79 of 84 people found the following review helpful
Adobe began shipping its new Lightroom 2.0 (LR2) software at the end of July. A week later this book was available. It made me think that Martin Evening is really a team of writers, each working on a chapter of this book, or even some smaller portion, and that the publisher, Peachpit, must have incurred huge overtime costs. (Actually, the software was available in beta form for a long time, and authors had final copies of the software before it was delivered to the public.) There are enough changes in version 2.0 that this early edition is welcome for people who want more details.
After an introduction to the software, Evening goes through each of the modules in LR2, explaining what the sliders, radio buttons and check boxes do, and occasionally discussing his preferences and techniques for using the software.
I suspect that with the large installed base of Lightroom, most of the people anxious for details will be using an upgrade, and might prefer a book equivalent to Ben Willmore's "Adobe Photoshop CS3: Up to Speed" which just dealt with the new elements in an image processing software upgrade. On the other hand, there are a lot of new features in LR2, and the software is so integrated that it may be useful for experienced users to review all of the capabilities.
Even though it's comprehensive, new users may be a bit overwhelmed by Evening's work, especially since it often is far more detailed than a beginner needs. The discussion of sharpening and noise reduction may seem like a foreign language to someone who has never used Unsharp Mask. While past performance is no indication of future performance, newbies might do better to wait for something that will probably be more accessible, like Scott Kelby's "The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2 Book for Digital Photographers (Voices That Matter)" which is presently scheduled for a September release.
The book shows the pressure of early release with some typos and repetitions. On the other hand, Evening describes many of the features in more detail than the tutorials that are available on line.
I found it difficult to view the screen captures of the LR2 menus. This is no doubt due to the fact that LR2's menus are in shades of gray that are highly visible on a monitor, but less so on a printed page. I for one would have no objections if publishers would increase the contrast so that seeing the menus would be easier.
This book is about the technical use of Lightroom. It doesn't talk much about how the features can be used for more impressive pictures. For that, one should look at a few of Rob Sheppard's books like "Adobe Photoshop Lightroom for Digital Photographers Only (For Only)" or even better "Outdoor Photographer Landscape and Nature Photography with Photoshop CS2 (Outdoor Photographers)" or (subject to the caveat about past performance) his upcoming "Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2.0 for Photographers Only", presently scheduled for October release.
If you want to get your hands on a LR2 book right now, this is the only game in town. It's dense, but comprehensive, and for the experienced user, will require some sorting out, but all the information one may need about LR2's new features are included.
41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on August 23, 2008
I have a common complaint about most Photoshop and Lightroom books: they all go over the same basic information. Information that I have already learned by myself simply by experimenting with the software. How many times can people write the same basic-to-intermediate information on how to organize files, set white balance, adjust contrast, etc.? I am already an intermediate Photoshop and Lightroom user, so most books I have found do not offer enough new knowledge to make them worth the investment.
But Martin's book is different. In this book, I have been able to find detailed and advanced information that I have been unable to find in many other books. Everything I can think of in Adobe Lightroom 2 is clearly and deeply explained in sufficient detail to obtain the knowledge necessary to use the application at an advanced level.
Along with having the knowledge, the book does an outstanding job of communicating the knowledge. All information is discussed in full detail, with complete explanations of what the feature does, and detailed explanations of every step in the process of using the feature. There is never a feeling that some small amount of information was left out between the steps. Nothing seems to be "glossed over" as the explanations move from one step to the next. Additionally, the examples are detailed with lots of photos, with many of the examples having a photo for every step in the process of using the tool.
This review might not be useful to some if I don't find at least one thing to be less-than-ecstatic about. I can say that if you know absolutely nothing about Lightroom, are lost with it, and are looking for a very easy and basic book to get you started, this may not be the book for you. Martin's book is nearly 600 pages of deep detail. It may be a bit overwhelming if one is looking for an easy to read book on the basics. But if that is the case, I would recommend buying this book along with a more easy and high-level book on the basics. That would be a great pairing for someone who is just starting Lightroom, but is planning on becoming an advanced user.
If you would like to see some examples on the author's writing technique, he has written numerous articles on the Internet. Simply search for his name in an Internet search engine, and you will find some of the articles he has written. This can be useful if you wish to see an author's writing style before making a purchase.
If becoming an advanced Lightroom user is your goal, you owe it to yourself to get this book.
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Basically, I highly recommend this book as *the* reference for Lightroom 2.
The author's writing style is quite clear, and is obviously based on access to inside sources within Adobe (it's published by Adobe Press!). It's no surprise that the book came out quickly after LR2's release, and that it is so well polished. This early access was also used to help the reader understand how/why various features were implemented as well as how the implementers envisioned the features would be used. This is quite useful, especially for advanced users.
As previously pointed out, this is not a prescriptive book. However, the "Develop" section does an excellent job stepping the reader through a recommended workflow through the basic settings, the tone curves, and then the spot/gradient tools. If you'd like a GREAT prescriptive book, check out Skin: The Complete Guide to Digitally Lighting, Photographing, and Retouching Faces and Bodies. Although it's written for Photoshop CS2, it does a great job walking the reader through the basics of camera calibration, lighting, and post-processing of pictures of skin. (Lee Varis has some DVDs that apply to CS3, but I haven't looked at them.)
