I first played with Lightroom during the free public beta of Lightroom 4; I didn’t see why I needed it at the time. When I was handed Lightroom 5 (along with the rest of Adobe CC) for free last September at Photoshop World I decided to give it more serious try.
I am now a Lightroom believer…Part of what has made me a Lightroom believer is a book I received to review from the publisher, Wiley. When I had my initial play with Lightroom several years ago, I thought “Okay, a prettier version of Adobe Camera Raw and a database that indexes your photos.” Since I’m a pretty organized and technical person, I’ve set up a logical file system for my photos and I didn’t see a need for Lightroom. I could usually find a photo I was thinking of in under a minute. One of the big advantages of Lightroom I failed to appreciate was all the custom presets and batch processing capabilities. The book Photoshop Lightroom 5 – Streamlining Your Digital Photography Process by Rob Sylvan & Nat Coalson has enlightened me to those capabilities.
When I first received the book from Wiley, I took it out of the packaging my first thought was “Wow, this book is substantial!” It is 489 pages including the index and is organized by Lightroom module (i.e. Import, Library, Develop). The book was originally written by Nat Coalson for Lightroom 2, who updated it through Lightroom 4. Rob Sylvan, a photographer I’ve known through his work with NAPP and iStockphoto.com, has updated the book for Lightroom 5. For me any book remotely related to photography has to have good photographs and graphics. After all the photographers are visual people. Photoshop Lightroom 5 – Streamlining Your Digital Photography Process does not disappoint in that regard. The cover and many of the chapter title page images come from Rob’s Stocksy portfolio. But the book isn’t all pretty pictures, there are lots of screen shots to help guide you and every screen shot is also available for download on the Lightroomers.com website if you need a better look.
Everyone learns a software program differently. I tend to be a “just jump in and play with it type.” The problem with learning by discovery is that you often don’t discover everything the program can do for you. As I go through this book, I have discovered many options that I didn’t realize existed. There is a tremendous amount of detail about each window and checkbox. And sometimes it is just nice to have a book next to your computer to refer back to. Rob shares some of his best practices thoughts which is always helpful with a program such as Photoshop or Lightroom where there are so many ways to get the job done. Now that I am settling in to using Lightroom, I can see that by batch processing a set of images and using my own LR presets, my processing has become quicker and more consistent. If you are like me, just learning the intricatcies of Lightroom 5, I think you would find Photoshop Lightroom 5 – Streamlining Your Digital Photography Process a helpful companion.