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Archive 2012 · Lightroom standalone
  
 
dm2010
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Lightroom standalone


Hi guys,

I am rethinking my complete software strategy. Up to now I was using the Canon provided software, but now I need a photo management tool and Lightroom (I use Windows) is the most probable candidate. So my questions are:

1. Would Lightroom be enough for a photographer's needs without the need to resort to Photoshop? Photoshop adds a lot to the cost and I would prefer to avoid it.
2. Would you wait for Lightrrom 4?

Thank you in advance for your answers.

Dimitris



Jan 25, 2012 at 09:15 AM
morganb4
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Lightroom standalone


Cant answer that without knowing what you do. If you do work professionally then I think that its inevitable that you will need to use a pixel level editor sometimes.


Jan 25, 2012 at 11:43 AM
Ian.Dobinson
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Lightroom standalone


dm2010 wrote:
Hi guys,

I am rethinking my complete software strategy. Up to now I was using the Canon provided software, but now I need a photo management tool and Lightroom (I use Windows) is the most probable candidate. So my questions are:

1. Would Lightroom be enough for a photographer's needs without the need to resort to Photoshop? Photoshop adds a lot to the cost and I would prefer to avoid it.
2. Would you wait for Lightrrom 4?

Thank you in advance for your answers.

Dimitris


1 probably, Lightroom can do an awful lot.

2. Yes. In fact download the LR4 beta now and purchase LR4 when it's available in a couple of months time.



Jan 25, 2012 at 12:58 PM
dm2010
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Lightroom standalone


Thank you for your answers.


Jan 25, 2012 at 01:25 PM
dmacmillan
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Lightroom standalone


1) Lightroom is a very versatile tool. I have both it and PS. Most of the post processing I need to do I can accomplish in Lightroom. I go up to Photoshop when I need to do more extensive post processing, including extensive portrait retouching and photo restoration. Still, there's a lot of retouching and correction you can do in Lightroom.
2) Your call. If LR 4 is to be released in April, it might be worth the wait. Check into Adobe's update policy. Some software companies offer free upgrades if the prior version was recently purchased.



Jan 25, 2012 at 02:30 PM
gwaww
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Lightroom standalone


I have Lightroom, PS Elements 9 and CS5. I think that I could get along just fine with LR and PS Elements. Elements has come a long way and does alot of what PS does for alot less money.


Jan 25, 2012 at 02:35 PM
tomrock
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Lightroom standalone


Note that LR4 doesn't run on XP. May be something to think about.


Jan 25, 2012 at 02:40 PM
Alan321
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Lightroom standalone


I'll bet there's not much that DPP can do that Lr cannot do, so with Lr alone you will lose very little and gain quite a lot. Ps is sure to be useful at some stage for some images but they probably need to be tricky images or very marketable images or very important images to warrant buying and using Ps on them, given its steep learning curve.

Lr does not respect Canon picture styles but it has something similar that you can apply. It has far better noise reduction that does far less damage to image data. It will not show you the AF points that were used or the raw file luminance histogram. I find it far more useful than DPP in most respects but DPP is free and is still there for me to use as required. For that matter, so is Ps.

At this stage I would wait for Lr 4 unless I had heaps of spare time to utilize it to my advantage in the next few months. The trouble is that it is only available in beta at present and is not recommended for your only image management. Safer to use Lr 3 and upgrade later, but possibly somewhat more expensive too.

In the meantime you can begin preparing the way for Lr if you need something to fill your time. Consider these ideas :

- Organize your images into a folder structure - any structure that works for you - so that there is a parent folder at the top of that structure. This will facilitate backups and recoveries in Lr. I sort mine by camera and then rating. I have a folder called "unsorted" that new images for each camera go into until I process them with Lr enough to transfer them into an appropriate rating folder. You might prefer a structure based on events. One reason I use camera as a separator is that I am then able to easily use camera-specific software on those images without images from other brands getting in the way. Canon DPP does not like Nikon NEF files. I use ratings so that from any software I can quickly home in on my better images.

