I’ve been meaning to write a Lightroom Book 2 review ever since I got it my signed copy at Photoshop World. Yep, a signed copy! Boy, it’s tough to read through the book because I was extra careful with it. I can’t wait to get my other copy of the book so that I can just flip through it without much care. :)
It’s been almost a month now since I have the book (read it while I was on vacation), and I’ve been wondering how to best do a review of the book. So, here it goes – I’ll do it the same way that I read the book. I usually flip the pages to see what’s in there, and then go to my favorite areas and see what else is out there that I don’t know. That’s going to be the format of this review.
What caught my attention first was the layout and design of the book. It looks a lot like Lightroom. First time I saw it, I was like ‘this was very clever!’. It’s not just because it was patterned after Lightroom’s interface. It’s really because it helps you identify what areas of Lightroom are being discussed in the page/chapter you’re on. To the designer/layout artist – great job here!
Great photography. One of the things I usually look for when I read Scott’s book are his photographs. Why? Because it always helps to see great work so that you get inspired yourself. In the book, the screenshots of Lightroom includes Scott’s photographs from his trips and his shoots.
Quick Tips at the end of each chapter. This is great! You can learn a thing or two just by reading this alone.
And finally, the humor. Come on, don’t tell me you don’t look forward to Scott’s intros… :)
Getting Into The Details
After I scanned the book, I started to concentrate on the 2 big areas in Lightroom that I always use – the Library and the Develop Module. I have my own workflow and I was interested to find out if there are things that I can improve on. So, here are some of the things you’ll find out if you read the book:
- How to organize and store your photos. The big thing I saw here was that Scott discussed how to sync catalogs on 2 computers. This is a big thing because a lot of photographers travel and they take their laptops with them. Once they get back to their main machines, they have to make sure that their photos are in-sync with their main Lightroom Catalog.
- How to use Quick Collections – it’s not just about creating these collections. It’s about WHEN to do them.
- Customizations in the Library Module – I know some of these things (from the Lightroom 1 Book), but there are more tips here that are useful to your workflow.
- One Whole Chapter on Adjustment Brush – Probably THE most powerful tool in Lightroom, Scott devoted 1 chapter that talks about dodging and burning the right way and how to creatively use this brush too.
- How and When to Use Photoshop – This was probably the chapter that surprised me the most. With the addition of the Adjustment Brush in Lightroom, a lot of the Photoshop adjustments can be done non-destructively in here. What does this mean? Well, it will save you several megabytes of data because you no longer have to create a PSD file for the photo. So, what about Photoshop? Do we still need it? Well, if you’ve always asked that question, Scott provided a chapter called ‘How and When to Jump to Photoshop’. How aptly titled. :) This is the kind of chapter where you can hear a lightbulb turn on in your head after you read it.
Scott included 2 workflows in the book – ‘On Location Portrait’ and ‘Travel’ and an additional ‘Wedding Workflow’ available for download from the book’s site. These are the things that are crucial to a photographer because having an efficient workflow allows you to work faster. In these chapter, Scott walks you through the shoot (taking photos) and finishing them in Lightroom.
To those who own the book – make sure you download them. I know that the video now works because the team fixed it. It wasn’t working when I first tried it about 3 weeks ago (that’s how new the book was). :)
One of the things that I was really looking for was for Scott to cover the ‘Print to JPG’ functionality and the optimal settings for it. Well, it did not disappoint. Aside from doing this, you can also see some of the cool layouts that you can do in the Print Module that Scott provided in his samples. Again, another time-saving feature that you learn from the book.
So, do I recommend this book to you? The answer is – YES.
I can honestly say that probably 80% of the book I already know just by using Lightroom, by reading Scott’s Blog and Matt’s Blog and watching their tutorials like Photoshop User TV and Lightroom Killer Tips. However, the other 20% are the things that finish the job and just adds that extra boost in your workflow.
While we’re on the topic of Scott’s book, check out the following links:
- Scott’s entry: Bolding Shortcuts in the Lightroom 2 Book
- Video of Matt’s Interview with Scott on his new book
- Terry White’s comments on Scott’s new book
What are you waiting for, get your copy of Scott’s Lightroom 2 Book at Amazon.com now for around $30!