Low-friction Lightroom

I have been interested in photography for a long time. And so I have a lot of photos, and I want something that will easily let me organize them, edit them, and share them. I used Aperture 3.0 for several years, and recently switched to Lightroom. Despite the benefit of Apple-y integration goodness with Aperture, Lightroom 3.0, and more recently Lightroom 4.0, blows Aperture out of the water. I really have not looked back (Aperture does have some nice features that may be too good for you to pass up).

Reducing friction should be the number one goal of all software developers, in my opinion. When I want to use a piece of software to get something done, I want to open it up, do the task easily and quickly, and then close the software. Aperture routinely added unnecessary friction to all three of these steps, even on a 12GB RAM Quad Core i7 iMac. Yikes. Since Aperture usually took a while to open and get stable, and usually hung while closing (a known bug), I usually left it open all of the time. But even using it was a chore, because of inferior noise reduction, and ridiculously difficult to use (compared to iPhoto) book creation tools. And don't get me started about exporting or viewing video. Why Apple's flagship software cannot view many movies taken on an iPhone is something that I just do not understand.

Lightroom, in comparison, flies. In fact, as I have recently switched to a dual core i5 MacBook Air as my primary machine, I am proud to say that Lightroom is even usable on that (probably helped immensely by the SSD). Lightroom does multiple things at once and never hangs. It's exposure correction tools were awesome in 3.0, and are phenomenal in 4.0. I am generally not a fan of Adobe software (Flash, Creative Suite, etc.), and have moved to simpler programs such as Pixelmator where possible, but Lightroom is really really good. And the noise reduction is amazing.

While the lack of Apple-y integration in Lightroom is a bit of a disappointment, it really makes me think long and hard about what stuff to publish (stuff I like, duh!), and what to archive, which is something I never had to do with Lightroom since it made everything available across the OS.

The lack of friction in Lightroom is key. I open it up, I get stuff done, I close it. It is great to use and extremely powerful, but only as complicated as I want it to be. The software gets out of the way so I can pay attention to my photographs, and that is what software should do, get out of the way of the content.

Calm frog in the Birmingham Botanical Gardens (Birmingham, 2012)