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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars With Scott Kelby as the author you cannot go wrong, 8 July 2012
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This review is from: The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 Book for Digital Photographers (Voices That Matter) (Paperback)
Scott Kelby is one of the most capable and most often-seen named authors of photographic instructional titles. Sometimes he writes alone, sometimes with others and whatever the subject, you can be certain of one thing - he knows his subject! In addition to the imprint of its publishers, it also includes another for Scott Kelby's company, KelbyTraining, as it is substantially based upon one of Scott's distributed courses. In addition to his many books, some of which are updates from earlier titles due to version updates - as is this, he also is an instructor on the same subjects. He gives live tuition and is to be seen on many CBT CD & DVD courses. I don't know how he find the time to do all that and still photograph.

Lightroom is one of the several software programs that are designed to perform workflow operations on RAW files, and it is the de facto standard for the PC user, that is of use to those who use RAW or RAW with JPG image format options in their camera. RAW is not really a format in the sense that JPG is a format, as all JPG files need to comply with a standard but RAW simply means unformatted and unprocessed and is likely to vary between the different camera manufacturers. If you own a Nikon camera that offers RAW, its files will be quite different from one using a Canon, Pentax or any other. You cannot interchange them or open them in whatever software is provided with your camera unless it is designed to do so, and most are not! Sometimes, the manufacturer of a camera may provide an older version of Lightroom, a modified version of it, or another such as Silkypix that does the same job in a slightly different way.

If a camera of any brand is able to shoot in RAW its manufacturers will supply some software to view and work on those files, but it may be of limited functionality and usually limited to whatever brand of images it was designed for. Lightroom is a broad-range software able to work with files of many different origins so that you can mix Canon images with Nikon, Pentax, Sony etc. It has a wider range of features than most of its competitors and has a reputation which is deserved for its ability to extract the best possible performance out of the files it works with. It can correct imbalances in colour, lighting, exposure, dynamic range and more. But to get the best from it, it needs a standardised regime in order to get the best results and the book includes the concept of a specific recommended workflow. Lightroom is a complex software that needs to be correctly configured and used for best results. You may need a book such as this, and there are or will be many other books that do more or less the same job. This is one of the best available choices. I bought a copy of the immediately previous version on behalf of and for use by a small group of photographers who use it for their co-operative work.

Lightroom 4 includes a number of changes from version 3 and there are a few operational or procedural changes, hence the need for this revision. Much of the text will be that from prior versions as there is no advantage to reinventing the wheel. Changes are made where needed but much is unchanged.

The book includes a number of screen captures, as it always has and it is Kelby's practice whatever the title. In some titles, he uses images from a Mac when most users probably have PCs, but he is far from alone in that practice. It does not usually matter but it does sometimes confuse if the PC and Mac version of something is a little too disparate. Fortunately, you will not have that problem here.

Much of the book is written in a procedural form, starting at Step #1 and progressing forwards from there, chapter by chapter and one subject at a time. Its 15 chapters start from importing images from either the memory card on which are first held, from hard drive are other media into the software's library, and includes local and global corrections through eventually to exporting the images, probably into Photoshop. Its final chapter concerns itself with the author's recommended workflow system.

The book is very well-written, as is expected from this author, is informative and instructive but without being over-complex. He covers the ground very thoroughly and misses nothing. It may not be the largest book on the subject in terms of page numbers but it is hard to anything major that it misses. At the back of the book is an interesting an potentially useful extra, a grey card (not grey scale) that can be used to help with exposure assessment but very much more so for colour balance. If you can get the image's light greys to match in tone with the card, you are likely to exclude any colour imbalances or colour shifts due to mixed lighting or from other causes.

This is a book which you may wish to read through once for an overall view and then again more slowly for a better understanding of the software, one feature or aspect at a time. You cannot go very wrong in buying any book published by New Riders. They may be less established than other imprints but I have yet to find a really poor book that bears their name. You cannot go wrong with anything from Scott Kelby, either. The combination is just about unbeatable.
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Location: London UK

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