• todd@toddeswenson.com

Lightroom: First Impressions


It’s either a case of I’ve been duped by the power of a marketing campaign, or maybe everyone else is on something. Because here’s the deal, Adobe has been around for, well, awhile and they’ve been making software products just as long. Shouldn’t they’ve figured this out by now.

Make something that just works. And really, this goes for all software [and hardware] developers.

Here’s my first rant: it crashed [almost] immediately. Here’s how it went down. I set up my Creative Cloud account and then downloaded and installed the software. The software launched, I entered my credentials, watched the intro video and then it crashed. I couldn’t believe it. Thankfully, once relaunched, the issue seemed to have resolved itself.

Quick note: I actually downloaded the iOS edition for my iPad first and did a bit of mobile editing for a recent shoot. I was somewhat impressed with the capabilities of the mobile platform, but ultimately disappointed. More on this in a bit.

Back to the desktop version, because seriously if you edit photos, this is where you do the bulk of your work. The user interface (UI) is fairly intuitive, but I did have to do some searching for some of the common controls I use. An example: Adobe calls the brightness tool, “lights.” Which I suppose makes sense as it’s related to the “darks” tool.

One thing I noticed right away is the difference of color and contrast on my display between the mobile and the desktop versions. But this is mainly the differences of the actual screens used, so I won’t spend too much time on this. That being said, I think the mobile version is novel at best. The real question for me is: would I actually use it to produce deliverable images? At this point, my answer is: highly unlikely.

I edited some previously unedited .jpg image files that I had exported from my RAW files using Aperture specifically for this initial test of the mobile version. And to be frank, I wouldn’t show the results to anyone. I’ve made better results using iOS apps like Camera+ or Snapseed.

Here’s another other thing, Lightroom boasts non-destructive editing and the ability to sync photos between mobile and desktop. Sort of like, work on something while you’re on the go and finish it later on the desktop or vice versa. Well, unless I missed something, the photos did sync, but the history, you know the thing that actually matters when it comes to non-destructive editing, was missing. I’m going to look into this more, but thus far my .jpg files edited on mobile didn’t seem to have history on the desktop and the .CR2 files edited using the desktop version didn’t seem have history (or even originals) on mobile.

UPDATE: Lightroom does offer non-destructive editing throughout the platform. The history is available, sort-of, but it doesn’t give you true history, just the ability to make changes in a non-destructive fashion. The one thing I wish to be possible is the ability to easily peek at the original for comparison.

Stay tuned for more impressions and insights as I continue to explore Lightroom as a potential replacement for Aperture in my search for photo editing software.


Todd E. Swenson is a headshot and portrait photographer based in Tacoma, Washington and will travel down the street or around the globe to make amazing pictures for you.

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