I own the full version of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2 and have bought and read this guidebook prior to trying out the software, when I was holidaying in Bandung. And it was not the first time I read a guidebook before even trying out a product. I read a book on Canon 40D and have decided to buy a Nikon dSLR instead. Bizarre as it may sound – as people normally do it the other way round – I reckon I value tips and advices from the experts with hands-on experience more than my own initial discovery journey (besides, I am a lazy guy at times). Also, if I don’t find things that excite me from these experts, I wouldn’t find the product exciting anyway.
But that is just me. If you are interested in buying a guidebook, I reckon you must have started playing around with Lightroom 2.
As a side note, this is not a review on the product itself. Stay tune. I am writing an article on that and more.
If you have read the previous works by Scott Kelby, this book does not disappoint. Perhaps more a step-by-step approach compares to the short and sweet and humorous style of his Digital Photography Book Vol. 1 & 2, his personality and honestly still shines the same way. You can clearly see that Scott Kelby has a lot of passion using this software that is designed from ground up for the digital photographers; you can also feel his frustration on some of the functionalities and features that Lightroom 2 does not do too well.
I know your time is precious. So here are my thoughts after reading this book once, and then more.
- In theory, you could learn all the hot keys and where is what from the online manual. In reality, I find it hard to internalize all these to put them in good use. This book is a wonder. It is as though you have a tutor siting by your side walking you through what you ought to know while sharing his experience along the way. When I first downloaded the Lightroom 2 trial version, I was just a little bit overwhelmed. I referred to the book every now and then and in no time, I surfed through what I need to do at ease. In short, I spend more time developing my photos than trying to make the software works for me.
- This book is organized much like how the software is structured: library, develop, slideshow, print, and web. In each section, not only does the author tell you all that you need to know, Scott Kelby does share much of his wisdom beyond the step-by-step guide. From his advise on the digital format that he would use and why, to getting that trendy, gritty portrait look that is highly sought after in the commercial market these days. And there are lots of tips on how to add punches to your photos. There is even a chapter on how to merge HDR images in Photoshop. As a small disclaimer, I did try out some of his highly skilled tricks and somehow, the results are not as fantastic. I am pretty sure that it was my photos and less on the author’s wisdom. Most of the tips they work as they should be.
- What I find most fun (and inspiring) to read is the last chapter on his step-by-step on-location portrait shoot process. I think in time to come, all of us photographers would develop one work-flow that works best for our individual need and artistic inclination. But it is good to read how the professionals work in real life, what they use, how they do certain things, and why.
If you feel that you may wish to get the most out of your software, this book is it. You can spend S$63 to buy one in Singapore. Or order from Amazon.com, it is US$30 before shipping –The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2 Book for Digital Photographers (Voices That Matter).
If you are a beginner in dSLR, the first volume is a must-have. After I published the review for that book, I have got a couple of questions coming in asking which one to get and is volume 2 an update to the previous one. A quick answer is: the overlap between the two is minimal and you really should read the previous volume before this one.
After Scott Kelby released “The Digital Photography Book”, questions started to flow in on areas that he did not cover in details. Hence, he wrote this book to address to those questions he received. If you have read the first book, chances are, you will be asking a similar set of questions.
If there is one theme to this volume, that would be light. Much like oil painting, getting the right balance between light and shadow is essential to your work. In fact, that was the second topic I learned after I got acquainted with the basic skill of oil painting. How many of you are frustrated with the evening pictures you take when you have to use the flash? I get frustrated with the results most of the time. The light is often too harsh to my liking. But if you invest in a dSLR, you really should get a detachable lighting system and if you do have such a unit, you really would want to tap onto the full potential on what you can do with it. A large portion of this book explains how to shoot great photos under various lighting conditions. In fact, it probably has gone a bit too deep that unless you have the resource to turn your home into a photo studio with all the extra gears (including a strong fan that makes the long hair flies!), some of these good advice are more for future reference. Nevertheless, you should be equipped to do a better job shooting portraits in different scenarios including weddings.
There are other shorter topics including shooting macro and what to shoot when you travel. As before, there are tons of great photos in color on each page of the book and it is such a good read. The first volume will give you 80% of what you need to get started. This volume is for the extra 20% that is usually harder to master. If you only have the time and resource to read one, read the first volume. If you wish to go that extra mile, “The Digital Photography Book (Vol 2)” is indeed a good companion to the first volume.
Related link: The Digital Photography Book (Vol 1) by Scott Kelby – A Must Have for DSLR Beginners (Like Me)
If you do drop by my site from time to time, you would realize that one of my passions in life is to attempt to take pictures and share. I would love to upgrade my point-and-shoot camera but DSLR cameras intimate me big time. It seems so complex, so hard to use. Instead of parting a few good grand to invest in one blindly, I need to within reasonable doubt convince myself that I can indeed use one of those (expensive) beasts.
Months ago when I left the counter with the book “Canon EOS40D Guide to Digital Photography” by David D. Busch, the shopkeeper congratulated me for my (non-existing) new camera. I turned back and explained to him that I don’t have a 40D. I told him that I wanted to see if I can indeed handle a DSLR, any DSLR. He was surprised. If you were me being clueless about DSLR, you would have done the same, right?
That 40D book reads like a manual and lacks of beautiful pictures to inspire. So I picked up “The Digital Photography Book (Vol. 1)” by Scott Kelby from a local bookstore lately and am much impressed by the readability and the accessibility of such a technical topic. The book does exactly what it promises: the step-by-step secrets for how too make your photos look like the pros’. The author provides practical and straightforward tips from general photography techniques and accessories to shooting of a wide range of subjects (flowers, weddings, landscapes, sports, people, and travel and city life). Each topic occupies one page with an inspiring image that takes up half a page. The text is never boring, full of humors. The instructions are easy to follow (and remember) and there is no lengthy explanation on the technical justification.
Literally no prior knowledge on digital photography is required, “The Digital Photography Book” is an excellent starting point for the beginners. This book is by and large camera brand agnostic (though it does make reference to Nikon and Canon cameras from time to time) and do not expect it to give you advise on which lens or camera to purchase. I guess it is a separate topic on its own.
In as much as I enjoy reading the book, I love the acknowledgements section the most. In fact, I read that section a couple of times. Someone who seems so genuinely in love with his wife and his family demands my attention and respect. Scott Kelby comes with a long list of credentials. I am looking forward to putting the tips and techniques into action, one day.
Related link: The Digital Photography Book (Vol 2) by Scott Kelby – A Good Companion to the First Volume