Monthly Archives January 2008


…’s going to make a lot of people very happy! (Myself included).

So here’s the scoop: one of my meetings during my trip this week to Adobe’s Headquarters was with the Lightroom team where they’re showed me where Lightroom is going in the future. I’m under a Non-Disclosure Agreement with Adobe, so I can’t reveal any specific features, or when Adobe plans to release it, or anything like that, but I can tell you this; I was very impressed (OK, a bit giddy was more like it).

As Lightroom Product Manager Tom Hogarty mentioned in his blog post on Monday, to get all the things included on my 2.0 wishlist (now known as “our mutual wishlist” because your ideas are more important than mine) would take literally years (and after meeting with them, I have a much better understanding of why). In the coming weeks I’m going to work to find a way to connect you with the Lightroom team, and the brilliant engineers behind the product, and once you get a peek into their world, you’ll realize these things:

  1. They are listening to their customers at a level that would surprise you
  2. They want the exact same things you want
  3. They want them as soon as we do (maybe sooner)
  4. They’re thinking of the future of the product, and how it scales upward, in a way none of us ever have to consider. We’re lucky we don’t have to even think about that stuff.

It’s always enlightening, and motivating to spend time with the development team, and I’m sharing this with you to let you know that Adobe could not be more engaged, concerned, or dedicated to making Lightroom kick @#$ than they are. This is SUCH an exciting time to be a photographer, and it’s getting better all the time! :-)


I met up with Lightroom Product Manager Tom Hogarty yesterday in the halls of Adobe HQ out in San Jose, California and when I stopped him to talk for two seconds between meetings, he had in his hands a stack of paper; it was a print out of all the ideas you guys posted as comments to my “Lightroom 2.0 Wishlist” blog post from last Friday. :)

Tom had emailed me a nice note just a few hours after I had released my wishlist post on Friday, but I was even more excited to see with my own eyes how seriously Adobe was taking your suggestions and ideas. I wasn’t at all surprised—just totally psyched! Tom did his own follow-up post last night on the Adobe “Lightroom Journal” Blog (Tips and advice straight from the Lightroom team) and you can read it right here.

Thanks to everyone who posted such great ideas here last week, and a special thanks to the entire Lightroom team at Adobe for their dedication to their customers and for working to make a truly great product even better.

katrinseanbk.jpgBefore I left, I got my hands on Katrin Eismann and Sean Duggan’s new book, “The Creative Digital Darkroom” (Published by O’Reilly publishing) and I have to say—it’s the most complete book I’ve seen on the topic, and packed with so much in-depth info they probably didn’t sleep for a year. Way to go you two!!!

While the ink is still wet on the pages, I want to send a copy of this great new book to eight people who posted killer ideas (as blog comments) to my “Lightroom 2.0 Wishlist” post from last week. These are ideas that struck a chord with me personally (and I hope will with Adobe, too!), and they were just so good, I wanted to do something special for them. The winners of Katrin and Sean’s new book are:

  • Bob Ellis, for his idea of adding a pop-up movable shortcuts palette you can have open while you work in Lightroom
  • Dain, for his idea to have Lightroom’s Back-up warning appear when you close Lightroom (or shut down), rather than when you first open it.
  • Eric, who suggested that Lightroom automatically create and embed a snapshot of the develop settings used when a photo is exported.
  • MRK is That Kid, for the idea of a built-in Neutral Density Gradient Filter.
  • Allen Gambrell, for the ability to output the print to an image file at a specific resolution to be able to send to a pro lab for prints.
  • Rui M Leai, for the suggestion of adding the ability to browse folders without importing
  • Josh Garretson, for the idea of adding filtering like the Adobe Bridge
  • Christer, for the idea of including perspective Corrections within Lightroom

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me, with our readers, and most importantly; with Adobe. It matters.

If you didn’t win Katrin and Sean’s new book, you can find it at Barnes & or at, or wherever really good books are sold.


