Adobe Lightroom: everything you need to know about the ‘alternative Photoshop’

Adobe Lightroom: what every photographer must know about the 'alternative Photoshop'

Adobe Lightroom is often referred to as the ‘alternative Photoshop’, but in truth this powerful photo editing software is much more than a budget alternative. To kick off the new year in style, we’re dedicating our popular Raw Tuesday series on editing raw format files to a thorough investigation of Adobe Lightroom and what it actually offers photographers who want a sophisticated photo editing software that combines image cataloguing, Raw conversion and non-destructive editing.

7 reasons you should ditch raw format files and shoot JPEGs

7 reasons you should ditch raw format files and shoot JPEGs

And so this is Christmas. And while most of you are busy with your families and egg nog (does anyone actually drink that?) and of course your fancy new cameras and generally not paying attention to what a photography blog is posting, we thought we would make a special Raw Tuesday post that goes against all convention, defies every rule every photographer has ever thrown at you and calls into question the very core and essence of this popular series.

Today we’re going to hide in plain sight and tell you what others won’t: 7 reasons why you should ditch raw format and start shooting JPEGs.

Free night photography cheat sheet: how to shoot popular low-light scenes

Free night photography cheat sheet: shoot any low-light scene

In our latest photography cheat sheet, we’ve seized upon these themes and created a handy flowchart that explains step-by-step how to achieve four of the more popular night photography subjects.

Our night photography cheat sheet shows you how to shoot city scenes, moonlit landscapes, low-light portraits and the ever-popular painting with light.

Luminosity masks: why raw HDR is the best HDR

Luminosity masks: why raw HDR is the best HDR

This luminosity mask technique enables you to create the perfect raw HDR image by blending two exposures according to lightness, not just area. This is a variation on the traditional HDR photography technique, but because we want to darken highlights and lighten shadows throughout the image rather than in selected areas, we’ll blend the images in a different way.

Composite images: why Elements won’t let you be defeated by contrast

Raw composite images: don't be defeated by contrast just because you have Elements

Remember that the version of Adobe Camera Raw in Elements is stripped-down compared to Photoshop proper, and that you won’t be able to target specific areas of your image to make localised adjustments.

So a solution is to produce two or more versions of your raw file, then open them in Photoshop or Elements, combine them as layers in a single image and use layer masks to hide or reveal adjustments in specific areas. Here’s how it’s done…