Adobe Lightroom 4 Adds More "Flow" to your Workflow


The folks at Adobe seldom disappoint us when it comes to product updates, and Adobe’s Lightroom 4 is no exception. Already considered part and parcel of the digital workflow process of serious shooters at all levels of the photographic hierarchy, Lightroom 4 brings a number of noteworthy features to the party.

For additional information and insights into Adobe’s Lightroom 4, click below to see Scott Kelby’s take on Lightroom’s latest incarnation.

The original premise of Lightroom was its being an extension of Adobe Photoshop, which has been and continues to be the "iPod" (or iPad, your choice) of photo-editing software. Compatible with both Mac and Windows platforms, Adobe Lightroom largely serves as the "organizer" to Photoshop’s "editor" when it comes to digital workflow. In addition to the many organizational, display and photo-sharing features found in previous versions of Lightroom, Lightroom 4 offers a number of organizational and nondestructive photo-tweaking tools of its own. Lightroom 4 gives you speed, efficiency and an easier workflow.

Adobe Lightroom 4  Adobe Lightroom 4 - Student and Teacher Edition

Included among Lightroom 4’s newest features are the following:

Highlight and Shadow Recovery  

Sharpness and resolving power aside, the difference between a terrific photograph and an "eh" photograph often has to do with dynamic range, or in layman’s terms, highlight and shadow detail. Lightroom 4 contains enhanced tools for extending the dynamic range of your image files in order to bring out the maximum levels of detail from your photographs.

Photo Book Creation  

Half the fun of taking pictures is sharing them with others. Here too Lightroom takes the ball and runs with it by enabling you to create books illustrated with your own photographs. With simple-to-use templates, creating a book requires little more than clicks of your mouse and a bit of imagination.

Additional enhancements and improvements over previous versions of Lightroom include the following:

Enhanced Online Sharing Integration  

Lightroom 4 allows you to share your photographs with others on Facebook, Flickr and other online image sharing and social media sites, and depending on the website, Lightroom 4 also enables you to monitor any online comments friends and family members might post about your images.

Video Publishing  

Just as Lightroom makes it a piece of cake to share your still images with others on Facebook, Flickr and other social media portals, Lightroom 4 makes it equally easy to share your videos in HD format on your favorite social media sites. With LR4 you can also save HD video formatted for sharing and viewing on smartphones, tablets, HDTVs and similar image-sharing hardware.

Location-Based Image Tagging  

In addition to organizing your photographs, Lightroom 4 also has the ability to include any GPS-gathered data when importing image files from GPS-enabled cameras and smart phones, making it possible to sort images by location as well as to use this data to plan or retrace trips and travel plans.

Extended Video Support  

Still imaging aside, the organizational and editing skills of Lightroom 4 include the ability to organize, view, edit, enhance and embed video clips. LR4 also enables you to trim video clips, extract still images from any portion of the video feed, and adjust the imaging properties of the video using LR4’s Quick Develop tool.

Nondestructive Working Environment  

One notable difference between Photoshop and Lightroom is the nondestructive environment. When making adjustments to images within Lightroom, changes are recorded within a cache and only applied to your image once saved. Lightroom doesn’t require as complex a workflow to undo edits—no use of layers, etc. This allows you to be a bit more experimental and risky with your corrections without the fear of overwriting your original files.

Batch Processing  

From an efficiency standpoint, Lightroom has always excelled in terms of batch processing.  Like previous versions, the ability to apply one or more image adjustments to a group of images is a simple task.

White Balance, Noise Reduction, and Moiré-Removal Brushes  

If you ever wished there were a simple set of brushes that would allow you to go in and easily correct color balance, reduce noise levels and even eliminate pesky moiré patterns in your still images, Light Room 4 has you covered here too. The ability to go into your image files—locally or globally—and clean up jarring differences in white balance within single images or being able to match the coloration of a string of images is mighty powerful, and with Lightroom 4 it really couldn’t be easier. The same can be said for any noise and moiré patterns that might diminish the integrity and overall quality of your image files. A click or two and they’re gone, or at the very least, greatly eliminated.

Advanced Black-and-White Conversions  

Convert your RGB image files into full-bodied monochrome images using an 8-channel mixer for maximum tonality and detail.

Soft Proofing  

Save time, ink, and output media by being able to soft proof, or preview the way your image will appear when output on color-managed printers.

Emailing from Lightroom  

Mail your images directly from Lightroom to any email address quickly and easily.

Multiple Output Formats  

In addition to the exciting photo book, email and social network output options, Lightroom is also capable of publishing your work in a variety of electronic media. HTML and Flash galleries can be created for use on your own personal website as well as easy-to-share video slideshows.

