Sure, try haggling here.
Creative Commons License photo credit: gak

Ok, ok, now before you Lightroom fans get all twisted up, read this and read it carefully. This post isn’t intended to stir things up. I’m not a Lightroom user, but I’m a Photoshop user. Those who know me also know that I’m a big fan of using Adobe Bridge and Adobe Camera Raw to organize and process my photos.

But in no way am I trying to give Lightroom and Adobe a bad name or put the software (or it’s users) down — it’s a great tool, and I know a lot of photographers who swear by it. On that same note, I’ve also had a lot of photographers baffled at my decision to avoid Lightroom. So here they are… the top three reasons why I refuse to use Lightroom:


Creative Commons License photo credit: [.i.c.e.]

I’m sorry, but I’ve already been hit with database issues in the past. I’m sure Adobe has things nailed down pretty tight, but I don’t like the idea of having to rely on those things to keep track of my photos. Call me old fashioned, but I like to place my photos on my hard drive in the folder hierarchy that I’m comfortable with, use sidecar files to store extra information, and only rely on my organization software to view the photos and place/utilize metadata.

Why am I so against a database? Doesn’t it make things faster and more organized? Sure, but what happens when you get new hard drives, upgrade operating systems or entire computers, or decide to use a different photo organization software at some point? You may find yourself out of luck.


Creative Commons License photo credit: Will Pate

I’ve already made the decision that I utilize Photoshop enough to justify paying for it. Yes, Photoshop is a totally different beast from Lightroom, but the software bundled with it isn’t. Lightroom is basically a combination of Adobe Bridge and Adobe Camera Raw — they share many features and they use the same Raw processor.

Lightroom does have a few extra features and conveniences, but is it worth the extra cost if I’m already investing money in Photoshop? I think not. Lightroom and Bridge/ACR are so similar in nature that I’m willing to bet Adobe will leapfrog the two software packages with each new release. Meaning, you can probably expect to see many Lightroom 2 features in the next Bridge/ACR bundle, in addition to some new stuff that Lightroom doesn’t have. Then Lightroom 3 will probably have many of those new features plus some new stuff. And so on, and so on… (note that this is all just speculative rambling on my part, I could be totally off)


Since the introduction of Lightroom, there’s been somewhat of a cult following. I understand that it’s a useful piece of software, but I’ve seen more than one avid Photoshop user jump ship (or decide that they need both Photoshop and Lightroom). I’ve also had several fellow photographers urge me to get on board with Lightroom as if it were the greatest thing since sliced bread.

I tend to ignore the preference of the masses, and make my decisions based on my own needs. I’m the same way with the whole digital vs. film thing — I rather enjoy shooting film, no matter how many times ex-film photographers tell me how terrible the stuff is and how digital is the only way to go. Cool, if it works for you and it makes your life easier, I’m not going to stop you from following that path. I feel the same way about camera brands — I made the decision to shoot Minolta/Sony because it suited my needs best, not because they’re the most popular name brand.


Ok, go ahead and let ‘er rip in the comments. Shred me to pieces. Preach your Lightroom gospel you users of Lightroom. Tell me why I’m wrong, and convince me to change my mind.

Actually… I’m hoping for a healthy conversation about the benefits of Lightroom from all of you using it. There are quite a few non-Lightroom-using photographers out there who could get a lot from such a conversation. I think it’s a great (and cheap) alternative option to Photoshop for a majority of hobbyist photographers.

This post is also part of Problogger’s Killer Titles group writing project.

UPDATE: Here’s a follow-up response from the readers!

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More power to you for sticking with what you know, but I will say that you’re missing out.

1. If you get a new drive or computer you carry over your backup library. If you move files you refind your folders. It’s really not that big of a deal. As to the fears around a database I think you’re letting your paranoia get the better of you. What happens if your hard drive fails? It’s all one and the same. Just have a backup.

2. Redundancy… it is and it isn’t. There is a lot to be said for saving storage with the non-destructive edits in the sidecar files. While that may not be drastically different than what you’re used to the benefit is having the tools in one consolidated piece of software. If you’re working on a set of photos from a common shoot then Lightroom is a real timesaver. Sure you can find equivalent ways of doing things in Photoshop, but Lightroom is truly streamlined for such things.

3. People haven’t jumped onto Lightroom because everyone else is doing it. They’ve done so because the software saves photographers time (processing and searching) and its filled a much needed niche for easily organizing ones work. If you have a system that works then by all means stick with it. I would urge you to resist boxing everyone who uses Lightroom into the overgeneralized “mob”. If it wasn’t something that improved productivity most people would drop it like a bad habit.

Funny thing is that there was a lot of concern with Adobe (internally) before the launch of Lightroom to differentiate why Photoshop versus Lightroom. I still use Photoshop all the time as do most Lightroom users. Lightroom helps you get through the photographs that need minimal work. This works like a charm for studio shoots. The differences maybe a bit nuanced for some, but there are distinct differences. Lightroom enables a quick and easy workflow with functionality to ease professional display for web and print. You can get the same job done in Photoshop it’s just less streamlined. Workflow is the name of the game when it comes to Lightroom.

August 27, 2008 2:23 am

Oh Brian you link baiter!

Its true that Lightroom’s DB is iffy (thankfully Mozy keeps a daily copy) and that trying to use the keyboard for anything is a nightmare (just ask Raoul Pop) but it is a lot quicker to blitz through and reject and pick photos, only to have all of the things I need to process them at hand (I only really ever go to Photoshop to knock the colour out of areas as LR 1 doesn’t have localised stuff). That said LR2 does, but at a price I nearly choked when I saw so I’ll put up with the bugs, the crashing and the trips to CS3.

Still each to their own and your photography’s certainly not suffering!

August 27, 2008 2:25 am

I use iPhoto as my photo management tool on my Mac. It is very convenient for sorting, finding and displaying images… but it is built on a proprietary database.

However, I back up my images to an external hard drive, using plain old directories and file names to preserve all the essential information about the pictures. I also put a copy of everything I keep on my Flickr account, tagged with all the information I could want about the image.

Should iPhoto blow up on me the only thing I’ll loose for good is the original version of many of my edited photos (I often don’t keep that separate unless I want to expose the before and after; normally I’m happy with just the after) but I can live with that as I’ve had very few times I’ve wanted to roll back and nothing critical.

Therefore, I’m happy with iPhoto but recognise your concerns about this type of management software and am covered for that as well.

August 27, 2008 2:29 am

I see why you like Bridge/Photoshop, what I don’t quiet get, is the database idea. As Jim said, if your hard-drive dies, the data is gone, no matter how you organized it. I usually have my main image/library folder backed up twice, so in case of a hard-drive/computer failure (which happend already twice this year), I just have to copy back the whole thing and tell LR the path to the actual library path.

I myself was a while torn, whether to choose Bridge or Lightroom, but in the end chose LR, because it makes processing for me easier and faster. I think at least 90% of my editing are done in LR and some images I send after that to PS.
From the organisational point of view, I understand you prefer a folder-based approach. I too prefer that, and LR also supports that. Something that I like, because I can view my images based on a folder, or my complete library. Surely the same can also be achieved via tags/metadata.

