By Jim Cornfield
Rangefinder Contributing Book Columnist
For the handful of you who might not know the name Scott Kelby, he’s probably best described as the current LeBron James of digital imaging instruction.
Kelby’s books and online tutorials are the gold standard for navigating the continuously expanding universe of Adobe after-capture tools. The latest newcomer to his already-prodigious output of books: The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC Book for Digital Photographers.
Lightroom is, of course, among the digital darkroom’s most powerful creative and labor-saving functionalities. This automatically makes it compulsory grist for Kelby’s mill—a force of nature in photo publishing, steadily turning out lucid dissections of nearly every digital imaging and after-capture technique. With his signature down-home straight talk, Kelby, in his first chapter, makes a point of correcting his own book’s title, pointing out that the wealth of information he packs into the 560 pages that follow is not strictly limited to Lightroom CC. If you happen to be, say, a Lightroom 6 user, he explains, he didn’t want “to freak you out.” In other words, the book is relevant to both versions.
Kelby’s chatty, conversational prose is the ideal vehicle for communicating, in a gentle, non-intimidating fashion, his encyclopedic knowledge of all things digital—in this case, the rules and his own creative takes on Lightroom’s raison d’etre, maintaining careful and conscientious stewardship of your imagery. He launches with the simple strategy of simply getting all your pictures—that’s all of your pictures—into a single folder, stashing them on an external hard drive, along with a backup plan against the eventual demise of that drive (“I didn’t say if it dies,” he writes, “I said when it dies”). He then, for 16 chapters, walks you through all the permutations and capabilities of Lightroom, accompanied by what have become the other hallmarks of his books—powerful sample images and clear, beautifully rendered graphics. Kelby admits that LR is not its multi-dimensional big brother known as Photoshop. It is, nonetheless, a complex, thoroughly versatile tool in ways you may never have imagined.
He wraps the book with step-by-step explanations of how Lightroom functions in his personal work flow. This important software, in the fertile mind of Scott Kelby, goes far beyond the simple organizational tool it was when it was first launched a dozen years ago. If you’re already a Kelby acolyte, none of this will be news to you. If you’re a newbie, welcome to the club.
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