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Adobe Photoshop Lightroom
Developer(s) Adobe Systems
Stable release 5.2 / September 17, 2013; 10 months ago (2013-09-17)
Operating system Windows, OS X
Type Digital asset management, digital image processing
License Trialware

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom is a digital asset management and digital image processing app developed by Adobe Systems for Windows and OS X, designed to assist users in managing large quantities of digital images and doing post production work. Lightroom combines photo management and editing in one interface.[1]

It is not a file browser like Adobe Bridge, but rather an image management application database which helps in viewing, editing, and managing digital photos. Lightroom's closest competitor is Apple's Aperture program which similarly provides photo management and non-destructive editing capabilities.


Lightroom release timeline

In 2002, veteran Photoshop developer Mark Hamburg began a new project, code-named "Shadowland". Hamburg contacted Andrei Herasimchuk, former interface designer for the Adobe Creative Suite, to get the project off the ground.[2] The new project was a deliberate departure from many of Adobe's established conventions. 40% of Photoshop Lightroom is written using the Lua scripting language. After a few years of research by Hamburg, Herasimchuk, Sandy Alves, the former interface designer on the Photoshop team, and Grace Kim, a product researcher at Adobe, the Shadowland project got momentum around 2004. However, Herasimchuk chose to leave Adobe Systems at that time to start a Silicon Valley design company. Hamburg then chose Phil Clevenger, a former associate of Kai Krause's, to create a new look for the application.[2]

Photoshop Lightroom's (LR) engineering talent is based largely in Minnesota, comprising the team that had already created Adobe's ImageReady application. Troy Gaul, Melissa Gaul, and the rest of their crew (reportedly known as the "Minnesota Phats"[3]), along with Hamburg, developed the architecture behind the application. George Jardine, a skilled photographer and previous Adobe evangelist, rounded out the early team, filling the Product Manager role.[2]

Beta development

On January 9, 2006, an early version of Photoshop Lightroom, previously just called Lightroom, was released to the public as a Adobe Labs website. This was the first Adobe product released to the general public for feedback during its development. This method was then later used in the development of Adobe Photoshop CS3.

On June 26, 2006, Adobe announced that it had acquired the technology assets of Pixmantec, developers of the Rawshooter image processing software.[4]

Further beta releases followed. Notable releases included Beta 3 on July 18, 2006, which added support for Microsoft Windows systems. On September 25, 2006, Beta 4 was released, which saw the program merged into the Photoshop product range, followed by a minor update on October 19, which was released as Beta 4.1.

Version 1.0

On January 29, 2007, Adobe announced that Lightroom would be shipping on February 19, 2007. The US list price was $299 and the UK retail price was £199.

Lightroom v1.x is not updated when an upgrade to v2 is installed; a new serial number is required.

Version 2.0

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2.0 Beta was advertised in official emails from Adobe in April 2008. New features included:

  • Localized corrections (edit specific parts of an image)
  • Improved organization tools
  • Multiple monitor support
  • Flexible printing options
  • 64-bit support

The official release of Lightroom v2 was on July 29, 2008, along with the release of Adobe Camera Raw v4.5 and DNG Converter 4.5. Adobe added DNG Camera Profiling to both releases. This technology allows custom camera colour profiles, or looks, to be created and saved by the user. It also allows profiles matching the creative styles built into cameras to be replicated. Adobe released a complete set of such Camera Profiles for Nikon and Canon models, in addition to basic Standard Profiles for all supported makes and models, through Adobe Labs, at the same time as the Lightroom v2 release. This technology is open to all programs compliant with the DNG file format standard.

Version 3.0

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3.0 beta was released on October 22, 2009. New features included:[5]

  • New chroma noise reduction
  • Improved sharpening tool
  • New import pseudo module
  • Watermarking
  • Grain
  • Publish services
  • Custom package for print

On March 23, 2010, Adobe released a second beta, which added the following features:

  • New luminance noise reduction
  • Tethered shooting for selected Nikon and Canon cameras
  • Basic video file support
  • Point curve

Although not included in any beta release, version 3 also contains built-in lens correction and perspective control.[6]

The final version was released on June 8, 2010 with no major new functionality added. It had all the features included in the betas, added the lens corrections and perspective transformations and a few more improvements and performance optimizations.

Version 4.0

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4.0 was officially released on March 5, 2012 after having been available in beta format since January 10, 2012.[7] It does not support Windows XP. New features included:

  • Highlight and shadow recovery to bring out detail in dark shadows and bright highlights
  • Photo book creation with templates[8]
  • Location-based organization to find and group images by location, assign locations to images, and display data from GPS-enabled cameras
  • White balance brush to refine and adjust white balance in specific areas of images
  • Additional local editing controls to adjust noise reduction and remove moiré in targeted areas
  • Extended video support for organizing, viewing, and making adjustments and edits to video clips
  • Video publishing tools to edit and share video clips on Facebook and Flickr
  • Soft proofing to preview how an image will look when printed with color-managed printers
  • Email directly from Lightroom

Version 5.0

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5.0 was officially released on June 9, 2013 after having been available in beta format since April 15, 2013.[9] The program requires OSX 10.7 or better, Windows 7 or Windows 8. Some of the changes include:

  • Radial gradient to highlight an elliptical area
  • Advanced healing/cloning brush to brush the spot removal tool over an area
  • Smart previews to allow one to work with images that are off-line
  • The ability to save custom layouts in the Book module
  • Support of PNG files
  • Support of video files in slideshows
  • Various other updates, including automatic perspective correction and enhancements to smart collections


Unlike traditional image editing software, Photoshop Lightroom is focused on the following workflow steps:

  • Library – image collection review and organization - similar in concept to the 'Organizer' in Adobe Photoshop Elements
  • Develop – non-destructive RAW and JPEG file editing
  • Slideshow – tools and export features
  • Print – layout options and preferences
  • Web – automatic gallery creation and upload
  • Tethered Capture Support for many popular Nikon and Canon DSLRs[10]

The Develop module has a number of standard presets for colour correction or effects and supports the sharing of custom presets online. Another often used feature in the Develop module is the ability to synchronize the edits from one particular photo to the whole selection.

Market share

According to 2009 statistics from research company InfoTrends, released by Adobe Systems product manager John Nack, of the 1,045 North American professional photographers who were interviewed, 37.0% used Lightroom and 6.3% used Aperture while 57.9% used the Photoshop Camera Raw plug-in. Of the Mac users, 44.4% used Lightroom and 12.5% used Aperture.[11]

See also


External links

  • Adobe - Photoshop Lightroom
  • Lightroom Forums Lightroom dedicated forum
  • C4 conference, covering Lightroom's history, code and architecture up to version 2.0
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