I (Katie) have had my eye on Adobe Photoshop Lightroom for about a year, but I wasn't sure if I "needed" another program or if I wanted to spend that kind of money. The program retails for $299 US dollars on the official Adobe website, so I'm sure you will understand my hesitation. I was planning to download a trial version (I love that Adobe lets you try before you buy), but then I found out about something even more exciting!
A contact of mine at the Adobe company emailed me this press release:
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 beta software for Macintosh and Windows, a public preview of new and improved functionality to be delivered in the next major release. Available as a free download on Adobe Labs, Lightroom 3 beta delivers a preview of new tools that will be in Lightroom 3, including more intuitive importing, unparalleled noise reduction and sharpening tools, enhanced slideshow capabilities and direct publishing to online photo sharing sites like Flickr. Adobe encourages photographers to test this early selection of new features and provide the product team with their feedback.
The beta is available as a free download to anyone on both Macintosh and Windows platforms. Visit http://labs.adobe.com/downloads to learn more and download the beta. Feedback can be submitted on the Lightroom forums: http://forums.adobe.com/community/lightroom. Users also can connect with Adobe at www.facebook.com/lightroom or http://twitter.com/Lightroom, and can add the tag #AdobeLR3beta to tweets about the beta.
You can read the full press release here if you would like to know more about the beta version of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3.
What's the catch?
This is a "beta" program which means it is still in development. Adobe is looking for meaningful customer feedback to help them make this version of Lightroom the best one yet. It's not required for you to send your input, they just appreciate it. I was thrilled with the opportunity to try out this program that I've heard so much about - and to be able to do it for free!
A few things to know:
- You will need an Adobe account to be able to download the beta version. It is free to create an account, and it's a good idea to have one anyway if you own any of the Adobe products. You will be prompted to create an account if you don't have one when you select which product you want to download at this link.
- Setup is very easy, and as someone who has never used a Lightroom product, I was pleased with how easy it was to get started. You will need to import your photos into Lightroom and it did take quite awhile to import my photos the first time, but I have a lot of photos!
- You can use Lightroom in several different ways: to organize photos in collections, add keywords, and to edit photos.
- When you are done playing with your photos in Lightroom, you will need to export them to be able to use them in other programs. This is a simple as saving a file.
I decided to spend a few minutes playing around with the program presets (see drop down menu in image) and I used this silly photo of a Play-Doh creation hamburger and fries.
With just a few quick clicks I was able to change the photo in several ways:
It went from this:
And you can change the look of each preset by customizing color, white balance, exposure, and other settings.
For TONS of great resources and tutorials for using Lightroom, be sure to bookmark the Adobe Lightroom learning centers page. Of course many digital scrapbooking shops and designers have some neat Lightroom presets for sale, so you might enjoy trying some of them out once you have tried out the Lightroom features.
Matt Kloskowski has a lot of great presets available for free on the Lightroom Killer Tips blog. He also includes instructions on how to install them (very easy!) Here are a few of my favorites:
- Warm and Fuzzy
- Fairy Tale Glow
- The Cutting Edge
- Wedding Fantasy
- Vintage New York
- Graduated Filters
- Polo Ralph Lauren Style
- Better Black and Whites
Have fun playing in Lightroom - I know I will!