August 27, 2008 2:46 am

I totally agree that you should not pay for Lightroom, if you already pay for Adobe Photoshop and use Bridge as well. For that price I think, one deserves to get some of the cool feature from Lightroom in Bridge for free.

August 27, 2008 2:49 am

I’m writing this before reading the other comments, because I want to get my thoughts to you before I forget them, and I want it to be my opinion alone, and not influenced by others. If what I have said is redundant, please accept my appologies.

1) I too hate being tied to a database. The way I use lightroom, it’s almost as if there wasn’t one. In fact, the only thing that can really be said to be using the database is the thumbnails (I believe!). I convert all my RAWs into DNGs, and I instruct Lightroom to keep the DNGs updated with the latest metadata changes (via a catalog-wide preference setting). This has the huge advantage that the sidecar files are kept internally, so all of the previews, metadata, even the Lightroom/Bridge adjustments are all included in the file. If I burned all of the photos from a shoot to a DVD after processing them all, leaving the database behind, then they could all be read, adjustments included, in another install of Lightroom, or indeed Bridge/Photoshop/ACR. For me, the database is practically invisible. Also, the new version 2.0 of Lightroom preserves the navigation structure of the folders where the images are stored, so I take full control of the organisation.

Actually, now that I think a little more about it, the database IS handy for finding a photo or photos, whether it be by keyword, lens, shutter speed or any other metadata. Can Bridge do that?

2) New Macs are built on Intel chips, essentially making them redundant, since we already have Intel chips in Window machines. Maybe that’s too loose an analogy, but I hope you see my point. The feature parity you mention only refers to what can be done to the images, not how it is done. You may prefer working with ACR for your raw processing, but from my little experience with it, Lightroom walks all over it. In fact, the interface is entirely the reason I prefer Lightroom to Bridge/ACR.

3) This is really a bit of a straw man argument. Your equally silly for NOT wanting to use Lightroom because of the mob mentality as those who may use it for the same reason. I couldn’t care less what the mob thinks. I care what people I respect think, and my own experience. I’m sure you’re the same really, but don’t think you have to be a rebel or rage against the machine. You may be missing out on something you’d othewise like. Sometimes the mob gets it right.

Let me finish with a question for you. Have you actually USED Lightroom? I don’t mean fiddled about with it for a couple of hours. I mean processed a whole shoot with it? Have you watched any of the video tutorials? Do you really understand the features that have been crammed into the product to make the job of processing lots and lots of digital photos as simple as possible? Sure you can DO the same in ACR/Bridge, but once you get past the shallow learning curve, I think the Lightroom choice is so much easier. In fact, I think it’s the most fun I’ve ever had processing photos.

August 27, 2008 3:00 am

Lightroom is not an alternative to Photoshop – it’s really a replacement for Bridge; or rather, it’s like ACR and Bridge and some elements of Photoshop and some other random bits and pieces all rolled into one . The reasons I like it better than Bridge are:
– easier library management, including tagging, titles, search etc – and it’s faster than Bridge
– non-destructive edits
– ability to make changes to one RAW file and copy and paste those settings to a selection of other RAW files
– good integration with Photoshop when you want to do advanced edits
– good plugins, including an Export to Flickr plugin and develop preset plugins
– I can do RAW development without needing to go into Photoshop/Adobe RAW – I can work so much faster in Lightroom.

August 27, 2008 3:21 am

On the DB issue: is you set up the system like Neil describes above, you really do not need to care if the DB is corrupted, destroyed or whatever. All of the data is still in the original files and can be reimported into a new catalog (DB). Also, copying a catalog from one machine to another works just fine (you can even copy the preview images, which aren’t stored in the catalog itself).

And I seriously doubt that a mob mentality would have me installing a Windows image on top of Linux just so I could run Lightroom?

Lightroom is very much about workflow and editing several shots from a shoot. Try taking a batch of 200-300 images (after selecting the shots that will be processed further), adding metadata to them (subject names as keywords, copyright info, titles, and locations), processing them, and exporting to the web, and you’ll get an idea why it really has gained such a following. I’ve done the same with plain PS, GIMP + other tools, and LR and it’s the reason I chose to start using LR in the first place.

August 27, 2008 4:31 am

It’s all in the workflow for me. Photoshop doesn’t have too much of a workflow capability as far as i’ve observed, whereas Lightroom is flexible enough with an array of workflow options which works great when you have several hundred photos from an event to process and pick for different uses.

Backing up has never been a problem – copy the entire folder somewhere else and the catalogue will work regardless. I installed Lightroom 2 a few days ago and to my amazement, it created LR2 compatible catalogues in my existing image folders too.

August 27, 2008 6:20 am

I’ve been an IT pro, a musician, and a photographer. Retired now, and the only thing I’ve chosen NOT to be is an IT pro. But I appreciate a finely crafted piece of software when I see it. I started out with LR 1 and PS3, and moved back and forth quite comfortably, to do all my digital darkroom work. With the advent of LR2, I have practically no need for PS3, since I’m not a graphics kind of guy. LR2 is much more intuitive and user friendly. I’m not a herd person, and usually find that if the herd is attracted to something, I need to stay away from it. But this software is very well thought out. It definitely has some shortcomings, and there is room for improvement, but it answers just about all my photo workflow needs. I’ve been writing a book with many photos to be included. The editor has changed tack on me several times as to how the photos should be presented, and reorganizing them has been a snap with LR.

August 27, 2008 6:35 am

I can appreciate where you are coming from however I did take the plunge into LR after reading so much about it. I initially loved it, then I hated it and now I live with it, solely for the fact that I can get a lot of ‘work’ done in a much shorter amount of time.

I got over the database issue, I organize my photos by folders and I mostly use JPG format and thus keywords are saved in the meta data of the JPG. If I loose the database I only really loose my ‘non destructive editing’ changes that have been made to the photos. While learning LR I actually did have a database failure and lost changes to all photos in a catalog, to me this is LR’s biggest weak point.

I am actually thinking that the ‘non destructive editing’ changes can be saved as sidecar files and not in the database so that loosing a DB while not cause loss of changes but due to LR’s poor manual I have yet to spend the time tracking this down but it is high on my list……this is just a hobby for me.

I have other issue with Adobe software such as there lack of decent manuals, it’s 2008 and they still don’t have context sensitive help and they follow no interface standards. They have some very neat but totally non intuitive interface features so they are many more features to their software but you gotta figure out the ‘hidden’ features. I’ve been a software developer since the early 80′s and have worked with many applications and am quite technical in nature, I must say that Adobe is in left field compared to all others.

With the last paragraph being said, they do have products many people use/need and little to no competition so they will be able to continue their odd practices until they get some serious competition.

So if you want to save some workflow time I would suggest trying out LR 1.x, I wouldn’t yet get 2 as it appears they let it go out the door to soon.

