Author Archive: adobe

Lightroom’s Goals

Mark Hamburg

I’ve covered much of this in some of George Jardine’s Lightroom podcasts, but I decided it was worth writing something down for more general consumption and reference.

The Lightroom (née Shadowland) project had at its core the following goals. Some of them existed from the start. Others evolved as we went along. Interestingly, none of them are about photography. Photography proved, however, a good space in which to explore them.

Personality as a conscious part of software design

All products have a personality of one sort or another. That personality is at the heart of how the product works, what it feels like to use, etc. Sometimes that personality is relatively muted and/or buried behind other conventions. Sometimes it is directly in one’s face. Very often it is something that happens more or less by accident, but that accidental nature doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist.

One of the goals in Lightroom was to consciously think about the product personality we were trying to create with the expectation that a less accidental personality would induce a stronger emotional reaction in users. That stronger reaction can be both positive and negative. We knew that going in. The second part of this goal was to have enough passionate users to outweigh the detractors.

Elegance, Grace, and Style

We wanted Lightroom to seem elegant. To exhibit grace. To show an attention to style beyond the utilitarian aspect that dominated Adobe’s products up to that time. We wanted a richer UI experience.

We’ve been successful in many ways. At the same time, we are painfully aware that there are places where we could be yet more graceful or elegant.

Style is one of the key factors in revealing personality, and as with personality in general, a rich experience will appeal to some and alienate others. Given the number of Lightroom emulations, I see popping up, there’s evidently something appealing about the choices we’ve made.

Maximizing Power v Complexity

While traditional professional applications like Photoshop generally make some effort at coherency in their interfaces, they also tend to be completely ready to add complexity if that will lead to more power. On the other hand, consumer applications frequently throw out power to arrive at simplicity.

On Lightroom, we sought to maximize the power to complexity ratio. If a small bit of additional complexity opened up a lot more power for users, we would go for it. On the other hand, if the complexity was high and the increase in power was low, we would avoid it.

Have we always struck the right balance? No. There are places in the application where the feature set is more complex than the power it delivers merits. Sometimes this happened because we were seeking compatibility with other software. Sometimes this happened because we didn’t come up with an appropriately simple idea. As a demonstration, however, that power need not be complex and that relatively simple software need not be weak, I think Lightroom has generally been a success.

These goals will continue to guide us and photography continues to provide a good space in which to explore them.

Slideshow Tip #2

If you’ve ever used Lightroom v1.0 to present a slideshow directly from the application, and had to interrupt your presentation, you probably know that it does not necessarily pick up where it left off. You might have also noticed that Slideshow (like Web) does not honor the selection in the FilmStrip. It always uses all of the photos in the FilmStrip. So if you’re presenting live slideshows, here are a couple of tips that may help you out.

Holding down the shift key when you click the Play button will cause Slideshow to start with the active photo, but will still play all photos, regardless of how many photos are selected.

Holding down shift + command (control on the PC) when you click the Play button will cause Slideshow to start with the active photo, and only play the selected photos, repeating when it gets to the end.

Finally… if the selection thing drives you crazy, you’re not the only one. This selection logic (at least for Slideshow) is slated to change in the next release. 🙂

Problems Importing From CF Cards in v1.0

Thanks to one of our original beta testers, Syl Arena, for pointing out that he was having crashes on Mac Lightroom v1.0 when importing over 100 or so photos directly from a CF card. Turns out, there is a bug that can cause a crash under certain circumstances when importing directly from camera memory cards. We’ve found that you should be able to avoid this problem in the short term by turning OFF the Render Standard-Sized Previews option in the Import dialog.

This problem will be fixed in an upcoming release.

A benefit of turning off the Render Standard-Sized Previews option in the Import dialog will generally be much faster imports. Lightroom will build and cache these previews later as needed anyway, or you can force it to build them in the Library by selecting the photos in the grid, and choosing the Library -> Previews -> Render Standard-Sized Previews menu item.

Lightroom Pre-Conference Session at Photoshop World

If you’re in the Boston area, or headed to Boston for Photoshop World next week, take a look at Ruth Knoll’s Photoshop Soup2Nuts Pre-Conference Session on Tuesday, April 3rd. This session will start at 1PM with a 2-hour Lightroom Workshop led by yours truly, followed by a panel discussion where you’ll get to hear an all-star panel discuss the new arrival of Lightroom v1.0. The panel consists of Andrew Rodney (moderator), Katrin Eismann, Shelly Katz, Thomas Knoll, Jeff Schewe and Mark Hamburg.

In addition to Mr. Knoll and Mr. Hamburg, several key members of the Lightroom team are expected to be present. This worthwhile afternoon will be a great way to kick off your PSW Conference on one of the hottest topics at the show.

Proceeds will honor the memory of Bruce Fraser, through a donation to the non-profit charity of the estate’s choice.

Check out the details at:

Adobe Connect “Online Party” for nearly 500 Lightroom Beta Testers

On Thursday, March 1st, The entire Lightroom team staged an “online launch party,” which was presented as a thank-you celebration for the 10,000+ users who participated in the forums during the year-long public beta.

The party was presented using Adobe Connect technology, and was a first for the new Adobe hosted service with nearly 500 testers from around the world logged in. The 90 minute presentation was given by Lightroom team members from San Jose, San Francisco, Minneapolis and Seattle. VIP customers Jeff Schewe, Seth Resnick, Mikkel Aaland, Derrick Story and members of the National Association of Photoshop Professionals contributed to the photographs, slideshows, videos and demos presented to the testers. Special kudos go to Jennifer Stern and Jeff Schewe for organizing.

Jeff in his Antarctica outfit. Which worked in the Minnesota weather that day.

Teams in San Jose (left) and Minnesota (right) saying “thank you” to the public beta testers.

Welcome to the Lightroom Journal!


Welcome to the official Adobe Photoshop Lightroom blog! This is the place where you will find all the inside information, tips, techniques, and hidden secrets you need to help you get the most out of Lightroom, made available to you straight from the horse’s mouth: the Lightroom team. Once in a while, you may also find links to web photo galleries posted here, as most of the team members are accomplished photographers in their own right. Knowing this crew, there will also be a healthy dose of random, but related posts about all things digital and photographic. But mostly it will just be a place for you to follow the inner thinking of the team, as we work our way toward making Lightroom better and better with each daily build. Thanks for helping us make it great. And please feel free to leave us a comment or suggestion.