Guest Blogger Glenn Taylor Shares His Top 5 Reasons To Like Lightroom 5 Beta

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First, let me thank Rick for allowing me to be a guest blogger once again. Rick knows I am a Lightroom fanatic and wanted me to share my early reactions to all of the great new enhancements in the just released Lightroom 5 Beta release from Adobe.

As I write this guest blog post I am attending NAPP’s Photoshop World in Orlando, Florida. The buzz is all around about this latest beta release and the new functions, so let’s dive in.

Advanced Healing Brush: This enhancement to the Spot Removal tool allows you to heal or clone using brush strokes. This will not replace content aware in Photoshop but should make the need for it much less for smaller retouching items. Also the new “Visualize Spots” tool highlights sensor dust spots for easy removal. I use the spot removal tool quite a bit and being able to use at as a brush with control over the healing patch source is very powerful.

Opening image for this post: In this photo you’ll notice the two people near the mill building within the white circle. With the new healing brush, they were removed in just seconds without ever leaving Lightroom.

Smart Previews: You will now have the option to create a smart preview for any image in your catalog that can be edited, exported for web, printed small or used in a slideshow without having the hard drive with the original source file attached. This will be great for traveling and when you need to post an image from your archives on the web, etc. The created file is 2048 pixels on the longest side and retains any adjustments you make within Lightroom and applies them to the source image the next time it is back online.

Upright: This is a major upgrade for the Lens Correction module. Lightroom can now analyze an image and correct it for level, keystones and other distortions. You can control how radical or conservative the adjustment is, plus an Aspect slider has been added to the manual controls to adjust images when a more severe correction has to be made. I shoot a lot of windows, doors and other architectural items and this will be a huge time saver and one less trip to Photoshop.

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Above: In this street scene, all of the distortions were corrected in one step. This will be a real time saver.

Radial Filter: Similar to the gradient filter, the new radial filter can apply adjustments within a circular mask. This will be a wonderful enhancement to add focus and creative effects to many images. You can add a little spotlight, or several, within your images. Add sharpness to one area and blur the rest, add colors, clarity, exposure or anything else within the adjustment panel. My mind is already coming up with all sorts of ways to use this tool to make pictures unique. All within Lightroom and non-destructive.

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Above: In this series, the top image is the photo with general corrections. I then added a long elliptical filter over the model to darken, blur and remove clarity from the background and give a “shaft of light” effect on the model.

Major and Minor Touches: There are many other new features in books and slideshows plus a multitude of other little enhancements within this beta release making it the best Lightroom ever. In my early use, I have noticed my images seem to have better detail and the noise reduction seems even stronger than in the current release. All of these add up to better images in an amazing workflow product.

Give the beta release a spin and see what you think. If you’re a Lightroom fanatic like me, you’re going to be very pleased.

To see more of my work or connect with me, visit my website. You can find my connections there for most of the social channels.


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Glenn and I are leading a workshop in 2014 to Old Car City and the South East Railway Museum near Atlanta, GA. Here's a link to some of this year's images. Shoot me an email if you want to get on the info list for the workshop. Space is limited.