Seamless Compatibility with Photoshop  

If you need to perform a bit more work on your images than Lightroom permits, there is a quick and seamless interface between it and Photoshop for detailed pixel-by-pixel modifications to be done. Any adjustments made in Photoshop will show up instantly within the Lightroom environment for a more productive workflow.

Importing Libraries from other Software  

Import still imagery and artwork from other sources and applications directly into Lightroom 4 for editing and output to wherever your images are destined to go.

Adobe Lightroom 4 is available in the following complete package and upgrade configurations:

Lightroom 4 System Requirements (Windows) Lightroom 4 System Requirements (Mac)
Intel Pentium 4 or AMD Athlon 64 processor Multicore Intel processor with 64-bit support
Microsoft Windows Vista with Service Pack 2 or Windows 7 with Service Pack 1 Mac OS X 10.6.8 or 10.7
2GB of RAM 2GB of RAM
1GB of available hard-disk space 1GB of available hard-disk space
1024 x 768 display 1024 x 768 display
DVD-ROM drive DVD-ROM drive
Internet connection required for Internet-based services Internet connection required for Internet-based services

More Sample Images Below: 


That review was informative but extremely obnoxious! I guess anybody who uses the Web module function is a "nobody" according to Scott? A very unexpected and unprofessional comment. Every professional photographer has a wide variety of needs and web development is (should) be a big one. One doesn't outweigh the other excet for your own personal preference. They should have left it at "the modules can be hidden..."  I don't care who these guys are; Obnoxious snobbery is obnoxious snobbery. As" adults" and professionals, do we really need that?  B&H should screen these reviews for silly, unprofessional remarks like that. It's a huge turn off!

Was this comment necessary? If you did not like the humour ok, but they did a great job telling us about the product. Stop been a crab and trying to pull others down. Go and take your time and money and make your own review.

Guys thanks for the nice and free review, keep up the great work.

If you've watched Scott Kelby for any amount of time, you will realize he has a 'sense of humor'.  Some may not like that, but that is Scott's way.

Oh Please... the guys are having fun, obviously you have little tolerance for people's opinions and maybe should keep your own opinion to yourself and just enjoy the good tips the guys have to offer and lighten up a little. Really it's not worth getting worked up over if you don't agree just shrug it off for all of our sake here. Not having to read the flaming will be a relief. It's OK to not agree, I am sure many did not agree. I have used the WEB module a couple times myself. Just keep yourself from flaming, put more effort into absorbing the tips. Positive energy, man!

Thank you guys for a great review. But, I would like to add something to think about. I have been taking pictures for over 45 years . When I was in Vietnam in 1967 I carried cameras on almost every combat operation. I have done mainly sports covering the Ky Derby, Indy, NASCAR , The Masters Gold event, as well as nature and portrait photography. My problem with computer aided or inhanced photography is when does the viewer or the public know what they are seeing is as it was or as it has been created by the computer? I am still learning the move the digital, but it seems to me more and more the art, the eye, the skill of taking a picture you know might be your only chance.theskill and planning that goes into taking the picture to capture the money, rather than I'll just shoot a bunch, then let the computer add,take away or move around the picture? Thanks again and keep a good eye for the subject, Paul Louisville, KY

The same could be said by someone 25+ years ago who did not know how to develope their own photos in a dark room. Nothing has fundamentally changed. Taking a photo and processing it is still the same concept. Only now you do it on a computer and not with chemicals.

Very good review and entertaining as usual, but the "nobody" comment about the Web module shows that either I am off in a corner of the LR world or they are. It is one of LR's most valuable assets to me and keeps me from moving to any other RAW converter and cataloging program.

The use of Matt Campagna's TTG plugins has allowed me to develop and maintain my professional website without resorting to needing a programmer and has been a critical piece in my business as well as editing workflow.

I used to only be on the "dinosaur" list, now I'm a "nobody". Oh well, getting old's a bitch...and I haven't even started to feel it!!



 Can you knucle heads get along? No need to get pissy

Hi Paul, I'm of the new generation, I'm 26 years old, and grew up in the digital world. I experimented a lot with digital photography and the way I see it, Lightroom, the software, gives us some of the same tools as would a developing a photo in a dark room. Sure a lot of people cheat, they take ordinary pictures and then move things around, erase stuff, to trick the viewer into thinking the picture is awesome, but Lightroom isn't for that. The disadvantage of digital photography is that, unlike traditional photography where you could select the right type of film for the job, them go in a dark room and develop your picture to get the right contrast on the right type of paper, having the ability to use masks to compensate for overexposed or underexposed areas, with digital photography you're always stuck with the same film and there is no developing process to make sure the contrast looks right. The way the "film" is done on a digital camera, if you don't adjust the contrast, the picture comes out really flat and ugly. Most people don't know that because the cameras automatically apply a curve to the pictures to make them look good. So you have two choices, either you leave it that way, or you bring it back to it's low contrast original and adjust it yourself, exposing it the right way, the way you'd do it in a dark room, but on a computer. It's the only way we can make the artistic choices you would have done in 1967 by selecting the type of film to get the result you wanted. So yes, a lot of people use computers to cheat, but not doing anything is cheating also because you're using the contrast curve created by the manufacturer. It's as if you would have used a cheap roll of film that the store would have given you with your new camera and never stopped to experiment with other films to get the look you wanted. It's a fine line between adjusting and cheating, but that line exists. And it's the reason I love Lightroom. It feels much more like a real dark room with traditional adjustments than other alternatives like Photoshop.

