[Spoiler alert: I’m about to tell you that the best image editing software package to use is Lightroom. If you’re already sold on Lightroom, you might want to skip on down to the section where I reveal the best eBook for learning to use Lightroom. ]
There are so many options it can be confusing to figure out what a software package does and the difference between them.
Even just within the Adobe products when do you use Adobe Camera Raw, Bridge, Photoshop, Lightroom and/or Elements?
And when you are just starting out which product should you learn first?
Well don’t worry, I’m not going to go into details about what all these software packages are for and when you should use them because that will make your eyes glaze over and give you the zombie stare. Having used them all I’m just going to share with you my opinion as to what is the easiest, most efficient, and least expensive way to go: it’s Lightroom 4.
Personally, I find Lightroom to be an all-in-one alternative that does just about everything I need:
- it contains within it Adobe Camera Raw for initial raw conversion;
- it is a database for storing and organizing images replacing the need for Bridge;
- it allows you to do the essential post-processing that would otherwise be done in Photoshop; and
- it contains more than just the library and develop modules – there are also modules for maps, slideshows, printing, sharing on the web, and making books.
Anything that Lightroom doesn’t do, such as more complex layering, I do in Photoshop Elements which is must less expensive than using Photoshop CS6.
You get your biggest bang for your buck with Lightroom and it is much easier to learn the interface of one software product than having to deal with many different products to accomplish your goals. In the past year Lightroom has dropped in price by over 50% and is now available for only $110 from Amazon.com during the Black Friday deals on software. That’s a killer deal.
New eBook from Craft and Vision: Lightroom 4 Unmasked
When it comes to learning Lightroom, I recommend the recently released eBook from Craft and Vision “Lightroom 4 Unmasked”.
I just finished reading it and found it easy to understand and comprehensive offering the perfect balance of explanation, insight and practical tips.
In the eBook, author Piet Van den Eynde goes through a typical Lightroom workflow and presents case studies showing before and after images and details how they were processed.
It even explains how Lightroom should be used in relation to other image editing programs when you are ready to take that step.
Ebooks in general tend to be much shorter reads perfect for consuming in one session. Not this one! But don’t look at that as a negative. This is a weighty book at over 300 spreads that will keep you learning for some time and will be the kind of book you refer back to as you grow with Lightroom.
Written by an Adobe Certified Expert you can be assured that the information presented is up to date and accurate.
When you finish this book you will …
- never loose an image again thanks to your backups;
- quickly sort through images after a shoot and pick out the best ones to process;
- find your images quickly and easily thanks to keywording;
- export the same image with different processing treatments without duplicating the file;
- add GPS data to your images;
- use publish services to send your images to different places on the web; and
- make books, slideshows and prints.
Lightroom 4 Unmasked is perfect for the beginner who needs to learn Lightroom from the ground up. It also contains more advanced information for readers who are already familiar with image editing.
It contains 60 case studies, 10 of which are pro-cases for advanced users. If you have already used previous versions of Lightroom, the “new in Lightroom 4” boxes will draw your attention to things that have changed between versions.
The book sells for $20 but for the first week you can get it for $15 using the discount code LR4FIVE. Remember this eBook is about 4 times the length of an average eBook.
The discount code expires at midnight on Tuesday, November 27, 2012.