Book Review: Photoshop Lightroom 2 Adventure

The folks at O’Reilly sent me a copy of Mikkel Aaland’s Photoshop Lightroom 2 Adventure. You would think that a book about Lightroom wouldn’t really be necessary, but it turns out to be useful, especially since software doesn’t come with manuals anymore. The number of Lightroom books is also probably a gauge of the demand. In any case, I was interested in the first version of this book, Photoshop Lightroom Adventure because of Aaland’s columns on O’Reilly’s Inside Lightroom blog, and because of an interview that I heard on one of George Jardine’s Lightroom podcasts.

The book is a guide to Lightroom, and is populated with pictures and stories from an adventure trip that Aaland and a number of other distinguished photographers took to Tasmania. In the first edition, they took a trip to Iceland, which has now given me the bug to take a photo trip there someday. I found the book to be very helpful. I learned a bunch of shortcuts which I didn’t previously know, and I got to see examples of how to do the same tasks that I do, but using a different mechanism (a lot of this involved direct manipulation of the histogram in the Develop module).

The chapters on the Develop module are the strongest point of the book, partially because this is the strongest part of Lightroom. There is good introductory material, but there is also good stuff for advanced users, like how to hack the textual representation of develop presets. I added several presets to my repertoire by using this trick. My favorite of the Develop chapters was the one about the recipes from the various photographers on the Adventure. I always find it instructive to see how someone has done the post processing on a particular image. Know how much (or little) someone has done helps when you look at the finished picture, and gives you an idea of how far you’ll be able to take your own images straight out of the camera.

If you’re interested in getting more out of Lightroom, I’d have no problems recommending Photoshop Lightroom 2 Adventure.

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