In last month’s review of Adobe Photoshop CS6, we stated that it is becoming less relevant to photographers. One big reason: Photoshop Lightroom 4’s greatly enhanced ability to transform images on its own, through a much cleanier and easier-to-navigate interface than you get in Adobe Camera Raw, which offers the same tools.
Lightroom allows selective adjustments using the Adjustment Brush tool, and, with version 4, even white balance can be brushed on. This means you can easily correct mixed lighting to make it match, or paint on different zones of white balance for creative effect.
This photograph, taken by Andrew Wood in Bamburg Castle, Northumberland, England, nicely illustrates the power of both selective adjustments and Adobe’s new Camera Raw processing engine. Wood originally produced his final version of this picture by combining three exposures to make a high-dynamic-range (HDR) image, but we were able to take it this far using selective adjustments and just one of his exposures.
Here’s how to use Lightroom 4 to work multiple zones of your image and create a final RAW conversion that really sings. No Photoshop—or layers—required.