Back when I first started scanning in slide film into the computer workflow has been a challenge. Before the advent of quality digital cameras I would spend hours in Photoshop working on a single image just trying to remove the dust spots. Yes, it was a painful thing to do. After getting my first DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) not a lot changed. I would spend a little less time working on the images because there were no dust spot but still working in Photoshop alone took some time and took a good bit of program knowledge. Photoshop is still that way today though it is MUCH more powerful than when I started. Then Lightroom came along. I first learned about Lightroom 2 while attending a John Shaw Seminar and decided to give it a try. Wow, what a difference. I could make adjustments, create virtual copies of my images, print, create slide shows, create presets, export in various image formats, keyword, catalog and search for the images. It was a game changer for me. What used to take me 45min in Photoshop now took me about 45 seconds. Sure, some of the more powerful features of Photoshop kept me returning now and again. Specifically, it was the need for noise reduction and masking.
Now, we have Lightroom 3 and it is an incredible program. With the addition of amazing noise reduction I find myself in Photoshop far less than before. On average I do 95% (give or take) of my image editing in Lightroom 3. This program is not cheap with a price tag of 299.99 but it is worth every penny and if you happen to be going to school or are a teacher you can pick this up for $99.99 with the educational discount.
If there is one thing I can recommend above all others to improve your digital workflow it is Lightroom 3. If you are not using this program you are missing out on a lot of power and a lot of time saved.