Lightroom and HDR

Discussion in 'Graphics Programs and Photo Gallery' started by Stephen.C, Aug 4, 2010.

  1. Stephen.C

    Stephen.C TPF Noob!

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    Right now as my editing software I use Paint.net, and it really is only good for minor touch ups, and I wish to upgrade to a real program.
    I was looking at lightroom, and I downloaded the trial. Mainly I am looking to edit my photos, use curves, and contrast, but I really want to try out HDR photos. Can lightroom make HDR images? I google'd it and I am not really finding a clear answer. I mean its 300 dollars, I think it should heh.
    Also on a side note, Is lightroom 3 worth the money? Or is it better to go full out and buy CS5? Please take into consideration that I am not a pro, but I am looking to get serious about my photography. I am also a High school student, so my budget is not the best.
    Thank you!
     
  2. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    No. Lightroom cannot merge multiple images to do HDR.

    Lightroom's primary function is image database management.

    The image editing function is secondary and is essentially Adobe Camera RAW 6.

    If you want to do HDR, look at Photomatix Pro at www.hdrsoft.com.

    Lightroom lacks many of the best image editing functions Photoshop has, like layers and the selections tools.

    Consequently, a photographer that generates a large number of images, and frequently needs to edit pixels usually wants both Lightroom and CS.
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2010
  3. Stephen.C

    Stephen.C TPF Noob!

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    Ugh thats NOT what I want to hear haha.
    Is it worth it to just get Lightroom, or would it not be worth it unless I got both?
    I really only want to buy one :)
    Also, what makes Lightroom worth 300$?
     
  4. JG_Coleman

    JG_Coleman No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Lightroom is a very useful tool, actually. I've used it for about a year now, and I really don't know what I would do without it.

    As KmH mentioned, Lightroom is not a graphics editing program in the strictest sense. But KmH also severely understates its abilities, making it sound as though it is literally nothing more than a photo database system.

    Indeed, Lightroom is essentially software that makes managing a catalog of photographs very simple and flexible... that functionality alone makes it well worth the price.

    But, Lightroom also allows most of the adjustments that will ordinarily be needed by most photographers. White balance, selective color adjustments, spot corrections, adjustment brush tool, sharpening, vibrance/saturation, curves, superb noise reduction, lens corrections, crop/rotation, simulated graduated filters, keywording, star ratings, output processing, slideshows, web output, split-toning... all of these things (and more that I can't think of off the top of my head) can be thoroughly manipulated in Lightroom. I've found that, perhaps 95% of the time, I have no need to open a photograph outside of Lightroom. All my RAW imports, DNG conversions, development, catalog management, and output processing can be handled without leaving Lightroom, at all.

    There are a few exceptions to this, though.

    1) One exception involves HDR, which was of specific importance to you. I use Photomatix Pro, an excellent app which KmH also mentioned. Although Photomatix Pro is a standalone application, Lightroom allows you to choose any number of bracketed exposures and directly export them to Photomatix... it will even automatically re-import the final HDR result once you're finished. Thus, although Lightroom itself doesn't do the HDR work, Photomatix integrates so well that the jump between apps is painless.

    2) I also have Photoshop CS5 which has newly introduced the 'Content-Aware' fill/spot healing function. This little function is just too cool... and lately I've found more and more use for it. To take advantage of this function, it is certainly necessary to export the photo to Photoshop. However, the times when I actually need to use content-aware tools are few and far between.

    3) Lightroom also cannot stitch panoramas... you'll need some other software to do that, as well. Again, Photoshop is integrated well enough with Lightroom that you can export photos to Photoshop to be stitched and have the result automatically imported.

    Although these three exceptions may make Lightroom seem to be lacking in bells and whistles, the fact of the matter is that most photographs don't necessarily require such advanced functionality.
     
  5. Stephen.C

    Stephen.C TPF Noob!

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    Thank you very much, that was extremely helpful!
    One last question about it, Is it possible to brighten up certain areas in photos, such as this example I am about to post. I was told I should get PS to brighten up this rainbow. Could I do things like that in LR?
    [​IMG]
    Thank you!
     
  6. pbelarge

    pbelarge TPF Noob!

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    Stephen
    LR also has some Plug-ins that can be used to help further it's capabilities. Some plug-ins are free, others have a cost. Use google to find out more info about this.

    Since you are in high school, and may want to approach your photography career with more seriousness, here is my advice. Remember this is strictly advice

    This advice is also just about LR and CS5 or comparable programs.

    Gimp - free
    LR $300
    PSE $89
    CS5 $198 Student edition [ame=http://www.amazon.com/Adobe-Photoshop-Extended-Student-Teacher/dp/B003D8XEJA/ref=br_lf_m_2287445011_1_2_ttl?ie=UTF8&m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&s=software&pf_rd_p=1259169262&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_i=2287445011&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=1CKF8QDHHHEMRK2AAMQY]Amazon.com: Adobe Photoshop Extended CS5 Student & Teacher Edition: Software[/ame]

    Contact Adobe.com and inquire about a student edition if you are serious about photography - There is a STEEP learning curve with CS5. There will be a learning curve with other programs as well.

    Good luck in your future!
     
  7. Stephen.C

    Stephen.C TPF Noob!

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    I will look into those plug-ins.

    I am pretty sure that I am not going to an Art school, I have my mind made up that I want to go into the Medical Field, but I do want to maybe have photography as a side job. I can not even drive yet and I love photography, I am can only imagine when I can go where ever I want.

    I think I need to download Gimp, seems popular. PSE just doesn't seem like it is worth it IMO. Student editions though, I have mixed feelings about. 198 is the price for one year. It expires after that time, and the $198 is needed to be paid again.
    Lightroom though is only 80 Dollars Student. This is a little more reasonable for a year. In 3 years they might have another LR out, and I can then buy the student edition of that.

    Also Thank you again PB, when ever I post a question or ask for C&C you respond with clear and well thought out posts.
     
  8. pbelarge

    pbelarge TPF Noob!

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    Stephen
    Thanks for the nice comment.
     
  9. Flash Harry

    Flash Harry TPF Noob!

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    I would go for the CS5 student over LR on capability and price, LR is targeting a different audience and this version of PSCS will enable you to do all you require for many years to come, without upgrade, once you leave school it will be unavailable to you unless you have several hundred dollars at your disposal, its almost £900 here which I think is in the region of $1300 over there, but the UK is only great now if you enjoy being ripped off. H
     
  10. Scatterbrained

    Scatterbrained Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I don't know where the idea of a one year license comes from; it is actually that you can only buy one license a year, but that license is the same as if you had paid full price. I bought my edition of CS4 on a student purchase. As far as what you should get, if you want to get the most bang for your buck you should get Photoshop and then install Camera Raw. While I love Lightroom and prefer it over ACR, I would not consider LR without PS. ACR is free and will do most of what LR will do, since you're not working proffesionally and likely not processing huge numbers of images you'd be just fine with ACR. You could always get photoshop elements and photomatix light, that would cover everything you're going to need to do right now as cheaply as you can do it (excluding GIMP)
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2010
  11. Stephen.C

    Stephen.C TPF Noob!

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    I did not read it enough I guess! Thank you SO much!! CS5 is totally worth 200 dollars to me. One license a YEAR not usage for 1 year.
    I have fairly good knowledge of PS from the 30 day trial, so I am really excited. Thank you all for helping me!
     
  12. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    You're also getting CS5 Extended for your $199 (full retail, $999), not just CS5 (full retail, $699).

    You do need to be aware the Student Edition use license only allows use on 1 computer at a time, not 2 computers like the full retail use license allows.
     

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