Photoshop Lightroom 4
First, let me explain my experience with post-processing to give you an idea of my skill level. I began with Photoshop 3 with a little instruction from a colleague and upgraded to Photoshop 4 when I had the opportunity a little later on. In time, I felt Photoshop was just too vast to learn fluently with the little time I could allocate to photography and especially post-processing. However, I found most of the changes I cared about were within the Camera RAW plugin found within all versions of Photoshop.
Recently, I gave in to purchasing Lightroom 4, and it has changed everything about post-processing for me. It is a very powerful program that is similar to Camera RAW in many ways, but it also has some basic features of Photoshop that are used in almost every photo. The following are some of the critical reasons I switched to using Lightroom 4 almost exclusively.
Powerful. When I say it's powerful... it's POWERFUL. You will be surprised at how much control you have in fixing the white balance and other lighting issues. Try taking a picture of a TV screen under florescent lights and getting the white balance right within the camera. LR4 to the rescue.
Noise reduction. The ISO on the image to the left bumped up pretty high leaving me to doubt whether it was worth submitting to the scrutiny of the Dreamstime team. But with careful (and modest) use of the noise reduction tool I was able to fix the dark areas and help this photo make the cut.
Creativity. While it's not the big boy Photoshop by any means, there is still plenty of room to be creative with a local adjustment brush, a ton of presets (free downloads in many cases), and immense control over colors and lighting.
Affordability. You will find that Lightroom 4 is probably the cheapest element of your photography arsenal at just $149. However, the great thing is that you can download it FREE for 30 days - the full program - before you have to make a decision. You can find it here: http://www.adobe.com/
Easy to learn. Okay, I want to leave you with this: You are $149 and about six youtube videos away from changing your photography forever. This software is extremely easy to learn and experiment with. Most of it is intuitive, but there are many youtube videos and some good books out there that will clear things up very nicely. It is a time saver, and while it can't do everything Photoshop can do, it will definitely close the gap between you and the Photoshop gang significantly.
I hope you find this article helpful. If so, please click "USEFUL" in the upper right hand corner. This is my first blog, but I hope to contribute many more in the future.
Best regards, Clay
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