Top critical review
24 people found this helpful
on May 8, 2012
When Lightroom image processing software was first introduced, most early adopters who were experienced with Photoshop already understood many of the concepts of image processing like tonality and sharpening. With the passage of time, many new digital photographers who have had no previous experience with image processing software have been turning to Lightroom. For such folks an introduction to the basics of Lightroom would be very useful.
Jeff Revell's book is aimed at this audience. The book covers all of the basic features of Lightroom from importing images, through cataloging images and adjusting them, to using the images for prints, books, web sites, and other purposes. Although the book purports to be applicable to any version of Lightroom, it is clearly aimed at users of Version 4. (On the other hand there is no mention of Version 4's map module.) The writing is clear and simple and in many ways resembles the manuals that used to come with software.
The effort to create such a simple introduction is praiseworthy. On the other hand, if one expects to use Lightroom effectively, this book is too simplified. There are several unexplained concepts that the beginner needs to know. Consider, for example, the issue of tonality. Revell explains the methods of moving the sliders in the basic panel, like exposure, shadows and white, but unless the user understands the concept of tonality the instructions are at best enigmatic. It would be wonderful if image processing could be made as simple as Revell suggests, but it actually requires a little bit of mental work beyond knowing how to move a slider to get the best possible image out of Lightroom.
Another example of an area where more explanation is required is sharpening. This technique is one of the hardest for beginners to understand, and the author does little to clarify the situation. He doesn't distinguish between the sharpening in the develop module and the print module, and in fact doesn't even mention the menu choices in the print module.
Still another example of his efforts to simplify relates to the profiles that are to be used in printing. These are the instructions that tell the printer how to use the file created by Lightroom to lay down the right amounts of each color ink for an image. Unless the profile is tailored to the particular printer and paper, it is almost impossible to print a picture that resembles the image on a monitor. Instead of telling the reader how to find the correct profile if it is not on one's computer he suggest using a generic profile. That is a recipe for disaster.
I suppose there are photographers who will use Lightroom and don't care whether the image is good or bad as long as it has a faint resemblance to what was seen on the viewfinder. If that's the case, this book may be for you. But to get a good output, Lightroom requires more than just a little learning. There is no free lunch. If you want to create satisfactory images, get a book that explains more about Lightroom.