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Don’t expect any NY Times award winning review here. The Times fired me after my Spinal Tap review of ‘Shark Sandwich.” At any rate, I digress into it.

I had the full intention of adding Scott Kelby’s Lightroom 2 book to my book collection but it was mailed to me as a reward for hosting the NAPP photowalk. That being said I still may go pick up another copy and I’ll explain why in the end.

The Lightroom 2 book is full of updates from the Lightroom 1 book, and no surprise here that’s because of all the improvements Adobe made to the program. Keep in mind I’ve been a Lightroom user since the original Beta, thus I know my way around the program. So as a test I had my lovely fiance read the first chapter of the book and tested her by having her import some photo’s and organize. I’m ashamed to say it, but she’s a better importer and organizer than I am. Like the impatient chimp that I am, I’m more concerned about “oo-ing” and “ah-ing” the photography than I am about organizing them (we all have our vices). For a person who never touched Lightroom to read the first chapter and then was able to import hundreds photo’s and organize them with ratings, keywords and rejections should speak volumes about how well this book explains lightroom.  I have since gone back and reviewed importing to improve my workflow.

The section of the book talking about the develop module was very in-depth and to the point, much like other Kelby books. I would compare this book to his Digital Photographers  books, instead of lecturing you why you should change the exposure in the camera so you don’t have to in Lightroom because that’s the “proper way a photographer does it,” Kelby simply tells you to start your digital development with Exposure and work your way down because that’s what makes sense. The new lightroom two book, besides talking about development workflow, also gives a great deal of information about the new gradient filter and adjustment brush. I will admit I didn’t think much of the gradient filter at first, mainly because I just didn’t like the way it was affecting my photo’s, then after reading up on it in the Lightroom 2 book I looked at the tool with new eyes and now over use it (it’s kind of like when a kid gets a toy on christmas, it’s in his hands for about 72 hours then he moves on to other toys).

I’m not a huge fan of slideshows so I will admit I didn’t read this section as close as I should have, but I have the book for life so I can look back. Yes I know, awful reviewer. It’s not that I have anything personal against the Lightroom slideshow module, I just import my photo’s into Motion 3 to give them the burns effect and export out to quicktime, I’ve been doing it for years and it’s just part of the workflow.

Printing – my old nemesis. I will be honest because of Mpix I send out 94% of my photo’s to print. But for the few times I will  do a print at home, this Lightroom 2 book was a very in-depth refresher on the steps to print a decent print at home. I will likely test the fiance on this chapter next, I mean since she loved importing so much, she’s BOUND to love printing…..

Like I had mentioned, I’ve been using Lightroom for awhile, that being said the develop module, web module and export function are my best friends. Seeing as I knew many of the tricks to the sections I didn’t take much away. What I did take away though is how I will teach these sections to a class. I was hired to teach a father/photo hobbyist about lightroom and I had a little trouble explaining a few things (more or less why he doesn’t need to go into photoshop). After reviewing these three sections in the Lightroom 2 book I have a better sense on how to talk about issues people would have with these modules.

Conclusion: If you want to learn about Lightroom, or need to  enhance your Lightroom workflow, buy the book. It’s that simple. If you’re a NAPP member I believe you get a discount, so NAPP folks have no reason not to buy it. I’m contemplating “pimping my Kelby” much like others pimped their McNally books. If I do that I’ll have to pick up another copy as a backup, so you’ll get my royalty after all Scott.  As much as I love the job the bookmakers did, it is easier to turn this into a spiral bound reference book with tabs so I can flip to a section with ease. Perhaps one snowy weekend in Buffalo I will do that. Kidding aside, the Kelby Lightroom 2 book is a fantastic resource for students, first time Lightroom users, and professionals looking to enhance their workflow. When I teach Lightroom this fall and spring, this will be the required reading.

Until next time,

-Nb

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It’s been over a week for me blogging. Between my logic board frying and a sinus infection I didn’t feel like doing the blog thing. But I did a quite a bit of photo-editing and reading last week, specifically I was reading Scott Kelby’s Lightroom 2 book, which I will be reviewing tomorrow.

Speaking of Kelby, there’s something he blogged about this morning that I was planning on touching on; and that is the Lightroom 2/CS4 conspiracy theory. So what’s the deal?

Last week Adobe announced the CS4 suite, due out in October. They’ve upgraded all their suite apps, some substantial upgrades, others just cool add-ons. From what I’ve read, the folks over at Adobe have made a significant upgrade to Photoshop Camera Raw (the raw processor for Photoshop), which I think is good, because camera raw was due for an overhaul. So what’s the problem?

Apparently, judging from blog comments, people are upset because the new camera is identical to the develop module in Lightroom 2. And my response? So…? Why wouldn’t they be the same? Doesn’t it make sense to be able to do the same digital development in the same programs? If Adobe left out a handful of tools in Camera Raw that the develop module in Lightroom had there would be an uproar. I tend to agree with the theory that the people upset about this are people who only use Lightroom to develop their photo’s and don’t use it for the dozens of other reasons they should be using it. If you are a Lightroom power user then camera raw being updated still shouldn’t have any effect on your workflow. Realistically, you use camera raw to do a little editing two a couple of photo’s. I haven’t met many people out there who use camera raw as their be all end all Raw editing tool. And for the group of people that use camera raw reguarly, Adobe merely brought camera raw to the lightroom level. Where’s the conspiracy in that?

So why will I still use lightroom over Camera Raw 93% of the time? Think about what exactly Lightroom is? Lightroom is iTunes for photo’s, it’s a database of your work. With camera raw you have to go from bridge to this to that, and it’s just a headache.  Since I’ve been using lightroom I’ve hardly used photoshop for my photo correcting and that wont change with the advent of the new camera raw. While Lightroom 2 has improved their integration with CS3 immensely, it’s still a headache to go to Photoshop now for photo correction.

In conclusion, there’s nothing to be in a .tif about. Lightroom and Camera Raw are distant cousins, twice removed. They are entirely different beasts. If anything, you should be all upset about CS4 coming out 17 months after CS3. While many people will easily be able to pay off the upgrade by selling to prints, many people wont. In my opinion adobe needs let people soak in CS4 for at least two years. Between the way the economy has been, the way the photography/design industry has been cranking out new gear, I really think Adobe needs to give people a chance to maximize the power of CS4 before they rush out CS5, which is rumored to be already slated for a Q4 release next year.

CS4 is just enough to make people “kinda sorta” want to upgrade. There is no slam dunk like CS3 to make people go and by it. One of the photoshop guys was talking about how they can’t live without the clone stamp prieview feature, but hindsight being 20/20 – I live without it now, and is it worth X amount of dollars to upgrade for a feature that I “can’t live without” but already do?

Something to think about.

-Nb

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