Here’s some worrying news: Google just abandoned Nik’s software suite — the same Nik suite that it bought five years ago, and the same Nik suite that it started offering for free in March of 2016. What does this mean for the world of photography software? One discontinued product might not seem like a big deal, and you may not even be a Nik user, but this development should worry any digital photographer.
Without a doubt, Lightroom is a powerful software package for editing images. But did you know that it is also one of the most preferred tools to stitch panoramic images? Ever since Adobe released Lightroom 6 and CC, the capability to stitch images into DNG files has been integrated right into the product core. If in the past one would have to either use Adobe Photoshop or third party software such as PTGui to stitch panoramas, with the latest versions of Lightroom, one can easily stitch single row and even multi-row panoramas directly from Lightroom. In this article, we will demonstrate how one can successfully stitch panoramas in Lightroom and explain why the use of Lightroom specifically might be a preferred method when compared to other third party tools on the market.
Adobe Lightroom is a massive, lumbering behemoth of photography software with enough functions and processes to make any photographer go crazy. At the simplest level, though, Lightroom was created to help you do just three things: sort your photos, post-process them, and export them. On Photography Life alone, we already have more than 100 articles about Lightroom — the equivalent of several books — and other websites have countless more. Clearly, it’s an important topic to learn, whether you’re just starting out or you’re an advanced photographer. In this guide, I will go over the process of using Lightroom for beginners, from start to finish, including tips on the topics that tend to confuse people the most.
Ever since I started using Lightroom back in 2007, I have been keeping a backup of every single version on my computer, making sure that I had the latest version of that particular release. With the very first version of Lightroom having a few issues and not having 64-bit architecture support, I ended up deleting it, so the first release of Lightroom I actually preserved was Lightroom 2 (the latest build of that release was Lightroom 2.7). The next stable build I preserved was Lightroom 3.6. From there, it was Lightroom 4.4 that I used the most before Adobe released Lightroom 5. With the release of LR 5, Adobe introduced Lightroom CC, which was the first cloud version of Lightroom. From there, Lightroom CC 2014 was rolled out, which was equivalent to version 5.4 of LR standalone. The big release was Lightroom 6 (CC 2015), which is the most current version, the latest release being Lightroom 6.6.1, or Lightroom CC 2015.6.1 if you use the cloud version of the software. So what do you do when you have all these versions of the software? Well, I installed them all on my Windows 10 PC and decided to give them all a try and see how much Adobe has been improving the performance of the software over the years. The results are quite interesting to say the least!
With so many editing / post-processing software packages on the market today, photographers might find it rather difficult to go through them all and compare key features in order to pick something that would ultimately work for their needs. Many of us go through that stage, especially when starting out. What is the best software for photo editing? What features does it have? Is it easy to learn and how much does it cost? These are just some of the questions photographers seek answers for. While John Bosley and I have been working hard on producing our PL Level 1: Post-Processing Basics course, we have decided to share one of the charts that we will be including in the course with our readers, which compares the most popular non-destructive editing tools on the market. It took us a while to compile all this data, since there are so many different features and considerations one must go through to make a meaningful comparison. The chart has not been fully finalized yet, since we are currently looking for your feedback and ideas, so that we can hopefully make the chart complete and comprehensive enough for those who are interested in such a comparison.
As we already mentioned in the previous article “Where are my Mid-tones?“, most raw converters apply some hidden adjustments to a raw shot, often resulting in a bumped mid-tone, clipped highlights, and compressed shadows. This is done to make the shot look good, but can also lead to all sorts of confusion. If you are using or planning to use some raw converter, you may want to know what “beautifiers” it applies, and their price.
Today Adobe released a bunch of updates to its Creative Cloud suite, along with a new Lightroom 6.4 update. Aside from the regular bugfixes and new camera and lens profiles, Adobe introduced a new feature to its panorama stitching option within Lightroom called “Boundary Warp”, which is basically a tool that allows straightening the curves we usually see in panoramas. As we have seen before, while bugfixes and camera / lens profiles are available for all versions, new features are only available for Creative Cloud subscribers, so the Lightroom 6.4 standalone update won’t include the “Boundary Warp” feature. In addition, Adobe promises to double the speed of the panorama merging process, as well as much faster thumbnail updates when settings are copy pasted to multiple images at once. I have been running Lightroom CC 2015.4 for a few hours today and while I cannot yet state if it is more stable than the previous version, the panorama stitching process is indeed much faster in comparison. Let’s take a look at the new “Boundary Warp” update in more detail.
We’ve gotten several emails, the most recent and the best phrased one from a reader of Photography Life, with questions along the following lines:
What happened to my mid-tones? I set the exposure using exposure meter, opened the shot in Adobe Lr (or Adobe Camera Raw, or some other converter) … and the shot looks overexposed and everything from mid-tone and up looks very flat. If I shoot in RAW+JPEG, the JPEG looks OK, while the RAW is not. Should I expose lower?
We’ve decided that the reply to this question belongs here.
With Adobe Lightroom being the most popular post-processing tool on the market, one might wonder how good the software really is in processing RAW images. After-all, that’s what we use Lightroom primarily for – to post-process our images and get the best out of them. Having been using Lightroom since the early release versions (dating back to Lightroom 1), I have seen the software grow from a simple RAW editor to a pretty complex piece of software for both image management and powerful RAW processing. While there have been many great additions to Lightroom over time, Adobe certainly has had its share of rather disappointing problems, from typical bugs and stability issues to poor handling of RAW files. True, the software has gotten much more complex and with that complexity, it is surely expected to see potential bugs and issues. But one would hope that things would get better with each new release and bugs would eventually get taken care of. Sadly, the direction where Adobe is heading with Lightroom has just not been looking good. It appears that with every update, instead of getting proper fixes, all we are getting is additional bugs and new features that are not ready for prime time.
For a number of years I have been recommending our readers to convert RAW files from their cameras to Adobe’s DNG format. In my DNG vs RAW article from 2010, I pointed out the reasons why using DNG over RAW made sense – it simplified file management, resulted in smaller files (when compressed or when embedded JPEG image size was reduced) and seemed like a good way to future-proof RAW files. But as time passed, higher resolution cameras were introduced and I started exploring other post-processing options, I realized that DNG had a few major disadvantages that made me abandon it. In this article, I will revisit the DNG format and bring up some of my concerns on why it might not be the ideal choice that I once thought it was.