Lightroom 5 Is Ready to Rock!

Where does the time go? Lightroom 5 already?

That’s right! Lightroom 5 is now out in the wild and ready to make your Catalog sing! All of the fantastic features from the beta are in the final release. This is not as major an upgrade as the Lightroom 3 to Lightroom 4 change but there is a lot to like in this new version. In fact, to help you get started check out the link at the end of this article to Jan Kabili’s new course on along with a free 7 day pass so you can enjoy all 3 hours and 42 minutes of her course (along with lot’s of other educational goodness)! Let’s take a look at some of the new facts and features starting with the price.

If you are a Creative Cloud subscriber then just log into your account and download Lightroom 5. It’s included as part of your membership! Neat! If you purchased Lightroom 4 within the last 30 days you are eligible for a free upgrade. You can get the details on the Adobe Upgrade Policy page. Owners of previous versions can upgrade for $79. New owners will pay $149. (But there is an educational discount - new copies are only $79).

Of course there are new baseline system requirements so be sure your computer meets the specs:


  • Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 or AMD Athlon(R) 64 processor*
  • DirectX 10 - capable or later graphics card
  • Microsoft(R) Windows(R) 7 with Service Pack 1 or Windows 8
  • 2GB of RAM (4GB recommended)
  • 2GB of available hard-disk space
  • 1024x768 display
  • DVD-ROM drive required if purchasing Adobe(R) Photoshop(R) Lightroom(R) retail boxed version
  • Internet connection required for Internet-based services

Mac OS

  • Multicore Intel processor with 64-bit support
  • Mac OS X v10.7 or v10.8
  • 2GB of RAM (4GB recommended)
  • 2GB of available hard-disk space
  • 1024x768 display
  • DVD-ROM drive required if purchasing Lightroom retail boxed version
  • Internet connection required for Internet-based services

Spot Removal Gets a Facelift!

Lightroom has had a very useful spot removal tool for some time now. Spots are one thing. Large areas in need of some manipulation are another. Until now we’ve had to round trip out to Photoshop to get at the healing brush. No more! Lightroom 5 transforms the spot removal tool into a versatile healing brush! Instead of clicking one spot simply paint over an area and you will get a matching shape showing your source data for the heal (or clone) that you can move around!


If you had trouble finding those annoying spots before, Lightroom 5 makes it easy with the new Visualize Spots feature. Check the box, adjust the slider, then click, click, click those spots away!


Time to Straighten Up!

Another problem that used to send us running to Photoshop was the keystone (or tombstone) effect. It shows up frequently when trying to take a shot of a tall building. The crop tool still has the straighten tool but that only solved the crooked image problem. If you had keystoning before you could make one side vertical but not correct the problem. Now there is an abundance of straightening features in the Lens Corrections panel.


Hey! Look Over Here!

A while back I posted an article called Lightroom’s Little Vines that took a look at the evolution of Lightroom’s vignette capabilities. We’ve had some form of vignetting feature since Lightroom 1. Now Lightroom 5 takes the chains off with the new Radial Filter. Tucked away with the other local adjustment tools, the Radial Filter let’s you essentially place a vignette anywhere you like! Now you can really direct the viewer’s eyes where you want them.


Smart Previews

While Lightroom 5 doesn’t bring with it a new process version it does bring something else, Smart Previews. This is, in my opinion, the first significant step towards solving the desktop in the studio laptop in the field problem. Previously you could take your Catalog along but without the underlying image files the most you could do was some metadata work; tagging, star ratings, color coding, etc. Now you can add your Smart Previews and work on your images without having the full sized raw files available. Once Lightroom sees the full file it will apply all of the adjustments you made to the Smart Preview to the full image. Wow!

Now this is only the first step. Smart Previews, while smaller than the full files, still can take up a significant amount of space. Not the best solution but it does make me hopeful that the issue is being addressed.

Some Other New Features

Other new features in Lightroom 5 include:

  • Slideshows with Videos and Still Images
  • Improved Photo Book Creation
  • PNG file support
  • True Full Screen Mode
  • Configurable grid overlays
  • Additional search criteria for filters and smart collections
  • Lock zoom position preference settings
  • Direction field in EXIF metadata panel
  • “Set as Target Collection” checkbox in Create Collections dialogue
  • Integrity verification of DNG files
  • LAB color readout
  • Aspect slider added to the Manual tab in the Lens Correction panel
  • Persistent clipping indicators between Lightroom sessions
  • Crop overlay aspect ratios
  • Visual indicator of Favorite book pages
  • Transparent buttons for improved Text creation in Books

There is certainly a lot to explore and learn in Lightroom 5. Lightroom continues to grow and evolve to meet the needs of photographers. More and more functionality is being built in removing the need to venture outside the application except for that very specialized need or effect. Kudos to Adobe and the Lightroom Team.

Spend Some Time With Jan and Lynda

Jan Kabili is an excellent teacher. She has recently released a new course over at entitled Up and Running with Lightroom 5. In 3 hours and 42 minutes, Jan will get you ready to use Lightroom 5. If you are already a member then go and check it out.

If you aren’t a member don’t worry. I think is one of THE BEST places to learn online. To help you discover that and to let you enjoy Jan’s course I am offering a free 7 day pass to all of Lynda’s content. Just click here to get your free pass and enjoy!