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Outback Photo Handbook: Workflow Basics

Lightroom 4 Public Beta

essay by Uwe Steinmueller

Manage the Digital Workflow



"You know, the last time a Photoshop tool made me do a double take and stare in amazement is when I first tried EasyS a few years back. I just tried out EasyDS and I was wowed yet again. Such a simple interface, yet the results are fantastic! I'm not talking about a subtle difference here, I did an A/B comparison and what I thought was sharp turned out to be pretty blurry :) And EasyDS does this without the usual ugly artifacts. Great job! P.S. Before trying to use exotic sharpening plugins or raw converters, photographers really need to look into your sharpening plugins. Their images will look better and they'll save a bundle." - Robert G. June 2009


As with previous versions Lightroom 4 opens with a public Beta. This way user feedback can still find its way into the final version

Note about Beta Software: Using beta software is always more risky than using normal release versions. Also don't count that your can upgrade your new LR4 Beta catalog to the final version format. Just don't count on any feature to be available in the final release.

Download from Adobe Labs

We present a broad overview over the new features of Lightroom 4. Best you download LR 4 Beta and check it out with some sample images.

New Module: Map Module

This is an entirely new module. GPS data on images has never been more fun. The Map Module integrates Google Maps into lightroom (Satellite, Road Maps and Terrain View).

Road View with image location

Image GPS data can be attached to images in different ways:

  • During capture in camera
  • Drag an image to the proper map location
  • Load and process Track Logs (we did not test this feature)

New Module: Book Module

It is a lot of fun to create your own photo books. This is what Lightroom 4 Book Module helps you with. There are two types of books you can create:

  • Blurb books
  • PDF books

Book Module

Single page view

The Book Module features many different book templates. If your book is ready you can directly either create the PDF version or publish to Blurb.

Our personal feature request: To be able to create an Indesign book (maybe in the future)

Module Updates: Develop

In 2010 Lightroom 3 introduces new processing Process 2010 (the original process is called 2003). Lightroom 4 adds a again new Process 2012. All the old processes (2003 + 2010) are still available and can be used.

Process selector

What is new in Process 2012?

Basic for Process 2012

Process 2012 is a major change and you have to get used to it. The main difference is with these sliders:

  • Highlights: Controls the highlight range of your image (including some recovery)
  • Shadows: Acts a bit like Fill Light in Processes before.
  • Whites: Allows you to control the white point clipping (positive and negative)
  • Blacks: Allows you to control the black point (positive and negative). The "old" blacks were only positive

These new controls require often an iteration because they interact with the other settings. The new controls allow now quite a bit more latitude in the highlights and shadows.

CA (Chromatic Aberration) Reduction

CA Check Box

Gone are the old CA sliders. The process is now fully automatic where the software detects all CA. For us the new process works fine and also does not require available lens profiles. If you have cases with extreme CA you may want to revert to process 2010 if needed.

The Gradient and Local Adjustment tools got additional features

You can now also change with these tools:

  • Selective area white balance: This is needed more often than you may think. Photograph a door under a balcony and you see that the WB of the scene is like a gradient from blue to yellow. You can counter this effect with a WB setting in a reverse gradient.
  • Noise: You can remove noise in selective areas (e.g. shadows)
  • Moire: Allows selective Moire reduction (did not check so far).
  • Shadows: Local tuning of shadows.

Soft Proofing

Soft Proofing images for printing was on top of our list for a long time. Now LR 4 implements it.

First you enable Soft Proofing:

Soft Proofing enabled

Now you can control the Soft Proofing target settings:

Proof Settings

  • Paper target profile
  • Rendering intent
  • Paper & Ink simulation

For some papers the image may look quite different with Soft Proofing "on". It also differs from paper to paper of course. In these cases LR 4 offers to create a virtual Proof Copy which we highly recommend.

Create a Proof Copy

The preview also show the out of gamut colors:

Out of gamut color indicators


Module Update: Print Module

There is an interesting new feature in the Print Module: Print Adjustments.

Print Adjustments

Often the prints seems to be darker than on the monitor. This is mostly related to too bright monitor settings. Instead of going back to Develop you can tune the Contrast and Brightness here directly in the Print Module. Very likely many of your images require the same kind of tweaks.


Library Update: Improved Video Support

Video support also got improved in Lightroom 4.

Playing Video in LR4

Lightroom can now play videos directly and also import MTS videos (part of an AVCHD structure). We use the video function mainly to select clips for further editing.

But you can even trim clips and make quick Develop changes to your videos.


Maps and Books are welcome new modules. For us the most important changes are related to the new 2012 Process and the new features for selective editing (brush and gradients).






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