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4.7 out of 5 stars
Lightroom 3: Streamlining Your Digital Photography Process
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119 of 119 people found the following review helpful
on July 12, 2010
Format: Paperback
I have been using Adobe Lightroom for a little over a year and while I am deeply impressed with it (I recommend it highly) I always felt that I simply didn't have a clue about how to use it properly.

Adobe has tonnes of excellent on-line help material for Lightroom including hours of video tutorials. The company runs a helpful forum for users and those users themselves have set up a vast array of websites and blogs dealing with the program. Full marks to all of them and thumbs up to Adobe for creating the best imaging program I have ever used.

But I could never get a handle on how I should be approaching the "workflow" or method of working with my photos in Lightroom.

For me Lightroom is not just some place to play around with pictures; it's more like a giant mansion filled with rooms crammed with mysterious machines, secret passages, and stuff that looks a bit like magic. I was always more than half lost in the Lightroom mansion whenever I processed photographs.

Until Nat Coalson's book that is.

I am about a third of the way through it and if I stopped reading it now I would still consider what I have learned as worth the price of the book. Indeed, as the headline to this review says, I would have been happy to have paid twice as much for just the little I've got out of it already.

Mr Coalson writes the way I think he must deliver his training programs. There is a strong sense of one-on-one teaching in his writing and it pays off in ways that everything else I've read concerning Lightroom failed at.

One of the problems with Lightroom, for me, has always been the bewildering series of options, features and menu selections. I never really knew what half of them did and of the other half I hadn't a clue about which choices to make. Those choices are all explained nicely in the book, not in the sense of what they do, but what they can mean for your work, for your images. And if you still aren't clear on what option to choose he usually finishes off the section by telling you what his personal choice is which at least gives you a very well informed place to start.

The section of the book I have completed deals essentially with how to get your images into Lightroom in an organized way, how to sort them, judge them, and get everything lined up before diving into the actual processing. This is a critical phase of what Adobe calls the "workflow". While there is no one way to go about the workflow the ways I was using were wasteful and utterly draining of my time and energy.

Reading about workflow in Lightroom always used to make me feel like someone was painting varnish over the surface of my brain. I just couldn't get the concepts, the details were byzantine, and it just all seemed way too bureaucratic and anal.

Now I don't even think about the process. It is all transparent and effortless.

I set up the program and my picture files the way he recommended. I found the options and features I liked. And I started to get-stuff-done -- quickly.

It used to take me an hour or more just to get a hundred or so shots sorted and evaluated, ready for full scale image processing. But now I can zap through a hundred shots in a handful of minutes.

I am really looking forward to the next two thirds of this book.

Rick Grant
Calgary
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52 of 53 people found the following review helpful
on September 13, 2010
Format: Paperback
Having spent the last few years working closely with Lightroom users on various web forums, and writing three Lightroom books (Adobe Lightroom - The Missing FAQ series) myself in that time, I'm well aware of the information new users need when they're getting started.

In Lightroom 3: Streamlining Your Digital Photography Process, Nat has achieved an excellent balance between being simple enough for new users without being condescending, but also providing enough detail without overwhelming the reader.

When any of my readers need a step-by-step introduction to Lightroom, this is always the book I recommend.
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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on July 4, 2010
Format: Paperback
I met Nat Coalson at the Moab Photo symposium where he gave a very impressive talk about Lightroom. I also attended his Lightroom workshop both of which, of course covered lightroom 2. After hearing his talks I really looked forward to his Lightroom 3 book. I have gotten through the first half of the book and as a lightroom user from the get go I have been amazed at what I didn't know! Nat has many specific recommendations for making your workflow more efficient that have been very helpful to me.
Nat presents things in a logical and easy to follow manner and suggests that the book be read and or referenced while you are at the computer working with Ligtroom 3. You can either read it from front to back or use the extensive index to look up specific problem areas. I am doing both.
My only complaint is that some of the screen shots seem small.
For me the book is a very valuable tool and I recommend it highly.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on November 23, 2010
Format: Paperback
I have been using Lightroom since it came out, therefore felt I was pretty proficient in its use. I was amazed about the amount I learned alone in the Library module. I appreciated Nat's attention to detail and the fact that he explained what each term meant. It opened up new, faster and more effective possibilities. His information in the other modules filled holes I had in my workflow, again saving time or gaining a better understanding of what is going on. I am not afraid of trying out what a slider does, but that does not necessarily mean I understand it.
Over time, I have developed my workflow in Lightroom. Yet there was always the question could I do it differently and, therefore more effectively. It was very helpful to have Nat describe his workflow and have that as a comparison. I will try out some of his ideas.
Personally, I prefer to look something up in a book over having to read it on the screen. Using the well organized index makes it a lot faster for me than searching for the right information in the vast amount of online help.
This is a book, I would strongly recommend to anyone who wants to learn Lightroom because of its methodical approach, great layout and clear language . I would also recommend it to those who "know" Lightroom. I am certain they can find a wealth of information about more effective uses of tools and shortcuts.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on September 22, 2010
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I've been using Adobe Lightroom since it's inception and with each version I've searched the internet for information and purchased books to try and speed the learning process. I've bought at least a half dozen books on the subject and while they've all been pretty good Nat Coalson's "Lightroom 3, Streamlining Your Digital Photography Process" is undoubtedly the best reference manual I own. Nat does an excellent job of explaining how to configure the software so that everyone (even a non-computer geek like me) can understand. He then goes through each module of Lightroom and gives detailed step-by-step information on how it works and how to get from point A to point B. Along the way he even offers a suggested workflow along with an explanation of why to work in that manner. After reading this book I have a much better understanding of Lightroom than I've ever had and my photos are looking better than ever. I took Nat's advice and took my copy to Staples and had it spiral bound as I know I'll be using it for reference for some time to come. Whether you're new to Lightroom and looking to learn the program from the ground up or have a working knowledge and are looking to take your skills to a higher level Nat Coalson's Lightroom 3 may very well be the reference you've been looking for.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on November 1, 2010
Format: Paperback
For someone with instructional book ADD, this book has been more then helpful. I like to torture myself trying to figure out software on my own with various level of success. With this book I was able to find the answers that were nagging at me throughout my learning process. Also it helped me stay focused on getting through the chapters that didn't seem to interest me at first but I was able to gain a lot of insight in the process. And all of a sudden my ADD disappeared and I was able to follow the book in the order it was intended, pretty rare in the books I've tried before.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on February 15, 2011
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I been using Lightroom since LR-1 I have a collection of books and videos on this software. This IS THE BOOK to buy if you want to learn LR-3 the right way. It is worth every penny and more. I give it 5 stars for there are not ten stars rating. I learned more with this book than with any other book on the subject. Thank you Nat Coalson and keep up the good work.

