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Customer Review

93 of 97 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very thorough, just not AT ALL easy to use., April 13, 2007
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This review is from: The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Book: The Complete Guide for Photographers (Paperback)
My rating is not based on how good the book is. If it were, I would have given it 5 stars. I based it on how useful the book is to me and how well it addresses my needs as a non-professional but fairly competent and dedicated amateur photographer (with a limited budget) and a fairly computer-literate individual.

This is a book to read through before using Lightroom. You will find thorough and knowledgeable information. What it is NOT is a book to have in front of you while you are using Lightroom. This is not a quick reference book. You will not easily locate the particular little bit of knowledge you need at that moment or the answer to the question that comes up as you're using a new program.

I bought it because I have had it with Kelby's humor and I wanted a serious and professional approach to learning a new program that is not a simple or intuitive as it might, at first, seem. Mr. Evening is, without a doubt, a professional and, even more so, serious. He approaches teaching as an intellectual conversation between two peers. Unfortunately, I am not anywhere near his level of competence on any of the subjects he addresses (photography, Lightroom, good archival practices, camera and monitor callibration, workflow, etc).

While I am absolutely certain that every aspect of Lightroom is competently addressed in this book, it is extremely difficult to navigate when puzzled by a particular issue. There are 330 pages of text (punctuated by very useful side tips and explanations as well as excellent color illustrations). There are only 5 1/2 pages of index and not a very thorough index at that. (I found it difficult to locate passages I knew I had previously read when looking under the most obvious categories). I actually find that the Table of Contents is more helpful than the index.

The text is wordy and self-referent. It is not at all unusual for paragraph blocks to be 4 1/2 to 5 inches long (and you're going to have to read them through, because they contain excellent info, though maybe not what you're looking for that minute) and to say something like "the same as in the xxx module." This doesn't help much because, here you finally managed to locate a section about the issue you want addressed and you're now going to have to read yet another wordy section in order to understand it.

The problem may lie with me. I like to dive into a new program being hand-held by someone who can (quickly) reassure me as to which direction to go. My system is to learn by doing while avoiding catastrophic pitfalls. It is not a question of short-attention span, but I want brief, concise, and to the point text, logically arranged, separated by bold easy-to-scan headings, and thoroughly indexed. I scan the book first, then I open the program and the book at the same time and gain confidence as I go. I am not really interested in deep conversations about color theories or future technologies, or what the professionals do at this point in my Lightroom education.

I may have to bite the bullet and get the Kelby book to go through the hand-holding stage, but I will keep this one for deeper reference when I get to a higher level of competence. It is an excellent treatise on Lightroom.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 15, 2007 11:05:23 AM PDT
typehead says:
That is one of the best reviews of anything I've ever read on Amazon, and I've read a lot of reviews. The review is incerdibly fair. It doesn't lay blame at the author's feet, but instead says, Hey, this is how I learn and though this author seems bright and capable, the book just doesn't work for me. I was REALLY impressed by this review... and I'll probably still buy the book.
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