Thursday, July 31, 2008

Lightroom 2 is here!

Well, a week has gone by and a lot has changed in the wonderful world of Lightroom. For starters, Adobe released version 2. With the release, a whole slew of books, blogs, and web sites have sprung up to help users understand why "this is an incredibly significant upgrade ... so hurry and get your copy today."

There have been a few changes to the interface, some subtle and some profound. 
  • The 6 panels on the left of the Library module have been reduced to 3, helping eliminate the fluff and improving productivity.
  • Collection Sets. You can create collections by area, crime type, or any number of criteria ... and then import your images into these collections.
  • Suggested Keywords. When you assign a keyword to an image, that keyword becomes a suggested keyword for the other images imported or captured around the same time. This could help speed things up quite a bit.
  • Multiple Monitor Support. You've got two monitors. Why not use them both?
  • The Retouch Brush. Local corrections come to Lightroom.
  • Print to JPEG. You can build a contact sheet and "print it" to a JPEG file for sharing or archiving.
... and there's so much more.

Hopefully, you've been thinking about the questions posed last week. You'll need the answers to follow along with the next post - getting your images into Lightroom. With the timing of the release, I've put the schedule back a week to offer everyone the time to upgrade to version 2. Yes, we'll be using LR2 for the tutorials.

Until then, enjoy.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Should I be using Lightroom?

Small aside to begin with: not to overwhelm myself with blogs, I've chosen to make this blog a weekly (whereas the Forensic Photoshop blog tends to be almost daily).

Coming out of Julieanne Kost's Lightroom demo at Adobe last week, the majority of the questions centered around a single point, "should I be using Lightroom in my lab?" Let's begin to take a look at that question.

Lightroom provides a great workflow solution. It's great for photographers who are taking a ton of shots and then quickly share the best of these shots with clients. But what about us? Is it worth the investment in time and money?

Think about the way in which you interact with your "customers." Do they come in and wait for a finished product? Are they close by? Are they in a different part of the state? Do you need to securely transfer your finished work across the net?

Lightroom has it's pitfalls and its good points. The key is (as always) workflow. Take a look at your workflow. Examine how you interact with those that you support. Examine how you manage your files, from the shot to archive. How many images do you process in a given week? How fast do you need to get them out of your lab? What is your agency's retention policy? How do you interact with your discovery team in terms of e-discovery?

Put these things in the back of your mind as you work. Next week, we'll begin to look at Lightroom and explore the answers to "should I be using Lightroom."

Until then, enjoy.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Digital Asset Management

In a previous post on the Forensic Photoshop blog, I mentioned that I'm looking at a few Digital Asset Management options. Specifically, I am working with Filemaker's Bento and Adobe Photoshop Lightroom to see which will work for me, what the issues are going to be, pitfalls, good points, must haves and so forth.

I'm just about ready to post a long series on my findings. So before I start with the how-to and whatnot, I wanted to do the series to let you know all of the issues, ins-outs, and so forth. As with any new technology it's best to sort things out first, before dropping it into your workflow.

Stay tuned.