England country side

My Favorite Adobe Lightroom 5 Features

I’ve been using Adobe Photoshop Lightroom for quite a few years and I can say that it has been getting better every year. Some upgrades were more radical than others and Adobe had something to impress us with every time. I remember that I was really happy when Lightroom 4 came out. The Develop module had a serious overhaul. This was the first time they changed the basic developing algorithms since the software was launched.  There was a major drawback as it was painfully slow.

But who cares now? Everything is history. Lightroom 5 has been out for a few months. Even though not much has been modified this time, the changes are really important. First of all, the responsiveness is so much faster than Lightroom 4; about 25-30% faster in my opinion. This is a big deal. Aside from this, below are my favorite new/improved features.

1. The spot healing brush

This was a helpful tool in previous versions, but only for removing circles. Not anymore. Now you can click, drag and paint any object, any shape, and select an area in the picture to replace it with since it’s content aware.

That’s what I did in the photo below. I wanted to draw attention to the beautiful white convertible, and I found the people competing with it. If you’ve been following my blog, you know that I advocate including people in photos whenever possible. However, in this case there were other reasons I wanted the people out.  One of the girls was holding a bag of dog poop. Not a good fit. So I just clicked the tool (see red arrow), painted over them, and selected an area to replace them with. Quick and easy. Watch a great tutorial here.

England before and after

2. The radial filter

Pretty cool tool. This helps emphasize the subject by bringing the exposure down in the rest of the picture. In the image above, after removing the people, I noticed that the exposure of the photo was pretty even and the car sort of blended in. I selected the tool (see purple arrow), selected the car area and lowered the exposure a bit for the rest of the picture. You can also adjust clarity, contrast, and invert the mask. Watch a great tutorial here.

3. The lens correction feature

Wide angle lenses have their own pluses and minuses. They are great for shooting landscapes and they help capture as much as possible in the shot. However, this comes with a price: distortion. This is even more noticeable when you have buildings in your pictures. Take a look at the screen shot below. Note how the Venice buildings look like they are falling back.  I used the lens correction auto feature, but you can also play with the full, vertical, or level option. And remember to also click on Profile and ensure that the correct lens was picked. Most of the time it knows which lens it was, but it’s good to double check.  Lightroom has had the lens correction feature for a while, but it has gotten even better in Lightroom 5. I use it a lot. Click here for a great tutorial.

Lens correction

I love these features and I think Adobe has come a long way since the launching of the first version of Lightroom. Feel free to check out one of my older blogs to see what other adjustments I make to my photos in Lightroom. I know post processing is fun, but try not to get carried away. You could spend a lot of time adjusting your photos.

 Happy Lightroom editing!

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