What's not to like? The book is heavy and a bit cumbersome to read while using a computer. Seriously, I'd much rather have this book be the "Help" pages of LR2. Why programs as complicated as Lightroom (or heaven forfend, Photoshop) can't have reference books integrated as help files is beyond me.
It's also worth noting that the book went to press before the DNG profile editor (beta) was launched by Adobe. This tool allows the user to take a picture of a Gretag Macbeth color checker and then *quickly and easily* build a profile. LR2 can then be configured to automatically apply the profile to any image taken with the particular camera. So, the readers should completely ignore pages 310-311, and go to [...]%3AEditor to learn how to download and use the DNG profile editor.
Finally, I should say that I've been using Lightroom (on both PCs and Macs) since the beta. The quality and usefulness of the program have been increasing significantly since its early days. Aficionados are refered to [...] for a great insider's look into Adobe's Photoshop and Lightroom groups.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on March 23, 2009
I bought both this book and Kelby's book, and I look forward to reading both, cover to cover. Yes, this will take time, but I want to really understand Lightroom 2, inside and out.
I first started reading Kelby's book. But he is colloquial and less verbose _at the expense of clarity_. Martin Evening's book is long, and incredibly detailed. But written _very_ clearly.
Long story short, read Martin Evening's book first. Nowhere is this point made more clearly than the two author's treatments of the "xmp"/sidecar issue. Martin Evening devotes 4 full pages to discussing this very confusing topic (pp. 179-182), whereas Kelby seems to cut corners and offer under-explained, possibly incorrect advice (see his three paragraph discussion on pp. 69-70).
Buy both books (Kelby's book seems to offer more tips and tricks related to the Development module, which I have yet to get to), but read Evening's book first. Kelby's book is too imprecise, cuts too many corners, to be your foundational course in Lightroom 2.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on August 27, 2008
Adobe's Lightroom version 2 (LR2), designed for digital SLR photographers, offers non-destructive image management, a powerful photo finder panel, and freshly added localized tone/color/spot retouch brush tools much like Photoshop. Although LR2's Develop module can acommodate JPEG and other 8-bit color formats, its 'Adobe Camera Raw'-like processing engine shines with camera-native RAW formats (12-14 bits) or TIFF (16 bit) files. This is a formidable plus, as the high-end DSLR trend moves towards 16-bit data collected by a full-frame sensor -- besting 35 mm analog film at its own game.
Users new to LR ought to have a measure of comfort (readily mastered with Photoshop Elements) with RAW ['digital negative'] processing, as well as with Adobe's speedy keyboard shortcuts, before diving into this book. Although LR is quite intuitive, and its manual uncommonly instructive, this Adobe Press release may be tough sledding for tyros; my take would be to start with one of those hee-haw/dummy basic introductions--then add this book to fill in the many gaps. The Amazon price makes acquisition all the more irresistible.
Martin Evening, an early member of the Lightroom team (back to Shadowland days), long has provided from-the-trenches feedback, thus is uniquely positioned to comment on LR2's strengths and ideosyncrasies. Along that line, LR has an active user Forum whose critiques help Adobe fine-tune the product. The author's well-crafted words reflect that fruitful interaction ... this is far from a spruced-up remake of the original LR1 book, but rather a grand makeover, illustrated with live shoots; awesome in its breadth, depth and scope. Even advanced users will find this book a must-have purchase - if only to optimally implement LR2's numerous new features. [For instance: when to use 64-bit LR2, or when it might be overkill.] The text smoothly guides the reader through a studio workflow, introducing the sequence of modules from importing, tagging, and developing up to final presentation. Though illustrated with Mac screenshots, PC equivalents in menu layout are clearly spelled out, and keyboard shortcuts for either operating system are paired; Windows users need not feel the least bit slighted.
For the initiated, there is a dazzling melange of advanced topics: audio note-taking, catalog syncing, Mac and PC platform interchange, interactive camera tethering, GPS positioning to pinpoint a photo's location, and the wedding of LR's cataloging and bulk capture processing strengths to Photoshop's (or Elements') labor-intensive fine-tuning prowess. Even so, this is not a book to be read cover to cover over the weekend, but rather one to reference specific topics. Barely have the elements of the LR2 interface of panels and menus been covered, for instance, when (page 14) the Identity Plate is dissected in great detail; the 'Quickstart Guide' (page 22) - rather than a romp through the basics - plunges deep into well-honed workflow techniques of importing, organizing and developing images. Later chapters, fortunately, delve into these topics in superbly organized step-wise detail with lucid easily digested text and a refreshing touch of humor ... entertaining without being overbearing.
Niggles: readers might have welcomed a summary recap of a baker's dozen of should-know keyboard shortcuts for Win and Mac at the end of each module's chapter, to help recall those arcane key combinations sprinkled through the text. Also, the more esoteric technical topics might have fared even better had they been bundled into one final 'crown jewels' chapter, rather than strewn a bit choppily through preceding chapters.
