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The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 Book for Digital Photographers (Voices That Matter) Paperback – 1 May 2012
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About the Author
Scott Kelby is President of the National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP) and Editor-in-Chief of Photoshop User magazine. Scott serves as training director for the Adobe Photoshop Seminar Tour and is the technical chair of the largest Photoshop gathering in the industry, Photoshop World. He has written numerous best-selling creative technology books, and has just been named the #1 photography book author for the second year in a row.
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As usual, Scott doesn't go into the whys and wherefores of every feature; he sensibly leaves that to authors like Martin Evening, whose Lightroom and Photoshop books are packed full of technical info,which is very useful once you've mastered the basics, but daunting for the beginner and even for more experienced Lightroom/Photoshop users. Instead, Scott's approach is the same in his other books (I don't know how the guy finds time to write all those books and do all the other things he does): he talks to his readers as if he were giving them a lesson in person. He never makes assumptions about his readers' levels of knowledge, but he doesn't talk down to them either. Some readers are put off by his jokey intros to each chapter, but I enjoy them (as Scott says, they are a bit of light relief which enables the reader to clear the brain for the chapter to come) and, after all, if you don't like the intros, don't read them!
If you've used Lightroom before, you can dip into this book wherever you like, but for beginners I'd really recommend starting at the beginning - as I say, I'd used Lightroom for years and still found I learned a lot even from the chapters that cover the initial basics of Lightroom. I'd recommend it to anyone using Lightroom 4, whether beginner, intermediate, or experienced.
Oh, and by the way - Lightroom 4 itself rocks!
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.
The book is well laid out and whilst most of Scott's books can be dipped into, he recommends that you take the journey from front to back. Good advice, because a lot of what comes later is helped by setting Lightroom up properly in the first place.
His style is relaxed and informative, but is based on his personal experience as a photographer and he frequently gives tips on the way he personally works.
All in all a good read, as well as a technical book on Lightroom. For me it covers all the bases.
However I urge you to also use his training online at kelbytraining.com. You can buy a month or year and the Lightrooms course (five on lightroom 4 of around 2 hours each, taking you through the main steps) is excellent. Kelby doesn't teach it, one of his experts does. There are hundreds of courses, but for this one alone it's brilliant and simple to follow.
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