Hope everybody had a great weekend. Here’s what’s up:

  • Last week I mentioned the site of UK photographer Tim Wallace, and pointed you to his amazing automotive photography. Well, Tim dropped me a line to introduce himself, and in our exchange of emails, I learned that he’s only been shooting cars for the past nine months. Talk about having a knack for something! Tim sent me this shot of his on-location gear (click on it for a larger view), and I saw he’s shooting the same Elinchrom Ranger Kit I use—I knew I liked this guy). If you didn’t get a chance to check out his work last week, here’s the link again.
  • The Digital Artistry blog did a quick review of the new Volume 2 of my book, The Digital Photography BookHere’s the link to see what he has to say.
  • Don’t know if you caught last week’s episode of Layers TV, but they had David Ziser on as a guest, and he did a tutorial on how to shoot window light portraits, and it’s very cool. You can watch it online right here.
  • If you got two minutes, check out this very cool design oriented blog called Creative Techs (here’s the link), and they offer “Left Brain Support for Right Brain Professionals.” I just ran across it two weeks ago, and I’m diggin’ it big time!

That’s it for now. I’ve got some cool stuff coming this week, so I hope I’ll see you back here! Have a great Monday (hey, that’s an oxymoron!)


This past year I’ve spent a lot of time immersed in learning, using, and teaching Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. I traveled around the country with my Lightroom Live Tour and trained literally thousands of Lightroom users in person. Between that tour, my Lightroom hands-on workshops, the magazine, and hearing from readers of my Lightroom Book for Digital Photographers, I’ve gotten more real world, down in the trenches, tell-it-like-it-is feedback of what photographers want to see next in Lightroom than you can imagine.

I love Lightroom—it’s changed my digital workflow forever, and because it’s so important to me (and to so many people I’ve trained this year), I wanted to share the comments and ideas I heard most—including those most-asked-for features and enhancements.

I know Adobe gets a lot of input from high-end power users of Lightroom, but I also want to make sure that they hear from the working wedding photographers from Cincinnati, and the Senior Photographers from Jacksonville, the landscape photographers from Boulder, and the Portrait Photographers from Atlanta who are dealing with a different set of challenges in their daily work. I hear from these folks all the time (these are “my people”), and today I’m carrying their message forward, along with my own “wishlist” of ideas for things I’d love to see included in Lightroom 2.0 as well.

The first batch are the ones people asked me about again and again during my Lightroom Live Tour, so I’ll start with those first, then I’ll go module by module for the rest, so here goes:


  • NETWORKING: We’ need (need!) the ability to have multiple users access the same Lightroom library across a network. This is big. Biggity-big.
  • PHOTO BOOKS: How about the ability to create printed photo books (like those found in Photoshop Elements and Apple’s iPhoto and Aperture)? Also, we’d love it if Adobe hired some big-time design firm to create some really professional looking sets of templates for wedding albums, portfolios, coffee table book layouts, proof books, etc.. That would take it to the next level. (Personal admission: I process all my images in Lightroom, export them as JPEGs, import then into Apple’s Aperture, and then I use Aperture’s built-in book templates and printing service to print my photo books. Hey, what can I say—-Lightroom doesn’t have a books feature, and Aperture’s book feature rocks).
  • THE JPEG PROCESSED LOOK: When a Raw photo appears in Lightroom, it first displays the same low resolution JPEG preview image you see on the back of your camera’s LCD. After a few seconds that image changes as Lightroom renders the real unprocessed Raw image file. I get asked this again and again and again during my tour: Is there a way to get that JPEG preview look applied to their image (they love that look because it’s been color processed, tweaked, and sharpened by the software in their camera), but they (their words—not mine), often don’t like the way their photo looks after Lightroom renders it (that’s because they’re now seeing the unprocessed raw image). What they want is a way to get the exact same look as that JPEG preview applied to their raw photo as a starting point. I don’t know how Adobe would pull that off, but if they could, it would make an awful lot of people happy (basically, they want their raw photo to be auto processed to match what the camera would have done if they had shot in JPEG rather than Raw). I want this one for them.
  • OPEN AS SMART OBJECTS: We want the ability to open a Lightroom file in Photoshop CS3 as a Smart Object.
  • SHOOTING TETHERED: We’d love to be to shoot tethered directly from the camera straight into Lightroom without having to use a separate third-party application.


