LR3 and Vision & Voice.

In Lightroom & Workflow, News & Stuff, Photographs & Photoshopping, Resources, Vision & Voice, Workflow & Technical Issues by David29 Comments

Last night, under cover of darkness, Adobe rolled out Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3. And there was much rejoicing. It was fun to watch people quietly realize it had been released, order it and begin to play with the new features. For the first time in my life I was on the inside of a secret little club, complete with NDAs and letters from lawyers and stuff, so that meant I could finally start talking about it. Phew. I hate keeping secrets.

I’ve been living with Lr3 in its various incarnations for months now because Vision & Voice, Refining Your Vision in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, the third in the vision trilogy, is based on Lr3. So now is a good time to tell you what Vision & Voice is and is not and how it fits into your learning curve for Lr3.

First, Lr3 isn’t – on the outside – vastly different from Lr2. If you know and love Lr2, Lr3 will be an easy upgrade for you. That doesn’t mean it isn’t better. It is. It’s faster and leaner and the image quality, especially with noise, seems noticeably better to me. Most of the tools are the same, though the Post Crop Vignetting has been ratcheted up a couple notches, there’s Grain, and the new ability to remove lens distortion is going to rock people’s worlds too. Import is noticeably different as well.

So, is Vision & Voice the book you want to learn Lightroom 3?

Well, it is and it isn’t. Vision & Voice was written with Lightroom 3 in mind. The screenshots are all from Lightroom 3. But the purpose of the book was not to completely unpack the software for you. In fact I never once leave the Develop module. So Importing, doing slideshows, printing, and making fancy web galleries – you’re on your own and there are bound to be great books out there that teach you those things better than I could. Vision & Voice was written to discuss the aesthetics possible with Lightroom, to help you find a process that works for you but that begins with discovering and articulating your vision for the image and then using the best tools to get there in your workflow. I call it Vision-Driven Workflow. It’s not a system, just an adaptable process to refine your vision in Lightroom.

Will Vision & Voice work for Photoshop, ACR, or Aperture 3 users?

Well, I’ve never used Aperture 3 but like Nikon and Canon cameras have some differences but are essentially just cameras, so too I think are the leading post-processing programs. Basically it comes down to what they call the slider and how you accomplish one change or another, but if you are willing to do a little translation work in your brain, the principles I explore in the book are absolutely transferable. There’s a large-ish chapter in the middle about the specific tools in Lightroom 3 itself, but again I think you can read that with your preferred software open in front of you and get some good learnin’ in.

What about LR2? Surely you aren’t abandoning the Luddites?

Lr3 and Lr2 aren’t profoundly different in the way you do 98% of your development, and this book is all about development. Don’t sweat it. If you use Lr2 you’ll feel right at home with this book.

But I don’t need all this vision-stuff, I just wanna make my pictures look better, man.

This is where I began with this book. So many of us seem to approach our post-processing with the “just make it look better, man!” mentality. I pushed back and said, until we define what “better” means, I can’t help you and you can’t help you. You have to know what your own intent for the image is before you start heading in that direction. So I discuss that. And then we look at 20 of my own images, work through them together from beginning to end. I’ve provided 20 DNG files that you can download when you get the book and work alongside me from beginning to end.

Will we learn really fancy Dave-Hill techniques and Recipes for Awesomeness and the latest Un-Suck Filters?

No you won’t. Shame on you for asking.

When does the book come out?

It went to press last Friday. Should be in my hands by end of the month or the first few days of July. Then it’ll begin shipping from various retailers. Folks who pre-order through Peachpit’s website will get theirs first. Amazon orders will arrive after that.

What if I want to learn Lightroom 3 right now?

Well, my first stop is always the NAPP and that’s where I’ll send you. No doubt the blogosphere is about to explode with posts about new features and they’ll be great, but my go-to place for learning is Kelby and the gang. Go to the NAPP Lightroom Learning Center.


  1. Hi David
    Is it worth Upgrading from LR2 to LR3? I’ve had LR2 for about 6 months and really love it.


  2. Author

    MartyS – I think only you can answer that. Best way to know for sure is download the demo and try it for 30 days. I would say it is, but I’m a working photographer and the little things like better noise reduction, the lens distortion corrections, and a stack of great new presets make the $99 upgrade worth it for me. Download the demo and if the new bells and whistles and under-the-hood improvements don’t do it for you, just keep on using LR2 for a while.

  3. I’m really excited about your new book, even more than the release of LR3 which offers some interesting new features or even improved features. I already pre-ordered the book at

  4. Perfect timing – with the official Adobe release of LR3 this will be a great companion. And to answer MartyS – Yes – it’s worth upgrading. I used LR2 for a few months then downloaded the LR3 beta. If anything, the noise reduction feature alone is worth it.

  5. Hi Tyler/David

    Excuse my ignorance – but when talking about noise reduction – is that not best used when using high ISO’s? I shoot landscapes usually with an ISO 100/200 on the Nikon D300…

    Would noise reduction be useful in this cases?

    Another thing, if I upgrade to use trial LR3 – would I need to import my LR2 libraries? Would I still be able to go back my existing LR2 after LR3 expires – should I not upgrade?