August 27, 2008 7:54 am

I came in to say pretty much the same thing as Neil re: the database… Lightroom’s “Database” isn’t really as much of a database in the sense of a monolithic unit the way aperture’s is – it’s basically just an organized folder structure. You can browse it and look at your files in the folders completely independent of lightroom itself… additionally, do me the mass sorting and organizing/searching/browsing capabilities make up for any shortcomings of being tied to a DB

August 27, 2008 8:16 am

Wow! What a great set of comments so far! This is exactly the discussion I was hoping for. You guys rock! I’ll post some replies in a while. I want to see more comments from the Lightroom users first.

August 27, 2008 9:14 am

C’mon Brian, be honest. You’re really writing “I caved to pressure, and I’m LOVING it! 3 Reasons I LOVE Lightroom.” ;)

August 27, 2008 9:17 am

I think everyone else, and in particular Neil, have already nailed all the reasons why Lightroom is more (and better) than ACR/Bridge. It really is about the workflow. Quickly jumping through many photos from a shoot where you almost always have multiple images that require the same (or similar) treatment and metadata, which can be quickly and simply copied from one image to another.

I have the same paranoia with the DB, but as others have already said, you can simply turn on the global option to also record everything in the XMP sidecar file (or internally with DNG files). This does slow the processing down somewhat, but it is still worth it.

I think that if you actually used it to process several shoots worth of images you will see why it is worth the switch. And yes, you will still need CS3. With LR2 that is far less often than it was with LR1, but maybe not as often as you might think…

August 27, 2008 10:50 am

Nice Brian, bait your readers with a politically charged topic and then sit back and watch the battle. Ok, I’ll bite…

1) The database is there for one simple reason, speed. The reason I gave up on Bridge/ACR is because it was too slow. Especially on my aging digital darkroom workstation, but also on my MacBookPro. With the LR database I can quickly parse through a folder of 3000 images with close to zero delay.

If you want sidecar files, you can still get them with LR. I actually export sidecar files for all my photos after doing any editing of them (thought I am considering moving to DNG to get ride of the sidecars). I do a lot of editing in the field on my laptop and then move files to NAS at home. I do this by moving the files and having LR pick them up on the NAS, works great. I backup the LR database daily and even if I loose it, all my work is still in the files on the NAS and I can just re-import everything with no loss.

2) redundancy with Bridge/ACR….see above about speed… I still do use Photoshop but just for the heavy lifting of going in depth or fine tuned adjustments to a photo. At this point LR gets me through 90%+ of my editing work and much faster than any other tool I have used.

3) It really is about saving me time…I could care less what the mob thinks as well. But since it saves me time, that is value that I’m willing to pay for.

I still am quite amazed that there is this mis-perception about the value behind LR. It has been there since the early Betas and something that Adobe hasn’t done a good job of fixing. I agree with Neil about just use if for a few weeks or a few projects, which is the great thing about the 30 day free eval. If you still haven’t had enough, check out previous ramblings I have made about LR.

August 27, 2008 11:13 am

The problem with DNG vs RAW + XMP is that any edits you do with a DNG require the entire DNG to be backed up (slower backups), whereas if you use separate sidecar files only they need to be backed up after you make changes. These are very small text files and transfer very quickly.

This may seem like a trivial issue, but when you edit hundreds or thousands of images daily, AND if you have a regular backup routine (automatic nightly in my case) only the updated files need to be transferred across your network or to your USB drive.

August 27, 2008 11:26 am

OK, time for some replies…

@Jim I am a bit of a paranoid freak-show when it comes to my photos. It’s not that I’m entirely worried about losing a database, it’s more a fear of the database screwing things up. Sure, a backup can fix that, but it’s inconvenient. The other thing I don’t like about the database is I’ve heard from several users that they had to split up their library for performance reasons. Maybe this was fixed with LR2, but it sounds like a hassle. I do like the consolidated layout of the organization and processing, but that’s not enough for me to justify the extra cost. We can do the same non-destructive and batch processing with ACR. I’ve run hundreds of files through ACR all at once — no problem. I do think there’s a distinguishable difference between LR and PS, but not necessarily between LR and Bridge.

@Phill I’m a devil, aren’t I? I’m the same way though, I only pull into Photoshop for localized editing or really tricky-tricks with layers and blending modes.

@Wulf Sounds like you’re on top of things with iPhoto. As Phill said, “to each their own”!

@Sven I do keep (multiple) backups of everything, and I’d do the same if I were using Lightroom. My issue with the database is that I’d expect database problems more often than hard drive failures.

@R.Kneschke I totally agree — with the amount we pay for Photoshop, Bridge/ACR should have the same (or very similar) technology as Lightroom — and it basically does. I guess we’ll see if the next release of Photoshop closes the gap created by LR2.

@Neil If I were an avid LR user, I’d probably be using the database in a very similar fashion — a bare minimum. And yes, Bridge can find photos by utilizing metadata. I agree that the LR interface is more intuitive and consolidated, but it’s not completely different than Bridge and ACR. Where do you think they got most of the bits and pieces for Lightroom? And yeah, the “mob” argument is a bit silly — more of an observation than anything. I find it really interesting how many Photoshop users (who have had this same “Lightroom technology” all along) make out the software to be something completely new and innovative. Maybe some of them just didn’t know about Bridge and/or ACR. And yes, I’ve used Lightroom — for more than one or two photos. Like I said, I didn’t see a big enough leap in technology or productivity to justify the extra cost since I decided that I need to keep Photoshop.

@Tim I recognize that LR is faster than bridge when it comes to searching, and that’s a benefit of using a database. ACR is also non-destructive — it uses the same raw processor as LR. Bridge can also copy development settings to multiple photos. But you see, your comment is the kind of argument I’ve heard from so many people trying to convince me that LR is the way to go. Most of these “features” of Lightroom you speak of are also features of Bridge/ACR.

@ramin “Try taking a batch of 200-300 images (after selecting the shots that will be processed further), adding metadata to them (subject names as keywords, copyright info, titles, and locations), processing them, and exporting to the web, and you’ll get an idea why it really has gained such a following.” — I do the same with Bridge and ACR. Where’s the added benefit from using Lightroom? I’m still not convinced.

@Charlene I agree, Photoshop does nothing when it comes to workflow — that’s not the intent. That’s why they bundle Bridge with it.

@fiddlergene I hear ya, LR2 is really closing the gap with Photoshop for many users. Hardcore PS users will probably never be able to get the same benefits from LR, but I’ll bet Lightroom has much in store for the future. At some point, I may even find myself jumping ship and leaving Photoshop behind.

@Mike Yeah, what’s the deal with the cruddy user manuals. I’ve always found Photoshop manuals and help systems to be a pain in the butt. And they usually aren’t thorough enough to actually answer your questions or fix your problems.

@Ed Speed is the biggest thing I have issues with on Bridge — due to the lack of a LR-type of database. A faster computer helps, but it’s still a little chunky when you tell it to search through 5 years of photos for certain keywords or other metadata.

@Neil Not a chance! Not this time around. Maybe when Lightroom 3 comes out.

