21 Reasons to Use Lightroom

March 2, 2010 | Jon Canfield | Photography Techniques | 26 Comments | |
21 Reasons to Use Lightroom Image

8. Copy and paste settings.

When you make a set of changes to one image, you can easily apply one or more of those adjustments to any number of other images in your catalog. Simply click Copy from the History panel and select the adjustments you want to use. Now, select the new image or images, and Paste.  You can also do this with keywords and ratings.

9. Slideshow display.

If you run a studio, it’s nice to let users view images in a full screen slideshow. Within Lightroom you can create a show that plays your images back with a variety of options, including watermarks, text labels, music, backdrops, and various fonts.

10. Virtual Copies.

Rather than duplicate a file to have a different version, say a color and a black & white, Lightroom uses virtual copies – essentially a list of adjustment instructions and a thumbnail image to reduce disk space – only a few KB per virtual file, compared to MB’s for a physical duplicate.

21 Reasons to Use Lightroom

11. Easily Compare Images.

Lightroom makes it easy to view similar images side by side to make your selections, or you can view the same image in side by side mode to evaluate your adjustments. The most useful aspect of the Compare view though is the ability to make selects, or pick the better of similar images when doing a review of all the images you just imported. This helps to speed up the rating process, as well as quickly compare exposure settings when shooting live (see number 17).

21 Reasons to Use Lightroom

12. Presets.

If you’ve used actions in Photoshop, you’ll appreciate presets in Lightroom. Presets can make short work of many complex adjustments, can be applied to multiple images at once, and are easily modified as needed. I appreciate being able to group presets by the type of adjustment, like black & white presets, raw pre-processing, and portraits. Along with adjustment presets, you can also create output and print layout presets – truly a flexible tool.

21 Reasons to Use Lightroom

13. Work with multiple files.

With Lightroom, you can easily work on multiple images at a time – just select them and start making adjustments. The same is true for exporting, creating web galleries, printing, keywording, and other adjustments.  If you’re using collections, you can quickly modify or adjust every image in the collection if you like – I use this feature for applying presets and exporting when sending images to a publisher, and for going back through older images that need to have keywords updated.

21 Reasons to Use Lightroom

14. Web galleries.

Lightroom makes it easy to create good looking web galleries. There are both straight HTML and Flash galleries available, and a few add-ins. Personally, I use SlideShowPro (www.slideshowpro.net), which lets me build great galleries as well as uploading and updating directly from within Lightroom.

21 Reasons to Use Lightroom

Entry Tags

photos, editing, editor, manage, Photoshop, use, Lightroom, Adobe, buy, using, 21 Reasons to Use Lightroom, reasons, organize, Adobe Lightroom

Tracker Pixel for Entry

Your Comments

26 Comments | Newest Oldest First | Post a Comment

#1 Palette

Why is an ad for Lightroom 2 being front-paged now?

3:09 pm - Tuesday, March 2, 2010

#2 Charles K

I’ve been using Apple’s Aperture for some time now, and frankly, find it more intuitive.

4:13 pm - Tuesday, March 2, 2010

#3 Jon Canfield

I certainly didn’t mean for this to come across as an ad for Lightroom, but rather a piece on why I find Lightroom to be more useful for my workflow than doing it all in Photoshop. If Lightroom 3 were available, I’d cover the new features in depth.

To Charles, I also like Aperture, especially with version 3. I don’t personally find it to be more intuitive, but it has some features that I wish Adobe would consider - particularly the publishing and proofing options.

5:16 pm - Tuesday, March 2, 2010

#4 Graham Hind

An interesting and useful article. There are still a few things Lightroom can’t do, like perspective correction. The one other thing I am beginning to question applies to both Lightroom and Photoshop, and that is the abilities of the Adobe Raw converter. Sometimes - just sometimes - the manufacturer’s converter is radically better. That said, the Adobe converter at least has the virtue of covering a very wide range of RAW formats. My real desire to like Aperture is constantly frustrated by Apple’s very limited conversion list and their insistence on supporting relative esoterica like Leaf and not supporting popular cameras.

