For those of us, including myself, who are major Lightroom fanatics, it’s easy to think that it’s everyone’s holy grail. I was recently lucky enough to be included in an email conversation between to very professional photographer friends and ASMP members, Larry Angier and Jan Pehrson. The conclusion I came to after reading this is that it’s always wise to consider all the tools when we’re trying to make our workflows as efficient as possible.
The following are all the quotes from Larry’s emails to Jan after she had written him that she was thinking of switching over to Lightroom:
“Though I have been using Lightroom since the public beta in late 2005, I still use Photo Mechanic and probably won’t replace it with Lightroom any time soon.
Lightroom is a great program in many ways, especially to create web galleries and proof sheets. However, it is just too slow for adding IPTC data, renaming, sorting, ingesting, initial editing, etc. Part of the slowness is that it renders the raw data on each image and wasn’t designed for massive amounts of images like Photo Mechanic.
On my trip, I was shooting anywhere from 300-700 images each day and had to edit, keyword, caption, boiler-plate my contact info, organize and back-up. Lightroom is just too slow for me compared to Photo Mechanic.
If you can deal with the slower metadata entry, rendering the raw files with the XMP settings, etc., then go with Lightroom. I’m still sticking with PM and using Lightroom for proofs and web, it’s stronger points. Maybe if I spent more time fooling with Lightroom on newer machines, but I still like the features and speed of Photomechanic on my Powerbook G4 and Dual G5 for now.
Lightroom seems to still be a work in progress for now.
If Lightroom works for you and you are happy with the speed and features, by all means migrate and enjoy!
Though there is a lot to like about Lightroom, and there are great features that I like a use, I’m still pretty well entrenched with Photo Mechanic. Part of this has to do with speed; part to the instant access and quick response by Kirk and others there with my questions.
Part of this has to do with their legacy in digital workflow from the beginning; part is that they are a small company with a focused product and part is their very liberal update policy.
Photo Mechanic also has direct hooks into Digital RaiLightroomoad and direct FTP and can generate a simple web gallery (with attached keywords and boilerplate still embedded in the image) much faster than Lightroom.
Lightroom takes the cake in customization of the web galleries and raw editing though. I haven’t checked recently on my Lightroom galleries to see if the metadata is still stripped out when the gallery is generated like it used to do.
IMO, Photo Mechanic takes digital from being a drudge to making it useable.
To me, Lightroom has the advantage of ACR for image processing at the expense of being simple and fast. Photo Mechanic is the simple and fast program that I need for all the front-end of my digital image workflow.”
One of the differences between my workflow and that of Larry and Jan is that they both shoot a lot of sports and other high-volume jobs. I shoot a lot of portraits, fashion, nature, and travel. So I’m much more concerned with detail and quality than with image management. I think we all have to keep in mind that one man’s poison is another man’s potion.