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A look back at Lightroom in 2007

Happy New Years Eve everyone. I’ve got a question for you. This day, one year ago, were you even using Lightroom? Probably not right? Even if you had installed the beta (remember, the full version wasn’t out yet) you probably hadn’t really committed to it yet? Seriously. Think about it. Can you even imagine what it’s like to NOT be using Lightroom? I can’t. And it was only 1 year ago that I wasn’t. Crazy huh? It got me thinking of what would be a good post to end the year with. I went down the list of the traditional stuff: a) not posting and just take new years eve and day off, or b) Post the old “Predictions for 2008” post or c) take a look back at the product that this blog/podcast is all about and see how far we’ve come. Choice “a” – come on, it’s me. I can’t take the day off. Choice “b” – too predictable. Everyone does that right? So let’s go with choice “c” and take a look back. Trust me, there’s lots of cool little nuggets of information and interesting things throughout the list below.

Nov. 1, 2006I know, I know… this really isn’t 2007 yet but I thought it would be cool to know that this site launched on that day. I promise, everything else will be 2007 from now on 🙂

Jan. 1, 2007Lightroom was only available in pre-release beta. That meant that only those brave enough and willing to try out a beta product would use it. It wasn’t meant for prime-time production use, which meant that most actual working pros wouldn’t even try it yet. On this day, although many had installed it and kicked the tires a bit, Lightroom was only used by a fraction of the people it’s being used by today.

All that said, Lightroom was drawing a huge amount of buzz in the industry. PDF books, DVDs, online videos, training sessions were all created just for the beta. And people were eating it up. They’d buy/watch/attend training even if they didn’t have Lightroom just to see what it was all about. Plus, there was a lot of talk about Lightroom vs. Aperture (Apple’s competing product). As many did early on, I laid my bets down on Lightroom which turned out to be the best product for me personally. Nonetheless, here’s an interesting read that compares the two products.

Jan. 23, 2007The website since1968 posts an interview with Mark Hamburg, founder of the Lightroom project, about how Lightroom became to be and some of the stories behind it’s development.

Jan. 29, 2007Adobe officially announced Lightroom 1.0 and it’s price. It was at that point everyone really started to “dig” it because they realized that a) after 1 year of beta releases, Lightroom was indeed becoming real and, b) it was priced very reasonably and it didn’t break the bank of either pro photographers or serious amateurs at $199. They also gave a release date of Feb. 19th.

Feb. 15, 2007since1968 follows up part 1 of Mark Hamburg’s interview with part 2.

Feb. 19, 2007Lightroom is officially shipping. NAPP launches the official Lightroom Learning Center with lots of free videos, behind the scenes looks, and all the information you could possibly find on Lightroom all in one place. If you’re a NAPP member you can always go back and view it here.

So what did we get with version 1 that we didn’t have before? We got 1 program to do many things. Before we had to use Bridge and Camera Raw together. With Lightroom we could do everything in one place. Raw processing got better as well with the addition of the Vibrance slider as well as Recovery (remember, we were still using the old Camera Raw at this point).

– The Tone Curve and the HSL panel had (and still have) a revolutionary tool called the TAT.

– We also got Spot Removal that was non-destructive (this one was kept secret until Version 1 shipped).

– A whole bunch of Printing goodness! Enough said.

March, 2007Not much happening in this month other then a slew of Lightroom training starts hitting the streets.

Here’s some training from Adobe that I like a lot (partly because it has me in it 😉 ).

One of the more interesting things I found was that Scott Kelby’s Lightroom Book for Digital Photographers came out on fire. It wasn’t that Scott’s book was doing well among Lightroom books. If you’ve read anything from him then you’d probably already know it would do great. What was really interesting to me that his book was beating out nearly every Photoshop book out there. You’ve gotta figure there are hundreds of thousands more Photoshop users out there then Lightroom, but Scott’s Lightroom book was outselling them all (you can see it here – it’s been in the top 10 since it’s release). If you’re a Lightroom user, then that just shows you how popular this program became in such a short amount of time.

April 4, 2007Photoshop World ships up to Boston with the first ever dedicated Lightroom track. I taught a class in it and let me tell ya’ – people were digging it. Every class was jam packed and it was great to see so much interest. One thing struck me though, there were a ton of the same exact questions:
1) Why Lightroom over Bridge and Camera Raw? While there isn’t one answer there are a few sites and forums out there that have some info on the topic:
Adobe forums
Photoshop TV Episode 108 (you can go back and watch if you’re a NAPP member)

2) How do I move my Library or Catalog of photos between computers?
– See June below
– Check out this video

April 27, 2007Scott Kelby kicks off the first Lightroom seminar tour in the world in LA to over 800 people. Here’s the thing I recall as one of the most interesting comments I heard from Scott about that day. After being asked early on, questions like “How much does Lightroom cost?” at a Lightroom seminar (since you’d think that most folks would have already purchased it if they were there), Scott asked the crowd how many of them even had purchased Lightroom by this point. The results: About 25-30% of the 800 people hadn’t even owned the program yet! Lightroom did indeed gain so much ground in just 4 months that people were coming out to a seminar to just see what it could do. That’s a pretty powerful statistic if you think about it.