Wtf? Can't change/choose contrast? What are you talking about?

Do you know nothing about RAW photos and the full ability to manipulate their data in almost any way imaginable on the PC? Changing contrast is the tiniest, easiest thing, among many other attributes.

Hi J. I think you didn't understand me correctly. I didn't say we can't adjust the contrast, I said you can't change the film in the camera, all you can do is change the ISO, but you don't have access to all kind of films like before, therefore, is you want to adjust the pictures like in the good old time (adjust the contrast, the grain, ...), you need a computer. So using a computer isn't necessarily cheating, it can be used the do the same kind of choices and adjustments you would have done before using a certain film type and a dark room.

There was a great article in the Wall Street Journal about Jerry Uelsmann, born in 1943, who became known for his ability to manipulate images (film images) in the dark room, creating glowing trees, boulders hovering above a woman lying in the grass. Even Ansel Adams was known for his tedious work in the dark room to get the exact look he wanted. Yes we can do more today in manipulating images, but photographers have been altering their photos for decades. Today, it's a bit easier (for some) to alter the image. I do think the photographer needs to be honest with the viewer and let us know when images have been considerably changed. If you ever enter a photo contest for National Geographic or other major magazines, they expect you to do very little to the photo, and to detail what you have done. If it's too altered they won't accept it. Of course, art comes in many forms. Altered images can bring out emotions and feelings an artist is looking for, whether done digitally or on film.

I agree...

The reality ...and the craft of making an image IN THE CAMERA are going bye bye.

What Art Center College of Design taught me is no longer needed...but I am glad I still have it.  I am better able to spend LESS time at a stinkin' computer.  But alas, I do love my iMac!

Hello Paul,

Although I respect your background, truth be told, there is nothing new in photography that hasn't been tried and done is days of darkroom.  It's just more accessible to produce on a computer. With that said, let's remember that it all starts with a great photograph.  Lighting, posing, style and did I mention lighting…. All the computer enhancements & adjustments in the world can't make a crap photo (dare I say, snapshot) into a world class fine art print. 

Let's look back in history, transportation changed when Henry Ford rolled the model T off the assembly line and replaced the horse.

Ladies used cumbersome corsets to shape the figure, replaced by girdle and now Spanks

The very thing you curse, the computer, is what has changed your way of communicating, thus providing a way to express your discernment of computer photo editing via programs designed to take us from the darkroom and into the light.  And as photographers, that’s where we need to be…in the light, working with light and sculpting with light.  It all starts with a great photograph…that will never change.

You will embrace programs that make your workflow smooth and give you the doors to open that you only dreamed of. Your work will grow to new heights of exploration. And to think, it all started with a great photograph.

Keep Clicking into the future,


Well stated Jim!

While the computer does allow you to do a lot, much of it was doable in film days.

You could 'alter" reality based on the film you chose (IR, BW, color , and which type of film you used), filters you used (or didn't use), how you developed the film, etc

Then comes the printing - dodging, burning sure, but more was (is) possible, plus the choice of paper would effect the end result.

As for 'reality' that is always in the mind of the photographer - what you captrure, or crop out, how you expose and light, the lens you choose, focal length, aperture, composition all influences the viewers' interpretation of the image. DIgital hasn't changed that one whit.

paul...same vintage

..same  transitional issues..finallly a dslarian

.. use the new "light-darkroom" to enhance my original images,but also bring to life some that would have ended up on the cutting floor of disdain....

lroom/cs6 etc give us an extra dimension to work in-we can enter if we wish or we can by pass it..i choose to enter but ultimately i agree with you-a great photograph? a great photographer??i tell you my ideas

you can have the most expensive camera on the planet with the best lens..but if you dont have the vision...

in my case as with film(kodachrome) and with digital today

i take all my great pix in my head before i even press the shutter...and i always know ....the only diff is that instead of waiting a week to see the work i can see them instantly

paul for me these are what make us special as good  or great photographers "we take what is ordinary and present it as something  extra-ordinary"

"we take what others cannot see and show them what they missed" ..a great pix speaks to the heart..and as such whether film or digital

first you gotta take it....rgds t