3 Features I Don’t Think We’ll Ever See in Lightroom (But I’d like to)

I’m sure we all have features we’d like to see in Lightroom (or lots of other programs too). And sometimes those features are so meaningful to us that we have no idea why everyone else doesn’t think so too. Well, my post is coming from a different place. I’m fully aware that these features are fairly random and probably only just applicable to me. They’re so specific that I actually don’t think we’ll ever see these features in Lightroom, but I thought it would be kinda fun to throw ‘em out there. Here goes:

1) Auto Flag in Develop – I’d love it if when I work on a photo in the Develop module for say, 30 seconds, Lightroom would automatically flag that photo for me. Or even give me a setting in the Preferences panel that was something like: Auto-Flag A Photo If You’ve spent X seconds on it

Side Note: This is one of the reasons I love blogging. As I was writing this I thought of a pretty cool idea to get something close to what I want. I’m going to do a quick video on it today, and I’ll post it tomorrow :)

2) Focus Points- The point of focus may not matter for a lot of people. I know when I shoot portraits, I always focus on the eyes or face and, once in Lightroom, I really have no need to see the focus point. But for landscapes and travel, I tend to shoot the same photo while focussing on different areas. Sometimes I merge them together in Photoshop (focus stacking), and some times I don’t. But either way, it’d be useful for me to see them, without having to use another program (example of what I mean is below). Again, it’s not a feature I think I’ll get and probably not a big deal for most photographers. I think there’s probably bigger fish to fry then this one :)

focuspoint

3) Auto-Stack By Bracket – There is an Auto-Stack by Capture Time feature (it’s under the Photo > Stacking menu for those that haven’t seen this feature before). As you can imagine, it stacks photos by capture time. But it’s kinda flaky on me sometimes because I shoot a lot of long exposures. And I bracket A LOT. So I’d love to see a feature that let me stack photos by brackets. Basically, let me choose how many shots in my brackets (3, 5, 7, etc…) and then it would look through my folder and auto-stack the photos for me. Heck, I’ll even tell it where the first photo is, so it should be easy enough to figure out groupings of 3, 5, 7 or whatever after that.

So there’s 3 features that I’d love to see but don’t think I will. That said, don’t take this as a jab at Lightroom. Lightroom is an awesome program, and has definitely changed the way I manage and edit my photos. One of the reasons it’s awesome is because it hasn’t become the mammoth program that Photoshop has (sorry Photoshop, I still love you though). And if they included every feature that goobers like me wished for (which by the way, in 6 months my feature list will probably be different), then we wouldn’t have the awesome program we have today. But hey, it’s fun to wish right? :-)

Author: Matt K

Matt is a full time Education Director for the NAPP and Kelby Training. He's a best-selling author of various books on Photoshop and Photography co-hosts the live weekly photography talk show "The Grid" and is co-host of "Photoshop User TV". In his spare time he practices as a 1st degree black belt in Taekwondo and enjoys spending time with his family in Tampa, FL.

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64 Comments

  1. I shoot street photography. Indicating focus-point in LR might help me to progress in the manner to choose the best focus point in a scene. Good idea !

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    • Add to the list an option in preferences to view by file name all the time so when you do a photoshop edit it does not end up at the end of the folder. I know you can manly set but doing it each time is a pain.

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      • If you set your View > Sort options to “Capture Time” it won’t show up at the end of the folder. And you shouldn’t have to do it each time :)

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    • Focus points are very important to me as it helps me choose between the keepers and duds.. if Lightroom added this feature to be camera specific and kept with the updates, it would be a major plus!

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  2. good ideas
    personnally i’d like a better eraser tool with content aware like PS or onone perfect brush (i had it in NX2 !), blending modes to add texture or use screen/multiply/overlay and dynamic contrast to avoid using PS and plugins and, if possible color filters and zone system in black and white to avoid using sylver efex pro 2 :-)

    marc

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  3. Thanks Matt for this great ideas !

    Perhaps for the focus, it’s will be better to know what part of the photo is shaper than the focus point.

    Other idea about focus, Lightroom can create a sharper rating base on amont of shaper of each picture. This will be great to find the best focus on a multiple shots (specially useful on sport photography).

    I’m hoping Adobe is reading this blog :-)

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  4. My vote for three other new features: 1) Ken Burns-type effects on Slideshow, 2) keyboard shortcut mapper. 3) slide shows synced to Lightroom mobile.

