Thursday, July 7, 2022
HomeCamera TechDo You Love and Hate Lightroom as Much as Me?

Do You Love and Hate Lightroom as Much as Me?

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I have to admit it: I’ve never been on team Lightroom. This may be a bit of a low blow, but Lightroom has always seemed like the sandbox for those who couldn’t play on the big-boy playground: Photoshop, of course.

Even so, I use Lightroom every day. I import my pictures, run them through a basic preset I created, cull, and export my selected keepers to work on in Photoshop. I know Lightroom has made notable changes over the last year, so when I saw the Mastering Adobe Lightroom With Pye Jirsa class, I thought it would be a good idea to pull my sleeves up and make sure I was getting the most out of my software.

Having used Lightroom for about 15 years now, I found I knew most of what was covered in the material. I think this would be the perfect class for photographers learning Lightroom or for those who have a basic knowledge but want a deeper skill set in the software. Even so, I picked up three tips that have been great add-ons to make my editing more precise and faster. There is still one aspect where Lightroom under-performs glaringly, and I will touch on that at the end. First, what I learned.

1. Sharpening Using Radius

The Sharpening Tool has four different sliders: Amount, Radius, Detail, and Masking. In the past, I’ve only used the “Amount” slider, and sparingly at that. It’s not too long before the images look overly texturized and grainy. I do more precise sharpening in Photoshop, using High Pass and other adjustments. What I learned in the Fstoppers class was that “Radius” allows you to sharpen the area around the edges. The default value of 1.0 means that Lightroom will apply sharpening over one pixel around the edge. If you increase the radius to 3.0, sharpening will be spread over three pixels around the edge, resulting in thicker, more defined edges. This allows you to get more dramatic edges without oversharpening the entire image.

2. Photo Stitching for Panoramas

You surely know that images can be stitched together in Photoshop to create expansive landscape panoramas and more, but did you know that Lightroom CC released this capability in 2021? It’s shockingly effortless and quick. Here is a video on how to stitch together images in Lightroom.

https://youtu.be/doEzj658_8I

3. Selecting and Adjusting a Specific Color

Do you ever love an image, but the color or saturation are off in one color range? Maybe it was a model wearing a hot pink top, or the grass that looks more yellow than green. If you find yourself in this scenario, there is a tiny dial in the top left corner of the HSL/Color tab that will quickly become your new best friend. You can click it, and using the eye-dropper, select the specific color you would like to adjust.

Now, the one thing I simply cannot understand about Lightroom is its sampling. For all the AI advances Lightroom has made in the latest versions, how is the sampling for spot correction so unintelligent? Here are a few screenshots of where Lightroom chose to sample in these no-brainer scenarios. 

You can see in the image above it chose to sample the edge of the iguana’s head instead of the grass. 

Here again, it chose to sample the edge of the red lip for the skin. 

In this shot, Lightroom chose to sample from a completely different pattern rather than the surrounding texture. In the Cloning and Healing section in the Mastering Lightroom class, Pye Jirsa noted: “sometimes, Lightroom doesn’t do a great job at sampling.” I was vindicated that I wasn’t the only one who thought so.

With its new features such as layered masking, subject and sky selection, and more, has Lightroom made enough improvements for it to be a plausible all-in-one stop for editing? For me, not yet. It’s just not as precise and intelligent as Photoshop is. It does a good job but not a great job too often. Though, I’ve started to do more in Lightroom before heading over to the big kids’ playground. Lightroom feels faster and better for making broad adjustments over big batches, but in my book, it doesn’t come close to measuring up to what I need to take an image from raw to deliverable. 

What about you? Do you love it? Hate it? Are you somewhere in between like I am? Are there any new improvements in Lightroom that have revolutionized your editing? How does it compare to Photoshop? Leave a comment below. 

Happy editing!





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