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Photo Software Evening, Picasa 3 & Lightroom 5

A talk by Lynne Wilkinson, Jane Dunthorne and Dave Cannings

There was a time, not so long ago, when if you wanted to edit and enhance your digital photos you almost had to turn to Photoshop in either it’s full Photoshop CC form or the lighter Elements form.

Technology is changing continuously though and while the Photoshop suite is still the go-to program for pixel level editing, the rest of the pack is catching up by making program for simpler, general edits and ease of use.

Picasa 3 is available as a free download from Google. It performs general edits (cropping, brightness, contrast and colour adjustments) with a range of easy to use sliders. It also has many one-touch options for applying various retro looks to the photos, the Orton-ish, Holga-ish and Lomo-ish to name a few.

Lynne guided us through many of the competition photos that both she and Jane had prepared using Picasa.

A sticking point for some however was how Picasa want to pick up every photo on your hard drive to add to its catalogue. How inconvenient this is depends on the number of photos you have.

After the tea break, it was the turn of Lightroom, Adobe’s cataloging and editing tool.

The origin of the name gives a clue about what this program is trying to do. The “Light” part is a nod to the lightbox film photographers use to examine a large number of photos before deciding which one to develop. The “Room” part coming from the darkroom where the chosen photos would be developed and printed.

The real strength of Lightroom is it’s ability to catalogue, keyword, sort and file all your photos. Because of this it has become a vital part of most professional photographers workflow.

Dave showed us how to set up a catalogue in the Library module and demonstrated the sorting, ranking and filing systems available. There just wasn’t enough time to show all the options available. [As an example of its versatility, I am a regular Lightroom user but use a totally different set of features to file and sort my photos].

Dave then went on to the Develop module to show how it can make picture wide adjustments through again a simple slider system. It is possible also to restrict the adjustments to smaller portions of the photo and make simple “cloning” edits. The editing features cannot match the sophisticated adjustments possible in Photoshop but for most photos the full power of Photoshop is not needed.


To sum up I thought I would add a few quotes I heard through the evening, I’ll leave you decide which program they were referring to.

“Simpler and cheap. Just click a button or use sliders”

“Pick and reject”

“It’s bloody good value.”  [Actually, it’s free]

“Sort and file using metadata”

“Share using web albums”

“I can see the point of orton-ish. It covers a multitude of sins”