Getting started with Lightroom 2

Some of the instructors and staff from Henry’s Cameras took a workshop on Lightroom 2. This workshop was in anticipation of Henry’s School of Imaging offering Lightroom 2 as one of our standard courses. If you’re not an expert in the digital darkroom, I’d recommend taking the LR2 course. It will save you hours of frustration as LR2 absolutely has to be setup in a particular way to work to its full potential. The reason for this is LR2 is foremost an industrial strength database and second an image editor. As an image editor it’s not as extensive as Photoshop but that’s a good thing. Most photographers don’t need the ability to edit at the pixel level. They want an editor that will change the more global effects in a photo and LR2 is superb at this task.

After you purchase LR2 (which at around $400 isn’t cheap but it’s half the price of CS4) I’d recommend the purchase of two external hard drives (to store you master and backup files) and a monitor calibrator (so you stand a chance at seeing on the monitor what you’re printer is going to print).

While you’re waiting to sign up for our LR2 workshop, you might want to buy a “how to” book to get you started. And BTW it’s been my experience that a book doesn’t replace a hands-on workshop with a real-live instructor. The book sure supplements in the instruction however.

So here are four books on Lightroom and a short review of how I found them:

Lessons in DSLR Workflow with Lightroom and Photoshop by Jerry Courvoisier

This is a pretty good book if a little on the basic side. It takes Jerry three chapters to explain basic concepts like why a DSLR and how to use a memory card reader. Might prove helpful for someone who is new to digital photography and owns either or both of Lightroom 2 and Photoshop. The book clearly explains how Lightroom is different from Photoshop and when to use one over the other. The basic setup for Lightroom is explained in simple terms.

Photoshop Lightroom2Adventure by Mikkel Aaland

This book looked good on the shelf and it covers LR2 pretty well but much of the text is broken up with photos and commentary about the author and 18 other photographers who went to Tasmania. Now the photos (mostly) are terrific but I found they made it harder to get to the information on LR that I was seeking.

The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2 Book by Martin Evening

At almost 600 pages this has to be the definitive guide on Lightroom 2. It’s a good read but at 600 pages there’s no way you’re going to remember everything between the covers. This is the book to have to look up specific things that are eluding you. It’s well written but very detailed and complete. This is the book for you guys who know what you’re doing.

Photoshop Lightroom 2 for Dummies by Rob Sylvan

I hate to admit this, but for Dummies is my favourite series. I’ve got a bunch of them for photography, playing guitar and other pursuits. LR2 for Dummies doesn’t disappoint. The author assumes that the reader knows digital photography and has some experience in the digital darkroom environment. I really like the description of how to setup LR2. I also found that LR2 for Dummies was the book that most closely followed the LR2 workshop that was held at the downtown Henry’s lab. For you folks who are using Photoshop, this book is likely too simple in its approach. For old film guys like me, it was just right.

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