Sep 29, 2008

Kelby’s Exciting Lightroom 2 Workflow Book…

Scott Kelby's Lightroom 2 Book

New Adobe software tends to come out without supporting learning tools. Select individuals, operating under nondisclosure agreements (NDA), have beta software access. With a proven track record for writing books or doing videos, they try to time production of learning tools near the software release date. Several times now, I've had software with untimely reading or video tools to learn about it later.

So when Scott Kelby's Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2 book for digital photographers finally arrived, I was very eager to dive into it. Saturday afternoon about three, FedEx pulled up ~ by 10 o'clock Sunday evening I pretty much had a good idea of some of Kelby's in-depth tricks for using Lightroom 2. As owner of Adobe Photoshop CS3 and a newbie at Lightroom 2, I also have the outstanding Bruce Fraser Real World series on CS3 and Adobe Camera Raw (ACR). Kelby's new book was like icing on the cake! I suspect my quick assimilation of Kelby benefited by learning from Fraser. BTW, each book is available in the Brain Food section of this blog…

Neat Tips

With a sound basis in CS3 and ACR, I'm quite pleased with what can be done with the new, local brush tools in LR2. In his clear fashion, Kelby gives a blow-by-blow review for neat LR2 tricks. I particularly like the following workflow in the Library module:
1. Importing - getting photos into Photoshop Lightroom 2 p. 1.
2. Sorting photos using Collections p. 42.
3. Organizing multiple shoots using Collection Sets p. 54.
4. Make finding photos easier by adding specific Keywords p. 60.
5. Moving photos and how to use Folders p. 82.
6. From laptop to desktop: Syncing catalogs on two computers p. 92.

Then there's the fascinating Develop module:
1. Setting White Balance p. 130.
2. How to set overall Exposure p. 135.
3. Adding "punch" to your images using Clarity p. 141.
4. Using Tone Curve to add contrast p. 143.
5. Virtual Copies - the "no risk" way to experiment p. 154.

LR2 really shines at Local Adjustments with new Develop brush tools:
1. Dodging, Burning, and Adjusting individual areas of your photo p. 170.
2. Fixing skies (and other stuff) with Gradient Filter p. 182.
3. Removing dust spots p. 199.
4. Fixing backlit photos (using Fill Light) p. 205.
5. Sharpening photos and Lightroom p. 207.
6. Using Camera Profiles to match the look of the LCD image p. 213.
7. Travel Workflow ~ my step-by-step travel photography process p. 399.

Mind you, these are just my present highlights! I'm sure you'd find a different series according to your knowledge and needs. To quote MacArthur, "I shall return..."

While watching LR2 videos, I've seen Kelby say his workflow is now 75 LR2 and 25 CS3. Jeff Schewe, Fraser's sidekick, indicates 90 LR2 - 10 CS3. Looks like there's a tidal shift in pro workflow...

I think the real strengths of LR2 simplify to handling all photos in a catalog, making local, nondestructive adjustments, a very smooth transition to additional requirements if you need to use CS3, and a marked workflow speed up.

Shortcut Tables Missing...

Jumping into LR2, you find it's a real slow go using the cursor to switch in and out of various panels. Kelby handles this for each instance of digital development by including specific shortcuts in each step as he explains how to do development.

Unfortunately, Kelby left several significant elements sadly lacking. One index entry suggest a shortcut icon at 227-228. I would expect to see an extended list of all shortcuts for each of five LR2 modules Library, Develop, Slideshow, Print, and Web ~ but they are nonexistent. I think this is a rather serious, if not fundamental oversight; it forces the reader to laboriously annotate each book page to remember the complex keystroke sequence. The reader would prefer a well prepared index, a combined shortcut page, memorizing it, and moving on rather rapidly.

Nevertheless, Kelby's LR2 book is a provocative way to definitively aid digital photographers in speeding up their workflow.

My Thanks to David Lyons,, for many discussions on these points…

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