Using Lightroom 3 - The basics
Lightroom 3 might be a considerably changed, improved program over earlier versions, but structurally, it is more or less the same. As a photographer using Lightroom, your workflow is defined by the module picker - a mini taskbar on the top-right hand side of the main window. This is where the program switches from being an organizational tool (Library) to a an image manipulation platform (Develop). The final three tabs, Slideshow, Print and Web, provide the means to publish your images as a slideshow, print presentation or (you guessed it) webpage. Navigating Lightroom becomes a lot easier once you've mastered the various keyboard shortcuts. Some of the most important are mentioned on this page, but here is a complete list.
Importing Images into Lightroom 3 (Ctrl*+ Shift + I)
With Lightroom 3 open, inserting a memory card into your computer's card reader automatically brings up the import dialogue. This window is new, and replaces the more basic file-browser type import window of the previous generation.
There is a lot of information in this window, and a lot of options. If you'd prefer a less cluttered interface, the tiny arrow button in the lower left of this screen collapses the Import window to its essentials - copy options, origin folder, destination folder/s, metadata and keywording.
Browsing images: Library module (Ctrl*+Alt+1)
After images have been imported into the Lightroom catalogue, they appear in the filmstrip (F6 to toggle filmstrip on/off) and can be browsed from the Library module in a grid, in Loupe view (shown here), or compared side by side. In loupe view, images can be magnified to 100% simply by clicking into them with your mouse.
A 'Quick develop' pane on the right of the window allows you to quickly make basic adjustments such as white balance and exposure to single images or as a batch process. You can fine-tune anything that you do here later in the 'Develop' module.
Editing images: Develop module (Ctrl*+Alt+2)
The Develop module is where you make adjustments to your images. Lightroom 3's Develop module will be familiar to anyone that has ever edited raw images using Adobe Photoshop's Camera Raw plugin. The core controls are much the same, and Lightroom 3 now offers the same lens correction feature as Photoshop CS5.
Exporting and publishing images from Lightroom 3
The final stage in the Lightroom 3 workflow is exporting images. Images can be exported to disc as DNG, TIFF or JPEG files, to an online gallery, as a slideshow, or as a webpage. Support for Flickr is built directly into Lightroom, but a number of plugins are available too, by which images can be uploaded to other online gallery services, including dpreview's own galleries. If you're a Lightroom user, you can download the dpreview galleries plugin here.
* On a Macintosh computer, use the Apple/Command key instead of Ctrl.