Mac Format - - IMPROVE | MAC APPS -

Since Light­room of­fers non4 de­struc­tive edit­ing, you can ex­per­i­ment with th­ese slid­ers, safe in the knowl­edge that you’re not do­ing any last­ing harm to your pre­cious pho­tos.

As with Aper­ture and iPhoto, Light­room is a non-de­struc­tive edit­ing app. This means the ad­just­ments you make to an im­age are saved not over the im­age file it­self, but as a com­pan­ion file that lives in the Cat­a­log. The changes aren’t ap­plied un­til a new im­age is ex­ported, leav­ing the orig­i­nal in­tact. The pro­gram may be geared to­ward pro­cess­ing the raw files gen­er­ated by high-end com­pacts, com­pact sys­tem cam­eras or DSLRs, but it’s quite happy edit­ing your JPEGs, and the key­word­ing, colour-cod­ing and lo­ca­tion fea­tures that help to or­gan­ise your photo li­brary still work per­fectly.

Im­por­tance of im­port­ing

The first thing you need to do is to im­port some pic­tures. An im­port but­ton lives at the bot­tom-left of the Li­brary mod­ule, which is open when you first run the app. You can set Light­room to open the im­port win­dow when a cam­era mem­ory card is de­tected, or you can point it to a card or hard drive folder man­u­ally.

Im­port­ing gives you four op­tions: Copy as DNG, Copy, Move or Add. The first two copy im­age files to a new lo­ca­tion and add them to your Cat­a­log, with the for­mer con­vert­ing raw files to Adobe’s open Dig­i­tal Neg­a­tive raw im­age for­mat. Move moves the files to a new lo­ca­tion, re­mov­ing them from their orig­i­nal home, while Add sim­ply adds them to the Cat­a­log with­out chang­ing the orig­i­nals’ lo­ca­tion – use­ful for images al­ready stored on an ex­ter­nal hard drive.

On im­port, you can check a box to cre­ate Smart Pre­views. Th­ese al­low you to keep edit­ing your files with­out the orig­i­nals present, but gen­er­at­ing them takes a long time if you’re work­ing with a lot of pho­tos, even on an SSD. Cre­at­ing Smart Pre­views for 1,200 or so raw files added 750MB to our Cat­a­log, but that’s a lot less than the 30GB the orig­i­nals took up.

Once im­ported, it’s on to the De­velop mod­ule. You can switch be­tween mod­ules at the top-right of the in­ter­face, and it’s the mod­u­lar na­ture that marks Light­room’s big­gest dif­fer­ence from Aper­ture. While Ap­ple’s app lets you edit the thumb­nail in its

The max­i­mum zoom pro­vided in De­velop is 11:1; but of course you won’t of­ten need to zoom in quite so far!

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