I recently purchased Adobe Light room CS3 because I am an avid photographer, and I needed an application which can help improve some of my best shots so that I can sell them on Picture sharing sites. I've used Picasa and I really didn't get any decent results, I figured I would get better results with $299 dollar software then using a free application. I've never used Adobe Light room in the past but I have used Photoshop and fireworks, both of which helped me design some beautiful projects. I love Photoshop but I really don't think it is suited to Photography, I think Photoshop is better for designing website templates and logos.
Installing Light room was very easy; the requirements are bare minimum for most computer users. You will need to have a Pentium 4 processor with at least 512MB of ram, I did manage to get this to run on a Celeron with 256MB of ram but it was very slow. You also need a DVD drive because Light room is only packaged on DVD, unless you can have someone burn it to a CD-R, which is easy to do because Light room is 300MB. After I finished installing Light room there was a fairly easy learning curve, the user interface is very intuitive and I managed to find my way around quickly.
Basically this has all the common features like red eye reduction and contrast correction; I actually made some of my pictures look pretty good using this feature. Light room gives you the option to enhance brightness and darkness, which means if you take a picture in daylight that, is pretty bad you can actually end up making it look decent. The layout is pretty easy to understand, your picture is displayed on the far right, and most of the settings are displayed on the right. The color of the Light room interface is dark black which makes it really feel like a real Light room, however this is very difficult to see if you have a CRT monitor and you are trying to work in the daytime with the windows open.
One of my major complaints with Light room is the black text; this makes it almost impossible to read what you are doing, much less the proper effects for your image. Once you make it around this learning curve, possibly by adjusting your monitor brightness, Light room is pretty effective. I've been using Light room for almost a month now and I have had nothing but positive reviews about my images, if you are passionate about photography then editing your photos in Light room will garner many positive comments.
I know that most of my images would not be as stunning as they are using Light room; this makes it a great tool. I'm usually not all that thrilled with photo editing software but I love this piece. Basically if you want a great Photo editing suite and you don't want to fool with the free products then Light room is perfect, however if you are not a serious photographer and you need to do touch up work I would just recommend Picasa.