The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2 Book for Digital Photographers by Scott Kelby is too long a title for a book. But I will forgive Kelby for the title seeing as the book is such a great resource for Lightroom.
I had decided to give Lightroom 2 a trial 30 day workout. I figured that if I wanted to really get into the software, I should get a book so I didn’t get bogged down. I have a couple of other books by Scott, and figured that this one would be good too. I wasn’t disappointed. I like his writing style, and his “just explaining to my pal” way of telling you how to do things.
From my last post, you can tell that I really liked Lightroom 2. I wonder how much of that was from the book. I started by reading the book before I even imported some images. When I went to import, I knew exactly how I was going to set up my import, how I would apply some basic meta data on import, and most importantly, that I should go get a sandwich while the import process happened.
There is a lot of good info and tips in this book. Many books on how to use software are of the sort where they go through menu options, and buttons and tell you what they do. Not really that useful. But thankfully, this book is not like that. It is truly useful. For example, in the beginning chapters on importing, he covers the pro’s and cons of where you might store your photos, and how you might organize your folder structure. How to convert your RAW files to DNG seemed simple enough, and I decided to do that on import. I doubt I would have without the book. Now I get my metadata like keywords saved back into the DNG file without needing a sidecar file. I doubt I would have figured this out without the book. Explanations on creating metadata templates for copy write info, file name templates, practical info on what the initial preview setting actually does and how much time it adds to import if you pick 1:1 round out some of the other useful things I picked up.
Coming from Aperture, there are many things similar, but sometimes you make assumptions that can be frustrating if you don’t get some help. It was great to find out some of the things that Scott himself uses to make his workflow easier. I liked all the short cuts he gave, and how to switch between viewing modes, and especially how to use the lights out mode to see just your image. I still don’t use short cuts with Aperture. The way Lightroom stores images and how best to use collections and the way he sorts his images was all great info. I may not use or set up Lightroom exactly the same way, but hearing how someone else is using it is a great start instead of just clicking around hoping what you are doing is a good idea.
I think that if I was to go on about this book, it would end up being the same thing about every section. Scott tells you exactly how he uses Lightroom, some other possibilities, and shortcuts on how to do it. Everything is explained in a very simple manner as if he was standing over your shoulder telling you what to do. The images perfectly complement the text. There are just the right number of images that help you figure out what is going on. This just happens chapter after chapter. For example, I jumped ahead and tried to use the printing module in Lightroom without reading that part of the book. I figured some of the stuff out, but was getting confused about margins. After reading that chapter, it all makes sense. And he doesn’t just have a paragraph on how to set margins, he shows you how to create a couple of different print layouts, which shows you how to use almost all aspects of the tool with real examples. This is why this is a great¬† book.
If you plan on getting Lightroom, or even if you want to really get a good sense of the software during the 30 day trial, I definitely recommend this book. Get it before you download the trial or buy Lightroom and read the first few chapters. It will make your time with this tool much more useful and productive.