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:

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

Photo credits: Clay Gilpin, Happykimmyj, Piero Cruciatti.

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September 15, 2012


Just so you understand I want to make 12 books for Christmas presents. This is totally for personal use. E-mail me back at
Any comment would be appreciated.

September 15, 2012


Please help me. I 've been looking for 2 days for pictures to put in a book that I want to write for my mom and brother-in-law. My sister died 2 months ago and using I wanted to write this book using sketches of like a school, a home, afamily christmas, a birthday, her job...colored pencil or abstract art would work and I need about 40 warm,cute pictures - like a wedding picture but I do not want to use actural photos. Do you know where I can find this ??Please write back. 'Nita

September 10, 2012


Thanks for sharing!Very good experience! LR, I like to use a software.

September 09, 2012


thanks for sharing....

September 07, 2012


ok - you got me to the point to trial it - thank you - I'm only using the Canon RAW processing so far, so let us see if this is something for me :)

September 06, 2012


Also, Peanutroaster mentions organization... if you don't already have a clean and concise workflow LR4 can help with that, too. I recommend Scott Kelby's Lightroom 4 Book for Digital Photographers. He shares his own workflow when using LR4 in a bonus chapter.

September 06, 2012


Peanutroaster mentions a couple of other benefits of LR4 as well. The non-destructive element is key to getting photos accepted with Dreamstime, as many buyers need photos they can manipulate after purchase... and if we've already squeezed everything out of every pixel they don't have much room to play around.

September 06, 2012


Yepp it's a great tool....I usually adjust the basics when shot in RAW with Canons DPP then the fine tuning is done by Lightroom....It's lightyears easier than Photoshop.

September 06, 2012


I would like to try Photoshop Lightroom 4 :) Great blog, thanks for sharing.

September 06, 2012


I have thought in the last time about trying to use the L4 but I always had a doubt. Now, after reading your blog, I am gonna try it. There is nothing to lose, besides some hours of my time, but if everything is as many people say, I might probably win a lot! :)
Thanks for sharing!

September 06, 2012


Thanks for sharing, very useful!

September 05, 2012


Great, thanks for sharing.

September 05, 2012


Nice. Don't forget that L4 is non-destructive and includes a library mode for keeping track of all those photos.

September 05, 2012


Very informative. I hope you write more soon!

September 05, 2012


Good analysis - I find Lightroom a very valuable tool as well. It is the primary software I use, only using Photoshop for more extensive work like cloning out a logo. It isn't free, but I highly recommend the LR4 tutorial video on Luminous Landscape

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