Adobe Photoshop Lightroom is a comprehensive photo management system, combining non-destructive photo editing capabilities with image management, allowing easy library-like storage and retrieval. This program is used by over one third of all American professional photographers, and it has gone through many changes in the last six years.
Lightroom was originally developed under the codename Shadowland by Mark Hamburg (who helped to produce Photoshop) in 2002. Hamburg desired to create a snapshot painting program, at least partly so that he could develop a graphics arts program that was not Photoshop. He consulted with a number of other people about the project, and by the end of that year, they had decided that the future program would have to emphasize fast editing of photos in order to be able to manage large quantities of photos quickly.
In November of 2005, Apple released their Aperture program, which is similar in operation and functionality to Lightroom. Because the Aperture program was released prior to the earliest version of the Adobe program, many people believe that Lightroom was Adobe’s answer to the Apple application. However, the Adobe package had already been in development for three years by the time Apple made their announcement. The Lightroom package was first beta-tested during the first half of 2006, being made available only for Macs on the website for Adobe. The Windows version first became available as a beta program in July of that year. Lightroom finally became part of Photoshop editing two months later. The first commercial version of the program went on sale in February of 2007.
Fifteen months after its release, during July of 2008, version 2.0 of Lightroom was released. This newer version of the photo editing and storage backup system added localized corrections, multiple monitor support, more printing options, the ability to interface with 64-bit machines and more tools for organizing images than was available in the earlier version.
It was sixteen more months before Photoshop Lightroom users were treated to another major overhaul of the software. But, in October 2009, Adobe released a beta version 3.0 of Lightroom. It would not be released as a finished retail package until June 2010. This third version of the package added watermarking, an improved sharpening tool, new chroma noise reduction, tethered shooting for Canon and Nikon cameras, publishing services and video file support.
The latest version of the program, Adobe Phoshop Lightroom 4.0 allows a photographer the ability to bring out detail that would otherwise be lost in shadows or highlight, create photobooks, and assign and organize photographs by location, giving viewers another way to find related photos. In addition, Lightroom v. 4.0 allows video publishing to social networking sites including Facebook, a simple e-mail system compatible with most major e-mail service providers and the ability to spot-proof, allowing you a preview of what a print will look like if created on a color-managed printer.
With the additional tweaks which became available with the release of v 4.1 in May of this year, users can edit high dynamic range (HDR) files, and chromatic aberration (the rainbow ring around lights in nighttime photos) and lens flare issues have been greatly reduced.
With a price of just around $80, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom is an affordable package for any professional photographer or serious amateur.