Adobe also creates the Adobe Video Workshop which includes videos on everything under the sun (including Lightroom).

May 24, 2007NAPP incorporates a specific portion of Photoshop User magazine to Lightroom only. Subscribers of Photoshop User magazine get a whole section dedicated to Lightroom free of charge. Plus they hired some of the industries best experts to write for it. Names like Scott Kelby, Dave Cross, Michael Tapes, Angel Drury, Chris Orwig, Kevin Ames, and even myself all jumped in and started writing for it.

Oh yeah, I taught Lightroom all day long for 2 days at Adobe Live in Amsterdam. I know, this one is pretty weak but, from a personal note, it was just cool to see that this product I was investing so much time into teaching was just as popular over in Europe as it is here.

June. 26, 2007Adobe announces the first update to Lightroom. It’s called Lightroom 1.1. Although you’d think that, by nature, a “.1” update would just be minor fixes this one wasn’t. It was huge and it was free.

– First off, it updated Camera Raw and we got the Clarity slider in the Develop module.

Also in Develop came 4 new sharpening controls that let you accomplish way better sharpening right from within Lightroom.

Finally, one of the mostest hugest new features in 1.1 was the ability to export and import catalogs (A.K.A. your photo library). So if you worked on a laptop while traveling and wanted to sync back to your desktop you could easily do so. There was lots of little things as well and you can read about them here if you’d like.

Some other notable news on this day (for me personally that is) is that my Lightroom training DVD and online training course was released. I was incredibly psyched because it quickly became one of Kelby Training’s best selling DVDs and online training courses. Again, in the whole world of Photoshop training, it’s cool to see this little product we call Lightroom take off like that.

July 2007I taught a workshop in Banff where we concentrated solely on shooting, then using Lightroom and Photoshop together in a simple workflow. It wasn’t the first workshop I taught but it was the first Lightroom/Photoshop one I did. It was awesome! It was now that I really started to see how easy Lightroom made managing and developing your photos for all types of photographers out there.

August 2007Nothing really to write here. But I hated to leave a month out. I mean, hey, it’s not August’s fault that the Lightroom community had no major happenings in it’s month. Seriously. What did August ever do to you that you’d be saying to yourself, Matt, why didn’t you just leave August out!

Sept. 6, 2007
Photoshop World hits Las Vegas with an updated Lightroom track. I thought the one in Boston drew a crowd but this one really rocked. 8 Months after it’s release, people were still flocking to find out more about Lightroom.

Sept. 13, 2007Lightroom 1.2 is released. Another “dot” update as they’re called by software developers. It wasn’t quite as huge as the Lightroom 1.1 update (ok, not even close) but it was definitely a step up.

– One of the most memorable new features for me was the killer web galleries by Airtight Interactive that were incorporated directly into Lightroom. Good stuff!

– Another cool enhancement was the ability to easily import/export presets for each module in Lightroom. This actually lead to my latest additions to the Lightroom Killer Tips website where I release free presets every week.

Also in September, The Lightroom Journal (a blog kept by the folks at Adobe) posted an interesting and quick read from Mark Hamburg about the goals behind Lightroom.

October 16, 2007John Nack, a senior product manager over at Adobe, posts an interesting blog entry about what the pros are using out there – Lightroom or Aperture.

Also in October, Sean McCormack releases a really cool web gallery preset for Lightroom called the Scroll Gallery. In fact, there’s lots of other cool web galleries that you can download and add to Lightroom for free at the Lightroom Galleries website.

Nov. 15, 2007Lightroom 1.3 is released. Mostly a camera raw update for newer camera models but some small fixes as well. Also, Adobe has addressed some printing issues with Macs newer OS – Leopard. Again, it’s free so it’s worth a download.

December 7, 2007Lightroom 1.3.1 is released. This was a really tiny update mostly relating to some printing issues. Nothing crazy though.

December 31, 2007Here. Now. Today. It’s been a wild year in the digital photography world. New software, new cameras, and a ton of things to grab your attention. I’m very thankful to have been one of those things and I can’t wait to see what 2008 will bring us. One thing is for sure though. If it’s about Lightroom, I’ll be on it and make sure you always know exactly what you need to know (and in a way you can understand) first. I sincerely hope that you and your families have a very happy and safe new years eve and I hope 2008 brings great things to you.

– Matt Kloskowski