Author: Martin Evening
Publisher: Adobe Press (Peachpit)
Review by Conrad J. Obregon
Adobe began shipping its new Lightroom 2.0 (LR2) software at the end of July. A week later this book was available. It made me think that Martin Evening is really a team of writers, each working on a chapter of this book, or even some smaller portion, and that the publisher, Peachpit, must have incurred huge overtime costs. (Actually, the software was available in beta form for a long time, and authors had final copies of the software before it was delivered to the public.) There are enough changes in version 2.0 that this early edition is welcome for people who want more details.
After an introduction to the software, Evening goes through each of the modules in LR2, explaining what the sliders, radio buttons and check boxes do, and occasionally discussing his preferences and techniques for using the software.
I suspect that with the large installed base of Lightroom, most of the people anxious for details will be using an upgrade, and might prefer a book equivalent to Ben Willmore’s “Adobe Photoshop CS3: Up to Speed” which just dealt with the new elements in an image processing software upgrade. On the other hand, there are a lot of new features in LR2, and the software is so integrated that it may be useful for experienced users to review all of the capabilities.
Even though it’s comprehensive, new users may be a bit overwhelmed by Evening’s work, especially since it often is far more detailed than a beginner needs. The discussion of sharpening and noise reduction may seem like a foreign language to someone who has never used Unsharp Mask. While past performance is no indication of future performance, newbies might do better to wait for something that will probably be more accessible, like Scott Kelby’s “The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2 Book for Digital Photographers” which is presently scheduled for a September release.
The book shows the pressure of early release with some typos and repetitions. On the other hand, Evening describes many of the features in more detail than the tutorials that are available on line.
I found it difficult to view the screen captures of the LR2 menus. This is no doubt due to the fact that LR2’s menus are in shades of gray that are highly visible on a monitor, but less so on a printed page. I for one would have no objections if publishers would increase the contrast so that seeing the menus would be easier.
This book is about the technical use of Lightroom. It doesn’t talk much about how the features can be used for more impressive pictures. For that, one should look at a few of Rob Sheppard’s books like “Adobe Photoshop Lightroom for Photographers Only” or even better “Outdoor Photographer Landscape and Nature Photography with Photoshop CS2” or (subject to the caveat about past performance) his upcoming “Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2.0 for Photographers Only”, presently scheduled for October release.
If you want to get your hands on a LR2 book right now, this is the only game in town. It’s dense, but comprehensive, and for the experienced user, will require some sorting out, but all the information one may need about LR2’s new features are included.