@latoga Hey, I’ve gotta have some fun every once in a while! To your point though, I’d probably prefer to use LR if I were working on a laptop in the field. And I’m the same with 90% of my photos never seeing Photoshop. The raw processor from Adobe is an outstanding piece of software.

@Sean Good point about the DNG vs RAW thing. I use Norton Ghost to backup my photos, and it catches any changes made between backups. Since I use XMP files, I’m not backing up the RAW data multiple times.

August 27, 2008 11:50 am

I have over 30,000 images in my LR2 catalog right now and I’ll be the first to tell you that it’s not fast. I’ve heard many reports from others than it is much faster than the previous version, and even such nonsense as “there is now no limit to the number of photos you can manage in LR2 because it no longer slows down as you add images”, but for me it is much slower.

(For those who will no doubt wonder, I’m using a dual core machine with the 64-bit version of Vista and maxed out at 2 GB Ram).

I haven’t heard of similar probelms from other users, but for me the wrost thing about the new version is how painfully slow it is to import new images into the catalog. Up to now I have assumed that this relates to the massive amount of metadata that is included in my LR2 database, and because I write to XMP for every file. I intend to wipe my installation and reinstall to see if that helps, but until then I have to say that it isn’t faster foe everyone.

It’s still the right program to use though!

August 27, 2008 12:00 pm

I delete my LR database all the time. It’s okay. The XMP files have all the information in them. And they sit right next to my .CR2 files — meaning they get backed up / moved TOGETHER as a unit. No worries about losing a database here.

August 27, 2008 12:17 pm

I don’t need to add much to the great comments thus far. I use LR heavily for processing, but I don’t rely on the database long term. I export my edits to DNG files and med-res JPGs for long term storage, then remove them from the LR database. Bride is great for finding files via browsing and searching, but the speed I do my primary adjustments in LR is invaluable. Sure, I lose some of my steps used in editing, but the final settings are within my DNG files for future reference. If I really like something I did, I can make up a preset for it to use in the future. Keeping everything in a LR catalog has no appeal to me, so perhaps I am not getting the full power of LR, but it works great for me as a tool in my overall workflow and photo archival preparation.

August 27, 2008 12:23 pm

Let me start by saying… I don’t use Lightroom either. But I don’t ‘refuse’ to use it, in fact, I like it and I’ve tried it out a couple of times.

I’m happy with the workflow and tools I use now (Canon DPP to convert RAW, export to my folder structure, tag, organize and edit in PS Elements). I can sort and process my photos quickly (when I feel inspired). Lightroom is big and different, and I would rather be shooting/processing photos than learning it.

Different strokes….

August 27, 2008 1:30 pm

David Terry: But you lose your collections, stacks, and virtual copies right?

Losing a database is not the end of the world, but it’s still a PITA.

August 27, 2008 2:06 pm

Sean Phillips: Good point. I don’t use stacks or collections, but I do use virtual copies (extremely rare, but it happens). I’ll have to check that out and see if I lose the virtual copies when I delete the database.

Still, the biggest advantage to me is that the data “about the image” stays WITH the image. When I back up the image, the XMP goes to the same location. If I move the image to a new drive (or new computer), there it is. No worries about tieing a particular LR catalog to a given set of images.

As far as I am concerned, they could turn the LR database off. I think it would actually speed LR up.

August 27, 2008 2:14 pm

@Brian: Compare the speed with which you can process the 200-300 images in LR when compared to other approaches. That’s what sold me.

Also, as a metadata geek I love the ability to use keywords and other metadata to quickly search for images. More and more I’ve noticed the need as archival shots of dogs from various events are needed.

August 27, 2008 2:39 pm

@Sean Philllips, Large LR Catalogs is an issue when it comes to performance. My master collection of images is well past 50k. The good news is that I don’t need to have LR access to the majority of those images. I have a system where I maintain multiple catalogs so that the catalog I work with the most has less than 5k images in it. The mega catalog has all my historic images in it for the rare case I need something from it.

This system has helped me keep the catalog to a manageable (and well performing) size, yet let me leverage the catalog for searching when needed. Now that I think about it, I should do a writeup about this process…

August 27, 2008 4:11 pm

@Ioatoga: using multiple catalogs alongside a master catalog is a great idea, and one that I intend to start using soon. The reason I haven’t done so yet is tha tI haven’t figured out the mechanics of how to start a new catalog (that includes all my defaults, presets, AND Keywords), and how to manage importing that back into the Main catalog. I’m sure that most of these things will all fall into place once I actually try, I just haven’t gone there yet…

August 27, 2008 5:11 pm

Look, I won’t knock anyone for not using Lightroom. You have what works for you, and that’s fine. You want to know what makes me grumble? The learning curve for new software. Hence one of the reasons why I make tutorials. I help others, and myself at the same time. You want to learn something? Try teaching it!

August 27, 2008 5:25 pm

First off I love the fact that I can have all my photos in a catalog. It makes it much easier to keep track of all my files. Yes, you can do that with Bridge, but Bridge (even the CS3 version) still gets on my nerves more then almost any other piece of software. Second, although I goto Photoshop for some things I do most of my work in LR much faster then I would in PS. Especially when it comes to make the same change to multiple files.

I can understand you being set in your ways and not wanting to do what everyone else is using. But, overall I feel that software like LR and even Aperture makes life easier for a photographer. And I would suggest that you at least give it a try (if you haven’t already) before you trash it and throw it to the side. You might be surprised and actually like it.

August 27, 2008 5:32 pm

First off…if I could afford LR I would use it. I have played enough with the trial version to want to use it. I think that the way it handles metadata makes it stand apart from all the other workflow tools out there. Very easy to use user interface as well.

A database would not mess up your directory structure and it shouldn’t have anything to do with your pictures. The LR database only contains metadata about your pictures and it doesn’t hold any of your pixels…so no worries there…if you lose the database you will only lose the metadata you haven’t saved to your image files.

However, if the slowness reported here in these comments is true…that could be a problem. Since it’s a database based software it’s only normal for the software to get slower the more pictures you import in it…the queries simply take longer. But again…maybe I’m wrong.

I do agree that everyone customizes their own workflow based on their own purpose and “fears” :) If you can’t sleep at night…you just don’t do it !

August 27, 2008 7:13 pm

1. I don’t mind being reliant on a database because LR keeps reminds me to back it up every week (more often, if I change my settings). I save the DB on a separate HDD, so I’m still covered if one drive fails.

On folder heirarchy, I keep folders organized the way I want to – arranged by date and with a descriptive title. For example, a shoot I had the other day went into a folder called 2008.08.26 – LPC2008 Opening Ceremony. I maintain the folder heirarchy I want, and LR simply remembers where everything is stored.

2. I’ll concede this – there is a lot of overlap between LR and PS Bridge + ACR. I’ll say this much though – my processing times were cut in half (and that’s understating it) when I started using LR. I process anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand images for each shoot, and while I still promise to deliver images within one week, I can usually submit my discs the next day.

