I’m old enough to remember the days of video games that claimed to be “3D”, but didn’t actually let you do 3D-ish things like jump or look up and down (Wolfenstein 3D and Doom). The genre was eventually blessed with the likes of Quake and Unreal, which finally added those features. They made the games more immersive, while not deviating from the established gameplay (of mindlessly running around shooting stuff). Each new game progressed the genre closer to where we are today: games are so immersive that people are actually concerned that today’s kids don’t get out and experience enough nature.

Over the past decade, I have been making the transition from the more traditional type of video game, to one which actually requires that I leave the house — landscape photography. Now, I’m not clamoring that Lightroom should start doing 3D stuff, far from it. I am just convinced that similar electrical patterns light up in my brain when I’m playing either Doom or Lightroom — they’re both video games to me.

IDKFA just gives me the Info panel, Adjustment Brush, and Fullscreen — but that’s okay!

Inspired by a recent episode of “The Grid” over at KelbyTV, here’s my list of features I would like in the next version of Lightroom (and yes, I’m the “jwphoto” they called out in that video!)

32-bit HDR without Photoshop

Make an HDR button, and I’ll be your friend.

This HDR feature could be smart enough to autodetect bracketed images (based on date, shutter speed, and possibly image detection), group them into a stack, create the 32-bit HDR in the background (while offering the option to select the source image for ghost removal), then put the resulting 32-bit HDR TIFF at the top of the stack.

Panorama without Photoshop

Cram it next to the HDR button. Cluster all of the “I don’t do anything until you select multiple photos” buttons together.

Use the Adjustment Brush with ALL THE THINGS!

Yes, I would like to brush with wacky stuff like Split Toning, Camera Calibration, and Curves; none of which are currently brushable with Lightroom.


Since we’re on the Adjustment Brush, let’s brush with part of another photo

(AKA a sneaky attempt to do layer masks in Lightroom)

Sometimes I don’t really want to do a full HDR. I just want to grab a little bit of the sky from _that picture over there_ and bring it _over here_. By default, it could bring over image data from the same location in a corresponding photo — (we’re likely dealing with two exposures which line up exactly because they were taken in succession with a tripod.) This might require retooling the underpinnings of Camera RAW, but hey — do it before Apple sneaks it in Aperture and patents it.

Print Module – Zoom and Align in Custom Package

Try to align a photo to the center of the page — ain’t gonna happen. Try to carefully place a bunch of little 4″x5″ images on a 44″ page — best of luck. Sure, subsequent images can align to the edges of the first cell you placed, but good luck trying to get that first one exactly where you want it. I have to use empty cells as makeshift guides, but that just feels sloppy.

Export – delete all metadata

Maybe I don’t want any copyright info in this little jpeg I’m making. (The option simply doesn’t exist.)

Export – variable fields in folder names

In the music player Foobar2000, I can export MP3s across multiple folders with a simple script:

%genre%\%artist%\%date% – %album%\%tracknumber% – %title%

Let’s say I did a photoshoot of 23 locations, each with different names, and I would like to export them to subfolders named after each location. With my photos, I would like to do this:

%location name%\%sequence (nn)% – %location name%

In the current version of Lightroom I have to export each of those 23 locations one at a time. And if I get impatient and try to export a whole bunch of them at once, I get this:

Sequential batch operations

…as opposed to all at once

Can we do them one at a time? Can I have a list of operations so I can sort them, ignore some of them, fiddle with them, delete them?

Catalog-less Mode

(the only advantage that Bridge has over Lightroom)

Another photographer told me the other day that she doesn’t use Lightroom, mainly because of “that pesky catalog.” Since my side of the conversation quickly took on the point of view of a Lightroom evangelist, she asked me, “why does it even use a catalog in the first place?” I really didn’t know how to answer that!

The bulk of questions regarding Lightroom involve the Catalog. Can’t I just have a file browser where I navigate to photos, fiddle with them, and just be done? Is it speed? Does Lightroom really run that much faster by reading its own index rather than the file system?