CS5 is an improvement, not much, but important ones did make it in, such as Content Aware Fill ...
-EDIT and GRID modes are where you organize, tag, IPTC, ingest, etc.
-DEVELOP MODULE is where you do your real editing
-INSIDE the develop module, you will crop, correct, exposure, WB etc. All this can be done very rudimentary in the EDIT module, but you should do it in full control in the DEVELOP module.
-INSIDE DEVELOP, I start from the BOTTOM UP. Meaning I change profile first to my camera and preferred mode, then I do Lens Correction, then sharpening, then Curves, then Exposure/WB.
-I Output to PSCS5 for final crop to web and sharpen and cleaning, denoising etc. if needed.
-Learn the shortcuts!!!!!!!!! This is incredibly important to really see the quickness and power of great workflow
-The mouse can hover over the edges to show or hide elements. You can lock them open, closed or both... TOP/BOTTOM/LEFT/and /RIGHT can all be docked or hidden with hover to show.
-Using two monitors is essential ... don't despair if you don't have one.
But it may be better if you ask questions :-)
ALT-CLICK (Windows) on any of the Sharpen Module sliders will help you visualize what the control is doing in a MUCH MORE visual way than just eyeballing it.
ALT-CLICK the sliders for Exposure and Brightness to reveal clipping as you edit.
Toggle the corners of the Histogram to lock in White Clip and Black Clip. Hover over them to momentarily show the clipping
In the grid, select MULTIPLE tiles to edit metadata en-masse.
You can copy MetaData and/or Settings en masse from here as well. Select a source and then highlight your targets and select either right-click or via lower right hand buttons a sync of MetaData or Settings.
look for the LENS CORRECTION and CAMERA PROFILES
I found it refreshingly powerful for certain functions:
Once you do cropping in LR, you will never love the crop tool in Photoshop LOL. It seems backwards but man, it works great.
Also remember this: The ACR Module and LightRoom itself are one in the same set of DLLs (and whatever is called in OS-X) which means the XMP sidecar files are identical... one edit in ACR shows up in LR and vice versa.
How does the import / export process work? ... and what I'm sort of getting at is, when I'm editing in import I'm editing on the RAW...then I export the photo which converts it into a jpeg to use in photoshop??
--Get home, place CF cards on top of card reader with manufacturer label side up (I call it facing up)
--Fire up Lightroom if shut down. If it is running, I shut it down and do a DB consistency check and backup.
--Open the proper database and allow LR to open and settle.
--Hit "G" for GRID display mode.
--Quick glance at the left hand tab to see the condition of my connected external arrays. LR displays if they are ON-LINE or OFF-LINE. This saves me trying and failing :-) It also shows space free.
--Click File | Import Photos
This dialog comes up 9SHRUNK for display, I usually have it full screen)
--Here I select the CF reader and then LR will scan the WHOLE enchilada. It displays all files (and combines JPGs+RAWs intelligently) and lets you see the thumbnails or double click any image to view full size, zoom around. etc.
--Check and Uncheck the ones I want to import or not. I use a keyboard shortcut of SHIFT+X which unselects the image and advances to the next one. This is really fast way to cull pictures.
--Right side I pick WHERE I want to put them and either add a new directory right there or pick a preselected folder. I have a master UPPER LEVEL folder and name subfolders for each session being imported from the interface. I can also make a backup copy somewhere else if I choose.
--Hit IMPORT. This brings the selected images into LR and has Lightroom generate previews. Previews are important to speed up editing and also to allow you to do edits even if your pictures are OFF-LINE.
--Edit Edit Edit (JPGs are also editable) tweak tweak tweak.
--You have a choice to bring an image out to Photoshop and then bring it back to your library after photoshopping, or you can simply EXPORT the image outright. If you edit in PS it will launch the PS version of your choice (or the default) and let you do whatever. WHen you hit SAVE in PS it will then just automagically bring it back to Lightroom and properly add it to your library with a nice file name and group it with the original RAW file.
--In GRID mode I add keywords, Title and Caption ALL my photos. This helps later when searching. Use LOTS of keywords.
--I use TEMPLATES to automate most canned data like Title, Author, Copyright, Location, Website, E--mail, etc.
--You can make VIRTUAL COPIES of any image and make edits to it and have only ONE FILE on disk. I use that for different crops, different color balance, different rotation, etc. etc.
--You can output directly from Lightroom. But I find that since I use some filters in Photoshop, I usually am going out to PSCS.
In my own workflow, I edit a bunch of pictures and once done in LR, I export the whole batch as 16 bit TIFF and put them in a temp folder. Then I act on that folder from Photoshop using dropplets I have created or actions or macros or whatever. Typically the same thing getsdone to all images being exported to web ... for example, Resize, Sharpen, Border, Logo, Save For Web... yada yada.
I then DUMP the exports and the web files after they were uploaded.
--If you want to make life really easy, Lightroom now has Flickr and Smugmug and Facebook modules. You can SYNCHRONIZE DIRECTLY with those On Line sharing sites and literally keep both your local files and on-line files synced from within lightroom. It is incredibly powerful. More on that if needed :-) This means from LR, I select a bunch of files and upload them directly to my Smugmug account in the exact place I want them to be and with the proper settings for the album etc. Sorting, Style, Display mode, etc. etc.
Lots of things have already been said about Lightroom. I have used it from the day the first version came out and I hardly ever go back into Photoshop. Lightroom is so much more intuitive and focussed at photographers (rather than designers).
Have a look here for a great introduction into what you can do with Lightroom as an aviation photographer: Lightroom for Aviation Photographers. It definitely helped me reorganize my photo collection and the downloads section has some very handy stuff. I now organize my airliner photos by operator, aircraft type, registration, location and date with the help of keywords, smart collections and folders. Their book is worth purchasing!
Nice...the reason I ask is that LR isn't/wasn't great with sharpening (haven't tried it in LR3 yet). Originally, I created PS droplets to add watermarks and use Photoshop's USM automatically from LR, but I wanted more control, so now I just export out to PS and make manual adjustments there. I also have a bunch of actions in PS, depending on what I'm trying to do, to complete the processing.