I’ll say even more – I hardly use PS now. Pretty much all my post-processing is done in LR. It handles blemishes, overexposed skies, tilted horizons – basically almost all of my regular editing needs. Heck, I hear it can now stitch panoramas together. I still go to PS now but only for roughly hmm… one in every thousand images.

3. I think the reason for the cult following is simple – LR is a great tool for managing images. When I first used it, I thought – what was all the fuss about? However, after I first processed a shoot with over a thousand images with it, I was sold.

August 27, 2008 8:07 pm

Good for you,


August 27, 2008 10:15 pm

Brian, I too was concerned with the database issue, before deciding to go with Apple’s Aperture. Now, not all photogs can use it, because it’s Apple only. But really, now many serious photographers are not using a Mac?

Anyway, Aperture allows me to keep all my originals and versions in their original location. This allows me to use the folder structure I prefer, and Aperture doesn’t mettle with it.

August 28, 2008 5:00 pm

Number one advantage of using the database for me…. Offline access to your images. You can have images stored across dozens of external drives, CD/DVDs, networks, where-ever, and you can find them all without having the devices connected. You can do any database operations (searches, cataloging, etc) with the drives disconnected, but for editing of course they need to be online.

You can’t do that with Bridge, once the drive is disconnected, so are the images and access to them.

August 28, 2008 6:39 pm

@Trevor I’m not using a Mac. I’m using a PC. Pretty much because I can’t afford a Mac yet.

August 28, 2008 8:38 pm

apples and oranges ain’t it….

I can understand why people who have a workflow that already works for them don’t switch to it…..but I can see the advantages in using it especially if your are starting out with a blank canvas…I really like lightroom, the user interface is really intuative and and when dealing with a few cards full of images it just seems to all make sense (workflow wise).

and databases don’t be scared of them… run exactly the same risks with DBs as you do with files just make sure you backup often and you shouldn’t have to pull hair very often.

August 29, 2008 7:35 am

I’m siding with the LR users on this and agree with most of what has been said already. The speed and ease of use clearly outweigh any other negative point that has been raised. Furthermore, how long do you expect that Bridge will continue to exist now LR has been out for a while? As you mentioned before, LR is using bits from Bridge and I see little business reason for Adobe to allow Bridge to potentially cannibalize LR. Don’t be surprised if the current version of Bridge is the last one. Then what? You may just have to follow the mob.

September 2, 2008 11:19 am

I’m with you…I am a Bridge/ACR user, and I have not yet seen a feature in Light room that I would absolutely need to have. There are a few features I would love to have (such as the way the crop works), but nothing that I can’t figure a way around…just usage issues. But they aren’t going to justify the cost of buying Lightroom in addition to my current setup.

Now…several months ago before I finally bought myself CS3 (I had an older version before that), I may have seriously considered Lightroom. I have Nikon camera, and up until CS3, I wasn’t impressed with the NEF (Nikon’s Raw) support in ACR. Had I not upgraded to CS3, it might have been worth considering Lightroom instead.

September 2, 2008 2:10 pm

The beauty of Lightroom is that it brings all my decisions together to speed up the overall process.

Where once I would edit 2000 photos down to 500, mark to keep and mark images needing B+W conversion, images needing extensive dodge/burn. Now I simply do the color correction, AND doge and burn – as I edit. So it’s not about anything other than keeping the whole though process close at hand.

If you’re not working with heavy culling, color correcting 1000 images or more a week, or trying to speed up your workflow with delivery of images to the web for client access, self promotion, and lab orders

sure you don’t need lightroom.

September 10, 2008 8:05 pm

I have Lightroom 1.4 and now version 2. I find the Database confusing.
But for developing with presets etc it’s fantastic.

Each to their own and if you don’t like it, fair enough.

However! Lol

On the one hand you state your case by hating mob mentality and going against the masses, sounds like me! But then what have you brought? A Diana, now there’s a camera for the mob and the masses!

I just have to get one, but maybe the Agfa Isoly that is in the mail will do a similar job?

cheers Eric

October 2, 2008 4:59 am

I do wedding photography on the side. I probably get 2-3 weddings per summer, and take an average of 1400 pictures per wedding. Normally it would take me about 40 hours to go through every picture in Photoshop. My latest wedding was the first one I did in LR2.0 and it took me half the time. The photos look great and the organization of the images made editing them very easy.

I still organize them logically on my “Photos” hard drive. This program has been a huge time saver allowing me to turn wedding around faster, and allowing me to have a life after my “real” job.

October 16, 2008 10:18 am

When Lightroom 1.0 was first introduced, i have already been using Photoshop + Camera RAW as my workflow for a while (while heavily testing Capture ONE and various other solutions in parallel).

Like you, my initial impression of Lightroom was that it’s just the same thing repackaged, and I was concerned about having a database model. However, after using it for a week, I’m hooked and I bought the program – and I am now on version 2.1.

Since going with the Lightroom workflow, my productivity has gone way up. The main reason being that the user experience is specifically designed for the tasks that I need – typically going from a pool of hundreds / thousands of photographs and narrowing down to a subset to process, then a subset to develop / tweak / use / post.

While you can do all this using Bridge / Camera RAW / Photoshop, having them all at the same interface saves a ton of time. having a cross-referenc’able database is also a time-saver especially when I need to find a file tagged with specific references which I shot 3 years ago.

There’s a ton more that I wish to say – and as I noted how long my comment is becoming, I noted that I probably should write a blog post about it :)


November 26, 2008 11:51 am

I have been using Lightroom for over two weeks now I can’t live without it. I go back and forth between CS3 and after making a psd file with optimum exposure settings with curves, went back to lightroom 2 and using a virtual copy of the raw original, went and made an exact copy of the psd file and then made a preset in lightroom. Now my workflow is much faster and my images have much more pop than the flat look of before. I use this as a starting point only. You can read about it on my blog. Jon L

January 10, 2009 1:20 am

I recently had the opportunity to try out lightroom with 200,000 photos and I’m extremely unimpressed. Why?

- It’s slow to import photos

- When importing to a large catalog it hogs the CPU and freezes

- No XMP sidecars for JPG, TIFF etc. Instead the photo is updated directly – which unfortunately is the standard. (Also the file’s modification date is updated). I have to trust that data manipulation to be non-destructive (non-lossy and not damage the file) unless I want to keep a separate pristine copy of the image

I did find something I like. Though search gets very slow, searching for a word will match any picture where any part of the full file path (directory) contains the word. For example if I have a picture named 00089.jpg in C:\pics\2008\20080101MyCar\goodpics and I search for Car, the picture is displayed. It’s the only product I know that does this. However that’s not worth hundreds of dollars and many hours of computer time lost while photos are imported.

January 22, 2009 1:12 am


I’ve been using lightroom for over a year now. Used to think it was the best thing since sliced bread! till my harddrive crashed and had to restore all my images from the database – it took way way too long (I only have about 30,000 pics) and I still do not like the way it handles folders when importing images from my camera. I still use lightroom but am willing to try something else. What do you use? I do love the lightroom interface but would prefer it to be a faster and handles files/folders better. I do not use the printing and web functions. Thanks.

