Buy Photoshop Lightroom before a Camera Lens

By Jed Grant

Brooklynn Before and After Lightroom EditingOne thing you will see immediately when you start digging into photography is that you can quickly become limited by your lens. A good lens can give you great control over depth of field and allow you to get a LOT more light into the camera, which in turn means you can leave your ISO low and get higher quality images. Lenses are an exceptional investment, however, that’s exactly what they are, they’re an investment. My articles target people on a budget and those who simply want to learn quickly and even though a lens has a lot of value, I would suggest there’s something else that will help raise the quality of your work faster. Adobe Photoshop Lightroom.

First, Photoshop Lightroom is not the same as Photoshop. Lightroom is designed specifically with photographers in mind. Now, why? You’ve seen all those image on the internet that look amazing right? I guarantee ALL of those images have been edited. Every single one. Some of the very elaborate ones use Photoshop and some heavy image manipulation to combine multiple photos. Photoshop can perform almost every editing task Lightroom can and it’s more powerful in almost every way. However, Lightroom has a few advantages if you’re just taking pictures. It’s fast. I downloaded the application a couple of days ago and can already comfortably edit almost all of my images just the way I want. It doesn’t allow some of the editing styles Photoshop does, but it’s MUCH faster. It also has a very intuitive user interface that is design for a photographer instead of a designer. Additionally when you edit a high-res image in Photoshop you wind up with a 100MB+ file. Lightroom works in such a way that the file size is barely noticeable and none of your edits are permanent, meaning you can go back to the original at any time.

Who Cares?

So who really cares about editing? Everyone. Editing can turn a boring image into something colorful and vibrant, or stylized and unique. It can add an artistic flare that provides customers, or yourself with an image that isn’t your average JC Penny photo shoot. You can look at any of the images in my gallery to see what editing can do. Particularly the posts with before and after images such as the Photo Editing: Introduction post.

So when it comes down to a choice between Lightroom and a Lens? Do some research about Lightroom. Go download the trial from adobe. Watch some tutorials, find some presets, and see for yourself how good your pictures really are in 5-15 minutes of editing.

Photo of Rachel Before and After Lightroom Editing

The above image edit was done in less than a minute. All I needed to modify was the exposure, color temperature and noise reduction sliders and it was done. For me personally this adjustment makes the image significantly better.

Photo of Max Before and After Lightroom Editing

In this image I was trying to allow the sun to flare into the image to create a lens flare effect you see fairly often in modern photography. I may have over done it just a tag. I firmly believe that a better exposure would be ideal, however, as a totally new photographer Lightroom is able to help fix some of my mistakes. In this image I used a handful of different sliders including contrast, curves, temperature, noise reduction and recovery. Mostly just trial and error sliding them bars up and down. it still took me less than 5 minutes.

Photo of Rachel Before and After Lightroom Editing

In this image I used a Lightroom preset I found on the internet. Then adjusted the various settings to work for my image. Less than 5 minutes.

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  1. By helena August 28, 2010

    Have you looked into Photoshop Elements? It’s so much cheaper. Or is it too basic?

  2. By Jed Grant August 30, 2010

    Helena, I have looked at Elements, and it is a little too basic. In the next week I’ll be trying to put up a intro to Lightroom video. It has a TON of power and it’s presented much more simply than Elements or the regular Photoshop. I am guessing that you could get some pretty good edits with Elements, however, something that would take 20 minutes in Elements would take 2-3 in Lightoom. I edited 200 photos tonight (on my flickr stream – softball stuff) with Lightroom. No way could I pull that off in Elements. Look for the Lightroom vid this week, you’ll see what I mean.

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