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  5. In Library I’d love to see a way to “collapse all” when it comes to looking at my folders. ( of coourse there may be a keyboard shortcut for this I don’t know about :-)

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  6. Coming from Aperture, I mainly miss the possibility to use the same tool more times, to make different adjustments, for example with the curves: i often used one curve for the exposition, another one for contrast.
    Overall, tools like “Curves” or “Levels” were useful and well done.
    Yes, I also miss the focus point.

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    • What I personally expect is LR detects itself the focus point (by contrast or anything else method…) and show it in the picture.

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    • I understand there are much point of focus… in fact a focus-plane instead of a focus-point. LR might be able to show the focus-plane ?!

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    • No I haven’t but I just downloaded it. So cool!!! Thanks :)

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    • Julie – Thank you so much! I’ve wanted something like this forEVER!

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    • Damn! Only Canon and Nikon :-(

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    • WOW ! Super plugin,

      Thank you for sharing !

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    • Thanks for the link!

      One caveat with this is it doesn’t (it can’t) accurately display where you were focussed on, if you use focus lock (focussing, then recomposing). They explain this in their FAQ. Still, looks to be an excellent plugin. Much appreciated!

      Cheers

      James

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  7. The auto bracket stack definitely gets my vote. For me, the single most important “feature” addition to Lightroom would be a complete re-engineering under the hood to make it a faster, more responsive experience. I would pay full price for that alone. As for incremental features I would still like to see better text support for print mattes (ie. unlimited text boxes, with the same text engine as the Book module); effect previews on the main image rather than just the navigator window (or at least ability to make the navigator preview larger); nesting of preset folders; Smart Collection criteria for all embedded metadata (it seems there are some fields that aren’t included), and ability to point to specific reference folders/collections rather than manually filling in names.

    Personally I just want the speed and feel that I’m directly connected to the program.

    PS. Re better text support in Print module I only recently realized that LR recognizes native Illustrator files and apparently leaves them in vector format for infinite resizing without penalty, just import as a graphic identity plate. Presumably this could work for any sort of graphic element including image frames. So if you also have access to Illustrator try using it to create custom text panels or otherwise for print mattes. Still, would rather have more robust text support in-house.

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    • Thanks Jay. Can’t say the speed issue bugs me. I’ve used both old and new computers. My only complaint would be on import, I wish thumbnails drew faster, but that’s about it. It moves along great on any computer I’ve used it on.

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  8. While I agree with your three, here are my top wishes.
    1) Ability to designate a default import preset
    2) Face detection for the sake of organization. This would make us amateur family photographers especially happy
    3) Conditional application of presets during import. Example, “If camera X at ISO >Y, then apply Noise preset Z”

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  9. What I keep wishing for is a way to automatically apply presets (both development and metadata) based on image metadata. Sort of like automatically applying any number/type of presets when images get added to a new type of smart collection or on import. This would save me so much time by not having to go back and apply different presets based based on lens/camera settings. I posted more info about it on the Adobe Photoshop forums if you want to read more.

    Oh yea, nested preset folders too!

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  10. The focus points would be fantasic. Now I have to use Canons program instead and that sucks.

    I also hate that the keyworking is so hard to use and that when I reimport images the keyword list gets messed up.

    My catalog has been crashing a lot lately. I kind of hate that!

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  11. Good thoughts and I’m very excited to check out the Show Focus Points plug-in.
    What I want to see:
    1. More naming and organizational options during Import. I’m particular about where my files go and Lightroom just doesn’t do it for me yet. I still rely on Downloader Pro.
    2. A drop-down option when adding images to collections. I would love to be able to right-click on an image and pick a collection from a drop-down dialog rather than having to either drag and drop or set a target collection.
    3. Actions! I want to be able to automate certain repetitive tasks. An example would be to be able to highlight a group of images and hit a key combo to stack them. I do a fair bit of HDR and prefer to use the Photomatix “Export to 32-bit TIFF” plug-in to merge the files, doing the tone-mapping in Lightroom. Much of that could be automated if LR had actions.

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  12. there is a feature i often need : picking different images in different folders and group them on my display. For instance my image being processed and a texture so i can easily send them as layers in photoshop. for unknown reasons it is not possible and the only mean i have found is to create a quick collection in which i first add the current image being processed in develop module, i browse to the texture, add to this collection and display quick collection.
    it is tedious

    best regards
    marc

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  13. another feature i often need is like any software the possibility to have different creative sharpening effects in local adjustments. i have never understood why when you have selected amount, radius,… in sharpening panel for capture sharpening the local brush keeps these parameters and only play with amount. i would expect same sliders in local brush to be able to process large details (clouds,…) or fine structure differently than capture sharpening.
    when we see the martin eveing well-known test image with an eye and lot of lines we see that we need to make a trade-off for sliders to fit all types of things we would like to sharpen.

    kind regards
    marc

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  14. Action sports photographers can benefit from having focus points available as a valuable learning tool. It will assist them in understanding why a shot may not actually be in focus. ie the point was not on the intended target or it was on an area with very low contrast. It also would be a valuable data point for use in a workflow where you are attempting to select potential keepers for later editing. BTW: did you know this feature has been present for more than 10 years in a viewer called Breezebrowser?

