If you are unfamiliar with Lightroom, you can think of it as Adobe’s version of a digital darkroom. Lightroom 3 allows you to quickly import, organize, digitally develop, and output your photographs to web, print, or slide show. You can, of course, open your files directly into Photoshop when needed as well.
This article is the first in a four-part series, and for starters we’ll look at the impressive new photo Import capabilities. If you’d like to see a full list of changes and descriptions available in Lightroom 3 Beta, just head over to Adobe Labs. Login accounts are free, so take a moment to set up a simple account, download the software, and let Adobe know what you think! Keep in mind that not all of the features in LR 3 are 100 percent finished yet, so some of the things covered herein may be “greyed out” for now.
Import Dialog Overview
If you’re already a Lightroom user, the first time you open the application you will recognize many of the same components found in Lightroom 2. However, click on the Import button and you’re treated to a brand-new import dialog. (If you are a new Lightroom user, the Import button is found along the lower-left corner of the Library module, which is active by default when you first open the application.) By default, the new import dialog is displayed in a compact mode, shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1 Lightroom 3 offers many important workflow enhancements, starting with a more efficient import process. Clicking the Import button in the Library module will open a compact version of the new Import dialog window.
To become familiar with all the options available when importing your photographs in Lightroom 3 Beta, it makes sense to work with the expanded dialog. To view it, click on the triangle button near the bottom-left of the compact dialog. This will cause the Import dialog to fill most the screen, offering the most commonly required features photographers need when setting up their import sessions. Let’s take a look…