January 28, 2009 11:35 am

I’ve heard similar things from other Lightroom users. I just use Adobe Bridge to manage and organize my files, and Adobe Camera Raw to process them. It’s the same stuff as Lightroom, just without the same database capabilities.

January 28, 2009 1:32 pm


I view a database as a great big basket into which to store all of your eggs. Great idea as long as you don’t drop the basket.

For this reason, I have Lightroom *automatically* write every change I make to the external .XMP files which are stored right next to my raw files. That way, as part of the process that backs up all of my raw files, all of the XMP files (and thus, all of the Lightroom metadata) is also backed up. Which means that they are eventually stored in the same place as well.

The BIG PROBLEM, in my opinion, with backing up the database itself, is that there is no association between the database and the raw files. They are stored in separate locations, which means they may or may not be in sync. Which means it’s quite possible to restore raw files and NOT have the metadata necessary to recover your Lightroom edits.

This XMP strategy completely solves that problem. I can wipe out my LR database at any time without the loss of data (and prior to LR 2.0 I had to do this many times due to performance reasons).

January 28, 2009 1:39 pm


I view a database as a great big basket into which to store all of your eggs. Great idea as long as you don’t drop the basket.

For this reason, I have Lightroom *automatically* write every change I make to the external .XMP files which are stored right next to my raw files. That way, as part of the process that backs up all of my raw files, all of the XMP files (and thus, all of the Lightroom metadata) is also backed up. Which means that they are eventually stored in the same place as well.

The BIG PROBLEM, in my opinion, with backing up the database itself, is that there is no association between the database and the raw files. They are stored in separate locations, which means they may or may not be in sync. Which means it’s quite possible to restore raw files and NOT have the metadata necessary to recover your Lightroom edits.

This XMP strategy completely solves that problem. I can wipe out my LR database at any time without the loss of data (and prior to LR 2.0 I had to do this many times due to performance reasons).

January 28, 2009 1:41 pm

You can store the database in the same folder as the raw images. I do, in one big folder. This way I know where everything is. I also make a backup of this whole folder on another hard drive in case anything happens-like data corruption or loss of the main drive.
Don’t feel I need to make XMP files that might take up a lot of space. I love the virtual copies. I use them all the time for different looks that take up no space on the drive.
If your data base is slowing down; it is suggested to just make another one. Say one for nature, architecture, fashion, people etc. I thought the last update was supposed to fix database size?
I feel no need to update to CS4, as CS3 seems to do all I need very well. I mostly use lightroom anyway.

January 28, 2009 8:19 pm

@Jon L

Actually, the .XMP files are quite tiny, around 14K each. Compared to my 28M raw files (using Canon 5DII), the XMP files don’t even count as a drop in a bucket. A recent modeling photo shoot consisted of 275 raw files, totaling 6.75Gb while the XMP files sitting right next to them came to a mere 3.5M (smaller than a single jpeg from the photo shoot). I’m sure I can afford the disk space for XMP files.

I did mention that it was prior to LR 2.0 that I used to wipe out the LR database for performance reasons. I have not done so since LR 2.0 came out. On the other hand, I have the freedom to do so at any time, without loss of data, because everything I need is sitting right next to my raw files.

That’s the point. The XMP files give me freedom.

For me, one big folder to store everything wouldn’t make sense. I shoot weddings and portraits. I back up each job as it happens. So each job has its own unique location.

Anyway, these are obviously only slightly different strategies. I don’t mean to make this sound argumentative – only clarifying that XMP’s aren’t taking up all that much drive space and that for me, and “my” workflow, the work perfectly.

January 28, 2009 8:35 pm

Hey I’m here to learn, as I’m the new guy on the block for lightroom. When I talked one big folder, I meant one folder for all my images, not one folder for every image. They can be done by year or topic.
Did you see my first post. I updated it on my blog. I have now speeded up my workflow by ten fold. Jon

January 28, 2009 8:45 pm

There are lots of comments about databases – Lightroom calls them catalogs – but I’m surprised that no-one has mentioned one of the obvious ways of handling large numbers of photographs: monthly or quarterly catalogs.

Monthly or quarterly catalogs mean good organization of images, no significant performance hit, and no need to reimport edited images into a new database every time you have to go back to it.

March 14, 2009 11:38 pm

morgan, a monthly or quartley catalog system may make lightroom faster, but it also negates one of the primary reasons you’d want to use lightroom – searching. To find a photo, unless you knew when it was taken you’d have to search each catalog. Similarly if you wanted to find all photos with a particular set of attributes, you’d have to search each catalog. If you just wanted editing or batch processing, there are other tools that do the job. So what then becomes the point of running lightroom at all?

March 15, 2009 4:09 pm

I would suggest using collections; this and id tags using certain words for description. There are also ratings and virtual copies for the same image with different perspectives of the same image. I myself haven’t found anything easier to use that has all the elements one needs for cataloging and a built in image editor to.

March 15, 2009 5:14 pm

The misunderstanding, which may have been pointed out, is that you can still organize your images any way you like them. In folders on various drives etc. Lightroom does NOT store the images in the database itself. What gets stored in the DB are your changes to the original files, which never get touched by Lightroom. I always compare it to opening an image in PS, making all sorts of changes to it, but rather than saving the changes to the file itself, the original files gets saved along with the entire history (which ends up in the DB).

For organizing images I find it way more powerful than bridge, especially the ability to create collections, stacks etc. But I may be biased there because I never really liked bridge very much.

From a workflow perspective you cannot compare LR to PS + Bridge. As some other people also mentioned, I do about 90% of all my adjustments in Lightroom and 10% in PS. I found that my productivity has increased tremendously since using LR. But for certain tasks there is no replacement for PS. I actually think the Adobe should reconsider the roles of both LR and PS for photographers. LR is great, but it is missing some options that I definitely need. PS on the other hand has many functions that I dearly need, and many I could easily live without. Personally I also find the "Development" settings in LR way more intuitive than in PS.

But I am totally with you on the film :)

April 2, 2009 9:00 pm

yata yata;

I like LR, but its weird! I think LR will come into its own one of these days, database and all, hopefully soon. Put this program has some flaws. There are some strange instabilities present, everyone I know that uses LR has a strange tale to tell about losing something at some point. I recently transfered a LR catalog that was resident in a folder along with various folders that included all the images in the catalog. I copied the entire file to the external hard drive of a friend. When he opened the catalog all of the links from the LR previews to the images were lost. What kind of sense does that make. You invest one heck of a lot of time organizing the material and it is a very big deal if it gets scrambled up for whatever reason. LR comes off as being iffy and unstable in this respect base on my personal experience making fairly extensive use of the program. I cannot help using the program; I love it, but I’ve paid a price for that, and I’m hoping these clowns get their stuff together soon and dial this great program in.

May 16, 2009 10:40 pm


I don’t fall into one of the “everyone you know” category, but I can tell you that as a user of Lightroom from the very first release until now … I have never lost anything in Lightroom.

