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5 Useful Upgrades In Photoshop Lightroom 2.0

LR2Photoshop Lightroom has proven to be a great asset to digital photographers.  From the beginning Lightroom has been aimed at the digital photographer, offering up simple tools to aid the most repeated of Photoshop’s tools while keeping the interface simple and workflow logical.  With Adobe’s latest release of Lightroom 2.0 (the upgrade from 1.0 is $99) the bar has been set quite a bit higher.  Lightroom has become truly useful to the amateur and pro alike with this latest release so let’s look at some of the more prominent new features.

1. Edit in Photoshop Feature Improved

In Lightroom 1.X, choosing to edit an image in Photoshop caused Lightroom to create a TIFF or PSD file, taking extra time and space.  Exports have been sped up and new features added, including the ability to select multiple photos and have Photoshop CS3 merge them into a panorama or HDR image.  No need to select which version of PSD or make any other adjustment.  You can even export multiple images into separate layers if you like.

2. Multiple Monitor Support

Multiple Monitors Finally!  For those of us with multiple monitors this update is a godsend.  Even if you don’t have multiple monitors, this feature can help with work flow by separating views to separate windows.  And you can choose which view is in each window or monitor.  Keep a grid view on one monitor while you zoom in and develop on the second screen.  Taking advantage of additional real estate really helps improve work flow.

 3. Graduated Filter Tool Added

g button gradientThis one is quite possibly my favorite.  Until I get more in the swing of using a graduated filter on my camera when taking pictures, this tool does the trick.  The image at right shows the filter in action in the “After” frame, with the center dot allowing control over location and rotation of the graduated filter.  From there the upper and lower edges of the filter can be drug up or down until the desired effect is reached.  Fine turning can be managed by adjusting exposure, brightness, contrast, saturation, clarity, sharpness or add a color hue.  In the example I’ve rotated the filter to the right to compensate for sunlight streaming in from the side while reducing the exposure by 1.3 stops and adding a slight light blue hue.  All of these steps were very easy to tweak and there was no needed to export to Photoshop CS3.

4. Retouch Brush Goes Local

adjustment The addition of the retouch brush adds a whole passel of much appreciated adjustments previously only found in Photoshop CS3.  As in regular Photoshop, the brush allows painting of certain effects to local areas of images.  The brush size, feather, flow and density can be adjusted.  In conjunction with this tool, the other adjustment tools (crop, spot removal, red eye and graduated filter) are now located on the right panel.

5. Print Packages Offer Options

printSometimes it’s the little things that matter most.  An aspect of the print feature in previous versions of Lightroom that always bugged me was having to use another program to effectively organize multiple different sized prints on a single large sheet of paper.   Now various sizes can be mixed and matched to your heart’s desire.  Let’s say you need 3 4x6s, 6 2.5×3.5s and a couple of credit card sized prints?  No problem!  Lightroom will make the most of your paper and organize the images, adding in extra pages as needed.  No need to continually change paper in the printer and tend multiple jobs.

Lightroom was decent to work with before and now I find it a real joy.  The improvements are leading to easier workflow and a quicker turn around in my overall process.  For those that have upgraded, please feel free to share your favorite new or updated features in the comments section below.

Peter is an avid photographer who enjoys travel, portraiture and wildlife photography. A travel related blog of his past and current shenanigans can be found at The Carey Adventures.

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Peter West Carey
Peter West Carey

leads photo tours and workshops in Nepal, Bhutan, Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles and beyond. He is also the creator of Photography Basics – A 43 Day Adventure & 40 Photography Experiments, web-based tutorials taking curious photographers on a fun ride through the basics of learning photography.

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