NOTE: Info on Lightroom 3 Beta 2 is here.

Adobe has just released Lightroom 3 Beta! Now before you rush out and start downloading I’d like to give you my take on this beta release to help you get off on the right foot.

This is a Beta version, which means it is not the finished product. Beta software is usually stable, but not necessarily bug free. Before you import, please start out by creating a copy of a few folders of photos (already safely backed up) and treat these copies as expendable test files. I don’t expect anything bad to happen to them, but with Beta software there is no reason to take any chances. Think of the Beta release as a way to get a taste for what Adobe has in mind for Lightroom 3, give it a test drive and see what you think. They really want your feedback to incorporate into the final release.

What I’m Most Excited About So Far

  1. Improved rendering. The engineer-elves have added some new magic into LR3 to improve the rendering of our raw photos in regards to noise reduction and capture sharpening. Not finished yet (no Luminance noise reduction right now), but any effort to develop better looking photos gets my vote.
  2. Improved watermarking. OK this may seem like a small thing, but it has been on my list for a very long time. I’m working on a LR3 Beta Watermarking tutorial that should be posted this week. Stay tuned! I’m not quite ready to give up LRMogrify yet though!
  3. Custom Print Packages! Gone will be the days when I have to explain to people why they can’t print 3 different 4×6 photos on an 8.5×11 sheet of paper. Woot!

Custom Print Option

There is a lot more to love and a lot more to learn! I’ve got several LR3 Beta tutorials in the pipeline so stay tuned, but let me leave you with some valuable resources:

  1. Go to Lightroom Journal and read all about the Lightroom 3 Beta.
  2. Head over to Scott Kelby’s Blog and see what his top 10 list is all about.
  3. Visit the NAPP Lightroom 3 Beta Learning Center to dive into some tutorials.
  4. Check in with Lightroom plugin developer Jeffrey Friedl about using plugins with LR3 Beta.

OK, you are probably really itching to download the Beta … but please please please take a few minutes to read the Release Notes before you do. No, seriously, just give them a go over for known issues. I’m only trying to help!

OK, this Beta is free to everyone for the length of the Beta program so head over to Adobe Labs and take it for a spin. Check back here for more tutorials and resources in the coming days!

New! Updated tutorials for Lightroom 3 Beta: