Lightroom 3 rocks!

I tried every single version of Lightroom and Aperture, never liked the way they handled my photos. I always manually organize into a folder hierarchy loosely based on year and then month or event, looked at them in Bridge, and did most adjustments in ACR, and popped into PS for more adjustments or retouching.

A couple of my friends really like Lightroom so last weekend I decided to give Lightroom 3 a try, I had the beta a while ago and didn’t like it. After using it for a couple of days, all I can say is WOW, really awesome software for organizing and editing your photos. If you shoot a lot, and have photos stored across different hard drive volumes, you should use Lightroom 3. Here are a couple of things it really does right:

  • It imports photos into directory structure of your choosing, by default it creates top-level folders by year, and sub-folders of dates, which is pretty much how I did it manually before
  • It is fast! Lightroom 3 and CS5 are finally all Mac native and 64-bit, everything is very very fast
  • After importing about 35k photos across 3 different locations, I can easily find photos based on Metadata. For example, it’s easy to create a smart folder with all photos shot with a particular camera (by model or even serial number), I also have folders of shots with particular lens
  • There is an awesome plugin to run through a selection of photos (or all photos, if you want) and shows you a plot of the focal lengths you use. This is great when I was deciding between which lens to acquire. Here’s how my bar chart looks like, and this was run on all photos (well almost all, I deleted a lot of paid shoots coz I don’t need to keep them) shot with my copy of 5D Mark II:
  • Jeffrey's Focal-Length Plot
    Uploaded with plasq‘s Skitch!
  • For most things you can do in ACR, you can do in Lightroom, unless you’re retouching, there is almost no reason to open images in Photoshop. But when you do, Lightroom has tight integration with Photoshop and it works great
  • It supports dual-screen mode, this is really awesome if you have dual display! I can have a grid on 1 display with the Loupe view on another, this is much faster than zooming in and out in a single display
  • It publishes directly to Flickr, it syncs comments, views, title, caption, and tags. If you edit photos that have already been published to Flickr, you can simple re-publish and it will figure out how to replace the photos on Flickr instead of uploading new ones. When you use a publish service, it automatically converts to the desired format for upload and then delete them, which is really nice. Before I manually did that in Photoshop and was a pain to convert a lot of them (even converting in batches in Bridge was annoying)
  • It’s really easy and fast to sort through your entire photo library by metadata, ratings, tags, etc

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