I recently received a review copy of Rocky Nook’s Photoshop CS5 and Lightroom 3: A Photographer’s Handbook by Stephen Laskevitch. I always enjoy receiving a book from Rocky Nook to review because they print their books on acid-free paper and the reproduction quality is as outstanding as the content.
As a workshop teacher I am always interested in another teacher’s approach and quite admire the methodical, logical, and easily-understood approach that Stephen Laskevitch uses in Photoshop CS5 and Lightroom 3: A Photographer’s Handbook.
Steven Laskevitch is an Adobe Certified Instructor who uses his comprehensive knowledge of Photoshop and Lightroom to introduce the two as a working pair rather than use the more usual approach of dealing with each application seperately. This approach caused me to rearrange my computer room while reviewing this book (more on that in a moment).
Let me quote a bit of biography on Steven Laskevitch taken from O’Reilly Books authors’ biography page.
Steve Laskevitch, founder of Luminous Works and a teacher for two decades, has designed digital workflows for hundreds of photographers and companies. An Adobe Certified Instructor, he trains creative individuals and firms and has regularly helped Adobe Systems prepare Photoshop Certified Expert exams. Steve has always enjoyed creating photographs–in the field, studio or lab; on film or digitally–as well as working with computer graphics. Students of all levels have appreciated. Steve’s friendly and approachable style in Luminous Works’ classroom and the colleges, universities, and conferences where he has taught.
Steven Laskevitch’s approach deals with workflow as well as simply introducing the tools and taking you through their usage. He looks at Photoshop, Bridge, Adobe Camera Raw, and Lightroom as they work in relation to one another, and discusses when each application is the most appropriate to the situation at hand. The first quarter of the book deals with a background in the digital aspects of photography in the digital world. It also shows how using a digital workflow deals with the relationship between the ways to set up each of the applications so that they produce complimentary results when saving to metadata, and to the computer as working files and back-up files. Someone looking for a “how to” to use the Photoshop and Lightroom tools might be tempted to simply scan the first quarter of the book, but this would be a great loss on that reader’s part. Steven Laskevitch is not saying simply “do it this way” but instead says ” do it this way because…” and gives us a workflow reasoning to give us optimal results in image processing.
I said that I re-arranged my computer room and I did. Since the author discusses something about Photoshop and follows it immediately with something about Lightroom I found myself setting up my tower computer and my laptop side by side and ran Photoshop on the tower and Lightroom on the laptop so that I could easily have both applications on screen at the same time. I must mention that I normally use a competitor to Lightroom but thought that this would be a good time to learn Lightroom since I had such an elegant manual available. So I downloaded the 30-day free trial of Lightroom from Adobe and installed it on my laptop so I could run it at the same time as Photoshop and could keep windows open on both machines.
It took me a little longer to write this review than it normally takes me to write a book review since I found myself following all the steps and exercises that are in the book, and I found them logical, comprehensive, and thorough—as a result, I now have a very good working knowledge of Lightroom and enough information to make me consider changing to it as a means of dealing with my photographs and particularly in the printing of my fine-art prints.
The second quarter of the book begins on the assumption that you have set up Photoshop and Lightroom according to Mr. Laskevitch’s suggestions and then begins to take the reader through the establishment of a workflow. This workflow introduces the tools in both Photoshop and Lightroom as they work together.
Briefly, here is the way the book is broken down once we are past the introduction and background on color and digital image capture.
4. Capture and Import
5. Organizing and Archiving Images
6. Global Adjustments
7. Local Adjustments
8. Cleanup and Retouching
9. Creative Edits and Alternatives
10. Output—Print, Web, and Presentation
I found chapters 6, 7, and 8 to be particularly instructive as I made the transition from Photoshop CS4 to Photoshop CS5. New menu items are available and some have been moved, and these chapters helped me with the “where did it go?” and “what do I do now?” feeling as I dealt with the new interface (I have to mention here that I was a bit late in making the transition to CS5 as I had been more or less satisfied with doing things the way I had mastered in CS4, and that transition is only a couple of months old for me at this moment of writing).
Even if you are an experienced user of Photoshop and Lightroom I think that you can still find a great deal of useful information in Photoshop CS5 and Lightroom 3: A Photographer’s Handbook, and if you are a new user to Photoshop and Lightroom I feel that this ought to be one of the very first books that you turn to for using your new programs. Pay particular attention to the first quarter of the book and set up Photoshop and Lightroom to compliment one another rather than to compete—it will save you lots of heartache later on.
Simply put, if you as a photographer have invested in your camera and computer equipment and added Photoshop and Lightroom as applications to your computer, the price for the book is a small amount to pay for access to the technical competence of setting up and using the applications. Steven Laskevitch’s approach is much appreciated by myself as an educator—frankly, I intend to incorporate some of his approach into my own teaching.