2015 progress – and is Lightroom REALLY non-destructive

I’m happy to say that the Photo Diary section of the web site (see the link in the list on the right) is now nearly up to date, and I hope to keep it that way!

I’ve been a Lightroom user since the first public beta, which was originally Mac only. It certainly does not change the original RAW image, but I think that in some respects the description of it as a non-destructive image editor is misleading. True, the original image is unchanged, BUT all the subsequent changes take place in a linear fashion – you can go back to previous stages of the edit, but ALL the subsequent edits are lost. Layers in Photoshop allow you to remove LAYER edits without affecting other layers (though if you are not careful, PS will sometimes apply destructive edits). Apple’s Aperture (now discontinued, but on sale before LR, and arguably it provoked Adobe to release something that might never otherwise have been launched) did allow really non-destructive edits, and used ‘layers’ (blocks/bricks as I recall?) to modify a RAW image, so that if there was one stage of your edit you wanted to delete or modify, without affecting other later edits, you could do this just by removing the ‘offending’ block/brick. Capture One seems to allow this too. Personally I really value the ability to remove or edit a previous edit without removing other edits that have been done later chronologically, and much as I have used LR, and like its image management facilities, I’m less a bit less than happy with how it handles image manipulation.  I don’t expect any change in this respect to LR, as it would be a ***HUGE*** change in the organisation/structure/operation of the program.


About Mike Hessey

I'm a BOF (Boring Old Fellow) and MOS (Miserable Old Soul) whose main interests are photography, cycling, walking and computers. Regrettably recent problems with my legs, back and heart have reduced the cycling and walking.
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