I was reading my buddy Scott Kelby’s blog yesterday and enjoying all the great images he took of the red Cadillac in Savannah when something he wrote kind of struck me as funny. When discussing the post processing of the images, Scott wrote, “I didn’t even need to run a noise reduction filter. In fact, there are no effects filters or HDR used on any of these shots—-just Lightroom”. I completely understand what it is that Scott was saying but the thought that crossed my mind was that these days, you can process the heck out of an image using just Lightroom. So much so that you can completely change the look and feel of an image to the point that it appears that plug-ins and special filters were applied.
I think most people believe that Lightroom is a scalpel that lightly touches their image, but with the coming of Lightroom 2 and the Adjustment Brushes, there is more possibility for drastic or over the top processing than most individuals are even aware of. A perfect example of this can be found by checking out all of the Lightroom presets that are available from my buddy Matt Kloskowski at Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Killer Tips. Matt has amassed dozens of presets over at his blog that range from a slight enhancement of your image to a complete overhaul. Then take into consideration that you can create great looking black and white images with complete control over the luminance values of separate color tones within the image. This is black and white that is beyond what Photoshop used to be able to produce. Of course Photoshop has caught up to Lightroom with the changes in Camera Raw but who needs to go into Photoshop for that?
Finally, there is the ability to adjust specific features of your image with the adjustment brush so that you can effect any number of characteristics (color, saturation, exposure, clarity, etc) all in a localized adjustment. So, gone are the “global only” adjustments that made Lightroom a lesser processing tool than Photoshop. Now when someone says that “the only processing I did was in Lightroom”, I have to wonder what that means.
Here is the same image after processing in Lightroom.