Let me count the ways...
Okay, maybe just one way. For now.
Here's a screenshot of the final photo I needed to upload for Brynn's class page in her school yearbook. I was assigned the job because Laura is in charge of the yearbook. Having friends in high places is not always beneficial. At this point I'm thinking that working on the yearbook is not a good idea for a mom who is a perfectionist when it comes to photos and layouts and stuff like that. Because it takes forever to gather the photos, edit them all, figure out how to lay them all out, re-edit them because you realize that somebody's head is getting cut off in nearly every photo. Of course, if you're like me, you can celebrate because at least you got the color and contrast and saturation right during the first edit...because you're using Adobe Lightroom! My favorite photo editor! I still love iPhoto because it's easy to use and does everything an amateur really NEEDS, but Lightroom does everything a perfectionist WANTS (as long as you don't need layers...then you should empty your bank account and move on to Photoshop).
So, the before and after photo of one of Brynn's classmates, pictured above, took me like three minutes to edit. Admitedly, the photo is still not perfect and the edit could be done better and faster, but I'm still a Lightroom newbie. The photo was originally taken on the school's little automatic camera which, I'm certain, has a white balance setting to compensate for those dreaded fluorescent lights, but I'm also certain that none of the school staff nor the moms who use the camera think about changing the white balance setting on the camera. So every photo taken inside the school looks like it was taken in Mexico City on a Spare the Air day. Hazy and brown -- capable of choking you with just a passing glance. Luckily, with a few quick adjustments in Lightroom, photos like that go from icky to passable, sometimes better than passable.
Here's possibly the best thing about Lightroom. If you qualify for an education discount (you're a student, you're a teacher, you're on a school's staff, you have a neighbor, child, spouse, niece or other relative who is a student and wants to "buy you a gift") you can go to Adobe's education website and buy Lightroom for only $99 plus shipping. Full retail price is $299. WOW!
Totally worth it...in my (always) humble opinion.