Lightroom 5 Beta

Lightroom 5 Now Available!

Skill level

Lightroom 5 is here and available to purchase! I’ve got the inside scoop into the new features you’re going to find in this release. Read on to find out!

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Smart Previews

Smart previews are ‘light’ versions of your original images, which are automatically called upon in the case that the original is unavailable (offline). These images can be edited in place of the original, until it comes back online.


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Enabling Smart Previews

There are a few ways to build Smart Previews. When you are importing your images, check the “Build Smart Previews” field in the File Handling Panel, as seen below.

Lightroom 5 Smart Previews

Additionally, if you would like the “Build Smart Previews” checkbox enabled by default, in your Lightroom Preferences, you can turn on “Build Smart Previews During Import“.

Lightroom 5 Smart Previews

What about for existing photos?! Don’t panic! Under the Library > Previews menu, you can choose to build Smart Previews for your existing photos!

Lightroom 5 Smart Previews Menu

Working with Smart Previews

In the case that the original image is offline, the Smart Preview comes to the rescue to take its place. This is only until the original comes back online, of course. During this time, you can continue to make adjustments to your image, which Lightroom 5 will remember, and once the original image makes an appearance, the adjustments you made to the Smart Preview will be applied to the original, as well!

Notes About Smart Previews

– Exporting as an ‘Original’ is not available while a Smart Preview is active, as the original file needs to be online.
– Smart Previews can be published (Facebook, email, etc).
– Quick develop works with Smart Previews.
– Zooming to 1:1 may seem different, as Smart Previews tend to be smaller than the original image.

Improved Healing

In previous versions of Lightroom, the Spot Removal tool used the ‘circle spots’ method to heal your photos. A click+drag would use the ‘click’ as the area to be healed, and the end of the drag would be the source. While this method works well, you’re limited to a circular area.


Healing BRUSH!

Now in Lightroom 5, in addition to the ‘spot’ method, you can now use the Spot Removal as a brush! By default, you have the ability to click+drag overtop of the area you want to heal. The white area in the image below shows the brush bring applied.

Lightroom 5 Healing Brush

Once the brush is released, the healing takes place, similar to the Spot Healing Brush in Photoshop.

Lightroom 5 Healing Brush

Legacy Support

Of course, if you prefer the old method of healing, using the spots, that’s still available to you in a variety of ways.

Single Click – Performing a single click will create a circle spot and attempt to heal the clicked area. If the result isn’t as desired, the source spot can be moved with a click+drag on the source. (If you do not see the spot overlay, you can activate it by pressing the H shortcut key).

Command/Ctrl + Drag – This will create a spot at the starting location, and define the source at the ending location. Again, spots can be moved even after they’ve been created.

Lightroom 5 Legacy Brush

Notes on the Spot Removal Tool:

– A new shortcut has been added! Use “Shift + Q” to switch between Clone and Heal modes.

Radial Filter

In previous versions of Lightroom, you were able to apply selective adjustments by using a Graduated Filter, as well as the Adjustment Brush. In Lightroom 5, a new Radial Filter has been added for even more selective adjustment goodness! If you were one of the many users who would have loved to create painless, customizable vignettes, life just got awesome!


With the new Radial Filter, located beside the Graduated Filter, you can drag out an ellipse, or Command/Ctrl + double click the image to set the ellipse to the image bounds. From there, the adjustments that you know and love are ready to be put to use!

Lightroom 5 Radial Filter


Straightening a crooked image has always been a chore. Wouldn’t it be great it there was a feature that did it for you? Upright does just that! Using a complex algorithm, Lightroom searches for key lines in your photo to straighten it out, whether it’s a horizon or a building.


Using Upright

With your Develop module open, head down to the Lens Corrections, and turn on Enable Profile Corrections (Upright works better when this is enabled). Now select one of the four Upright settings. In most situations, Auto will straighten out your image with pretty high accuracy, but you’re free to try out the other options, as well.

Upright Modes

Off: Upright is disabled (no adjustment). This is the default option.

Auto: Apply an automatic “balanced” correction to the image. It generally tries to level the image and fix converging horizontal and vertical lines, but will be conservative (e.g., it will not completely fix converging verticals if doing so would involve an overly strong correction that would result in distorting too many image features). In general, Auto will not be the same as Full, Level, or Vertical.

Full: Apply a full 3D correction to the image (level + fix converging horizontals and verticals), even if it involves an extremely strong correction (large rotations).

Level: Level the image (i.e., fix tilts). Similar to an automatic application of the Straighten tool or using the Rotate slider. Does not fix converging horizontals/verticals.

Vertical: Combines the leveling step (see previous item) with fixing converging verticals.

Other Worthy Updates

PNG Support!

Lightroom now supports PNGs! Need I say more? If your imported PNG contains transparency, it will appear as white, and if you choose to “edit-in Photoshop”, the PNG will be converted to either to a TIFF or a PSD, depending on your preferences.

Fullscreen Mode

In Lightroom 5, a new fullscreen mode has been added. By pressing “F“, you will enter a more ‘true’ fullscreen mode to view your photos. Of course, if you prefer the legacy fullscreen functionality, “Shift + F” will activate it.