Adobe’s pro photo enhancer gets an update
£103.88 or £8.47/month Developer Adobe, adobe.com
Requirements OS X 10.8 or higher
Lightroom is Adobe’s professional photo enhancing and cataloguing program and it’s designed to be used alongside a regular image editor such as Photoshop. Indeed, if you buy it using the Creative Cloud subscription option instead of a one‑off fee, you’ll get Photoshop included. Lightroom’s editing tools don’t reach the same depths as Photoshop’s, but it’s made with a slightly different intention – simpler, non-destructive improvements to photos, rather than full editing of images with lots of layers.
Adobe has introduced new tools for organising photos, but the main additions are to the editing tools. There are also exciting new panorama and HDR tools, and it’s now possible to “brush out” areas adjusted with the Graduated and Radial filter tools. Lightroom 6 also introduces face recognition, new HTML5 web galleries and a major upgrade to the Slideshow tools.
Blending several images to make an HDR composite is simple. There are options for ‘deghosting’ if you have objects moving between the frames, such as leaves and branches or passersby. It can take a minute or so to blend images, eventually producing a realistic one with shadows and highlights intact but without unrealistic tonal compression or flattened contrast. Panorama merges result in pleasingly seamless compositions.
It’s now possible to manually mask out areas modified by the Gradient and Radial Filters; sometimes you’ll have buildings or other objects jutting out into a darkened sky – and you don’t want these objects darkened by the Gradient Filter. It’s also now possible to move the “pins” created by the Adjustment Brush.
If you’re an enthusiast, expert or pro and need software to enhance your photos, Lightroom is the best choice
It’s perhaps a little odd to find face detection and recognition tools in a professional image cataloging application, but it will appeal to those who used the feature in Aperture or iPhoto.
At first, Lightroom can still identify unique faces and group them together, but you have to tell it who these people are. The more you use it, though, the more it’s able to suggest names automatically.
There are many other small improvements and additions too, which add up to make Lightroom a great next step for people moving on from Aperture or iPhoto/Photos.
If you’re a photo enthusiast, expert or professional who needs software to organise, output and enhance your pictures, Lightroom is the best choice – albeit with a few minor quibbles. Rod Lawton
Plenty of good improvements ensure Lightroom remains the go-to choice for pro photographers.
Good catalogue and search tools
HDR and panorama merging
Powerful, careful editing
Subscription needed for Cloud
Lightroom’s editing tools offer simpler, less destructive effects than Photoshop’s.
Before and after: Lightroom lets you see how your changes will take effect.