    You got my vote Matt!

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  15. I vote for drag/drop for the Copywrite office for on-line registration. Just like you can for Flickr, etc.

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  16. I would love to see focus points be added to Lightroom. Aperture had it, and I often found it to be extremely useful as a teaching aid for myself (i.e. knowing if I had actually focused on the right spot or not). I’ve previously made this suggestion to Adobe.

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  17. Keywording in LR is very clunky. It gets worse when you have thousands of keywords arranged hierarchically in the Keyword List (the list of all keywords) and you need to add new keywords or modify the list. It’s also not very usable when the Keyword Tags list (the tags applied to the selected pictures) has more than say 10 entries.

    Stock photographers need to be able to keyword their images quickly and efficiently. They often spend more time keywording than developing images. I would like to see a separate keywording module that works along the same lines as PhotoMechanic. Perhaps also include the ability to add/modify titles and captions in the metadata and manage model and property releases.

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  18. Good ideas, but before they add more features, I wish Adobe fixes the spot removal tool. They totally messed it up with LR5. About 80% of the time I select an area to heal, and the source is picked up halfway across the image with no similarity to the target area whatsoever. And the “clone” option of the spot removal tool is broken because it often adds some luminance to the source so the cloned area sticks out like a sore thumb.

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  19. I’m all for the auto stacking idea. I think it’s great.
    My own new feature of choice would be one click backups. Not of just the library files though. Of everything.
    Ideally it would give all the options required to set the parameters and click once and back up the library including the adjustments, virtual copies, and original dng or raw files to wherever you want them, and as many connected locations as you want. Then add an auto feature so that it auto backs up all future changes to the library.
    If Lightroom is all about organizing and backing up, that feature just makes perfect sense to me. It would take backups out of the workflow leaving more time to edit and making sure you are always current.
    I hate doing backups other wise. I find its a pain to make sure nothing gets missed :)

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  20. Oooh…love the auto-flag idea. I am expert in the Print Module (my business is built on selling templates) so I sometimes think I should write a “Wish List for the Print Module” blog post to Adobe! Lol! Maybe I will do that for Christmas!

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  21. Since Lightroom is database driven. I would love it they added a note field where you could write notes about a shot. Would be a big help to photo book authors.

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  22. I would love the auto-stack by bracket idea. I spend a lot of time stacking and unstacking photos because I take a lot of long exposures also. The auto-stack by time yields too varied results. I would love a simple Notes field. I would love to be able to make notes about how I took the photo, where it’s been used, etc. without it showing up in the caption.

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  23. At the top of my wishlist is a way to undo random keyboard entry. Have you ever thought you were typing in the keyword field, or the title or caption field, and typed a whole sentence before you realized you were typing shortcuts? Most of them are OK, they’re just display commands, but the annoying ones are numbers: changing the flag, rating or colour status without realizing it. Can’t think of how, other than a shortcut that deletes the last 15 or so seconds of typing, whatever it was, but then that’s why I’m not an engineer at Adobe.

    As a corollary, how about a way to define a default workspace so you can go to it with one keystroke: like closing the left panel and filmstrip when you go to the develop module?

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  24. I’m aiming a lot lower with my wish list. How about being able to un-dock the panels and use multiple monitors in a meaningful way? the dual screen options are totally useless in my workflow.

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  25. My number one want is the ability to create, save, and export custom book layouts. Right now, you can only adjust padding using their predefined layouts. Most of the layouts are serviceable, but I would like to be able to draw the layouts from scratch when I want to and save and export the custom layouts.

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  26. Lots of great suggestions here! I’d like to be able to export multiple sizes at one time, one small for blog, one full size.

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  27. Would love it if LR could see the locked images that I tag when shooting sports so that I could go to them first when I edit.
    Helps when I am shooting to tag the images with a lock as I can do this in game when the play is away from me.
    Did it once during a game but then I can find a way for Lightroom to display those that are locked.
    Like the other suggestions too.
    Thanks Matt.

