Saturday, 19 November 2016

Learning (a bit more) Lightroom - 16 November 2016

It seems that most members of the club have now expressed their interest in Lightroom, having seen many fine examples of the power of this photo-editing software through the competitions and more importantly, hearing about its vast range of tools when we meet to take a closer look at our work.

On the back of the recent buddy night, this evening dedicated to Lightroom saw three of us step into (or rather sit down at) the spotlight and pass on what we know about what is, in my humble view, the best piece of photo processing software available. Adobe listened to photographers before they launched this many years ago and it shows!

I was first up to hopefully offer some insight into how to get your photos from your memory cards and into the "Library" as Lightroom calls its storage files. There are many options here and one of the most useful things to remember is that you can decide what to include, or not, as the case may be. Many members were interested in the "key words" aspect, whereby you can add any description you like for your photo and thus, if the need arises, later search for all photos with one or more words used to describe them. We also heard how Mark has his work filed in a detailed format (month, year, location, etc.) as well as the many ways in which the user can view the photos once in Lightroom.

Mark then took us through some topics which had been raised by members, including adding a keyline - I think we all agreed Photoshop was best for that - HDR and panoramas. Here again, we were challenged by how powerful this software is as we struggled to see the join in Mark's Seattle panorama. Mark also demonstrated the "Dehaze" tool to excellent effect on a rainy day photo. It is yet another hidden item deep down in the menu that is worth exploring.

To close, Jane's work showed us how we can make some corrections, edits and more subtle changes to our photos. These ranged through exposure, contrast, spot removal, use of filters and the saturation options available. Suffice to say that time caught up with Jane before she had shared all of her skills and before we knew it, we had reached 10 pm.

I think I can safely say that all of us came out with more knowledge of it than when we began that evening a couple of hours before and we could have easily sat there for two more!

It was marvellous to have many other members engage with questions, comments and frequently provide a welcome insight into even more of what Lightroom is capable of.

We have only really gone through some of the most immediate tools shown in the Develop stage but there is a distinct feeling that members will welcome a chance to know more. I encourage all who have invested money in Lightroom to now invest their even more valuable time and play with it to their heart's content. It is the most intuitive software I have worked with and you will hopefully keep surprising yourself with what it can do to your photographs. Enjoy!

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