  • I’d love to see the Stacking feature (which is now only available in the Folders panel), available within Collections. It’s a great Lightroom 1.0 feature that I never get to use because it only works in Folders.
  • I’d like to see the Keywording consolidated into one single panel, instead of two panels on either side of the screen.
  • If they’re going to keep the Quick Develop panel, at least make it usable by getting rid of the barely usable one-click buttons, and give us sliders. It’s like Adobe gave us those annoying one-click buttons to discourage us from using Quick Develop (it worked; I don’t use it, and most of the folks I’ve talked with don’t either for that very same reason). If we had sliders, it might keep us from having to switch back and forth between the Library and the Develop Module so often. Want to really take it up a notch? Not only give me sliders in Quick Develop, let me pick which ones I want to appear in the Quick Develop panel.
  • I’d like to be able to hide panels I never use, and then combine panels (kind of like you combine palettes in Photoshop). That way, I could put all the panels I really use together on one side of Lightroom, and keep the other side hidden all the time. That way, I’d always have a much larger preview area, but still have access to all the panels I need.
  • I would like to see Adobe change the keyboard shortcuts for switching modules to the first letter of each module. For example, you should be able to press P for the Print module, W for Web, and so on (Yes, they’d have to come up with a new shortcut for Lights Out mode so people can jump to the Library Module by pressing L).
  • I’d like a Loupe feature like Apple’s Aperture, but not anything like the one in Adobe Bridge (Yeech!).
  • I want a Light Table feature (like Aperture’s but better) where you can manually arrange your images. I know it’s not a terribly efficient way to sort photos, but it is terribly fun.
  • When you’re in the Loupe view, and select another photo, it should automatically put you in Survey mode. (By the way, Survey mode is a lame name. Hey, I’m just sayin’).
  • I’d like an easy way to not just edit, but delete Metadata presets from right within Lightroom.
  • I want to be able to change the name of any image in the Library by just double-clicking on its name (you can do that in the Bridge—why not in Lightroom’s Library?).
  • When you go to Export a file, and you choose to have the Copyright Watermark visible, you should be able to choose the size of the copyright text.
  • I want a big Reset button in the Library module (just like the one in the Develop module), and I also want it in the exact same place (while I’m being picky).


  • I want Noise Reduction that’s good enough to make me not have to jump over to Photoshop to run a third party noise reduction plug-in like Noise Ninja, Define, or Noiseware).
  • I would like a Duotone/tritone/quadtone panel with some great built-in presets (so we don’t have to fake it using Split Toning).
  • I want the option of using a regular Healing Brush for spots/specs that works like a regular brush.
  • I’d like to be able to choose the color for my Clipping Warnings. With some photos it’s hard to see the red warning .
  • I want to be able to toggle through the different White Balance presets and see image update as I highlight each one (using the up/down arrow keys on my keyboard).
  • I’d like to have Sharpening Presets that I can apply from right within the Detail Panel itself, so I don’t have to leave the right side panels (where I’m making my manual adjustments) to apply a simple sharpening preset. I know, it’s a little thing.


