Video: Top 5 New Features In Lightroom 5

Adobe announced the release of their beta version of the new Lightroom 5 today and with it I dove in and quickly discovered my five favorite new features. A few of these are true game changers in how we edit our photos and will in the end save us as photographers quite a bit of time while using the innovative software. Read on to see some examples of the features and what my first impressions are on the new Lightroom 5.

I have a feeling the biggest question most users will have about the new Lightroom 5 will be the responsiveness of the sliders. While I haven't set up any comprehensive tests to check the speed, I will say that my first impression has been a good one. The sliders do seem to be more responsive on my computer as I have been editing photos with it. Over the next few weeks and months we'll continue to play with it and report back any additional findings. After installing the new beta I did also want to report that all my presets transferred over without any issues at all.

Radial Filter
After importing some photos, the first thing I noticed in the new Lightroom 5 was the addition of the Radial Filter. This filter can be used to create a custom vignette anywhere in your picture thereby drawing your viewers attention to certain areas of the picture. It is a powerful and easy to use feature, one that I can definitely see myself using a lot. Previously I was doing this with the Graduated Filter but doing it all with the Radial Filter is even easier.

Here are some photos of before and after using the Radial Filter.
Trevor Dayley Photography  (
Trevor Dayley Photography  (


Custom Healing Brush Shapes
Another new feature that I just know is going to be popular with Lightroom enthusiasts is the new healing brush. Previously we were limited to spots and anything beyond that had to be brought into Photoshop. But in the new Lightroom 5 they have made it so you can now click and paint in the area you would like to heal and Lightroom will then for an area to replace the shape with. This is very powerful on erasing wrinkle lines or objects in your photos that don't necessarily work with the previous circle only tool. Definite time saver keeping you from having to take the picture over into Photoshop to make those edits. Notice in the picture above how I painted a portion using the new healing brush tool to remove a flyaway hair.


Visualize Spot Setting
In addition to the new healing brush they also added a Visualize Spot tool. This is extremely effective in finding dust in your photos that you need to take care of. Now just turn on the Visualize Spot tool and your picture will make it easy to see those dust spots. In the picture below you will see one in the left corner (white mark in the black sky). Once you see the dust marks and have taken care of them just turn off the Visualize Spot tool and continue making your edits.


Upright Tool
Another great new feature in Lightroom 5 is the Upright Tool. It is found under the Lens Correction dialog box. It is very effective in straightening horizons and fixing tilt or askew in pictures. This would especially be loved by photographers shooting architecture. While much of the changes could be done in the previous version of Lightroom, what is nice about this new Upright tool is that it will analyze your picture and make the changes for you automatically.

Smart Previews
Last but definitely not least, another powerful new feature of Lightroom 5 is the addition of the Smart Previews. Using this allows you to create previews of your images that you can then take with you on the road or edit from a different computer. Then once you have made those edits all you need to do is re-sync them wish your previous high resolution photos and all the changes will be made to them in your Lightroom catalog. I can see this being an extremely useful feature if you have someone editing photos for you offsite. Now instead of having to send them the high resolution images you can send them the smart previews. I will do some testing with this over the next few days and share what I discover.

Over the next few months I am sure we will continue to learn about new features and upgrades in the new Lightroom 5. I am excited about what I have found so far and have been impressed with the performance of the software. I look forward to discovering even more over the next few weeks as I implement it into my regular flow of editing. If you haven't yet, watch the video above to see a 5 minute overview of these top 5 favorite new features. I break it down pretty easily so you will be on your way to using them immediately after installing the new beta. Enjoy!

To find out more detailed information about the new Adobe Lightroom 5 Beta Release check out the Fstoppers announcement story here. If you are ready to download and try it out for yourself you can find the download links here on the Adobe beta release site.

Trevor Dayley's picture

Trevor Dayley ( was named as one of the Top 100 Wedding Photographers in the US in 2014 by Brandsmash. His award-winning wedding photos have been published in numerous places including Grace Ormonde. He and his wife have been married for 15 years and together they have six kids.

