Adobe Lightroom is the preferred editing software for students producing photographic media for their HSC submission. The prime reason for this is; that unlike Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom is a dedicated photo editor, whereas Adobe Photoshop is primarily a multipurpose graphics editor which had for decades been the preferred editing software for photographic media. However with the advent and subsequent development of Lightroom, Photoshop takes a back seat in the current workflow. Primary and selective editing and soft-proofing should be done in Lightroom and any work that involves composting, layered masking, LAB colour space, Photoshop specific filters or plugins and output for print (to offsite printers) should be managed in Photoshop.
One may argue that since students in the past had produced such exceptional work using only Photoshop, why change the camera to output workflow? Simply put; the Bridge / Photoshop pairing for file management was a little cumbersome given the volume of data having to be managed.
Using LIghtroom makes it easier for you the student to catalog your works, produce slideshows, books and web content. Books can be produced using Lightroom’s Book module which runs on a Blurb Book / InDesign back-end. Whilst there is some loss of flexibility in terms of modifying page templates, most of the power of Blurb’s software is maintained.
Lightroom also has native RAW editing capability and unlike Photoshop does not require plugins like Adobe Camera Raw to edit RAW files. Having said that it’s always good to bear in mind that Lightroom is a dedicated photo editor. Like Aperture, Capture One, DXO Optics, OnONe etc Lightroom is designed to do one job and do it well and without the steep learning curve often associated with Photoshop..
Lightroom also comes with a set of built-in photo filters and its also easy to get a vast array of plugins for Lightroom from the web. Unlike Photoshop’s filters which primarily target graphic images, the filters in LIghtroom are designed to extend your photo editing options.
An overview of Lightroom’s module layout is available here
A mobile version of Lightroom is also available for IOS and Android devices. A tablet version for Android / PC has yet to be released.