I recently attended Scott Kelby’s 2017 Lightroom Tour presentation and came away favorably impressed. I attended a Photoshop workshop he did in 2008, and of the two, this was the better experience, although the Photoshop presentation was a good one. Back then, there were frequent “commercials” for the National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP), which Kelby started, and it was a bit off-putting. This time, he soft-pedaled Kelbyone membership. (I’m not a member and don’t plan on joining, but it may be a good choice for others. Undoubtedly, it offers a lot to members, though the yearly fee is a bit steep for my needs.)
The workshop is focused primarily on demonstrating what LR can do, with live examples of how to accomplish frequent tasks and solve common problems with the program. It is highly scripted and there are no question-and-answer opportunities. (With 300 attendees, that would simply be impractical.) Offsetting the script is Kelby’s breezy, relaxed teaching style. The slides and videos are supplemented with a handout that contains the same information, so almost no note-taking is required.
Early on Kelby asked for a show of hands of those who start their editing in Photoshop before taking the image to LR. Amazingly, well over half indicated they did. Personally, I rarely open Photoshop, though it’s nice to have it for certain tasks, such as those requiring text or image transparency.
Overall, I think this workshop is best for new users and those considering a move to LR. It will whet your appetite for expanding your LR skills and demystify some of LR’s features. Kelby is not an Adobe cheerleader and he’s quick to point out LR’s shortcomings and quirks. Having used LR since version 3, I can attest to its amazing power, as well as its cluttered interface with tiny, embedded switches and arrows. If you’re considering LR as your image processor and digital asset manager, this is a good place to start.
You’ve got thousands of images on your hard drive, hundreds more on memory cards you just filled, and you just installed Adobe Lightroom. If you’re new to LR and don’t proceed thoughtfully, disaster can be lurking. Image organization is often a neglected part of post-processing. It’s unappealing and for many (me included) organization is not a strong suit. If you’re eager to start editing images it’s easy to lapse into bad habits for what I call “inflow,” getting my images into LR so I can develop them.
When Rob Sylvan‘s book was announced I signed up for pre-order, and have since recommended it to many. Taming Your Photo Library with Adobe Lightroom is a must-have for new LR users and anyone who has yet to establish their own workflow. (Judging from what I see in the Lightroom Help Group on Facebook, there are plenty of experienced LR users also struggling with this.) While it is mostly oriented towards new LR users, almost anyone can benefit from a careful reading (me, for instance). The book begins with an elegant description of the concept and functions of the LR catalog, which new users often find difficult to understand, and then moves on to basic LR setup. Subsequent chapters address the Library module and the import process, file management, using collections, managing metadata (including keywords), catalog maintenance and backups, using presets and templates, workflows, integrating with LR mobile, and troubleshooting.
Having learned a workflow, what is left to the readers is to develop the discipline to stick to it, and Rob’s book can’t teach that. But, it’s easier to be disciplined when we know what we’re doing and why, and we realize the benefits that come with efficiency.
There are a relatively limited number of traditional (i.e., printed) photography guides. For many years Laurent Martres’ guides to the Southwest have been the most popular general guidebooks. Anyone planning a photo trip to the Southwest would be well-served by his books.
However, there are two other resources that I want to bring to photographers’ attention, both written by photographer Cheyenne L Rouse. Cheyenne is one of the best-known photographers in the Southwest and she knows the area intimately from her own work and from the tours and workshops she conducts. She has distilled some of her favorite locations in New Mexico and Utah into two e-books available only from her web site.
I have used both guides and have frequently consulted them before trips to the Four Corners area. If a PDF could be dog-eared, mine would be well-worn.
Martres’ books are very useful; however they tend to offer very brief descriptions of many sites. It can be difficult to know whether a lesser-known location is really worth the time and trouble.
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