  6. Hey Dave I’ve been reading your site for a long time and am finally looking forward to my photos not sucking anymore – I’ve got all that other shiznit down, but the processing is key. Please release your “add heavy vignette” LR preset so I can import it. 😉

  7. Hi Marty – you’re righting thinking you probably aren’t the guy who most needs the improved noise reduction, but i was amazed at how much better some of my previous images became even when i thought they were good to begin with. As for the library/catalogue issue – i would just create a whole new catalogue of maybe 100 images just to play with. I get nervous about this stuff.

  8. The lens correction alone is worth the price of admission. I’ve been using it in PS5 while waiting for LR3 and it rocks. You’ll see lens flaws dissappear, even ones you weren’t aware of.

  9. I swear every question asked so far was one I was thinking! 🙂

    Very excited for V&V, David! Great idea to DL the demo and play with it for a month or so.

    Also, I’m excited to see that Craft & Vision is working on more e-books. Keep em coming! 🙂

  10. Hi David

    I can’t wait to read your new book. ‘Within the Frame’ and ‘Visionmongers’ both were incredible books! They gave a new insight in different aspects of photography.
    I’m sure Vision and Voice will do the same thing!
    I do use Aperture 3 (and I love it!). But since I switched from Lightroom to Aperture only a few months back I don’t think I will have any difficulties translating it to Aperturish.

  11. … and all this time I was afraid your book would be out-of-date by the time it hit the shelves. Silly me! I can’t wait to get Vision and Voice.

    You should do a book signing and photowalk tour! OK, I know that would be a lot of work, so maybe the idea isn’t a thrilling one. 😉 I’d love to get my copies of your books autographed, and any excuse to shoot with you works for me.

    Keep up the great work!

  12. Looks like the anticipated date of shipping from is July 26th. Looks like I’ll be adding this to my cart 🙂

  13. I turned some students on to LR3 during a recent workshop and it was so cool to see it revolutionize their worlds, like it did mine back with LR1 a few years back! Love LR and can’t say enough good things. Look forward to learning more about it from this resource.

  14. MartyS: Yes, like David said – the noise reduction is fantastic in LR3 and well worth a try in some of the darker areas if your landscape work. I do *some* landscape/nature work and even at a low ISO, LR3 can improve some of the ares of my images. It can’t hurt to DL the demo and try it out – you might be pleasantly surprised.

    Hey David – any plans on adding threaded comments (like Disqus) anytime soon?

  15. thanks for the article. so excited to get the production version. been using the betas along the way and really like it so far. excited to upgrade.

  16. Dave, I ordered the book as soon as I saw it in Amazon. I guess my LR 2.7 will be LR 3.0 soon. Keep on with the good writings. Don’t stop at a trilogy.

    BTW: I bought a copy of VIsionMongers for my son who wants to be a singer/songwriter. I told him that your book is just what he needed to take the next step into the music business.

  17. Looking forward to getting this not only because it will coincide with LR3, but because I feel like I am in a rut with respect to using LR. I’m sure David will provide some fresh ideas on it’s use. And I agree with the note above, don’t stop writing books!

  18. Hey David, is this being released electronically as well? (seems like a silly question these days)

  19. On the question about LR2 catalogs vs. LR3 catalogs: I have been using LR since the first release and upgraded each time (always worth it). I also tried the LR3 beta for a while and also found the noise reduction to be outstanding (my alternative was to edit photo in Nikon NX2 for the selective noise reduction feature and then return to LR). The biggest problem I had with LR3 beta was the lack of backward compatibility with LR2 catalogs. Have to start from scratch as far as I know. David’s suggestion to try LR3 with a 100 or so images is the right way to go. I plan to upgrade now that LR3 is released. Does anyone know if the release includes tethering for Nikon D200’s?

  20. Ah… So here we have it. Lightroom 3 is the last piece of gear you bought that improved your photography, eh, David? 🙂

  21. Mike Cirella – I was wondering the same thing about tethered shooting with a D200 in LR3, and learned that it IS indeed supported on the Mac… but NOT on Windows. So I guess it’s ‘Woo Hoo!’ or ‘Sorry dude!’ depending on which side of that fence you happen to live on.

  22. Well I guess it’s time to switch to MAC (at least for my laptop)!

    Back to the catalog compatibility question: I just purchased LR3 upgrade and find that all my LR2 catalogs work (after automatic ‘upgrade’ by LR3 when I first loaded it). You are offered an option to upgrade existing ‘compatible’ LR2 catalogs auto-detected by LR3 or to create a new LR3 catalog. I guess the compatibility issue I raised in previous post was only for the beta version.

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  26. Just got Vision and Voice and I must say it is the best LR book I have read.
    Most books just explain how to use the tools but this book is so much better as it is providing real examples (and fine photographs they are..inspiring stuff) with the settings that have been used to turn them into masterpieces.
    Brilliant stuff.
    I have been using LR3 to catalog and quickly edit photos with presets and then been using CS5 to edit. Obviously I have not been using LR3 to it’s full potential but will try to now with the help of this fantastic book.

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