Find out what’s new in Lightroom 5 and enter for a chance to win a copy for yourself or the photographer in your life.
Whenever anyone asks me what photo editing program I recommend I always answer Lightroom. The non-destructive editing capabilities makes it incredibly user friendly and pretty much fool-proof. You can play around and learn as you go and never worry about harming your original file.
It’s been over a year since I last talked about Lightroom, and a lot has happened since that version. I’ve taken the new Lightroom 5 for a test run over the past month and I have to say I’m impressed with the new additions.
There are 4 important new additions to Lightroom 5 you’ll want to know about: Advanced Spot Healing, Upright Perspective Correction, Radial Filter, and Smart Previews.
1. Advanced Spot Healing:
Lightroom 4 already had a healing/cloning tool that was great for small spot removal but not as useful when dealing with irregularly shaped objects. The new Lightroom 5 upgrades this tool with a brush that allows you to paint over unwanted elements in your image and it will attempt to find a match.
It’s not perfect and may need some extra fine tuning around the edges of your selection, and it also requires a large enough matching patch from which to sample but it’s a big improvement on spot touch ups. This tool makes cleaning up stray crumbs and spills in your food photos a breeze
2. Upright Perspective Correction:
If your images have a tendency to come out with a slight tilt to them this is the tool you’ll be the most excited about, but it does more than just fix crooked pictures. The new perspective correction will automatically detect and straighten the horizontal and vertical lines in your image and correct skewed perspective as well.
The manual sliders are still available but this is a quick and easy place to start your adjustment which can be further refined manually. You can cycle through the different options and see how they affect your image and choose the setting that works the best.
3. Radial Filter:
The radial filter gives the old vignette feature a serious upgrade. The old version allowed you to feather the edges of your image but that was about it. In the new Lightroom 5 you can create multiple off-center vignettes to draw attention to specific areas of a photo. This is a great way to highlight a specific part of an image and blur out a background.
You click and drag a circle or oval around the part you want to highlight and then drag the adjustment sliders to apply the changes to the area outside the circle. You can darken or brighten or blur the background and really make your subject pop out.
4. Smart Previews:
This is the feature I was most excited about and will probably have the most impact for your workflow. Smart Previews give you the ability to edit an image while they are offline! That means even if your file is sitting on your external hard drive you can still edit it in Lightroom without having to have access to your drive. All the changes you make are stored in Lightroom and then applied the next time you hook up your drive.
This is great if you store a lot of your catalog offline for hard drive space reasons. You can generate Smart Previews on import in the import dialog box. You will have to tell Lightroom which photos you want to build smart previews for as it will not automatically apply the previews to your existing catalog.
These powerful new editing tools make Lightroom 5 worth a buy or an upgrade, just make sure that you check the minimum operating system requirements for the new version as it may not be compatible with some older operating systems.
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