So I hope this is not going to shock any of my readers, but I have been having a not-so-secret passionate photo-editing affair with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2 . I do some wedding editing on the side for a friend and I was so overwhelmed with the massive amount of images I had to process, I decided to listen to the good people at Flickr's Natural Light Child Photography and bite the bullet and get a copy. I also bought The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2 Book for Digital Photographers (Voices That Matter) by Scott Kelby because he taught me so much about Photoshop and Photoshop Elements over the years and I love how he gets right to the point.
I spent one evening reading the book and that week edited my first wedding. I must tell you that I HATED LR2 with a passion in the beginning. It is so different than Photoshop and I was resistant to change. I went on and on to my husband how the program was the worst editing program I had ever used. But I stuck with it and a few weddings later I was in love, not with editing weddings ;-), but using LR2 on my own images.
Sure, I knew LR2 was supposed to be great for photographers and I had heard it was easy to organize your images. And it uses the same CS4 ACR RAW processing (and in a more basic level PSE6 and PSE7). Plus you can run your .jpgs through the RAW processor and get great results. And I was amazed that you can go back and make changes to your RAW or .jpg edit at any time, because until you export your finished edit (which you can do at any time), all of the changes you made are there where you can see them. Unlike CS4 or PSE7, if you get bored editing, you can instantly turn off the program and not have to save ANYTHING, all of the changes on all of the images are there. I can't really explain how great that is, but if you can download a free 30 day trial from Adobe, then by all means do and play around with it.
OK, but it even gets better! I never realized that you can soften skin, pop eyes, and dodge and burn in LR2. I did all of the above (after basic color/contrast correction) on my little Imp above. I even removed a scratch or two from his face (boys always have scratches and dirt!). This edit took me a minute or less, it was that easy! No actions, presets, nothing. Just a few quick tweaks. And I feel this edit is completely comparable to what I would have done in CS4 or PSE6. Oh, on a side note, Imp still has a few of his baby curls. I had to photograph them before Daddy chops them off. Oh, and I used my Rebel XT and cheap Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Camera Lens . I am thinking that my camera still takes pretty decent images, so I am going to hang on to it for a while longer.
So you might ask if I still use Photoshop. OH YES! I use it all of the time, but just on "special" edits where I want to use textures or perhaps pop the color a bit more or use one of my actions to get a special effect. I have had people ask me if I would buy CS4 or LR2 if I could only get one program. Well, if you are like me and processing 1,000's of images/month and are a complete photo-editing nerd AND/OR you have money to burn, I would suggest getting both programs. If you want to be a bit more frugal but process many images and still want to do textures and other cool effects you can't do in LR2, get LR2 and PSE7. If you just want to process images and aren't concerned about using textures and making scrapbooking patterns/brushes/ribbons/etc., then I would just get LR2 or PSE7. Truthfully, PSE7 is all you need to make great edits, and in many ways it is more powerful than LR2, so it is an excellent choice if you want to save the money and put that toward a new lens!
So I am thinking about branching out and start posting some LR2 tutorials and free presets (when I have the time!). Let me know if anyone out there is interested. I won't neglect my first love, Photoshop and Photoshop Elements, but just add to the mix. I love all three programs.