What is Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4?

March 06, 2012 | | Comments 22

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom is an image management tool for serious digital photographers!

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom is an image management and digital photo enhancement tool for serious photographers. This is a sophisticated program and it is not easy to master this complex software without clear instruction.

Who benefits from this program?

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 Book CoverAdobe Photoshop Lightroom is designed to streamline and accelerate the serious digital photographer’s daily workflow. Once you master some core concepts Photoshop Lightroom is fun, powerful, and efficient. But Adobe Photoshop Lightroom is not the right tool for everyone.

Photoshop Lightroom is ideal for professional photographers and serious hobbyists who need an image management system that is capable of tracking thousands of images that are potentially spread across multiple hard drives. Although this program is a huge help for thousands of serious digital photographers, the complexities of Lightroom’s image cataloging system are overkill for most “point and shoot” hobby-level photographers. For this audience other programs, such as Apple’s iPhoto, Google’s Picassa, or Adobe’s Photoshop Elements, are more appropriate tools. Likewise, Photoshop Lightroom is a “professional-grade” application that offers little internal guidance or assistance. It will not be easy for novice computer users to master this program without daily practice and clear instruction.

Photoshop Lightroom is also not the right program for some of the worlds’s most professional photographers. Adobe Photoshop Lightroom is an excellent image management system for a single-employee photography businesses but this is not the ideal image management solution for large photography studios and businesses that employ multiple photographers. Unfortunately, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 is not a “network-ready” application. Lightroom’s core database file cannot be stored on a network disk nor can this file be accessed by multiple computers at the same time. This limitation to the software’s capabilities make this program a poor choice for busy photography studios and for news-reporting organizations.

For single photographer businesses like mine, and for the dedicated amateur photographers who frequent my digital photography field workshops, Lightroom is an indispensable tool. For this audience Lightroom is a great way to organize, enhance, and share digital images in a timely manner. Once you understand Adobe Photoshop Lightroom’s core concepts this software is very forgiving and it can help you to produce and share spectacular images.

The “secret beauty” of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom is in its automation and efficiency. Power Lightroom users learn to create “templates” and “presets” within this program to avoid repetitive tasks. Truly mastering Adobe Photoshop Lightroom means capitalizing on every possible time-saving feature so that you can churn out professional-grade digital images with a minimal amount of effort!

The latest version of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom pushes these concepts to new levels. Lightroom users who truly understand this software will love the way that the newest tools and features expedite the entire workflow. Lightroom 4’s new Map Module, for example, enables us to search through our geocoded images simply by zooming in on a Google map!

Lightroom 4’s new Develop Module controls can draw out unprecedented levels of highlight and shadow detail. These new tools enable us to see detail in a digital image that we have never seen before. Finally, the new Book Module makes it easy to order beautiful bound books of our images from Blurb publishing without ever leaving the core Lightroom application. There has never been a better time to master this powerful and creative software!

Where can I buy Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4?

I like to try out any program before I buy it and I suggest that you do the same. Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 is a wonderful tool for photographers like me but there is no reason for you to give Adobe your money until you are convinced that this software meets your needs. The good folks at Adobe agree with this “try before you buy philosophy.” So use this link to download the full Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 program and try it out for thirty days before investing!

Once you are convinced that this software will work for you I suggest purchasing either the full boxed Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 software, or the Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 Upgrade from a reputable merchant like The Upgrade version is available only to photographers who posses a valid serial number for an older version of this product.

Getting Started with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom

It pays to do a little research and a little thinking before you jump into this software. I strongly suggest reading our complete tutorial on Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Catalog Creation and Image Storage Fundamentals. For those who just can’t wait to get started here are two short tutorials on how to install Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 and how to create a new Lightroom Catalog.

We have a slew of additional articles and videos that can help guide you through the learning process. Again, I strongly suggest reading our Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Catalog Creation and Image Storage Fundamentals tutorial before you get too involved with this program. Understanding what the Lightroom Catalog does, and where to store your images, can take a lot of the pain out of this program’s learning curve.


Filed Under: (02) Lightroom SetupAdobe Photoshop Lightroom Tutorials

About the Author: David Marx is a digital photography instructor whose engaging teaching style inspires photographers of all skill levels. David is an Adobe Certified Lightroom Expert. To learn more about David's Adobe Photoshop Lightroom software training seminars and digital photography field workshops please visit or follow David Marx on Google+.