First I would like to say that if the book feels a bit like the first version, there’s a good reason and it’s because Adobe didn’t remove features from LR2. There isn’t a way to write a Lightroom book without covering features that were included in version 1. This would be a disservice to those that didn’t own Lightroom version 1 and are starting fresh with version 2. The other thing that might feel familiar is the layout of the book. Most all of the Kelby books have a visual style that is familiar but even that has changed slight in this book, and for the better.
The book begins with a seven step “Things you wish you would have known before reading this book”. It is a quick guide that tells you how the book is organized, what to expect when you read it, where to find source material that is used in the different chapters, and even a warning about his humorous chapter intros. I am actually a fan of Scott’s humor but for those that aren’t, he tells you to skip the intros and move right to the chapter because that’s where the good stuff is.
The actual flow of the book is very logical and moves through the workflow process just as you would in Lightroom. One of the new features of the book that I found extremely helpful are the small header banners at the top of each page which mimic the panels at the top of Lightroom. Listed at the top are the Library, Develop, Slideshow, Print, and Web headings that are so familiar to Lightroom users. Whichever module is being dealt with in the particular chapter is highlighted on the banner, just as it would be in Lightroom. This is a great way to navigate quickly in the book so if you wanted to check out chapters dedicated to printing you can quickly flip through the pages and look for the Print module heading at the top of the pages. This is a small but very clever idea that I really appreciate.
The first chapter is all about importing images into Lightroom and is laid out in an easy, step-by-step progression from where to store your images, to getting your images into the program from your memory card or from folders that already exist on the hard drive. There is even a section on shooting tethered directly to your camera and having the images go directly into Lightroom. And here’s another new bonus to this book. Every chapter has a Lightroom Quicktips page following each chapter. These are helpful little hints that somehow relate to the chapter but didn’t really fit but are nonetheless important nuggets of information.
The following chapters are laid out just as logically and are beautifully illustrated. Particularly helpful were the chapters on customizing the Library module to make it fit my own needs and the section on the new Adjustment Brush. This new feature in Lightroom 2 is amazing and Scott did a great job of explaining not just how to use all of the features, but also when and why you would use them. I especially liked how he showed how to use the brush as a creative tool that will keep me from having to use Photoshop quite so much.
This book covers every new feature with great depth but not in a textbook way. Every feature of the program is broken down into its basics and then reviewed in a progressive style that will benefit novice and professional alike. The one thing that sets this book (like all of the Kelby books) apart from the rest is that you feel as though he is talking directly to you though out the entire process. It’s like having your own personal instructor right at your side.
Lightroom has changed tremendously from its humble 1.0 beginnings and any user of the new version will save themselves time and frustration by sitting down with this book which I believe is the definitive guide to using Lightroom 2.0.
♦ – I know, you are going to say “Hey, you and Scott are buddies, why should I believe you?” Well, first of all, I wouldn’t post it if I didn’t believe every word I wrote. Secondly, I was reading and learning from Scott’s books long before we ever knew each other. There is a reason that he is the best selling technology author in the world for the past 4 years running and it has nothing to do with my reviews. His books are, by and large, some of the best thoughtout, creative, and instructional books I have ever read and this one is right up there with the rest of them. Most everything I know about Photoshop I have learned from his books and now I can say the same about Lightroom.
The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2 Book for Digital Photographers is available now from Amazon.com