We spent most of our time in the library mode. The library mode is used to view and organize your photos. This mode gives you the typical grid and single photo mode (Loupe view). It also provides a survey mode to view multiple photos at the same time.
We found the survey mode to be invaluable when selecting between three or four photos. Simply selecting multiple images from the filmstrip displayed those images in the workspace area.
The filter features of Lightroom 2 provided a powerful way to search for photos. Lightroom 2 starts with keyword tags, star ratings and flag/rejected settings. In addition to keyword tags, Lightroom captures all of the metadata stored in an image. The library filter allows you to search on the metadata stored in the catalog. Some of the metadata collected include:
• Camera Type • Lens Type • Aperture • Shutter Speed • Flash State • ISO Speed Rating • Date • Location
Below is an example of searching by metadata.
We were pleasantly surprised to find good support for dual monitors. By default the primary monitor is used for grid mode and the secondary monitor displays the photos that are selected in the library module. Lightroom 2 can be configured to display any of the library modes on either primary or secondary monitors.
The develop module includes controls for adjusting the color and tonal scale of photos. The controls that have the most effect are placed first on the pallet. Novice users can start at the top and work their way down until they get the desired results. Changes made to a single photo can be applied to multiple photos. Correcting the white balance from grandma’s last birthday party can be done quickly using the global adjustments.
The develop tool pallet includes tools for cropping, red eye reduction and spot removal. Using
these tools is easy with a before and after image mode. You can view the original and your edited image side by side.
Photoshop and Elements Integration:
Adobe has created a tight integration between Photoshop/Elements and Lightroom using smart objects. This integration gives you the ability to perform additional editing in Photoshop or Elements from within Lightroom 2.
Simply right click on an image you can launch the photo as a smart object.
As a smart object you can; • Edit a copy of the photo with Lightroom adjustments • Edit a copy of the photo without Lightroom adjustments • Edit the original
When you save the file in Photoshop the new file is automatically added to the Lightroom catalog.
Lightroom provides separate modules for creating output for slide shows, print or web consumption. Each module allows you to define custom overlays, backdrops and watermarks to each of the photos. Lightroom 2 will optimize the images for the intended output medium.
Tutorials and Online Help:
Adobe offers a number of on-line tutorials for Lightroom 2. These tutorials cover the basic functions of each module (Library, Develop, Slide Show, Print and Web). The tutorials were in the form of videos that walked you through the software. I found the tutorials to be very helpful.
The online manuals were different in that you could post question on the manual pages and have Lightroom experts reply to your questions. It was interesting to see what sections of Lightroom people had the most problems and hence the most questions.
Adobe Lightroom 2 is a very powerful tool for cataloging, viewing and managing photos. If you use either Photoshop or Elements and work with photos on a daily basis this is a must have tool. Pros will appreciate the large number of keyboard shortcuts and intuitive user interface. The ability to sort, select and export groups of photos quickly will help tame any unruly project.
For casual photo buffs the $299 price tag is a little steep. Professionals will want to add it to their arsenal of tools right away while students should have no problem with the educational discount of $99. Of course there’s always Google’s Picasa if your budget, like a lot of folks, is a big fat goose egg.
Visit Adobe for more information about LightRoom 2 and its entire lineup of creative software.