- Determine what if any file naming pattern you want to use. Not essential but it might make dealing with images easier. Fairly powerful batch file renaming can be done within Lr but it's not as clever as say Downloader Pro. My file names retain original camera folder and file numbers so that I can easily find the same files in the camera software. Sometimes that software can tell me things that Lr cannot, such as where the focus point was.

- Know that in future you will want to do all renaming, relocating and deleting within Lr so that it can keep track of the files and maintain the info about those files in its catalog database. Once imported into Lr you can still access the files with the operating system or other software but you won't want to do anything that leaves Lr without a link to the files it knows about because then you'll have a hard time re-establishing those links.

- Decide what you want the star ratings and colour labels to represent so that you'll be in a position to use them sooner rather than later.

- Know that Lr knows a lot about image files from the EXIF data and can use that data to select images even before you get into key-wording. You do not need to duplicate EXIF data in a key word structure but it's up to you.

- Consider a key-word structure. You do not need to get it right first time as the structure can be altered on the go, but it's easier if you understand what things are likely to be important to you. It's not essential at all but is very beneficial to use keywords. Know that all images with keyword applied by you can also be found by using the parents of those key words in the keyword structure, without you actually assigning those parent words. e.g. you might have "Ford" and "Toyota" under "vehicles" and can then find both by searching for "vehicles" even though you only ever assigned "Ford" or "Toyota". Later on you might insert "cars" between "vehicles" and "Ford" and "Toyota" so that you can insert "trains" in there too. Lr will manage the links for you.

- Decide whether you want to use .xmp sidecar files to hold data about image files or whether you want to keep all such data just in the Lr catalog database. I do the latter. xmp files are ok if you only use Lr but most other software does not know that they belong with the image files and can separate them. Also, using xmp files and keeping them up to date gobbles up time by writing to hundreds or thousands of files. On a slow or full drive that can be painful.

- Establish a data backup routine. The Lr catalog database will hold a great deal of info that represents a lot of time and effort on your part. Keep it safe. Keep lots of backups on separate media in separate locations so that no one loss will ever be devastating.

- Know which images are most important to you. Plan on spending more time in Lr on those images in regards to key wording, labeling and rating. The idea is to get the most output with the least input, so start with the files you're most likely to want to locate in a hurry at some stage. Still keep in mind that Lr knows about the standard EXIF data already.

- Plan on backing up all image files before you hit them with Lr or any new software just in case you do something wrong and lose them. In general when you delete a file in Lr it will default to removing it from the catalog but not actually delete the file from your drive. However, you get that choice. The surprise may come when you discover that you had selected thousands of image files instead of just one before you pressed delete.

I suppose there's more but you get the idea. You don't need to go in cold when you eventually buy Lr and then have to undo things because you didn't put enough forethought into it.

- Alan



Jan 25, 2012 at 04:32 PM
GC5
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Lightroom standalone



I use LR and elements and it works fine for my needs. I also have some NIK software that is nice, but not as essential.



Jan 25, 2012 at 05:17 PM
kwalsh
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Lightroom standalone


I'll second the recommendations here that LR will do the vast majority of what you need. I rarely enter PS anymore, and I do fuss over my photos a fair bit (landscape shooter who only processes a few photos per trip but spends a fair bit of time with them).

I think with LR you'll find that even though it integrates well with PS that since you'll rarely need a pixel editor that you'll be pretty happy using a pixel editor other than PS. As others said, Elements is popular. Other specific tools that are lower cost or free are available for things like panos and HDR and what not.

I'd second the recommendation to give the LR4 beta a try. It's free after all. Do set your expectations though - it is a beta and you may have problems! A lot of people with perfectly stable LR3 installations have issues with slowness or crashes on LR4 - that's the whole point of a beta. LR3 is available as a 30-day trial if you want to use something more stable to try things out.

Also, LR is a bit daunting at first with its library module and "importing" photos into a catalog. I really recommend setting aside a bit of time with a book, online tutorial or something or you won't really have an opportunity to properly evaluate it. I got the hang of it pretty fast, so the learning burden is not high but it is there.

