Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 has been out for a few months now, and like all previous versions, it’s built with some powerful new features. In addition to revamping the Develop module. Adobe also included Map and Book modules, which allow you to map and sort your images based on location information, and create photo books through Blurb.
If you’re a new user, or even if you’re upgrading from Lightroom 3, you may not know everything that’s included in this latest edition. If you consider yourself computer savvy, you could always find out by just spending some time navigating the various menus.
However, that’s not always very efficient. If you’re a Lightroom user, then chances are, you’re either a pro shooter, or a part time photographer who already has a busy workload and life schedule and probably don’t have much time to waste. You want to learn how to make the most of all the new features without killing unnecessary hours.
Having a book is a great way to learn any software. With that in mind, here are the three best Lightroom 4 books that will help you get a solid handle on things. They’re all filled with solid information and when compared to the potential amount of time wasted fiddling around, they’re very good investments.
1. The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 Book for Digital Photographers by Scott Kelby.
Scott Kelby’s books are the bestselling Lightroom books in the world. He is considered the foremost digital imaging teacher and probably writes the best books on the subject. Much like his companion book, The Adobe Photoshop CS5 Book for Digital Photographers, this is a must have update to the previous edition.
The Kelby book relays very practical information, and it’s easy to read. He writes in a down to earth style and shows you how to get the most out of the program. He walks through a complete workflow, all the way through to archive and output. He explains the exact methods and techniques that the pros use to import, edit and organize their image library and he even shows you how and when Photoshop fits into a Lightroom workflow.
Also included are his patented “Killer Lightroom Tips” as well as his famous “7-Point System for Lightroom,” which will teach you how master the most often used editing techniques.
The book is clearly illustrated with glossy, full color screenshots that outline each step and make it quite easy to follow along.
If you’re coming from Lightroom 3, there will be some overlap and revisiting of techniques that haven’t changed since earlier versions, but there is still lots of new and worthwhile material here. If you’re new to Lightroom and want to get yourself up to speed, then this book is highly recommended; it’s the one I use to get me through.
Nat Coalson’s books get great reviews and this one is on par with the Kelby book in terms of it’s usefulness and good layout.
Nat is an excellent teacher and explains everything in very clear, professional terms. The goal of this book is to teach you how to use Lightroom as quickly as possible. His approach is to write as if he’s teaching you one-on-one, and the result is a very concise and usable manual.
Like the title says, this book is all about streamlining your digital imaging workflow and through a concise arrangement of step-by-step tutorials, Nat shows you how to save time by using shortcuts and presets, how to make your images look their very best and how to share your photography in the best and most practical way, depending on your needs.
Nat’s writing style is well organized, logical and intelligent. He doesn’t try to be funny, which is one reason why some readers might find prefer this one over the Kelby book. Some people have commented that the screenshots are a bit small in this one. They’re certainly smaller than the pictures in Scott Kebly’s book, but I find them to be adequate.
Overall, this is an great book and one that I would also highly recommend to any new Lightroom user. As with the Kelby book, longtime users may find some redundant material, but this reference can still help you get your Lightroom workflow under control with speed and efficiency.
3. The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 Book, The Complete Guide for Photographers, written by Martin Evening.
A recognized digital imaging and Photoshop expert and a professional commercial photographer, Martin Evening has been working on Lightroom with the design team at Adobe since the beginning and he knows the program inside and out.
In his book, he describes all the new features of Lightroom 4 in detail from a photographer’s perspective, covering all areas of image management, editing and organization.
An accomplished instructor, he’s very good at teaching you how to make the necessary critical adjustments to your images. He shows you how to do tonal correction, sharpening, lens correction, noise reduction and more. Every step is outlined with step-by-step tutorials, many of which you can follow along by viewing the video lessons on the companion website.
Finally, Evening lays out the steps for an efficient workflow that ultimately lets you focus your concentration on actually making photographs, not tinkering around with the computer.
This 704 pages book is the most comprehensive manual to Lightroom 4. Consider by many to be the Lightroom 4 Bible, it’s filled with a huge collection of tricks, tips and pro methods. Overall, it’s probably the best single complete book on Lightroom. It’s not a simple how-to book, though, and you’re looking for the “show me which slider to move” guide book, then I’d recommend one of the two books mentioned above.
However, if you want a complete, in-depth reference that will teach you everything you would want to know about Lightroom 4 so that you can unlock the true power of the software, then this is your book.