So, you discovered that you love photography. What probably happened is that you borrowed someone else’s camera–a newish DSLR, no doubt–and you got hooked on the ability to create an image without the delay that most point and shoot cameras have, and you probably realized how cool you look with that big camera in your hands. Then your friend said how she can take such great pictures of her kids, or he went all geeky on you describing lenses and ISO’s and mirror lock ups and other things that you had no idea what they meant but were pretty sure you wanted to know (just so you could throw around the terms, too–yes, these are totally stereotypical statements…and you know they’re totally true).????Anyhow, you got hooked. Your spouse doesn’t understand why you put so much money into it, but you explain that it makes you feel young again–’cause, ya know, college was the last time you had to sell so much plasma.
Now you and your friend have these great cameras, but your pictures are just not quite as good as you had hoped they would be. Obviously, you need to learn to use Photoshop (like the pro’s do) to make your pictures really sing. Unfortunately, you’ve reached your limit at the plasma center for the month, and the $700 for CS5 (not including classes at the community college) is a little more than your spouse is willing to carry on the credit card–some people have no vision.
This is when Google and other freeware providers come to your rescue. Picasa, Gimp, Photobuket, and myriad other sources provide free photo finishing options. I have personally used Picasa, and was pleased with it. I have not used any of the others…except Lightroom.
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom is now what I use daily to both organize and finish my photos. I couldn’t be a professional photographer without it. I have Photoshop, but I only use it about 5% of the time. Lightroom does all the editing I need most of the time. and the best part is that after the 30 day free trial, it’s only about $200 (buy from someplace other than Adobe.com, or you’ll pay $299).
I could write a whole book about how great this software is, and how to use it…but I don’t need to! Scott Kelby already did.????And while Lightroom3 is quite intuitive, you’d better factor the thirty bucks into the cost of the software and buy this book.
If you haven’t read any of Kelby’s other books you’re in for a treat. His style of writing is conversational and funny, not like most text books and instructional reading you’ve probably had to do before. This is probably why he is the world’s best selling author of computer and photography books.
The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom3 Book for Digital Photographers????starts right off with a website where you can download pictures from Kelby’s own portfolio to use as examples as you work through the processes in the book. Kelby is an accomplished photographer, and it’s a pleasure to work on his pictures–until you go back and look at yours and realize that you’ve probably wasted a ton of plasma money on this photography thing. But don’t despair! Lightroom3 is the single purchase that will make your photographs leaps and bounds better than they have been, especially with Kelby’s help.
Kelby dives right into how to import your pictures into Lightroom3 and get to work finishing them. The best thing about the book is that you don’t have to read it cover to cover; you can skip around as needed to learn to do the things you need to know. The book is flip-through-able, with big titles that tell you what section you’re in. At the end of each chapter is a section called Lightroom Killer Tips, which provides quick tips for getting the most out of your software without long explanations. This no nonsense approach gets you working on your photos quickly and efficiently.????
Did I say ‘no nonsense?’ That’s not entirely accurate. Each chapter begins with…nonsense. It’s fun to read, and I’ll let you discover for yourself the little gems at the beginning of chapters.
Kelby takes you through the whole program, detailing what everything is and how it works for you to make your photos look better and manage them from import to printing to sharing on the web. I enjoy it so much, I use it as my textbook when I teach, and I think you’ll like it, too.
Levi Sim makes his living as a photographer as SDesigns Photogrpahy in Logan, Utah. He is dedicated to helping others improve their own photography, as well as raising appreciation for the arts. See his blog for more time wasting articles and images. SDesignsPhotography.com