7:13 pm - Tuesday, March 2, 2010

#5 ricardo

The Industry loves only one reason…

Raw is all about that…
you do not even know photography. If you just know how to start a camera (on /off)...it’s ok…
.RAW do the rest…
Helped by LR….

8:32 pm - Tuesday, March 2, 2010

#6 Fotograf Mirza Oezoglu

I’m using Lightroom since the beta Version. I love it! As a professional Photographer I am using it every day and after every Shooting. Thank you Adobe!

8:35 pm - Tuesday, March 2, 2010

#7 David M

I really like LR, and don’t disagree with anything you have said, except I do have problems with printing.  The lack of soft-proofing makes it a non-starter for printing, but worse, colour management just doesn’t seem to work right on my mac.  I always go back to PS for final printing.

The workflow is different, and I prefer working in layers when making localized adjustments.  Then there are the plug-ins, like noise ninja and photokit sharpener. The former has a stand-alone, the latter relies on layers so doesn’t work.

Fortunately for the majority of my work, I only make minor global adjustments, and LR is great for this, especially with the Web module.

The major benefit is the digital asset management aspect of Lightroom, although I do note performance issues with large libraries.  I now separate my work by calendar year (about 15000 photos a year) which is a bit of a drag when looking for photos across several years.

12:39 am - Wednesday, March 3, 2010

#8 rob

When Aperture and Lightroom were both in version 1.x, I have used them both side-by-side, to get the idea about their features, usefulness, performance, intuitiveness, etc. Lightroom has won with no hesitation on my part. Since then, both apps matured, but I still prefer Lightroom.

And - like Jon - I would love to see Lightroom offer options for publishing (for example, printing photo-books, portfolios, calendars, etc.).

@ricardo - Did you have too much Prozak today? ;)

12:43 am - Wednesday, March 3, 2010

#9 Mandeno Moments

Lightroom would have to be fantastic to match the fantastic price of US$299 :).

Photoshop Elements is US$80, and Gimp is US$0.

My point is this: you don’t have to spend a small fortune to get very capable software.


1:29 am - Wednesday, March 3, 2010

#10 bract.us

I just recently download lightroom v2.0 and the performance of this version drastically improved compared to older version.

6:13 am - Wednesday, March 3, 2010

#11 rob

@Mandeno Moments - obviously, you don’t know what Lightroom does, if you compare it to Elements or Gimp. We welcome all educated comments, but yours is just a trolling… kind of like ricardo’s.  :)

10:47 pm - Wednesday, March 3, 2010

#12 Mandeno Moments

@rob - I’m certainly not trolling, and all I said was that Elements and Gimp are very capable. They may be less capable than Lightroom, and nothing that I said implies otherwise, but they are very capable.

1:04 am - Thursday, March 4, 2010

#13 ALT Designs Blog

I’ve been hearing a lot about Lightroom lately. So far, I have not made the switch from Photoshop. After seeing all the features here… you’ve definitely peaked my interest..

I think I just may have to check this out.

2:03 pm - Thursday, March 4, 2010

#14 Sean Arbabi

Wow, such a mix of comments- Jon’s a great photography and teacher- and no, we don’t work together, but I’ve known of Jon’s work for years.

This is a great article covering some wonderful aspects of Lightroom- and no I don’t work for Adobe- I love Apple too and use Aperture 3 as well.

This article gives so many ideas on ways to use this program-which is great. I’m a 20 year pro and I can always learn just a bit more from articles like this.

And Ricardo, recognize that digital photography has opened many doors to create great images- sure, many don’t use it all that well or still need help on creating an eye for photography, and may overuse programs such as this, but these programs have also given us soooo many things we could have never done in the past.  I know since I started on film in the early 80s.

Great job Jon- I wrote a piece on How to Survive the economy as a photographer for PhotographyBlog last year- hopefully most enjoy the free info!

