continued from Part 1
After trying several different solutions for processing RAW images, a subject I will cover seperately, I bought the Adobe Camera Raw Plug-in for Photoshop when it first became available. I liked the colours that ACR produced and so when Canto decided to cease development of the single user version of Cumulus in favour of enterprise solutions, I started to use Adobe's Bridge in conjunction with ACR.
Things started to change as the market matured and software companies started to realise that there was in fact a gap in this lucrative market. When Apple launched Aperture, at first look it seemed ideal and I had a chance to try it out for a while but I was disappointed - I really wanted to like it but I did not take to it at all. It seemed rather awkward with lots of unecessary eye-candy and I didn't get on with the keyword facility which for me, is such an important part. My opinion was that this software seemed more suited for wedding, press or event photographers who need to process lots of images quickly rather than fewer images but with more accurate details and precise colours.
Then within a week or so, Adobe announced the Lightroom project and made the software available as a free public beta. I jumped at the chance and immediately downloaded it. I fell in love with the interface as soon as I started using it and began importing a few hundred images just to try it out. As newer beta versions were released, it wasn't long before I had imported my entire library and was using it on a daily basis, despite Adobe's cautions, as it promised to be (almost) everything I had been hoping for. I was able to provide some ideas and feedback about the concept of an hierarchical keyword system and found others were facing similar issues. As the later betas arrived I was amazed to find that, on re-importing my images, it recognised my old Cumulus keyword structure almost intact with just a little tidying up required. I think I must have been able to offer some useful feedback to Adobe during the beta testing as I was then invited to join the Pre-Release program, of which I am still part and enjoying every minute of it.
It seems that at last, I have found a software solution to suit my particular needs. After much time and effort, my keyword structure has evolved and become much more sophisticated so that now when I enter 'sparrow' I can select from a drop-down list the type of sparrow and Lightroom will automatically enter the scientific name, genus, species name, family, order and so on, so that I can quickly, easily and accurately keyword images without constant repetition. More importantly, I know that they keywords I have selected will always be entered in exactly the same way so that if I search for sparrow, I will be offered all sparrows in my library but if I search for House Sparrow, it will only give me images of that species and none will be missed due to being spelled incorrectly.
To be continued as Lightroom evolves....
Read more about my Digital Darkroom