Log in or register to post comments

That Upright tool will be worth the cost of upgrading for me. I can't stand trying to straighten everything by hand. Thank you Adobe!

Too bad it doesn't quite work. I tried it on a few images that should have been pretty easy, and it failed in 2 of the 3 times I tried it. I would love it if they got this to work but it isn't ready yet.

Hopefully in the final release the tool will be more optimized, this is only the Beta 1 version after all.

i've ran 60 images through LR5 today every one needs to have straightened walls/exteriors. The Upright tool doesnt really work, what it does do is straighten the image so when you manually correct it everything lines up..... but you still have to manually do it. Meh.

Just make it as fast as Lightroom 3 was... hate editing in LR4 because of lag.

Couldn't agree more.


This is why I downgraded to LR3. I wasted way too much time in LR4 waiting for previews to load.

F you, Adobe.

Running LR4.4 on my Windows 7 desk top, it's nice and fast. Preview images don't take but a second to load. It's actually quite nice. Can't wait for the new LR5. I don't like beta's so I'll be waiting for the actual product. Loving all the new features. Adobe is making LR an independent program, almost to the point where I won't need PS anymore. I'll still keep it but I the less I have to move from one program to another the better. Thanks Adobe.


Agree - making it faster should be no 1 priority. Adding new tools is likely to make it even slower :(

My Lightroom 4.4 runs like a dog now. I agree with you.

These are awesome Trevor! Thanks for sharing!!

I just got LR4 like 2 weeks ago and im a bit upset that this is now out but the update seems to be good especially the custom healing brush and the radial filter. Might have to upgrade ones its out.

And Aperture gets left even further behind. What is wrong with Apple? The seem to be asleep!

Anything pro (Final Cut, Mac Pro, Aperture, etc) and Apple doesn't give a crap anymore!

Disagree the newest final cut pro in a few years will be thought of as revolutionary for its time...

And users like me (and you?) are getting more and more frustrated with the lack of support and interest being shown by Apple. All they are interested in is iPads and iPhones. Time to switch I think..

They're just targeting the consumer market now.

fyi i tried for several hours to dl the beta but i kept getting an error (thought maybe the servers were overloaded). Decided to load up IE instead of chrome like i usually use and it came right up....

No new raw converter?

I would like native raw support inside photoshop and everything under the develop tab from lightroom as adjustment layers. Don't like the idea that lr is becoming more and more of a retouching tool.

PNG support! W0ot!

Lightroom now has PNG Support? O_o then this is worth upgrading to :D

Upright Tool: sounds dirty, but it's not!

Can I still use all of my LR4 presets?

Derrick all my LR4 presets transferred over automatically. They were there waiting when I opened up the Develop module.

And Capture One 7? Someone use it or had try it?

Will Lightroom 5 be done as an update or a whole new package to buy? Could there be concessions to upgrade if you have Lightroom already.
Thanks, AndyD

I updated my Lightroom 4 to 4.4 and sometimes it takes forever to open up or it will not open up at all and will crash my Mac Tower. When Lightroom does open it runs very very slow even though my computer has upgrade ram, memory, hard drive & graphics card. You name it. I called Adobe last week and they said they know of the problems have have known issues with 4.4. I have a case open and it was suppose to be escalated and they never called me back. So you could say I am not happy.

I also read the Lightroom 5 will not operated on any Mac 10.6 software. I run 10.6.8 so if I were to download Lightroom 5 I would have to upgrade my Mac running software which runs perfect right now except for Lightroom 4.4. I don't think Adobe listens to their customers. What is important for us especially when we have to edit a large number of files is we want Lightroom to run faster not slower. Skip the extra tools in need be. We can do the extra work in Photoshop if needed.

Great post. You have a tiny typo. Under Smart Preview you wrote "wish" instead of "with" in the third sentence. :)