Landscape photograph

Photo Credit – Wim van den Heever

A few frequently asked questions about Adobe Lightroom

Since we know she is quite the expert, we decided to approach Karen Denton from IMAGEDIT to share with us her knowledge about the subject of Adobe Lightroom.  She offers one-on-one classes for those struggling with the program or for those who want to take full advantage of Adobe Lightroom.  We asked her a few questions…

Seascape photograph

Photo Credit – Wim van den Heever

1)  What was Lightroom originally designed for?

Lightroom was a spinoff from the very popular Photoshop programme from Adobe that was and is ultimately a graphic design programme. When it was discovered that a number of international photographers were using Photoshop to enhance their images, Adobe adapted the programme, removing the graphic design features, but adding a number of essential aspects for professional, amateur and hobby photographers.

2)  How would you compare Lightroom to Photoshop?

Essentially these are different programmers. Both are from Adobe, but Lightroom is specific for photographers of all levels and abilities. As mentioned above, Photoshop is a superb graphic design programme.

3)  On how many devices can you use Lightroom?

Although Lightroom CC is a single user application, you are able to activate and sync the programme to all your devices including iPhones, iPads, and android devices.

4)  Can you please explain to our readers, step-by-step, the basic procedures to follow when starting out with Lightroom?

The most important step when starting with Lightroom is to organise your images appropriately on your computer system. It is essential to understand that the Library module recognises and references where images are on your computer. So, understanding that Lightroom does NOT actually ‘import’ images physically into the programme will help a lot with understanding how the programme functions from there onward. Lightroom ‘sees’ where you have stored your photos, the way that you have placed them on your system; so it is essential to get your filing system correct before even opening Lightroom for the first time. Then decide whether you want the physical programme on a CD (Lightroom 6) or whether you would prefer the online option that Adobe has for photographers on the Cloud.

5)  How can you accurately sharpen an image?

Lightroom has different sliders in different sections of the Develop Module that an assist with making an image appear sharper. These include the ‘contrast’ and ‘clarity’ sliders as well as a whole panel devoted to sharpening a photograph. One word of warning: over-enthusiastic use of these sliders could degrade/pixelate images, so do use them with caution.

6)  How can you reduce an image’s noise?

A separate set of instructions in the Detail Panel of the Develop Module help you to address both colour noise and luminance noise. These sliders are particularly effective, but as before, do not have an over-enthusiastic approach.

7)  How can you compare multiple photos to pick the best one?

Very often one takes a number of similar images of the same scene or subject. To compare these easily, Lightroom allows you to select a number at a time in the Library Module and then press the icon on the tool bar that resembles a photo collage or use the keyboard shortcut ‘N’. For a really good view you van toggle shift/tab to remove the side panel interfaces. To remove an image from this view click on the ‘X’ that appears on the image when you mouse over it. When done, press ‘G’ to return to your normal grid view. (You can also select two images and press ‘C’ to compare two images, but this method is a bit more complex and needs a little more instruction to get it right)

8)  Do you have any tips or secrets you have to share with our readers?

Lightroom really is an amazing programme that answers almost every need that a photographer may have. The most important tip I would say is to learn to use the programme properly. Many people try to teach themselves, which is often like someone teaching themselves to fly an aeroplane without any lessons other than the odd bit of advice from different internet sources or friends. Time after time I have encountered people who have used the programme for months or years, and when they attend a class the invariable response again and again is ‘WOW! I had no idea that Lightroom can do that …!’

Photograph of two Giraffe in the wild

Photo Credit – Wim van den Heever