Lightroom 6 (also called Lightroom CC) was just announced this morning (Tuesday April 21, 2015). It’s available as a standalone product (Lightroom 6), as well as a part of the Adobe Creative Cloud program (Lightroom CC). Here’s what you need to know about this latest version of Lightroom.
New Features In Lightroom 6
1. HDR Merge
Lightroom can now combine multiple photos taken at different exposures, to create a single High Dynamic Range (HDR) image. The resulting HDR image is saved as a DNG file which can still be edited just like the original raw files. Adobe claims this HDR merge feature works well with just two photos (taken at -1 and +1 exposures) – though you can use it to combine more than 2 exposures. In my testing the HDR merge feature in LR6 produced better, more natural results compared to the HDR merge feature found in Photoshop.
2. Panorama Merge
You’re now able to stitch together multiple photos to create panoramas. During the stitching process Lightroom can automatically correct perspective distortion, as well as uneven exposures. One nice feature is that you actually get a preview of what the panorama will look like before Lightroom processes the full resolution panorama merge.
3. Performance Improvements
Lightroom is now taking advantage of GPUs (graphics processing unit) to improve performance. The most noticeable improvements are in the Develop module. You’ll find that the adjustment sliders feel a lot more responsive now. When you make an adjustment the effect takes place instantly. With Lightroom 5 when you moved an adjustment slider the photo would skip a bit as the preview updated and the effect took place. I was really impressed at this improvement, and it definitely makes using the Develop Module more enjoyable!
4. Facial Recognition
This new organizational feature will help automatically find faces in your photos. You can assign names to faces and there are options to verify/confirm potential face matches so that the accuracy of the facial recognition algorithm improves over time. After a photo is scanned for faces the names of people in the photo are associated with photos using a special type of keyword – so you’ll be able to search through your catalog to find faces the same way you search for keywords.
5. Filter Brush
Note: The red on the image above is showing where the Graduated Filter is applied. You can see that I’ve erased the effect on the left hand side.
When using the Graduated Filter or the Radial Filter you can now fine tune the filter mask by using a brush tool. This will give you more control over the the look of adjustments you make using the Graduated and Radial Filters. For example in the above photo I used a graduated filter to darken the sky and then I used the filter brush to erase the darkening effect off the rocks/cliff on the left hand side. Pretty cool.
6. Additional Slideshow features
You can now add multiple songs to a slideshow as well as pan and zoom effects
7. Additional Mobile Features
In the Lightroom mobile app there are a handful of new features like copy and paste of adjustments, improved crop, organizational filter (known as segmented view), and a presentation mode. On Android you can also edit DNGs if your Android phone is capable of capturing DNGs. Note: You need a subscription to Adobe’s Creative Cloud in order to use Lightroom’s mobile app (and have it sync with your main catalog).
My first impression is that this feels like a fairly small update and I’m a bit disappointed. Adobe added some nice features, but after Lightroom 5’s negligible update, it seems like Lightroom users were due for a more substantial feature update with Lightroom 6. Click here to read the 6 things that I think should have been included in Lightroom 6!
Should You Buy it?
If you’re a professional photographer, even the small performance gains are worth it. So yep.
If you’re a hobbyist you might want to consider skipping this version unless you want/need the panorama and HDR options.
The other reason to upgrade is that new cameras will only be supported by Lightroom 6 (Adobe won’t update previous versions of Lightroom for compatibility with newly released cameras).
Finally, if you’re just getting into photography, Lightroom is still your best option for photo editing – so I would recommend Lightroom 6 to all new photographers.
Lightroom is available as a subscription product or as a standalone product.
In order to use the mobile features where Lightroom syncs across all your mobile devices you’ll need a subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud. The most affordable option is Adobe’s Creative Cloud Photography plan which will cost you US$10/month and includes both Lightroom CC (Lightroom 6) and Photoshop.
The standalone full version of Lightroom 6 costs US$149. To upgrade from a previous version will cost you $US79
Where To Get It
You can purchase the standalone and upgrade versions of Lightroom 6 here at B&H.
You can subscribe to the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan here.
Super Photo Editing Skills – Lightroom Video Tutorial
Want to learn how to use Lightroom to bring the best out of your photos? Check out our easy-to-follow video tutorial – Super Photo Editing Skills. It includes 7 hours of high quality videos, as well as two helpful eBooks, over 40 color and black and white Lightroom develop presets, and a printable shortcut cheat sheet! It will give you super editing skills, fast.
You can learn more about Super Photo Editing Skills here!