Great news, Lightroom users:
Adobe recently implemented its April 2023 Lightroom update, and the enhancements include several outstanding features everyone should try. Note that the upgrades discussed below apply to both Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Lightroom Classic, so you can take advantage of the changes no matter your program of choice.
What does the April update entail?
First, Lightroom now offers AI-powered noise reduction to create an unprecedentedly powerful – and effective – denoising experience. Instead of fiddling around with the Noise Reduction sliders, simply press the Denoise button, adjust the Amount slider as you see fit, and hit Enhance.
Adobe promises that the feature will “efficiently remove noise from Bayer or X-Trans RAW images while preserving all the finer details.” The biggest drawback here is the required processing time, especially if your PC isn’t very powerful; I tested the Denoise feature on my (somewhat aged) desktop, and I waited about seven minutes before I had my new noiseless DNG file.
But if you only ever need to apply noise reduction to a few images at a time, that shouldn’t be a problem, and the AI-powered denoising has the potential to rescue images that were previously unusable. Also, if you prefer to customize your edits, you still have the option to reduce noise via the old sliders – look under the tab labeled Manual Noise Reduction.
Next, Adobe has updated its Lightroom Masking tools, which you can access by selecting the Masking icon:
Under the People section, Lightroom still offers the option to detect and mask individuals. When you click on a person, you can then choose whether you want to separately mask the hair, iris and pupil, eye sclera, eyebrows, and more – and here, Lightroom has added several new masking options, including the ability to independently mask your selected subject’s clothing.
And that’s not Lightroom’s only masking-related update. When you create a mask – whether with a Brush, a Gradient, or Lightroom’s AI selection tools – in addition to all your standard adjustment tools, you now have the option to apply targeted Curve adjustments:
If you’ve never used the Tone Curve before, it’s a powerful tool that lets you adjust image tones and colors with great precision (it’s also a favorite among Photoshop users). The addition of a Curve feature to the local adjustment menu may seem minor, but it’s a huge deal for folks who are looking to make careful tonal and color edits to portions of their images without affecting the whole file.
Finally, Adobe has tweaked Lightroom’s layout in several key ways. You’ll now see an eye icon next to each editing panel; click on one of these, and any corresponding edits using tools from that panel will be temporarily deactivated. (As soon as you let go of the eye icon, the edits are reactivated.) Additionally, once you’ve made an edit using tools in a panel, the corresponding eye icon will be highlighted; that way, you can go back to old photos and quickly identify which panels have been used.
Lightroom has been given a few more minor updates – for instance, there are some additional presets, and support has been expanded to a handful of cameras and lenses – and you can see a full list of changes to Lightroom Classic here and to Lightroom here.
But it’s the noise reduction and masking improvements that are really going to kick things up a notch for Lightroom users, so I encourage everyone to head over to Lightroom and try them out!
Now over to you:
What do you think of these Lightroom updates? Which do you plan to use regularly? Share your thoughts in the comments below!