Adobe Lightroom 4 Beta Review

Lightroom 4 Beta
Lightroom 4 Beta

It was a strange coincidence that I took to digital photography and Adobe introduced Lightroom simultaneously. Both these events happened exactly six years ago. In last six years Adobe Lightroom has changed the way many photographers manage their images. The powerful cataloging and developing features in Lightroom provide photographers a great ability to manage their photographic workflow and efficiently manage the thousands of photos they click. I’ll be taking a look at some of the new features of Adobe Lightroom 4, which is currently in Beta.

Adobe’s Lightroom 4 Beta can be downloaded from here. The beta is free and is a great opportunity to test the software and to contribute to its development by giving your feedback to Adobe. There are a number of exciting features built into the latest version of Lightroom.

Develop Module

Lightroom is a modular software. New version introduces two new modules thus increasing the modules to seven, each of which allow you to process your images into different outputs. The Develop module is the most hub of editing activity and the list of changes in LR4 surely will excite many photographers.

New Modules in Lightroom 4 Beta
New Modules in Lightroom 4 Beta

There is a whole new uniform and radical change in the way images are handled. Image editing controls are now more powerful and provide for a greater level of control than the past versions. After a couple of days of testing, I can say that the changes to the develop module have improved my editing by allowing for precise control of the digital development of my images. Whole of Spellbound performamnce I published earlier in 2 parts here and here would not have been possible without the help of Lightroom 4 capabilities

Changes in basic develop panel in Lightroom 4
Changes in basic develop panel in Lightroom 4

Earlier versions of Lightroom has two sliders controlling the exposure of your images. There was Exposure slider to shift the exposure of your images, but also a brightness slider. In Lightroom 4. The exposure slider now controls the overall exposure of the image, while three new sliders are found for precise image control over varying regions of the photo. One of the major changes in Lightroom 4 is the addition of the highlights, shadows, and white level adjustments. These sliders and the blacks slider to provide for precise control over the exposure of different regions of your images.

The clarity slider which is one of my favorite slider in earlier versions. The clarity slider is designed to really enhance the fine details. The new version of the clarity slider does just that.The Develop module is certainly a changing experience with the recovery and fill light sliders now being exchanged for the exposure range controls.

New Develop Process Version 2012 in Lightroom 4 Beta
New Develop Process Version 2012 in Lightroom 4 Beta

The image processing engine has been revamped from Develop Process Version 2010 to 2012 version. Personally, I believe that the new process allows for tighter control of the way we develop our images.

Soft Proofing

Soft Proofing feature allows the user to preview the image as it will appear in print. Again, this all takes place within your Lightroom workflow, so comparing the on-screen version to the soft-proofed version is a breeze. The red areas of this image help us to visualize the areas that will need adjustment for printing; these regions show us what is out of gamut and what won’t translate to a print version of our photo. With these guides, we can make the adjustments to images necessary to get the print perfect the first try.

Soft Proofing in Lightroom 4 Beta
Soft Proofing in Lightroom 4 Beta

Map Module

Lightroom 4 brings two entirely new modules that will excite many photographers; the Maps and Books module are two entirely new parts of the Lightroom digital workflow. Map module tightly integrated with Google Maps, the application can now place map markers that note the location at which your photos were made.

Map module in Lightroom 4 Beta
Map module in Lightroom 4 Beta

Since I do not yet own a camera with automatic image tagging, I imported my GPS tracks from Qstarz BT-Q1000XT GPS logger. Unfortunates map module had no way finding out from that data. So I am back to my trusted Jeffrey’s “GPS-Support” Geoencoding Plugin for Lightroom. Once geotagged I could easily navigate on the map module and locate my photos there. Photographers can also manually drag and drop images onto the map, or use a tracklog to geotag photos.

Book Module

Lightroom 4 is the Book module makes it easier to publish photo books. The Book module handles the book creation process from start to finish. With many layout, size and publishing options and in-depth customization, photographers may find themselves sending their work to print than ever before. The full edition of Lightroom 4 will include over 180 professionally designed templates and layouts.

Book module in Lightroom 4 Beta
Book module in Lightroom 4 Beta

Adobe partnered with one of the leading publishers, Blurb, to provide this seamless experience. A feature that wowed me was that pricing for the book you are designing automatically updates as you add pages and alter your book design. The fact that this all takes place within Lightroom is astonishing to me. This seamless experience is unrivaled in any other photo software. We can now take our image from the memory card, review and tag images in the Library module, make changes in the Develop module, and send it straight to a printer in the Books module.

Video Editing

Adobe has taken major steps to add some of the features of Lightroom to video. Although the entire Develop module is not available yet for video clips, we can tweak the clips to an extent. Furthermore, we now have the ability to make changes to the lengths of clips, as well as basic color and visual adjustments. In the screenshot below I used aged B&W preset on the video and convert it to a B&W video in just one click. We can also save individual frames as still pictures.

Video Editing in Lightroom 4 Beta
Video Editing in Lightroom 4 Beta

Lightroom 4’s brand new video features include adjusting white balance, vibrancy, and editing the length of the video. You can also extract stills or add some in to the video. You can produce the entire video within Lightroom and also export it.

Email Photos

Emailing a photo can now be done entirely within the application. The new Lightroom 4 email option allows me to attach an image and send it, all from within my photo catalog.

Emailing from Lightroom 4 Beta
Emailing from Lightroom 4 Beta

With Lightroom 4, “The Lightroom workflow” is more powerful than ever with new modules and extensions of the already existing modules. Not only its well trusted features been greatly improved, the new features are introduced which are sure to become favorites of photographers of all types. Make sure to head over to Adobe’s website and give it a try today.

If you want to learn more there are plenty of resources online on Adobe Lightroom 4, I recommend detailed Introduction to Lightroom 4 Beta from Julieanne Kost.

I am also conducting a comprehensive one day workshop on Adobe Lightroom. I will be covering complete photography workflow using both Lightroom 3 as well as 4 beta on February 26th. If you are interested contact me. Here are the details of the Lightroom workshop

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Share