Adobe has finally released the first upgrade package for Photoshop Lightroom, which brings us to version 1.1. I say “finally” because this upgrade introduces at least one feature that we hoped against hope would be in the first release, the ability to merge libraries, among other enhancements.
First, if you have Lightroom and it hasn't already popped up and told you to download the upgrade, you should seriously click over there and do that.
When I went out to Yosemite National Park and Santa Cruz, I brought my laptop with Lightroom on it. Because my home Lightroom library (now called a catalog in v1.1 and also in the rest of this post) is tied to photos saved in certain places on my home network and also because it's gigantic, I started a fresh new catalog on my laptop. It was great to be able to use Lightroom to import the RAW files, do some work on them, see which ones were going to work out, even edit a few to completion while on the road.
However, upon returning home, I had two Lightroom catalogs. Lightroom has always supported switching between catalogs, which is nice, but never merging them. That feature was supposed to have been in the 1.0 release, but the developers decided it wasn't up to snuff, so they nixed it until it was more fleshed out. I was very excited to see the new options available in version 1.1 for importing photos from one catalog into another, satisfying my every desire. Last night I imported all of my Yosemite and Santa Cruz photos into my primary catalog, which took a good ten minutes to process on my older G4, but I now have a nice, solid, unified catalog.
As a workflow tool, it's excellent to be able to create a new catalog on, say, your laptop, take it where you're going, do what you need to do, and then be able to merge that into your home catalog when you return. Did I mention that the “import from another catalog” feature imports only the photos you select and puts them where you want them (or leaves them where they are), just like importing from anywhere else? They thought of everything.
There are a variety of other new features, including a really slick “spray can” tool (replacing the rubber stamp) within the Library module that allows you to “spray” photos with keywords, ratings, flags, labels, develop presets, metadata presets, or rotations. As soon as I saw it I actually giggled a little bit. Out loud. I'm a huge nerd.
To see what else is new and review known issues, read the Lightroom 1.1 release notes (pdf).