I’ve been a longtime user of Adobe Lightroom, and I love it. I’ve been asked to give presentations on Lightroom at my photo club, and I sometimes use my notes from that session to share on bulletin boards on Reddit. So here it is, for my own reference:
Q: How is Lightroom different from Photoshop? Photoshop is for doing intensive manipulation of individual photos.
Lightroom is for managing your whole photo workflow, including:
Organize your photos
- Manage metadata
- Find, sort, and rank photos
- Create collections
- Compare similars
Develop your photos
- Color correction
- Dust & redeye removal
- Tonal adjustments
- Noise Reduction
- Lens corrections
- Virtual copies
- Compare before/after
Q: How is that different from Bridge?
The corrections are all the same that you can do with Adobe Camera RAW; I believe Bridge, Photoshop, and Lightroom all use the same Camera Raw. So those are more or less the same.
However, Lightroom is based on a database. Any changes you make to the photos are stored in the database, not the original image. Similar to the XMP files that Bridge uses, but more robust.
You can save develop settings as presets. And you can share presets with other users. I have a library of dozens of presets I have collected, and I can go from one to the next with just a click.
Like in iTunes playlist, you can make collections. An image can be in multiple collections. So you can organize your photos for projects. You can also make smart collections; so you can instantly collect in one place all your photos with a particular keyword, or multiple keywords: all your “four star” images taken in “london” with “Susan” in them. Or see what lenses you used the most in 2011.
But probably the biggest difference from Bridge is virtual copies. You can replicate an image over and over without actually replicating the file. That way, you can try different processing variations and compare them side by side.
There’s also a printing module which is useful if you print your own photos. I used to save off .psd’s at different aspect ratios, creating multiple files of my favorite images at 8×10, 5×7, etc. With Lightroom, it’s just a preset for each image size.