Somewhere in one of the “Lightroom 2 Is Out” articles I saw a list of 5 features someone would most like to see in Lightroom 3, and so got thinking about the next 5 steps I would want. In my view, Develop now needs incremental progress rather than a bunch of new features as big as the local adjustment brush and the graduated filter. Its main needs are now for deepening the program’s ability to manage your pictures, and for richer output possibilities. So on that basis, this is what I’d like in 3.0:

  1. Books – for now, just match Aperture for “good enough” functionality
  2. Manage in Library any file type including CMYK, sound, Word etc, allowing assignment of keywords and other metadata, exporting copies and file movements, but no processing
  3. Let Smart Collections target all the metadata in the catalogue including individual Develop values
  4. Backup data validation – hard disks often show signs of going bad, DNGs have hashes, backups need reconnecting with catalogues based on GUIDs and not on mere filenames, let along someone writing SQL
  5. Make soft proofing something people don’t need to worry about. Maybe I’m a dreamer but I’m not actually proposing Soft Proofing. I’m pretty convinced that fewer photographers use it in Photoshop than some like to think. What’s more, it obscures that most LR users don’t actually want Soft Proofing as such – they just their prints to come out as they look on screen. Hiding complexity is supposed to be the Lightroom design, and Soft Proofing if it ever comes has got to be no more scary, and as routinely used, as “Print Preview”.