Ken



Jan 25, 2012 at 05:37 PM
 

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williamkazak
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Lightroom standalone


tomrock wrote:
Note that LR4 doesn't run on XP. May be something to think about.


I just found this out and CS4 does not run on XP. Looks like Windows 7 is necessary now.



Jan 25, 2012 at 08:43 PM
dm2010
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Lightroom standalone


Thank you for your detailed answers. I will go for standalone lightroom and get to know all the tuning it can offer.


Jan 26, 2012 at 02:43 PM
Mickey
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Lightroom standalone


The issue I have with LR is that it's all about organizing, naming, renaming, key-wording, cataloging, etc, etc. as evidenced by Alen321's response above. I just want to post process those few selected files from a trip and am happy to just leave them where they are and with the name assigned by the camera. I'll rename the file when I'm finished with it and ready to save. LR wants to force me into all this cataloging. I like what it does in the processing area it's just getting past all the initial cataloging stuff. Just let me open a folder and pull out the photo I want to work on.


Jan 26, 2012 at 05:32 PM
Emile Gregoire
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Lightroom standalone


Mickey wrote:
The issue I have with LR is that it's all about organizing, naming, renaming, key-wording, cataloging, etc, etc. as evidenced by Alen321's response above. I just want to post process those few selected files from a trip and am happy to just leave them where they are and with the name assigned by the camera. I'll rename the file when I'm finished with it and ready to save. LR wants to force me into all this cataloging. I like what it does in the processing area it's just getting past all the initial cataloging stuff. Just let me open a
...Show more


LR doesn't force you *at all*. You can leave the file names and folder structure as is and totally focus on post-processing. Clear case of RTFM, which happens to me all the time btw



Jan 26, 2012 at 05:59 PM
williamkazak
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Lightroom standalone


I use Lightroom2 for the sliders such as brightness, fill flash, exposure, highlight recovery and sync. All of this different in LR4? How is it different?


Jan 26, 2012 at 06:17 PM
JimboCin
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Lightroom standalone


William: LR4 has quite a number of changes in the area. For some information on this see:

- http://www.dpreview.com/articles/7481161037/lightroom-4-public-beta-whats-new

- http://tv.adobe.com/watch/whats-new-in-lightroom-4-beta/introduction-to-lightroom-4-beta/

- http://www.photoshopuser.com/lightroom4

- http://www.lynda.com/Lightroom-4-tutorials/Photoshop-Beta-Preview/96215-2.html


Jim



Jan 26, 2012 at 06:57 PM
Mickey
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Lightroom standalone


Emile Gregoire wrote:
LR doesn't force you *at all*. You can leave the file names and folder structure as is and totally focus on post-processing. Clear case of RTFM, which happens to me all the time btw


I wasn't suggesting it held a gun to your head. What it does do is "default" everything in directions other than processing and I have no idea what RTFM means. Probably don't want to know.



Jan 26, 2012 at 09:42 PM
GC5
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Lightroom standalone


RTFM = Read the Fraking Manual


(assuming you are battlestar galactica fan)



Jan 26, 2012 at 09:51 PM
Gregory Edge
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Lightroom standalone


ACDsee is a good alternative too. Works excellent and is very fast.


Jan 28, 2012 at 03:01 PM
Sharona
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Lightroom standalone


I hope the OP won't mind if I deviate a bit... I have CS5 but got Aperture basically free with a gift card. I have always used Photoshop and am used to that interface. I cannot grasp the Aperture interface and it feels clunky when exporting files to be used in PS. I'd like to know if Lightrooms interface is more conducive to use with PS? Obviously it's an Adobe product but I guess I'm wondering if they "mesh" together better? I currently do all processing in ACR, photoshop and NIK. Never use Aperture. But I do need a system to manage files. Thanks for entertaining the questions in this thread! And, yeah, def. a case of RTFM, but there don't seem to be many of those - it's all online and I prefer those in print!


Jan 28, 2012 at 03:32 PM
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