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The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 Book for Digital Photographers: Editing Essentials -- How to Develop Your Photos

Scott Kelby shows you how to develop your photos in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3, including setting white balance, seeing befores and afters, and applying changes made to one photo to other photos.
This chapter is from the book

I kinda like that subhead above—How to Develop Your Photos—because even though it sounds like a direct reference to Lightroom’s Develop module, the name of that module itself is a direct reference to what we used to do in the darkroom—develop our prints. Of course, this chapter isn’t about prints, which pretty much throws that whole line of thought out the window, but we’re not going to look that closely at things like that (or grammar, spelling, or ending sentences with a preposition), because instead we’re going to bask in the fact that now we can develop our photos without having to mix dangerous chemicals. Now, of course, back in the old days (which was only about 10 years ago), we didn’t realize these chemicals were dangerous, so we’d be in the darkroom, developing some T-MAX P3200, and somebody would get thirsty, so we’d just take a big swig of some Hypo Clearing Agent (which was a chemical we used to remove the fixing agent from fiber-based paper, but doggone it if that stuff didn’t taste just like Welch’s grape juice, so we’d usually finish off a bag or two before coming out and grabbing a Reuben and a bag of Doritos). Anyway, it seemed like a pretty good idea at the time, but then my darkroom buddy Frank got this huge goiter in the shape of the Transamerica building, so we backed off on the Hypo Clear, and just stuck to chugging the Indicator Stop Bath (we loved those little salmon-colored bottles. We’d keep ‘em in the fridge and even take them on picnics). Anyway, that was a different time. Now we know better, and so we stick to chain smoking and strutting around in our asbestos photo vests.

Upgrading from an Earlier Version of Lightroom? Read This First!

Up until Lightroom 3, Lightroom (and Adobe Camera Raw for that matter) has been using a processing technology developed back in 2003. In Lightroom 3, Adobe did a pretty sweeping update to how it processes your images, which is great in and of itself. But if you’re bringing over images that you edited in an earlier version of Lightroom, there are some important things you need to know now, before you start editing your images, so you can choose whether to take advantage of these changes or not.

  • Step One: New images you import (ones you didn’t edit in an earlier version of Lightroom—images coming off your camera’s memory card, for example) use the new processing technology, so you get the benefits right off the bat (and it doesn’t matter if you shot in RAW, TIFF, or JPEG, or even if you’re importing PSDs or DNGs). At this point, it’s all good. No problems, no decisions to make, and you get to take advantage of the latest processing technology automatically. Things are different, though, if you’re working with images you edited in an earlier version of Lightroom, but this is not apparent when viewing the image in the Library module’s Loupe view.
  • Step Two: When you’ve imported an image edited in an earlier version of Lightroom, and you switch to the Develop module, you’ll see an alert icon appear below the bottom-right corner of the image (it looks like an exclamation point and is shown circled here in red). If you click on that icon, it brings up the Update Process Version dialog, giving you the option to update this photo with the latest processing technology (Adobe calls this new version the “Process Version 2010”) or hit Cancel to stick with the old “Process Version 2003.” If you decide to update, and you click the Update button, it just updates that individual photo, but if you just imported a number of photos, and want to update them all at once, instead click the Update All Filmstrip Photos button.
  • Step Three: In the middle of the Update Process Version dialog, there’s a Review Changes via Before/After checkbox. With this turned on, it automatically gives you a before/after look at how the update to the Process Version 2010 looks. This is helpful because if for whatever reason you don’t like the result, you can just press Command-Z (PC: Ctrl-Z) to undo the update at this point. Here’s the before and after for the photo I’m working with, and although the change looks fairly minor, I like the richer look of the color in the After photo. The tones look warmer to me, but again, it’s fairly minor (and I’m not sure how much of that will even be visible when this is actually printed using a printing press to create this page in the book). I can tell you this: I haven’t had a single image that resulted in a very dramatic change when updating to the new Process Version 2010, and in many cases, I couldn’t see a change at all.
  • Step Four: If you decide to wait and make your Process Version decision later, you can always just update your photo by going under the Settings menu and choosing Update to Current Process (2010), as shown here. There’s also a Process submenu, found right below, where you can choose which process you want—2003 or 2010.
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