The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 Book for Digital Photographers by Scott Kelby

I read this book as a PDF bought from O’Reily Media’s Safari Books Online mostly using an iPad and iBooks but also using the Preview app on a MacBook Pro.

I really dislike showing any photographs without the minimum of rotate, crop, exposure correct, color correct, and export at the needed sizes and Lightroom allows me to do that very quickly.

I have been using Lightroom since the beta of Lightroom 3 and I read Scott Kelby’s version of this book back then. I loved the book and Lightroom so much that I lent the book out until it didn’t come back, and that’s ok, I like to think that it is still floating out there somewhere being read by a photographer that has been stuck using some antiquated tools to manage and edit their photos.

This book for version 4 is a lot like the one for version 3, but it is well worth the read as many new chapters have been added and Lightroom 4 has enough new features and behaviors that the new book is a great help for getting the most from it. Scott does a great job pointing out the places that Lightroom 4 differs from previous versions but doesn’t dwell on those differences to the point that a person just starting out with version 4 would be distracted by them.

The only content in the book that I found not useful is the chapter pages, I would prefer that Scott went back to being funny or leaving the space blank.

From the publisher:

Since Lightroom first launched, Scott Kelby’s The Lightroom Book for Digital Photographers has been the world’s #1 best-selling Lightroom book. In this latest version for Lightroom 4, Scott uses his same step-by-step, plain-English style and layout to make learning Lightroom easy and fun. Scott doesn’t just show you which sliders do what, and he doesn’t just cover the newest features of Lightroom (though, of course, he does that, too, with discussions of the improved Clarity feature, White Balance adjustment brush, photo book capabilities, and much more). Instead, by using the following three simple, yet brilliant, techniques that make it just an incredible learning tool, this book shows you how to create your own photography workflow using Lightroom…

About My Workflow

I like the workflow that Scott covers in the book with the exception of using collections. I prefer to not use collections because they are only internal to the Lightroom database, I prefer to have my files organized in the computers file system so that I will be able to easily find them if I stop using Lightroom one day.

My current workflow looks like this:

  1. Get out there and take a lot of pictures
  2. Remove the memory card from the camera and use a card reader to get the images into the computer. My file structure looks like “Dave Import / 2012 / 20120725_eli-playground” which is “my import/year/yyyymmdd_name-of-event” then when I export I use the same structure but begin with “Dave Export”.
  3. Import the images into Lightroom adding my IPTC copyright information along with generic keywords from the shoot.
  4. Quickly look through all of the images and identify obvious rejects by flagging them by typing “x” which identifies them as rejects and get an overall feel for them.
  5. Now I take a break, at least 15 minutes long. This allows my thought about the images to gel and take shape.
  6. Upon coming back I will use “Flags” to identify the photos I never want to see again by typing “x” which marks them as rejected, and “p” which marks them as a pick. Photos that do not get a flag are kept, but they do not get exported. Then I delete all of the rejected photos, from the Lightroom database and also from the hard drive.
  7. Now I use “Filters” to work with just the picks and I switch to the “Develop” module.
  8. In the develop module I work my way through the images using the techniques that Scott covers in his book. Many images that were marked as picks may become not-picked or even rejected based on the results of being edited.
  9. Now that all of the picks are edited I add captions that describe each image and keywords that can be used to search for each image. This takes a long time and a lot of thought, but it is also what will make your images valuable in the future, if you cannot find a photo you cannot sell that photo.
  10. Then I export the picks as original size JPGs with an sRGB colorspace and my naming convention of “dave-nelson-20120725-112317-0001.jpg” which is “my-name-yyyymmdd-hhmmss-####.jpg”.
  11. At my SmugMug web site I create a new gallery giving it a name, caption, and pricing list then use MacDaddy to upload the exported images to that directory.
  12. Lastly I send out emails and post on various web sites that I have some new photos available for viewing and purchase.

This particular process has worked well for me but it has been tweaked many times over the years. Also keep in mind that I am a hobbiest photographer and that the money I do make from photography does not come close to paying for itself.

I rate this book a 9 out of 10 and a must read for anyone interested in using Lightroom to manage and edit photographs.

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