Back in the early days the database would slow down tremendously after having a few thousand images in it (which at the rate I’m shooting happened frequently). And so back in those days I would quite often delete my catalog and start over. And so I started a habit clear back then that continues with me through today, which is to have LR automatically export my settings to .XMP files.

Now… the XMP files have never been required to save my edits (other than when I purposely deleted my catalog). But at least I know they are there. And they are backed up right along side the raw images themselves. So if I ever do lose the catalog … they’ll be sitting right there waiting for me. I won’t even blink an eye.

I think Lightroom is amazing! You comment that it will “come into its own one of these days” … I think happened with the release of Lightroom 2.0 and here we are on 2.3 now which is only better and more refined.

I give Lightroom two thumbs up.

May 17, 2009 5:16 am

Dude, without insulting you, you missed the point of this thing entirely. Next time, read all the way to the bottom — if you had, you would have seen this link:

September 23, 2009 8:25 am

Lightroom has saved me literally THOUSANDS of hours processing my work and I am only a very part time professional photographer. I cannot even imagine if I was doing it full time.

Example: I did a job once in various conditions and took over 3100 shots for a client that really did need a quick turnaround. I told the client I will have a gallery up by the end of the day where he could go through the shots and pick out the ones he would like to use. He laughed and asked how I was going to go through every shot and have it posted in less than 5 hours. I said, check your email before 10 PM tonight, you will have an email with the link.

3100 shots into lightroom, quick tab through shots picking out the clunkers, auto adjusted for any white balance or exposure issues, then fixed spots from one lens that had a couple dust spots at wide open. Spit out a gallery of 2800+ shots and uploaded to the web in less than 2 hours.

Try that with any other software out on the market.

The Database is KEY, if you would look at what having a DB gives you, you would see that. Undo for eternity, file duplication without actually duping the file, saving gigabytes worth of drive space, file organization, BACKUP OF DATA, etc… geez.

That speed of getting shots to a client ASAP if needed is worth using the software and paid for it 10x over on my first job.

Keep using other software, that is fine, but pretty soon, you will be either using it, or out of the business because you cannot keep up with the speed of the competitors. Don’t embrace something that would actually save you time and money, fight it.

October 7, 2009 10:27 am

FYI, I have a database that I use on 3 different computers: my whopper that I do most my work, a laptop I take to clients, and a netbook for the road. All 3 are exactly the same and are synced. I have moved this DB to many different computers over the years and never had one problem. The DB is backed up once a week and stored offsite just in case a problem arises, but never has. I have imported an older DB into Lr so that I can pull up older work, and that task took all of 5 minutes to do.

The DB in Lightroom is the most valuable and important piece of the software and is the reason Lr is such a time saving product.

Dissing the software because of the DB is just showing how uninformed you are with the software.

October 7, 2009 10:33 am

I’m not “dissing” the software and I’m not uninformed. Maybe try reading my follow-up article (which is also linked at the end of this article and in the comment directly above yours). I don’t usually write articles here just to gripe about things — I do it to raise awareness and start discussions on certain topics.

October 7, 2009 11:22 am

Did you intend to do a follow up article, or did you decide to do so when so many professionals posted on your thread showing that your 3 reasons don’t really make any sense? My posts addressed your original post, which was why you were not using the software. I could care less about your follow up because it is clearly obvious you posted it to save face. I can address your follow up on that page if you’d like.

October 7, 2009 12:08 pm

You can disagree with his opinions. I did, but I see where his concerns were valid. He isn’t the only one that I’ve heard have these concerns. Many, many other photographers out there felt the same way he did, and I’m sure there are many that still do.

But, you shouldn’t be a total ass just because he has a different opinion then you. An opinion that could have easily changed in the…oh I don’t know…14 MONTHS since he wrote this post.

October 7, 2009 1:06 pm

Bry, I wrote it to get a reaction, and what did I get? A reaction. Had the response not been what it was, I wouldn’t have done the follow-up. But I was 99% certain that all the Lightroom users out there would do exactly what they did — defend their choice of software. So yes, there was a preconceived notion of doing the follow-up article. I could do the same thing with camera brands and get a similar response… something like “11 Reasons Why Canon Cameras Suck”.

October 7, 2009 1:58 pm

Regarding a question far, far above this one, here’s how I manage multiple catalogs.

I have 50 000 images which sit in folders like this:


I have a main catalog that includes everything from every year. But on a day to day basis I use sub catalogs (2009Jan-July and 2009 Aug-Dec) which point to the same file locations as the main catalog. So virtually all my adjustments happen in the smaller catalogs.

I created them as subsets of the main one by selecting New Catalog from the file menu and indicating where it will live and what it will be called. In this instance it would be 2009Aug-Sept. A new folder is created with this title and a few files are put inside.

Then I choose Import from Catalog and select just the Aug-present pictures at ~user/Pictures/LRPix/2009/

Now I just use this new catalog. Once a week or so I open the main catalog and select “2009″ in the Folders panel and choose “Synchronize folder.” This updates it to include all the pictures added into “2009Aug-Dec”.

I also optimize my catalogs whenever I’m promted to back them up. This speed things up considerably.

October 25, 2009 11:03 pm

Speaking of file organization…

I work on a project basis documenting building construction on select projects. I have been storing my files by date, importing them into a single LR database, and organizing them in collections within LR. If something moves in the file structure and I loose the link, it can be a challenge to locate the image. I also may not want to import everything into LR, and again I have the problem of locating project images spread through many different dated files. Yea, keywords are a solution, but I’m still thinking of reorganizing my files by project; creating a folder for each project, with dated subfolders. Does anyone out there work this way. Any problems?

October 26, 2009 11:30 am

Let’s make this quick, you are wrong :).

1. In LR you can have both. Folder and Database organisation, if the Database crashes I have organised everything in folders as always. No need to change your folder structure with a database. Actually LR doesn’t care how you organize your photos.

2. Sorry but we’re not talking about some neat extra features here. Within LR you can manage 90% of your regular photographic workflow. And why use 3 Programms when you can use 1? AND everything you do within Lightroom is non destructive and doesn’t use a lot of disk space.

3. Actually it’s the greatest innovation in the photographic business since… yeah maybe since ever. So sometimes the mob is right.

“I think it’s a great (and cheap) alternative option to Photoshop for a majority of hobbyist photographers.”
I guess youre not serios whith that. In fact 90% of all photags out there don’t need Photoshop in any way if they are able to use Lightroom. They could save a lot of money.

Oh and there is no need to convice you to use LR. I really don’t care how you organzie your workflow, that’s totally up to you. But be aware that there are a lot of people out there who refuse inventions because of stubberness and because they have done things “always like that”. Are you sure your not one of them and now your wasting time and money because of stubborness?

November 1, 2009 11:12 am

So far the Lightroom 3 beta is performing MUCH faster than Aperture is for me. Thumbnails/Previews are very slow with Aperture, and ridiculously fast with Lightroom.