7:46 pm - Thursday, March 4, 2010

#15 rob

@Mandeno Moments - Sure, they are both capable in what they are intended for. But Lightroom’s functionality adds huge benefits of importing, cataloging, archiving your photos, creating slideshows and web galleries. One may even argue that those are the most important functions of programs like Lightroom and Aperture.

Neither Elements nor Gimp can even start to compete with that and that’s why they can not be included in comparison. Even Photoshop does not posses all those benefits. On the other hand, both Lightroom and Aperture lack many fundamental features of Photoshop. They are not meant to replace Photoshop. They are entirely different programs…

10:42 pm - Thursday, March 4, 2010

#16 PJ

I’d rather see a comparison between Bridge and Lightroom, i’ve been using Bridge for ages and just downloaded Lightroom, as far as i can tell there’s not much between them.

10:39 pm - Sunday, March 7, 2010

#17 rob

No, PJ, there is little in common between Bridge and Lightroom. These two apps were developed for different reasons and purposes. The only other applications that you can compare Lightroom to are Aperture and Lightzone (so far).

6:45 am - Monday, March 8, 2010

#18 PJ

sorry Rob but I can’t help but see loads of overlap with the two: file organisation, slide show creation, web gallery creation, image printing, and then there’s ACR (which is inside Bridge as well as photoshop) which has all of the options and more than lightroom for photo editing. In fact a quick flip through the list shows that there’s only a couple of things in this list that aren’t in Bridge/ACR and those (things like the database) I find more of a hindrance working on multiple computers. Why would I want to import a database when Bridge just reads all the files that are there. I wasted so much time importing photos into lightroom.

12:13 pm - Monday, March 8, 2010

#19 rob

Well, to sum it up in few words, Bridge is a browser and Lightroom is an archiving/cataloging/backup/correcting/printing/web publishing tool. Of course, that is a simplification…

ACR has the exactly same engine for developing photos as does Lightroom, but - obviously - lacks all other characteristics of Lightroom.

Lightroom takes plug-ins from different manufacturers. That allows it to use many add-ons - just like Photoshop (although plug-ins have to be made specifically for Lightroom). Example: the NIK suite of applications, Photomatix, etc. work from within Lightroom.

One of the huge advantages of apps like Lightroom and Aperture is ability to create virtual copies of an image for making different versions or sizes of the original file, using only few kilobytes of disk space rather than multi-megabytes per image.

Interestingly, personally, I consider the concept of Bridge a big hindrance in my workflow - to the point that I stopped using it. Normally, for 90% of my everyday needs, I use only Lightroom. Photoshop gets the other 10% of work - mainly for jobs needing selections, layers, channels, compositing, etc.

11:11 pm - Monday, March 8, 2010

#20 Alex

I use IDImager (http://www.idimager.com) to manage my large collection of photos, and find it extremely capable.  It is less expensive than LR.

6:09 am - Sunday, April 18, 2010

#21 Tord S Eriksson

Have for a while used both Aperature 1, 2, & 3, and Lightroom 1 & 2, and I must say that I prefer the latter.

But I still do quite a lot work with GIMP, which still is free, and bug-free (not so with Aperature), but Lightroom will be the basic of my editing soon!

8:34 pm - Monday, April 26, 2010

#22 Bryan

i have used all the above mentioned software and light room is the best and contrary to what others are saying $300 is reasonable and welllll worth it

7:39 pm - Monday, November 1, 2010

#23 Jim

You guys are fooling yourselves. Every serious photographer needs Photoshop. Period. Why pay the extra 300 for Lightroom when everything you need and more is in Photoshop/Bridge?

9:34 pm - Thursday, October 6, 2011

#24 Tord S Eriksson

I forgot to mention Phocus, Hasselblad’s photo editing software, that as yet is totally free!

11:33 pm - Thursday, October 6, 2011

#25 Tord S Eriksson


This is a very competent piece of photo editing software, that doesn’t cost anything, is totally free, gratis, and with no string attached!

9:12 am - Friday, October 7, 2011

#26 Nick

@Jim Have you converted over to Lightroom yet? lol Love LR4 its amazing!

10:46 pm - Wednesday, November 7, 2012