Seems like our friends at macupdate and mupromo are doing photography applications every weekend lately – last week it was Lock and Load – this weekend it is LightZone – a great photo editor that helps re-light images quickly and easily. It does things in a completely different way than Photoshop. And, if you like doing High Dynamic Range images but don't have 3 or more to work with, LightZone has some good presets that come close – especially if you have the RAW file to work with.
Lightzone is an application that I use often and it is great for doing some edits that other tools like LightRoom and Aperture can't do easily.
Lightzone is a great tool for quick edits – I actually use it in many cases instead of photoshop. My main editor right now is actually Aperture – there are so many things you can do in Aperture without ever leaving. But when I do need to do a bit more, I actually rarely go to Photoshop, I go to lightzone. It is just so simple, yet does much of what I need to do (tho I don't care much for their cloning tool).
That's one thing I like about tools like Aperture and Lightzone – they're totally non-destructive for every edit (imagine using a layer in Photoshop for every little thing you do so that you could turn it off and on without impacting the other layers). It is brilliant to not worry about how your current edit will impact previous edits and if you decided that you erased too much 10 actions ago, you can still go back and remove just that edit.
Here's an 8 minute overview that I put together this morning to help you see what LightZone can do in a hurry.
If you're curious about LightZone, you should watch their tutuorials – they show some of the amazing ways that you can use LightZone to re-light and edit your photos. Tho, don't let their narration skills put you off – they're obviously not professional narrators, but watching the videos will give you a great idea of how easily you can improve your photos with LightZone. Especially helpful is tutorial 4 – showing you how their ‘zone mapper' can help you relight just certain ranges of light within your photos without impacting other tonal ranges. Pretty cool stuff.
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(Photo credit: snap from the LightZone tutorials)