Light­room 6

Adobe’s pro photo en­hancer gets an up­date

Mac Format - - RATED -

£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.

Sweep­ing change

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.

Small im­prove­ments

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.

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