  • My pet peeve is that if you’re showing a client a slideshow, they will see the first image of your slideshow on screen before the slideshow even starts. That stinks, since their first impression of your work will be a small version of the photo, with no music, surrounded by Lightroom’s interface. I would like to have a blackout mode, where all that is visible on screen is a play button—center screen. That way, when your client sits down to watch a slideshow, the don’t see anything until the slideshow actually begins. No visible filmstrip, other photos, or panels–just a black screen, and a play button. That would be sweet.
  • There should be an option to start each slideshow by fading in from black. Even iPhoto does that.
  • The music should automatically fade out at the end of a slideshow. Again, iPhoto does this automatically. You should also have a music loop on/off option.
  • I’d like a built-in Ken Burn’s-like Pan & Zoom effect, and some nice transitions (Elements has something like this—can’t we have it, too?).
  • In my “shooting for the moon” category of slideshow requests, it would be incredible to be able to set it up so your images could display in sync with the music. Yes, you would have to do this manually, by listening to the music and adding markers where the next slide should play, but it would be wonderful, and would let you create dramatic slide presentations that really made the most of the music. I saw a presentation where the photographer was showing his pro football porfolio, and he used the theme music to ABC Monday Night Football (not the Hank Williams Jr. opener—the main theme), and when it went, “Bom, bom, bom, bommmmm” four images appeared—one on each beat, and it was very dramatic. I want that. I know there’s no way in heck I’m going to get it, but hey—I said it was my “shooting for the moon” request.
  • We need to be able to import and place more graphics on the slide (like logos, water mark graphics, etc.). More than just the one graphic we get to use as an Identity Plate.
  • I want the ability to put a stroke around just the photos I choose, instead of applying to every photo or no photos.
  • Adobe—I’m begging you—let us export our slideshows as a QuickTime or Window WMV files, and we MUST be able to include music with them. I’m begging, here. So are thousands of other users who are forced to switch to 3rd party apps like Apple’s iPhoto when it comes time to make a slideshow.
  • Slideshows where you have two images side-by-side are all the rage right now, but to do one in Lightroom, you’d have to go to Photoshop first and manually combine the two photos into one document and import them one-by-one back into Lightroom and that “Just ain’t right.” Let us put more than one photo on each slide (at the very least, give us a side-by-side slideshow feature), but ideally we should be able to have more images on the same slide, like we do in the print module.
  • The ability to create a simple title screen for slideshows should be built right in, and a tracking feature (to tighten or increase the space between letters) should be included for sure.
  • We need a “Fit Slideshow to Music Length” option (like iPhoto).
  • There needs to be an option that burns your slideshow to direct to DVD (like iPhoto). I know, I keep comparing the slideshow module to a iPhoto, but come on—can’t we beat iPhoto? (it’s consumer software for goodness sakes!) Lightroom is a professional application—my little nephew shouldn’t be able to use the free software that came with his iMac (iPhoto) and make a more professional-looking slideshow than my application designed from the ground up for for professional photographers. That just ain’t right, but at this point, that’s the way it is. I can only hope.


  • I desperately want the ability to create non-uniform cells. By that, I mean I’d like to have three images across, the first being square, the center photo being a wide rectangle, and the third being another square. As it is, I’d have to have three perfect squares, or three identical rectangles.
  • I want a separate watermarking feature, with opacity control or ideally a “blind emboss” option that is totally separate from the identity Plate feature.
  • I want to be able to change the background color of my prints, so if I want a black background behind my photos, I just choose black.
  • I want the ability to add more graphics to the page, or at the very least have multiple Identity plates.
  • I want the built-in ability to add a matt (or something that looks like a matt).
  • I want the built-in ability to add edge effects (without having to resort to a clunky Identity Plate workaround).
  • I want the ability to export custom print templates I’ve designed as PDFs or PSDs (with the photos embedded—ready to print). I get asked this numerous times at every stop on my Lightroom tour.
  • We need a better way to make Wedding templates for wedding albums. Creating the look that’s popular now in wedding album design (lots of backscreening, tints, cutouts, mixing color and black and white images on the same page, edge effects, paragraphs of poems or the invitation text or wedding vow text, etc.) almost requires that you go to Photoshop and create it all manually. We need an automated layout function (like the half dozen or so stand-alone apps I just saw at Imaging USA), then we need to be able to save these out as PDFs or PSDs, and then ideally upload them directly from Lightroom to the wedding album printing company.


