Lightroom 4: Streamlining Your Digital Photography Process
Author: Nat Coalson

Type: Graphic Design
# of pages: 512
Price: $23.78 - $39.99 Buy This Book Now

Adobe Lightroom software serves as a tool for photographers to help manage, preview, and publish their photos and videos. “Lightroom’s integrated approach to handling the entire digital photography workflow offers photographers significant advantages over other individual programs.” This Lightroom 4.0 upgrade offers increased support for newer camera models, repaired software bugs, and has amplified the program’s capabilities and options. This book is written for professional photographers with computer skills comprehension.

For new users to Lightroom 4.0, here is a general list of the software fundamentals:

  • Internet access is required to achieve the full potential of the program
  • The program is available in several different languages
  • The Lightroom software uses catalogs that hold records of your photos and allow for searching and filtering capabilities, allows for saved presets, makes unlimited copies of your photos
  • Photo file formats used within Lightroom are Raw, DNG, JPEG, TIFF, and PSD
  • Video file formats used are MOV, MPG, AVI, and AVCHD
  • Lightroom Preview can be displayed through thumbnails or larger previews of single photos
  • Profiles are used to help create the best quality of your photos
  • Default presets and templates are provided but you can also create your own to be save
  • When working on your image, Lightroom saves the modifications made to the image in the catalog of your choice while your original file is never altered.

In Nat Coalson’s latest book Lightroom 4: Streamlining Your Digital Photography Process, he walks Lightroom users through the configuration and installation process and then moves on to the next step, importing photos. When photos are imported, they are stored in the currently open catalog which will then contain the information about the photo, but not the photo itself. As you work on your image, Lightroom continually saves the changes made to the catalog photo.

Users can import photos through various methods – importing photos from a hard drive, importing from a camera or other mobile device, and shooting tethered. Importing photos from your hard drive is a simple process. Simply Import the files from the Library module without any further processing. Another option is to import your photos directly from your camera. Lightroom can transfer the images from your camera to your hard drive and then to your Lightroom catalog. The images from cameras, memory cards and mobile devices must be stored on the hard drive first. Users can also import photos using the tethered capture. Through an active connection (USB cord, cable or wireless connection), photos can automatically be sent to the hard drive in real time.

Managing your files in the Library is an important tool to organization and saving time while working with Lightroom. There are multiple ways to organize your image files which allows for plenty of flexibility. Panels are located on both sides of the Library for organization, metadata and photo adjustments. Those panels are the Catalog panel, Navigator panel, Folders panel, Collections panel, Managing Collections panel, Keywording panel, and Metadata panel. Also available are various methods to view the photos through Library View modes, Grid view, Compare view, Survey view, and Loupe view. Editing your photos and videos has never been easier as Nat Coalson explains how to select your photos for editing, rotating, flipping, stacking photos into groups, locating and moving photos, renaming them, and comparing multiple photos at once. Users can also publish their photos to their hard drive or directly to a website, tag photos based on specific attributes, filter their photos for preview, operate the Quick Develop feature to apply the adjustments to like photos, and utilize the Painter tool.

Developing your photos is the process of refining your photo’s appearance. “Even with the greatest care taken at the time of capture, every digital photo has the chance of being improved – often significantly – during post-processing.” Nat Coalson goes into detail about each adjustment and exactly how to use those tools for perfection. He suggests working first with the adjustments of the entire photo, then working your way in to finer details of the image. Evaluate your photos; most photos will benefit from adjustments, but not all photos need the same fine-tunings. These are Coalson’s suggested steps to developing your photos:

Step 1 – Set your default settings

Step 2 – Correct any lens problems containing distortion, chromatic aberration and vignetting

Step 3 – Crop or straighten photos, if needed

Step 4 – Use the white balance to adjust color temperatures and tints

Step 5 – Adjust the tone of the photo including exposures, contrasts, highlights and shadows

Step 6 – Adjust the colors of the photo such as hues, saturations, and luminance

Step 7 – Fix noise reductions (speckles or blurbs on the image)

Step 8 – Sharpen the images with edge contrast

Step 9 – Apply local adjustments, which re corrections to only part of the photo

Step 10 – Zoom in closely and remove any unwanted spots

Lightroom 4.0 now provides four different methods available to export your photos: email, Export window, Publish Services, and Edit In. Remember that Lightroom doesn’t contain the actual saved copy of your image, but merely a reference of the copy. During the export process, the referenced copy will be saved depending on your specifications. Not all methods will save a new copy of the image to the hard drive.

Updates to the Map workspace are a big bonus. Users can now tag, organize, and view images based on saved locations. The Navigator panel, Collections panel, Metadata panel, map display, Location Filter, and Map Toolbar are all useful tools for successful mapping. Photographers will no longer need to remember where pictures were taken as this information will now be stored for future reference.

Users can now create photo books within the Book module working directly in Lightroom. Create your own custom layout templates or use the Auto Layout feature and let Lightroom do the work for you. Add photo captions and background graphics or colors. Lightroom also provides book cover template designs for the front and back of your photo book. Coalson does warn that creating books of your favorite photos to display is “highly addictive”!

With Lightroom, users can also create a slideshow for a more dramatic presentation. Customized layouts, background images and colors, titles and captions, and music are all special effects available for your personal slideshows.

Whether you print your photos at home or send them to a printing lab, Lightroom can do the work for you. Nat Coalson walks through the printing steps – organizing the photos you intend to print into a collection, selecting a template or layout, determining the orientation and paper size, adding text or graphics to the photos, further defining the quality of the pictures and make needed adjustments, and finally selecting your printer location.

Building a Lightroom Web Gallery has never been easier. Simply organize your photos, prepare them for display, and choose the template and layout for your selected files. Design your gallery by changing the colors, sizes, and fonts for further personalization. You can also create a unique title, add contact information, and create personal links. Be sure to preview your presentation before exporting your gallery.

Coalson does a fabulous job of providing his own insight about the software with strategically placed icons throughout the book. There are specified icons for tips, reminders, warnings, workflows, and preferences. He also provides a detailed list in each chapter with the new Lightroom 4.0 updates that correlate with that chapter’s topics. He goes into great depth with each feature, leaving no stone unturned.