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Everyone who takes photos professionally or personally, is involved in an unprecedented sea change, the mass transition to digital photography. That shift has changed not only the way we shoot photos and videos but just as importantly, the production tasks that we photographers now face after a shoot. With the advent of digital, we now need intuitive, quick-to-use controls for processing our photos in our computers. We need an efficient digital asset management system to organize our large and growing volume of digital photos and videos.
And we need ways to easily share our photographic work online as well as in print. Lightroom was designed to do all that for photographers, to help us with photo management, with processing and with sharing, and depending on which of those kinds of tasks you're doing, you'll work in the corresponding module or work area in Lightroom. The modules are listed in the module Picker which is at the top of Lightroom's interface in every module. The order of these modules roughly corresponds to a typical photo production workflow, so you just move through them from left to right.
Now, let's dig a little deeper into how Lightroom fits into a typical photo work flow so you can understand what you can accomplish in Lightroom. Typically after a shoot, you'll start in a library module where you'll import photos from your camera's memory card into Lightroom's catalog system. You can also import and organize your existing photos from your computer or from any external drives on which you store them. After you import photos into your computer, you're probably be eager to review those photos in the Library module, evaluating and marking your picks and rejects from a shoot.
It's a good idea to also apply keywords and organize photos and videos into collections right after a shoot so that those management tasks don't become so big that they're daunting. After you perform some management tasks, you'll process your pictures from a shoot in the next module, the Develop module. Here, you can crop and straighten photos. You'll adjust color and tonal values globally, and you'll fine-tune some of your photos with selective corrections to local area. You'll often finish processing with Lightroom's powerful noise reduction and sharpening controls.
Now that you finished organizing and processing photos, all that's left to do is to output them in ways that showcase your work in the best possible light. Lightroom offers lots of choices for presenting and sharing your work. You can use maps to display your work by location, you can make photo books that you order as professionally printed books or that you save as PDF's for display online. You can create a slideshow or a Web gallery and you can share to social media sites and by e-mail directly from Lightroom.
That gives you a sense of the many things you can do with your photos and videos in Lightroom 4. In the movies to come will be diving into many of these capabilities in more depth so stay tuned.
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