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  28. This is the closet thing that I could fine for displaying the focus points in LR. It is a free plugin and although it’s opens a new window for displaying the focus points you can switch photos from the filmstrip while it is open (no need to open and close it for each photo:

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  29. I’d like to be able to select rotation of the clone/healing brush source or destination. So many times there is an edge that i need to clone but the angle is a little or a lot off from the source I would like to use.
    I’d also like to be able to select a group of photos and sort by sharpness of the eyes. This would be great for portraits of people and animals.

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  30. Features I want in Lightroom, especially now since Aperture was discontinued:

    1) Face detection.

    That’s it. =)

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  31. I would love to be able to do a panorama in lightroom instead of having to go into photoshop

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  32. I know how to do the math, but is there a way to see the (b4 and after crop) image size displayed in inches , not just pixels? It would be great to see it actively while cropping in Develop mode.

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  33. I’d like to be able to edit WITH Lightroom adjustments. I probably use LR differently from most others. I tend to back and forth with Photoshop Elements. My NIK plugins crash with PSE 12 and the fine tuning that can be done in LR is really important, but I end up with too many copies that have to be deleted later.

    I’s also like a SAVE/SAVE AS function

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  34. I’m more interested where the focus really is, rather than what focus point I’ve used. Capture One has this really nice feature, that marks those parts that are in focus in green similar to the highlight warning. I’d love to see that feature in Lightroom. It would be really useful to see which pictures for example of a portrait shoot have the focus on the eye and which missed. You could flag the latter for deletion right from the grid view. This would help me save a lot of time.

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  35. Adding pictures to Facebook and Flickr folders should be easier. Aperture makes it so much easier to drag and drop. With LR I have to select the photos and them right-click to add to a Flickr collection, for example.

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  36. Mine is very simple – I’d like a notes sticky much like in pshop. I know I can use the metadata features to make notes about a particular photo but a little yellow sticky on the photo would get my attention easier. Thanks

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  37. Matt you are very sly. I know why you said “which by the way, in 6 months my feature list will probably be different”. You have seen Lightroom 6, heck, you are probably using it right know. These features are going to be in Lightroom 6. You know an attorney never asks a question with out know the answer already.

    A side note, that lame-o, Apple Aperture had the focus points feature. To bad Apple was focused on other things to keep developing this great Photography tool. I hope you saw my pun.

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    • Actually Graham, that probably wouldn’t be smart of me to list features that I knew were going to be in LR6. I’m pretty sure Adobe would never show me another pre-release again. And sadly, I really doubt any of these features would ever make it in to Lightroom. They’re just too specific and there’s much bigger fish to fry if you’re Adobe :-)

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  38. My favourites so far:

    1) Focus points – I am not a big fan of cluttering a clean software with plug-ins
    2) Conditional noise repair depending on camera,ISO and exposure
    3) Personal notes for images and folders

    Unfortunately I could not see all entries because some avatars were blown up and covered the text here on my iPhone

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  39. You’d think Lightroom would want to keep influencers like yourself around to know what features are valuable and which are not. The more feedback they get the better!

    Cool post.

    Jullian

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  40. Overhaul Lightroom’s import tool. Give us the ability to import off multiple cards at once, import RAW only (or JPEG only, depending on preference). Right now I use the import tools in PhotoMechanic because they’re so much faster than LR. I would love to do it all in LR but it just takes soooo long to import using LR’s import commands.

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  41. I would love to see an auto clipping button that addition automatically would set the white and black sliders to the clipping points.

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  42. This thread is getting a lot of great activity. Another that I always hope for (but forgot earlier) is a mirrored graduated filter, allowing you to start within the frame and work uniformly out in both directions from the center.

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  43. Would love to have Tonal Contrast inside Lightroom same set up as per the Nik plugin with the ability to control opacity.

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  44. Would love to see Tonal Contrast and Dynamic Contrast inside Lightroom with the ability to alter the opacity.

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    • YES !!! never understood why Adobe needs external companies to make a dynamic contrast or a content aware retouch brush or even a blending with a texture… !
      we can of course launch nik or ononesoftware suites but it creates a huge psd or tif file and stops being non destructive

      marc

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  45. how to conveniently locate and delete duplicate images

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  46. For point 1. Can’t we use smart collections? Filter by number of edits? If you do edits in photoshop it’s even easier. I’ve one smart collection under every collection that says filter file names with -Edit and it works just fine :) Think about that. May be that’s what you were also thinking while you start writing this. Will wait for the video.

    Option 3: my vote goes as well, usually I will select the pictures and give it a different color label and it goes to another smart collection.

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