vignettes, so in addition to adjusting for standard lens correction you can also vignette an image from within Lightroom 2.

In the slideshow mode, Adobe added the ability to use a title slide, a great feature for those who like the automatic slideshow creation capabilities of Lightroom 2.

In response to criticism of bright images, Adobe has toned down the Auto Adjustment. Additional features of Lightroom 2 include: flexible print packages let you quickly arrange photos for printing multiple sizes, making the most of your paper and ink; a new local adjustment brush, the ability to utilize plug-ins; an enhanced batch processing feature, and output sharpening upon export that has been improved; among other new and improved features.

Iíve used Lightroom since its first introduction and have found that Lightroom 2 improves upon the software, making it quicker to find and use the features you utilize most. I do the majority of my exposure and tonal enhancements in Lightroom, exporting images to Photoshop only when I want to do more creative things such as B&W/selective color or extensive retouching. Adobe has created a program - Lightroom - that photographers can use as their only image management/editing program or they can use it in conjunction with Photoshop.

One of the reasons I like using Lightroom 2 so much is that once images are imported, you can so quickly make the minor adjustments that many images need, without having to physically open each file and make the adjustments, only to have to save the files again, possibly renaming them, depending upon your workflow. Only when youíre ready to export the files do you need to decide upon a new name or location for the files.

Lightroom 2 is a great raw file converter, but works equally as well for the photographer who mainly shoots jpg files.

And Lightroom 2 will remind you to backup its database on a regular basis, you can set it for a more frequent timetable or not, depending upon how often you use it.

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