Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 Review

Designed for high-volume professional photographers and amateurs looking for more advanced features, Photoshop Lightroom 5 delivers a quality product, but at a comparatively stiff price.

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The Good

Several new editing features

Photoshop Lightroom 5 added a number of valuable new editing features. For example, the Advanced Healing Brush enables you to clear up spots, blotches, or other flaws that impact the quality of your photographs, while with the new Upright feature you can take a tilted image, and automatically corrects the horizontal and vertical lines. These are just a few of several feature updates found in Lightroom 5 that help you get the most out of your photographs.

Decent interface considering the scope

Due to an abundant feature set, finding exactly what you need at any given moment in Photoshop Lightroom 5 can be challenging. To help combat this, Photoshop Lightroom 5’s interface resembles the stark efficiency of Photoshop CS6 more than the simple elegance of Photoshop Elements 11, yet combines elements of each. You will find the larger fonts and buttons that are seen in Elements and the compartmentable windows from CS6. The interior window sizes are adjustable, but you won’t find any docking and floating customization. The software partially makes up for this by having on-screen dual monitor controls that allow you to access to your image catalogs while working in other areas of the program.

Advanced image processing

In terms of image processing, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 fills the void left by Photoshop CS6. With an advanced level of image processing, organization, and management tools, Lightroom 5 is a great fit for professional photographers. It’s also right for anyone who deals with heavy graphics and amateurs who want to step up a higher level of editing.

Great image organizing and file management capabilities

Photoshop Lightroom 5 includes batch image processing, generating contact sheets, increased exporting options, and extended cataloging support. You can import files, sort and filter images, create slideshows, and upload web albums. Lightroom 5 also comes with advanced functions related to geotagging, location-based organization, side-by-side image comparison, automatic collection building, and more. For example, the Map tab shows a pushpin-dotted Google map that corresponds to the geotagged data in your collection.

Side-by-side image comparison tool

Inside the Develop tab of Lightroom 5, you can “develop” an image as if still in a darkroom. In addition to the slide-adjusters for color, tone, lens correction, camera calibration, and various effects, you may also choose from a selection of preset options, create your own presets, view a running history of an image, or select a before-and-after comparison. This comparison is particularly nice for monitoring your changes to an image before committing to them in any kind of permanent manner, such as saving or printing. While other products have features that replicate this functionality, none do it as well or as simply as Lightroom 5.

Quality articles and video tutorials

Adobe supplies an impression selection of support and avenues of learning for the entire Photoshop line of programs and Lightroom 5 is no exception. With a variety of help articles, a detailed FAQ page, and a full list of targeted video tutorials, you could spend hours drilling down in any number of subjects, should they choose to do so. Thankfully, search tools make finding what you need very quickly.

Plenty of image sharing and publishing options

By using the Book tab, you can create, preview, caption, and peruse a printable photo book of your images at the click of a mouse. From the Slideshow tab, you can use preset or user-defined templates to create, preview, run, and export (as JPEG, PDF, or video) slideshows of your images. Selecting the Web tab allows you to use a selection of templates to format web galleries for uploading. Finally, the Print option lets you create and save prints of your images through several options.

The Bad

No facial recognition metadata tags

When dealing with large volumes of images, any useful methods for organization are a welcomed sight. With the increasing numbers of cameras and the presence of social media, the importance of quickly identifying the people in your photos has grown. Unfortunately, the absence of facial recognition metadata tags in Lightroom 5 is a set back. For photographers who handle these types of images on a regular basis, an automated facial recognition feature like the one in Photoshop Elements 12, system can save significant time and energy.

The Details


  • Free Trial: 30 days
  • Platform: Mac, Windows
  • Price: $146.99
  • Upgrade Cost: $79


Photoshop Lightroom 5 costs $146.99, though a 30-day free trial is available. The Students & Teachers Edition is available for $79.

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