A couple days ago, I picked up Scott Kelby‘s The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 Book for Digital Photographers, because I got tired of scratching my head when working in LR. If you don;t know who Scott Kelby is, you should find out about him very quickly, not just because he is both prominent and excellent in the field of Lightroom and Photoshop education, but also because he is one funny dude. And if there’s one thing I like, it’s a funny dude who knows what he’s talking about and knows how to tell it to me.
The current book is a full-scale tour of the latest LR update, starting with how to import digital images from a camera or your drive, right through how to upload your images to the web; i.e., it is a soup-to-nuts course in a very powerful program. I, for one, know parts of Lightroom very well, and completely ignore other parts because they scare me. Not really; it’s just that I have a certain workflow that I’m comfortable with, and if a given aspect of the program doesn’t fit in with that workflow, I tend to sort of ignore it. This runs from little buttons in the Develop module that I never get around to pressing, to whole functions like Slideshow that I just never get around to working with. One of the benefits of reading through a book like this, even when I am comfortable with what I can get done in LR, is that is pushes me in the direction of considering the program again from a different point of view.
I’ve already changed how I am going to catalogue files in the future. His summary of his 7-point system (fully fleshed out in another book) has helped me consider a more streamlined approach to editing. He even has some very good suggestions about how to go about sorting photos from a shoot so as not to do redundant work…and as a wedding photographer who has to go through a couple thousand images at a time, making that sorting task easier is a great thing.
I use Lightroom mostly as a developing tool, and there is plenty in the book on how to get the most power from this program…and what’s great is that it doesn’t give goofy advice such as “use presets you download from the internet to get special effects.” The instruction in the book is geared toward understanding the processes, so that, rather than applying a setting, the reader will come away understanding how the settings affect the image.
There are many reasons I like Scott Kelby. As a former teacher myself, I value his ability to communicate a difficult topic to me. Some of this is probably because he has a voice that I can connect with…he is dead-on accurate and insightful with his instruction, but he can just as quickly lapse into a bit of slapstick humor lest the reader take things too seriously. Keeping the book in a fun voice, even though he is masterful in his descriptions of processes, reminds me not to scratch all of my hair off working on that problematic shot that simply must be a part of the album.