Book review: The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2 Book by Martin Evening

| August 31, 2008

Adobe Lightroom quickly became a favorite fool among photographers. It’s easy to use interface, it’s features for the management of large amount of photographs and it’s powerful possibilities to work with Raw files from all important cameras (including all DSLRs from Nikon and Canon) dramatically improved the productive of many photographers.

A few weeks ago, Adobe Lightroom 2 was released and several books covering the new version have already been published or will be published soon.

The first one is The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2 Book: The Complete Guide for Photographers by Martin Evening. And it’s probably all you ever need to fully master Lightroom 2.

The book has about 600 pages full of information about Lightroom 2.

The author explains all the main modules of Lightroom 2 (Library, Develop, Printing, Slideshow and Web). The chapters are very detailed and explain everything you need to know. Many tips and notes on the sidebars contain keyboard shortcuts and other useful information.

After an introduction into Lightroom 2 and a chapter on how to import your pictures, the author explains in great detail how to use the Library module and how you can organize your photos. Martin gives many tips on how to best manage your images and also explains how he does it. But he never tells you that there is only one way and recognizes that every photographer will use it’s own system.

My favorite chapter is the one on the Develop module. In many books about Lightroom (or Adobe Camera Raw) you can either find explanations what all the controls do or how to apply them but rarely do you learn why you use a tool in a certain way. In this book, the author not only explains in detail what a tool does and how to use it but also why you would use the tool in a certain way (for example, the book contains the best explanation on how to set the Blacks in an Raw image that I’ve ever found in a book). All important parts of the Develop module are explained with step by step examples in which the author explains how and why he is applying the tools in the Develop module to improve an image.

A separate chapter covers black and white images and another how to apply sharpening and noise reduction. Again, I found the explanations in those chapters better than in most other books I’ve read.

Although Lightroom 2 is very powerful and you probably won’t need Photoshop as much as when you used to work with Lightroom 1, there are many situations when using Photoshop is still necessary. In a chapter of it’s own, Martin covers all you need to know about how to use Lightroom 2 and Photoshop together. It helps that the author is not only an expert in Lightroom but also in Photoshop.

The chapters on printing and presenting your work are equally good as the other chapters already mentioned.

Two appendixes cover the Lightroom 2 preferences and settings.

Beside all this, Martin also covers a lot of advanced topics like shooting tethered, using GPS or working with audio notes (if your camera supports it).

For those who also use Bridge regularly, the author also explains in detail how to use Bridge and Lightroom 2 together and how those two programs work together.

What’s not to like? The only thing that one could complain about is the fact that some screenshots of the Lightroom 2 dialog boxes or menus are not completely sharp. But this is the case only for a few screenshots and really no problem. Maybe this is just a printing problem in my specific specimen of the book.

This is one of the best technical books I’ve read in a long time (and I’ve read a lot!). The writing is easy to follow and always detailed. I read the book during one weekend and I learned a lot about Lightroom, even after I’ve been using version 1 for quite a while now.

If you want only one book on Lightroom 2 and want to understand what your are doing instead of just doing it, this is your book. This is the bible for every advanced user of Adobe Lightroom 2.

Highly recommended!

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Category: Books, Lightroom

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