Lightroom 5 beta – useful for large format photographers?

Adobe have release a beta release of their next version of Photoshop Lightroom, one of the most popular photo-editing and management applications.

As a large format photographer currently using a hybrid process – I shoot large format sheet film and then scan and digitally print using an Epson 3880 printer – I’ve been using Lightroom for a while now to edit my scans.

I generally like to keep my image editing and manipulation down to a minimum and, hopefully, reflect what could be done in the darkroom – dodging and burning, adjusting tone and contrast – rather than importing in new skies, removing lamp posts etc. So I was very interested to see what, if anything, Lightroom offers the large format photographer.

I haven’t yet installed it but I’ve been reading Computer World’s and Digital Photography School’s first look at Lightroom 5 beta and saw some new features I thought would be very useful to us large format photographers and a few that certainly wouldn’t.

Improved Spot Removal and Visualise Spot

Dust and muck on negatives is a given when dealing with such large negatives although the job is made somewhat easier when working with a hybrid process. Lightroom 4’s spotting tool I found was very useful but could be improved. They’ve done this in Lightroom 5. The spot tool, which previously required a gazillion mouse clicks if your negatives are anything like mine, now works more like a paint brush and the Visualise Spots feature places a mask over your image and makes finding those pesky spots a much easier task.

Smart Previews

This new feature is what the photographer on the go will relish. It allows you to create small proxy images that you can continue working on your image as if it was the original – including exporting images for the web and printing – even if your storage device with the original image is not connected. Essentially offline editing. Not quite the networked library that we’ve been asking for but I think this will be a great and highly valued new feature.


Lightroom 5 enables you to be more creative with your books plus has a new offering of templates for those book, and also enables you to add individual captions to pages and photos.


A one click perspective correction tool…. <insert appropriate smiley>