This softcover book, though daunting in size, is highly recommended to LR users from intermediate to those climbing the peaks. The text is well rounded, with finely honed words printed on quality paper and, with an abundance of screenshots and striking color illustrations, makes for a splendid reference guide that will bring timid users up to speed, yet seamlessly transitions to the very limits of LR's rich repertoire ... including a treasure of industrial strength workflow tips for high-volume professionals. This truly is a modern Lightroom 2 "Bible" that serves equally well as advanced learning tool or as a comprehensive topical reference guide to LR2.
Lightroom 2.0 is going through the expected growing pains of a major revision; a version 2.1 update to remedy transition bugs may be expected shortly. It is comforting to know that, should major program changes/additions be introduced, the author will post a matching no-cost in-depth update to the book in record time; as he demonstrated when Adobe introduced the LR 1.1 package.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on December 20, 2008
This book is certainly one of the best if not THE best book on Lightroom 2 (that is currently available). While extremely dense with information (so much so the type had to be reduced a bit to fit it all) and very nicely done screenshots, it is quite a lot to read through. If you're one of those people who starts books and leaves the rest unread at page 100, be sure it's what you need. The good news is, if you buy this book there are few scenarios I can think of that would require you to own any other Lightroom book; it is quite comprehensive. Lightroom 2 has many features to learn, but all are fairly easy to digest once you have gotten the lay of the "land" and see how the different functions affect your images and work with one another.
The only real question you'll want to ask yourself is whether you really need this much information. If you're new to Lightroom, then unquestionably I think this is a good investment. If you're not new to Lightroom and are just looking for information about the new and updated features, it might be a bit overkill for you. In that case I might recommend you check out one of the thinner, well-reviewed books out there before buying this one. You definitely get your money's worth but if you already know 60% of the material inside (i.e. what you've learned from prior versions), there might be better options for you.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on September 8, 2008
in this Lightroom 2 book, Martin has obviously heeded critiques of his LR1 book and has given us a veritable gem...I have not and wont buy Kelby's attempt at Lightroom 2 because his LR1 book was very close to useless...so as yet I have nothing to compare with but probably i will only look at Beardsworth's if he does produce one, his LR1 was a terrific quick study and entree to the product. Martin's book is definitely not a quick study but is so full of great explanations and examples that i have actually read it from cover to cover and have re-read and taken notes on many subjects. Images that i had prevously thought were as good as i could get them in LR1/PS CS3 i have now re-edited in LR2 only, with amazing and very easily achieved results..The book also offers many useful tips about exposure considerations in the field...If you are really into digital photography but resent the time you are spending in the digital darkroom, this book is a MUST HAVE.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on July 2, 2009
So many Photoshop and Lightroom books are written by graphics gurus who aren't photographers, or who are pretending to be photographers. Martin Evening is the real thing, and he really knows what aspects of image editing are important to avid amateurs and seasoned professionals alike. His skills are so awesome that this book was endorsed by Adobe Press itself.
The only defect, if you can call it that, is the massive amount of information in this 600-page book. I mean, one chapter just on sharpening? That's an embarrassment of explanational riches. I recommend reading it slowly, absorbing what Evening has to say, and then putting it to work. Practice what you learn in each chapter before going on to the next. You really don't need any other book on Lightroom.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
For people who merely want to scratch the surface of Lightroom and simply learn how to use the basic functions of the software, there are better books for the purpose out there.
But those wanting to really exploit Lightroom 2 and fully comprehend how it can positively affect your workflow while reducing your dependence and need for Photoshop, Evening's work is unmatched.
The book is subtitled "The Complete Guide for Photographers" and when it comes to Lightroom 2, that claim is not hyperbole.
In approximately 600 pages, literally every aspect of Lightroom 2 and its employment as a workflow tool are examined. Naturally, some functions and attributes are explored in greater detail than others, which undoubtedly will leave some readers disappointed. Remember, there are aspects of Photoshop, such as layers and masking, that deserve and get entire books devoted to them. Lightroom 2 offers fewer areas like that, but Evening's treatment of some subjects is decidedly on the light side.
And speaking of "light", this is not a light read. Eveninig, thankfully, does not try to be a comedian. His writing is tight, dense but understandable. This book, in some significant ways, should be treated as a text that will be read in sections over a period of weeks. While there are no "exercises", the reader will certainly benefit by following along with Evening as he demonstrates the various features.
Overall, there's a lot more information here than I, as a hobbyist, need. But pros and more serious amateurs will certainly find this an indispensable reference for Lightroom 2.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 20, 2009
If you're looking for the most comprehensive resource and reference book for Lightroom this is it. Other books just skim the surface and hit the high points. This book goes into great detail into almost every feature of the program. Great "how to" tips as well. This is the second book on Lightroom I have purchased and one of many I have perused in the bookstores. By far the best companion for learning and understanding Lightroom.