November 21, 2009 4:56 pm

I agree that the true functional differences between Lightroom and Brigde/ACR don’t justify the price of Lightroom. I think Lightroom is simply nice “packaged”. I really start to hate Adobe’s product strategy. They don’t replace Bridge-ACR with Lightroom, no they sell a new product. They announce something like “major performance improvements” as a feature for LR3??? This is nothing a consumer should pay money for. This is just poor software engineering in the previous version. A lightroom licenses costs 299 $ in the US….and 450 $ in Ireland!!! What’s f***** wrong with you guys at Adobe?

December 19, 2009 5:24 am


Holy cow Alex … my “time savings” alone, with Lightroom, has totally justified the cost of the program for me.

I suppose the difference could be whether you’re shooting 10-20 images versus shooting a wedding with 1500 images. Lightroom is an absolutely life saver. I simply could not process the number of images that I do using Bridge+ACR because I wouldn’t have the time.

December 19, 2009 10:01 am

I didn’t read all the comments, I’m sure they went into specifics so I won’t. But as a wedding photographer myself I can’t imagine working without Lightroom. As a professional an additional $200 over Photoshop is really nothing to pay if it saves me hours and hours of work. Remember Adobe is building these tools with pros and their needs in mind, if you are just messing around Lightroom/Photoshop Elements combination or just PE will save a bunch of money.

January 15, 2010 10:35 pm

I agree with you concerning Lightroom and Photoshop.

Although, when I kept getting slides that were messed up by the processor, that did it for me. I happily went digital, and I love it. Digital does have it’s own issues, but they’re better problems than mismounted slides, fingerprints, or scratches.


March 3, 2010 3:49 pm

There is no perfect photo editor. Photoshop is very powerful, but takes too much time for me. I prefer the handle and feel of ACDSEE PRO 2.5 for organizing photos and simple edits.

After trying Lightroom 2, I was amazed by its ability to quickly process a large bach of images, apply common changes to many images, set import adjustments by camera body and lens, etc. I was also confused by the database approach, and messed up more than one database and had to start over. suprisingly, I find the database to be extremely reliable, but unless you understand it pretty well, you can get into trouble quickly.

I’ve no problem transferring databases into a new pc, but sharing images among pc’s is tedious and prone to problems of zapping your database. Supposedly version 3 will have some improvements with sharing. I do not always work at the same pc, and my wife leeps her images on a separate machine yet, so we have 5 or 6 pc’s that would like a common database, and with lightroom, this is difficult.

I do have mine set to write changes into xmp, but this gets changed or missed sometimes when I update one of the machines and so a reinstall.

March 15, 2010 9:50 am

i see what you’re saying about Lightroom, in general, however i think it’s different strokes for different folks. After all, Lightroom is just ACR with a prettier and cuter interface, and with workflow features such as virtual copies and tagging/keywording/search. I actually use Lightroom in the same way as you would use Bridge. Despite my desire to do everything inside Lightroom, I usually always end up inside Photoshop or Nik or both. I know it is a bit quirky, the way it implements plugins, .. and LUA… ?????? when industry open standard is javascript. yeah .. a bit nerdy and awkward in terms of its external interfaces, but as a raw developer.. perfect.. but then, as far as LR2 is concerned, only perfect so long as you have access to Photoshop for the geometric lens correction filter. With LR3, that will be one less thing I need photoshop’s big files for.
Funnily enough, Nik’s Tonal Contrast filter and Photoshop’s Shadows/Hilights filter get used together a lot, and although it can’t possibly be rocket science, I can not fathom why neither ACR nor LR provides a similar (as powerful) feature that does the same thing. That pisses me off with Adobe sometimes, in that they could cleanup their act, just a tad, and produce a complete solution, just for photographers. But they always try and do a Microsoft and go with a Rolls Royce / Fits All approach, and it becomes so convoluted in its implementation, that you have to buy (as I have done) book after book that effectly translate the manual from Adobe insider/nerd speak into English.
Ok.. That was a rant. And I agree with you.. surprised? But I still prefer to use Lightroom as my first port of call because of it’s cuteness.

May 23, 2010 4:35 am

(sorry – pressed the button before finished)

..But.. the database, in so far as it assigns keywords and collections (same but different) is useful and something that comes in quite useful when you have a lot of READ-ONLY raws that you need to organize in a variety of ways. But I usually like to subdivide my folders by date, and location, and “what?”, so if I lose the database.. it’s not such a big deal that it can’t be recovered manually.

May 23, 2010 4:49 am

“But I was 99% certain that all the Lightroom users out there would do exactly what they did — defend their choice of software.”

They’re not “defending” – they’re telling you where you are wrong,

It’s a different thing entirely.

May 28, 2010 3:06 pm

They’re not different in this case. Regardless, the point of the article was to get a reaction (is that a better word?) on the topic of Lightroom. Thank you for adding to that nugget of wisdom to the conversation.

May 28, 2010 4:34 pm

Funnily enough, I have since discovered Adobe AIR and the Adobe Configurator, which helps put all my frequently used things together, despite being hidden all over the shop in Photoshop.
But I don’t like having to switch to ACR all the time, or having to create ACR smart objects in PS for my raws. But then again.. it’s different strokes for diff’nt folks. I could never get my head around Bridge, having started with LR first. Photoshop is a lot bigger than I actually need, but it has some things in it that I can’t find anywhere else at the moment, and it’s missing one crucial one “Clarity”. The shadows/hilites Midtone Contrast slider has a different effect to LR’s Clarity slider. That’s what grieves me about Adobe.. they hide stuff in strange places, making you need to get the whole suite (almost) in order to have everything at your fingertips… but despite all that, my Bibble 4 / PW4 days are over and I’m not going back to that order of quaintness.

But certainly there’s a lot in LR2 and LR3 that seems a bit la-de-da… why upgrade the Import dialog to some beheamouth loud interface?? Maybe they just try to be too many things at once..

May 28, 2010 5:11 pm

I run a digitization center at college library. I have always used Bridge, Camera Raw and Photoshop. I ordered LR2 thinking it would help my work flow. I tried it for a couple of weeks and went back to Bridge. I didn’t see any benefit to my work flow and I didn’t like having to import and export files.

I’m with you Brian.

June 2, 2010 10:37 am

I agree with the host of this blogg, lightroom is not a big deal. Lightroom is not 100% compatible with Nikon’s RAW (NEF). I am using Capture NX and View NX.

July 28, 2010 6:32 am

BTW, i am not the Alex from post #71 but i have the same opinion.

July 28, 2010 6:36 am

Well, if anyone (like me) has upgraded to Lightroom 3, only to find that its performance is slower than Lightroom 2, and buggy .. very buggy. All I can say is I wish Canon’s software was not as 80′s in appearance / clunky, or I’d be using it instead. Maybe I should have got a Nikon?

July 28, 2010 8:31 am

It’s amazing that this blog post was written nearly TWO YEARS ago and people still read it.

A LOT has changed with Lightroom. Lightroom 3 is a brand new animal. The improved quality in its output, alone, made LR3 a no-brainer upgrade choice for me. The process improvements, the new features are like icing on the cake.

If you’re not using Lightroom 3 … you’re missing out. Just sayin! :)

July 28, 2010 8:43 am

Comment now!