Author: Scott Kelby
Publisher: New Riders
Review by Conrad J. Obregon
Don’t blame Scott Kelby if his Lightroom (LR) instruction books keep getting larger. Blame Adobe for adding more and more capabilities to this piece of software. But at least the software hasn’t yet become bloatware. And the new capabilities really do add something to the digital photographers ability to more easily create art. Unfortunately, the on-line help only works when you already have some idea of the function for which you are looking, so its not useful for learning LR.
The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 Book for Digital Photographers (Voices That Matter) more or less follows the same format as earlier versions. There are chapters on importing images; using the library module to organize images and customize what you see; editing your images with both global and local adjustments; fixing common problems; exporting the images from LR; moving them into Photoshop; editing black and white images; creating slideshows; printing; creating web galleries; and a case study on portrait workflow. New is Kelbys 7 point system for LR, and gone is the case study on travel photography. Pages usually start out with a definition of the task, like Creating and Using Multiple Catalogs with step-by step instructions down the outside of the page and screen captures of the related LR window closest to the fold. (Sometimes the screen saves are unavoidably small for people with poor vision, so you might want to keep a magnifying glass handy for detailed examination.) At the end of each chapter are a number of quick tips that will help the user squeeze the most from LRs capabilities. One other change is a further reduction in Kelbys sophomoric humor which some readers will probably find a relief.
The instructions are easy to follow and are ideal for someone just learning LR. The more experienced user, reading page by page, is bound to get bored reading about techniques that haven’t changed. It would have been convenient if a page, listing the instructions for new features only, had been included for those folks. Better yet, since LR has become a mature piece of software with many users, it might be time for the publisher to put out something like the old Up to Speed books that only showed the changes in Photoshop. (Given that there is no Up to Speed book for Photoshop CS5, this kind of help doesn’t appear to be in the cards. The publisher will certainly lose part of the business to on-line videos.)
LR now offers so many capabilities that it is not a surprise to see that some are not even mentioned, like the ability to prepare an entire keyword list in a word processor and import it (although to be fair, the inference of this possibility can be derived from the material).
One should also note that that although the use of all of the sliders and buttons is well explained, there is little that talks about how to apply the capabilities to create more artful images. For that, I recommend another book from the same publisher, Vision and Voices: Refining Your Vision in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom by David duChemin.
This is an excellent book to learn LR and to keep next to your computer as a reference.
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