Lightroom 3 Beta – It Just Keeps Gettin’ Better!

If you’ve been using Lightroom for as long as I have, then I’m sure you’re just as in love with this program as I am. Lightroom 2 brought about several changes, including the Adjustment Brush, which kept many photographers from going from Lightroom to Photoshop so often. Lightroom 3 Beta is no different, and boasts an impressive feature-set and some very cool improvements.

Today I’m going to highlight some of the things that I really like and find the most useful about LR3 Beta. What I’m NOT going to do is a full-on, in-depth review. There are plenty of good reviews out there. I just want to bring to light some of the things that I have decided will be worth the money to upgrade to Lightroom 3 for.

Import Dialog Box
First of all, the new Import Dialog box just plain rocks! I really love the options that it gives you, and it even simplifies the interface to those who are new to Lightroom.

Basic Import Dialog Box

Full Import Dialog Box

I love being able to name imported files as Photo Sessions, Custom Name Sequences, and pretty much anything I want to. You can still add Metadata in much the same ways as you can in LR2. You can also apply Develop settings during import as well, which can save you TONS of time if you have some common “go-to” processing techniques. Overall, I love the new Import Dialog Box!
Publish Services
Lightroom 3 Beta has brought about easier ways to publish photos to services like Facebook, Zenfolio, Flickr, and more. I really dig that I can take care of that right from a panel in the Library Module. What a convenient feature!
Film Grain
This is HUGE! You’re starting to see more “effects” show up in Lightroom 3 Beta, and Adobe kicked it off with the Film Grain effect to simulate film grain in your digital photos. If Adobe keeps adding features like this, more and more photographers will be using Photoshop less and less. Film Grain is found under the Effects panel in the Develop Module.
Another huge improvement here! In Lightroom 2, you weren’t able to export Slideshows that included music that you could add to the slideshow in Lightroom. That is now a thing of the past. Now you can export slideshows as videos, which includes the music that you add in the Slideshow module. Now you can put them on discs, upload them to the web, and your client doesn’t have to be sitting in front of your computer with Lightroom open to see the slideshow you put together for them.
What I’m Still Wishing For
I really wish that I had more flexibility with plug-ins: I would really like to feel like I’m still in Lightroom while using my Nik Software plug-ins. One thing that really drives me nuts is that if I want to use any of Nik’s plug-ins, I can’t do so using the original file. I have to use a copy of the file in PSD (my choice) format, which takes up more space on my hard drive and creates a duplicate file. This is because of the nature of Lightroom’s non-destructive workflow, but I still think that I should have a choice here, Adobe.
The Bottom Line
Will I shell out the cash for the upgrade to Lightroom 3 when it’s released? You betcha! There are enough improvements that really make it work the upgrade and I’ll gladly do so. If you spend as much time in Lightroom as I do, I think you will find it just as useful. If you haven’t already downloaded the Beta version to take it for a spin, check it out here!
For more great information about Lightroom 3 Beta, check out the Lightroom 3 Beta Learning Center from NAPP!



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