Bettering the Brilliant : Lightroom 4

4 mins read

I have been a massive fan of Lightroom ever since the early beta of version 1 and in that time I have written a number of tutorials on getting the most from Adobe’s flagship RAW processing software.

Ten Tips for getting the most from Adobe Lightroom
How to Sync White Balance in Lightroom
How to Create your own Lightroom Presets
I love Free Lightroom Presets
Free Preset : Autumn
Free Lightroom Preset : Sweets

As always with Adobe the move from Lightroom 3 to version 4 was effortless, install the application and within 60 seconds Lightroom had updated my catalogue to the very latest version.

The most significant and exciting update for me lives within the developer module in the form of full control over both highlights and shadows. To some this feature probably doesn’t sound like much but in reality it transforms image control beyond the historic “brightness and contrast”.

Using a combination of both sliders you can easily recover lost highlights and shadows adding to the overall richness and vibrancy of an image. Photographs featuring blown out skylines having been shot towards the sun can now be recovered without destroying the overall presence of the original capture.

London Power

This photo was taken into to the sun through a moving train window, previously I would have had to play with the exposure and contrast to fix the sky but such edits seriously impact on the entire image. The new Highlights and Shadows sliders really extend the dynamic range of an image whilst retaining the detail.

Updating Presets for LR4

Lightroom 4 is a significant upgrade to version 4 featuring a newly improved processing engine. If you have created /downloaded presets from the internet (see the list of my free lightroom presets) you can easily update these developer presets so that they still work as originally designed.

When in the Developer Module :

  • Set the Process Version to 2010. See the Camera Calibration panel on the lower right hand side.
  • Select the the preset you wish to update.
  • Select the “+” button in the Preset Panel to save the updated Preset making sure that the “Process Version” checkbox is checked & Click on the Save button.

I have moved my updated presets to a separate folder and used the update as a change to remove presets I no longer use.

Brushs, Books and Video

There are a number of additional changes that come with Lightroom 4 that I can’t wait to get playing with over the next few weeks. I am particularly excited about the update to the brush tool and the ability to ‘brush in white balance’.

Although the maps feature doesn’t excite me at this stage I have to say the new “Book” tab is particularly exciting. Book creation was the only reason I left a copy of Aperture in my Apps folder but Adobe have responded with a Blurb book interface that is remarkably simple and actually surprisingly affordable.

Finally the ‘Piece de Resistance’ has to be HD video support. Lightroom not only allows you to catalogue and perform simple edits it also allows you to apply the developer tools to moving image. As someone who is frequently working with video I can’t wait to get stuck in!

If you haven’t used Lightroom 4 yet then I would recommend you head over to and grab the 30 day trial.

Photographs featured in this post are from a recent visit to London. You can view the entire set here London 2012.


David is a documentary and landscape photographer covering everything from dramatic long exposure landscape photography through to live music. David is a former Official Fujifilm X Photographer.

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