Alignment, Cropping, and Color Correction (Lightroom)
The alignment, cropping, color correction, and all of the general development tools (sharpening, noise reduction, etc.) work quite well. In many ways, I like the way Lightroom handles these tasks better than Aperture. I have also come around a bit on the "auto" function, but I still think it does not estimate exposure correction anywhere near accurately. It does provide a good starting point, though, for photos that need relatively little work.
For photos that were slightly crooked and needed color correction, I was able to re-align the photo plus match the colors to what I believe my eye saw. (Note the richness of the wood doors with Samantha and Benjamin posing in front in the example below.)
|Before and After: Alignment and colors corrected.|
While most of the controls were pretty straight forward, I seems right to call out the usability of the alignment function: It works well, but is less intuitive than in Aperture where you just have to move the photo within the grid (Lightroom relies mostly on a slider).
Where is the AF Point (Lightroom)?
|Canon's Digital Photo Professional with AF Point(s) shown.|
One might think that the lack of AF Point overlay functionality is a nit, but that focus point comes in handy in low light situations. Notice that the photo in the example is slightly blurry (more on that later) due to camera shake. I was able to correct it in Photoshop, but needed to know where I had set the focus point to understand what parts were blurry due to the shallow depth of field I used (f/2.8) and what parts were blurry because of camera shake due to such a slow shutter speed being used (1/10 sec); this is small, but situationally important, function.
Visual Cues for Stacks (Lightroom Usability)
One of the things that I have had some difficulty figuring out is where a stack begins, ends, or if a frame is part of a stack or not in the filmstrip. I tend to use stacks for two purposes: to group bracketed photos or to group corrections or fundamental changes to a photo, yet I want to still keep the reference image. My last outing was to Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site in Hyde Park, NY. The day was both cloudy and bright (high contrast), so my outside pictures tended to be bracketed. I put those in a stack:
|Two stacks of bracketed photos. Note that there are very few visual cues excepting the "" at the beginning of the stack and the very light line break at its end.|
|Two stacks of bracketed photos. Selecting a photo reveals its position relative to the stack's beginning and end.|
|Two stacks of bracketed photos. Coloring the stacks made them stand out for me.|
|Editing in Photoshop from Lightroom.|
The process was pretty simple: right click the photo and select "Edit In" and then "Edit in Adobe Photoshop CC 2014." The photo is then exported and brought up in Photoshop for additional editing. I will not go into the details of how I fixed the blur, but I will note that Photoshop has a handy set of tools to select the area of the photo that requires correction and then sampling the photo and progressively sharpening it; it can use its own selected area and/or one (or more) areas of your choosing. Once the edits were complete, I merely saved the photo and it appeared back in Lightroom as a new version of the original already in a stack. Once re-imported, I finished "developing" the photo (exposure, color, etc.).
I am still happy with the way Lightroom has performed in this trial period. Despite some of the "missing features" I have noted, the most important thing is that I can effectively and efficiently develop my photographs while having enough creative tools to made adjustments I feel are necessary (or just desired). I have twenty days left, so I'll keep shooting.