Adobe has released the newest version of Lightroom with several new features to Lightroom but the subscription based licensing that Adobe has started using is not part of this release.
Ease of Use, Performance: 4/5
Look & Feel: 5/5
How much I enjoy: 5/5
Recommendation: 5/5 Stars
Lightroom 5 is Adobe’s answer to a professionals work tool for image organizing and editing in the same program that allows users to organize tens of thousands of images. Lightroom has always been about organizing and about being able to edit images quickly but RAW image editing is also available from simple menu choices.
Adobe may have made a mistake by changing most of their software releases to subscription based products but Lightroom 5 is still a boxed package you don’t have to pay for more than once. Lightroom 5 is seeing a bit more front line recognition as a professional photographer’s resource for editing and organizing your images and continues to gain features that are worthwhile.
Lightroom has always been about image editing and organization using non-destructive editing and batch image organization in an easy to use environment. Lightroom has a very different look and feel to it than Photoshop but for a professional photographer who needs an image editor and an organizer Lightroom has been a popular choice.
Lightroom 5 brings a few new features with an advanced healing brush, upright straitening tool and radial gradient tool for image editing. New organization tools include smart previews, video slideshows, improved book creation and location based organization for better handling your collections.
The image editing tools help to make Lightroom a better tool for photographers to edit and enhance images that need some touching up but not as much as a dedicated program would. The editing features in Lightroom include almost as much as Photoshop but Lightroom has the image cataloging and collection features going for it.
New features that are noteworthy for collections and organizing are the Smart Previews with others mainly being tweaks and improvements to existing tools. The main improvements in Lightroom 5 over the previous version is a few new tools that have been carried over from Photoshop and now being usable to Lightroom users.
To understand why it takes time to add a tool that already exists in an Adobe product needs a little understanding of the difference between Lightroom and Photoshop. Lightroom is all about work flow while Photoshop is all about image editing without worrying about keeping originals.
In Lightroom you can edit images and organize things how you want but the original images are left unaltered and in the same folders you placed them in. Photoshop alters original images so if you want to save the original you have to make sure you don’t overwrite it when saving your image.
This means that every time you use Lightroom on an image it will automatically save the images you edit as a new image instead of destroying the original. Lightroom is built from the ground up to account for retaining the original image when you edit and moving a feature from Photoshop to Lightroom means they also have to build the tool or feature over again.
Features that already exist in Photoshop take some time to create for Lightroom so it is kind of exciting for Lightroom users to see features that already exist for Photoshop users. Every new release for Lightroom usually includes a few features that have already been released for Photoshop with tweaks to existing features included as well.
Lightroom 5 opens to the familiar interface that has collections, folders and publishing services on the left side menu. The right side menu has editing features along with some organizing functions and your metadata and commenting choices for more organizing features.
To work on folders or collections you can move images around by dragging and dropping into new or previous folders or collections but collections work a bit differently than folders in Windows. Collections tag photos no matter where they are so images in separate folders can be grouped together for editing or organizing.
This may sound like an odd way to do things but for photographers who work in both single customer and multiple customer work this can be effective. Keeping images in their original folder but being able to organize them into collections works really well for photographers who work with a lot of images.
A good example would be a photographer who wants to do a bit of advertising and sets aside a dozen images from various clients to use in a print or online advertisement. He can label images he uses for the ads that are located in client folders as a new collection and easily find them using the collections in Lightroom instead of saving copies in a new folder.
Lightroom is all about being able to organize large amounts of images so you can easily find what you need as well as being able to jump into some decent image editing. To edit you can choose between quick editing and a more in depth choice by simply opening the develop selection on the menu bar or you can perform a quick change using presets.
Lightroom 5 does an excellent job of professionally organizing images with the option to edit them with some pretty competent tools without going to the extent that Photoshop offers. I highly recommend Lightroom 5 as a standalone image work flow program that allows organization and editing for images in the same program.
Lightroom 5 @ Adobe
Quick and easy image organizing and image editing in one program
Easy to use organizing tools
Good set ogimage editing features
Somewhat steep learning curve