Author: Richard Earney
Publisher Focal Press (Elsevier)
Review by Conrad J. Obregon
With the introduction of Lightroom 2 (LR2), the software has evolved into a mature tool with a number of adherents. Naturally, as users have become experienced in the use of the sliders and buttons, they are looking for ways to push the software further. “Inside Lightroom 2” is aimed at filling this need.
The book includes chapters on LR2 basics; a description of the ideal computer system on which to run LR2; the new features of LR2; file management; a Develop workflow; presets; and a listing of on-line resources.
The contents seem to offer great possibilities; unfortunately the execution fails to satisfy. Consider the chapter on the ideal computer. The author essentially says buy the most memory and the fastest processor you can get. As my daughter might say, “Duh”!
The chapter on the new features sounds exactly like something I’ve been asking for: a LR2 book similar to the “Up to Speed” books by Ben Willmore about Photoshop, that just describe the new features of a piece of software. Unfortunately, the explanation of the features is cursory. For example in the discussion of local adjustment tools, there is not even a mention of the control points that are an essential part of these tools.
The discussion of presets contained interesting information, even though much of it will be of use to only a very few users. For example Earney describes how to open up a preset file and edit it in a text editor. He also tells how to compensate for the Tone Curve panel’s lack of a method of adjusting a picture by using a point curve instead of a parametric curve. He says to open a picture in Photoshop’s Camera Raw, create a point curve, save it as an ACR preset, and then open it as a preset point curve in LR2. One problem is that this preset curve may only fit the picture for which it was created. Moreover if your picture requires a point curve, why not just process it completely in Camera Raw, especially now that Camera Raw includes most of LR2’s Develop Tools.
Added to all of this, the number of typos and the poor grammar of the book made me want to just put the book aside.
If you are a new LR2 user, read Scott Kelby’s “The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2 Book for Digital Photographers”. More advanced users may want to look at Rob Shepard’s “Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2 for Digital Photographers Only” to see a little about applying LR2 to achieve more artistic images. Users interested in improving their LR2 workflow might want to look at Jerry Courvoisier’s “Lessons in DSLR Workflow with Lightroom and Photoshop”. Only when you’ve exhausted all other resources for LR2 do you want to consider this book.
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