BTW another excellent, excellent book on the subject is Lightroom 3 the missing FAQ by Victoria Bampton the Lightroom Queen.
These two books is all you need to learn LR-3.
Don
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on November 11, 2010
Format: Paperback
Whether you are new to Lightroom, or just upgrading to Lightroom 3, this is a fantastic book. The step-by-step, clear, and easy to read instructions walk you through Lightroom's features and most importantly, help you build your own digital workflow to get the best from your images.

I've been using Lightroom since the version 1 beta, but I've learned a ton of valuable insights from this book and Nat's previous book on Lightroom 2. I've read it cover to cover. And although I own other Lightroom books, this is the one I pull off the shelf when I need help doing something. You can't go wrong purchasing this Lightroom book.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on September 6, 2011
Format: Paperback
I've long been disillusioned with the huge books on both Lightroom and Photoshop written by the current guru (who I believe also trials the products for Adobe). I kept falling asleep when tackling them, never getting beyond page 32. The reason? At best, they're dry textbooks; at worst they can simply considered to be glorified manuals. Most unforgivably (in my case) they probably prevented me from making the long-needed switch from Photoshop to Lightroom.

With Nat Coalson's book, that mindset of dread changed in a heartbeat. This is really a fabulous example of how the best writers can make the daunting prospect of learning new software from scratch so straightforward - and in this case so readable too. As an example, I often find myself picking up this book simply to re-read a chapter here and there; I certainly wouldn't be doing this if the interface wasn't so inviting and friendly. The ultimate test for any 'textbook', in my opinion, is whether you actually want to read it in bed. Coalson's book passes on all counts (and yes, I know I should get out more.)

For a start, then, this book is elegant. A huge amount of care and thought has gone into its structuring, with clever colour-coding throughout its contents. In addition, Nat Coalson is an accomplished photographer in his own right and its refreshing to see his splendid work appear in examples throughout the book, but never intrusively.

Then there's the way that Coalson describes the software. If, like me, you consider Lightroom in its current incarnation to be the most revolutionary photo-editing software for nigh on twenty years then this writer does this notion full justice. There's an easy clarity in his writing style so that you never glaze over when reading about a (relatively) complex topic. I turned each page with satisfaction, knowing that when I did I'd "got" what the writer had just explained. Crucially, unlike the 'standard work' I allude to above, you always feel like Coalson's talking to you, explaining the reasons he does what he does. It's nice to read books like this and get personal opinions as well as facts.

Okay, so some of you might think that I've got a bit carried away in my praise for this book. But the reason for this is as simple as it is important. For just as having a bad teacher at school can put you off an entire subject for life, so the opposite is equally true. What many of us don't realise is that the opportunities for experiencing this kind of thing in adult life are few and far between, As a competent photographer, brought up on Photoshop, I'm only now painfully aware of how many hundreds of hours I've wasted in post-production because I didn't go over to Lightroom sooner (though that's another story.) Yes, I'd picked up Lightroom books in the past but, like I say, always felt daunted by them. How I wish I'd found this one sooner.

So if you're thinking of jumping into the truly amazing and liberating program that is Lightroom, make this book your essential purchase - it's worth the cost of the software itself.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on November 22, 2010
Format: Paperback
I'm not new to Lightroom, used 2 extensively (for an amatuer), but still gleaned some great info out of this book. I own several books on the subject, but this one is thr one I tend to gravitate more to when I have a question. One of the areas that I got the most out of was in the first part of the book where he talked about getting your workflow in order and creating a meaniningful naming convention. I've alway let lightroom organize everything for me and mainly spent my time in the develop module. But, with photography creeping out of the hobby phase and into addiction my system has quickly become chaotic. I found myself using the author's templates and starting my catalog over and creating something that can grow and enable the addiction. Also, never used collections very much but since incorporating alot of the ideas in the book, find them to be a key element to my workflow now. Still going through some of the more advanced development settings, but have read enough to know this book deserves 5 stars and is worth of a spot on resource shelf.
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