This week, Adobe released the final version of Photoshop Lightroom 3. I've been testing the beta for some time now and can only highly recommend it.
If you're new to photography and haven't heard of it before, it's part of the Photoshop family of image editing software. However, it's not a dumbed-down, more limited version of Photoshop like Elements, but a full-blown photo editing and cataloging program.
It doesn't replace Photoshop (or Elements) for very specific and advanced image editing, but specialized on improving the digital photographer's workflow. Importing JPEG or RAW photos into its catalog, categorizing and filing them as you wish, then post-processing and optimizing your images one at a time or in any size of batches.
It's amazing how fast and simple it is to import, file and edit hundreds of photos. Since using Lightroom, I've become a full RAW convert, because it makes working with RAW files so easy and effective.
If you're getting into post-production, it's probably the best tool for the job. But don't take my word for it, check out the reviews online or in your favorite photo magazines - or, better yet, download the free 30-day trial version from Adobe and see for yourself if it suits and improves your workflow.
The one disadvantage might be price: It costs US$299! Here in Germany, Amazon currently lists its best price at over € 300!
However, compared to Photoshop itself (which costs US$699 in the basic version), it's a bargain. But right now it can be purchased for even less:
You get an immediate 15 % rebate when entering the coupon code "Lightroom3" at Adobe's online store. Here in Germany, its price of € 296,31 (incl. taxes) is then reduced to a little more affordable € 251,86. (As far as I know, the coupon code is only valid until June 18, so you may want to hurry up!)
When you buy it together with Photoshop CS5, you even get 30 %. While it's still quite expensive, especially for amateurs, it really saves a lot of time and enhances photos very well - so make sure to give it a try and see if it's worth it for you...
This whole post is not meant as an ad for Adobe - it's just that Lightroom has become one of my most important programs and I'd like to spread the possibility to save on its purchase like it has been spread to me. :-) But if my post does entice you to buy the software, please let me know!