  • I would love a Flash-based client proofing gallery template that puts a number beside the pictures (like the default HTML template), but I also need two more things: (1) the ability to add a custom watermark across each image, and (2) Approval checkboxes so clients can choose the images they want and then hit the Send button, and it sends me just those numbers, and any additional comments from my client.
  • I want to be able to add a caption, or change the name, of any individual photos right there on screen, without going back to the Library module and Metadata panel.
  • I would like the ability to add multiple galleries to a home page and also separate customizable inside pages like an about page, a contact page, etc..

Here’s a few I missed in my initial posting this morning, but when I saw your comments I knew they needed to be there, too.

  • Dual Monitor Support (I can’t believe I forgot this one, as it was one of the very things I went searching for when the first Beta version was released. Good catch!).
  • Softproofing. (I know, I can’t believe I forgot that one either).
  • Perspective corrections (this is something we’d have to jump over to Photoshop for, and having it built-in to Lightroom would save us the trip).
  • Built-in HDR, but more full-featured than the one in Photoshop CS3. (This one’s for Ben and Barney). It would rock.
  • A Browse Feature, where you can look without importing (like the Bridge allows). I hadn’t thought of this one at all, but now that I see it listed—I want it.
  • I also like the Archiving to DVD on import idea a lot. Now I want it, too.
  • Another I hadn’t thought of, but really like, is adding the option of having a checkbox on Web galleries that would enable the viewer to download a high-res version of the Web thumbnail or preview-size image they’re seeing.
  • How ’bout that tweak of having the Vignette readjust when you crop a photo. It’s a little big thing. :)
  • Changing Catalogs without having to restart. I can’t believe I forgot this one either. Thanks for the reminder.

Well, that’s pretty much it. Now, I don’t want you to get too excited, because I don’t have a very good track record of getting anything added to Lightroom (or Photoshop for that matter), so if one or more of these ideas got you jumping up and down, I have no way of knowing if it’s in Adobe’s plans or not (at least at this point), so our only hope is to let Adobe know that’s what you want.

Yell it from the rooftops, because this early in the game we just might have a chance of getting something added, but you’ve got to yell it really loud. Post your favorite ideas here in the comments section and I’ll make sure the Lightroom Product Managers know it’s there (I’ll do yelling for you), and if there’s enough umph behind your plea—hey….ya just never know. :-)

In the last free update to Lightroom, Adobe did something very cool; they snuck in three very slick Flash-based web site templates (which are completely customizable), designed by the gang over at Airtight Interactive. In Lightroom, these three templates actually appear in the Gallery Panel on the right side, and they’re called:



Airtight Postcard Viewer (shown above top), which arranges your photos like they’re on a Light table, and when you click on any one, it zooms into a large size (seen in the image right below it). Click on either image to see larger versions.

Airtight Auto Viewer (shown above–click for larger version), which gives you a row of interactive panels, and the center panel displays your full color image while the panels on either side are dimmed back. People viewing your Web site have the choice of clicking the play button to watch an automated slideshow, or they use the arrows to scroll through the slides at their own pace.



Airtight Simple Viewer (above above top), displays your images as tidy square thumbnails on the left, and when you click on a thumbnail the larger version is displayed with a white Polaroid border around it.

flashpal.jpgWhat’s so cool about these (besides the way they look), is how incredibly customizable they are, and how easy they are to customize. There’s a panel (shown here) where you choose how many thumbnails, how large they are, if they have a border, and how wide it will be, and a dozen or so customizations specific to each template. It’s very, very well done.

Kudos to Airtight Interactive for such well thought out design and especially for letting Adobe’s Lightroom Team share it with us Lightroom users.