On the surface, Adobe Lightroom is a simple tool you can use to catalog, tweak and output images – to print, files, or the web. Reviews I’ve read often focus on its catalog/file organization tools and downplay its editing capabilities. That may have been true for version 1, but there’s much more going on under the hood in Lightroom 3.
Over the past couple of years Lightroom has become my tool of choice for every step of my digital workflow. For my type of photography and work style it’s terrific. I don’t manipulate images extensively, prefer to work quickly, and typically output to several different formats and destinations to meet personal and client needs. I also really like the way Lightroom perpetually retains the history of adjustments to an image, unlike Photoshop, which discards them upon a save.
Using Lightroom has been like dipping my toes in the shallow end of the pool, and I wanted to get more comfortable in the deep end. Lightroom2Adventure by Mikkel Aakland has been very helpful in showing me what I’ve been missing. Several years ago when Lightroom was first developed and tested, he took a group of professional photographers to Tasmania to shoot and to run the program through its paces. This book, and to some extent the LIghtroom we now have, is a result of this.
The book is an easy read – it’s written in a relaxed conversational style, straightforward and uncomplicated, with lots of practical examples and illustrations using a wide range of images that effectively illustrate his points. While I’m familiar with quite a bit of what he covered, I found more than enough new information around more subtle tricks and tips, particularly local adjustments and catalog management, to justify the price of the book. My only quibble would be that in some cases, while I appreciated his explanations, I didn’t really like what he’d done to some images.
I’d certainly recommend the book to anyone wanting to learn more about Lightroom, even if you’re now working with version 3. Tasmania looks awfully interesting, too.