Martin Evening On Getting Started with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom
PP: What is your favorite feature in Lightroom?
ME: Rather than point to one single thing, I would say that what impresses me most about Lightroom is the concept of having a workflow tool that can handle just about everything—except single-image retouching—in a complete package. Retouching of a single image I still do in Photoshop.
PP: What main benefit do photographers gain from using Lightroom?
ME: Without a doubt, speed and efficiency. I know that there have been complaints about Lightroom's import speed compared to other products, but I think some of these issues have been addressed in the 1.3 version of Lightroom. Ultimately, it's about whether you want to see images quickly with any preview, or whether you are prepared to wait a little longer and see them rendered fully in Lightroom. It's similar to the way you would prefer to view the colors. The speed benefits are most noticeable when doing image searches or generating things like Web galleries and contact sheet prints.
PP: What technical questions are you most asked about Lightroom?
ME: It varies a lot. But I suppose the questions I get asked most are about the interrelationship between Lightroom, Photoshop, and Bridge. I also get asked about the 1.1 update and whether I am bringing out a revised book for this current version of Lightroom, to which I point people in the direction of the free 1.1 PDF update that you can download from the Peachpit Web site*. People also like to know about the capture sharpening controls and whether I think they are really any good, to which I reply, "Yes!"
PP: What piece of information or advice would you give to someone who is just starting to use Lightroom?
ME: I would start by guiding them to think about their hardware setup, especially which drives they plan to store their Lightroom library on and access it from. They need to think about good backup strategies. Then I would show them how to start an easy import of the Lightroom files that's now on those drives. I'd follow that up by giving simple advice on setting up keyword categories.
PP: What capability would you most like to have in the next version of Lightroom?
ME: Well, let's concentrate on improving the import stage and making tethered shooting easier. Tethered image capture is one of the things that Capture One from Phase One can do better than Lightroom. For the import photos stage, I would rather see an Import module that looks more like a file browser. I have lots of other wish list items, too, but those were at the top of my list for the next version of Lightroom.
PP: You've worked with Lightroom since its early days as a concept called Shadowland. What was it like to watch the evolution of a brand new product?
ME: It's coming up to five years ago now since I was approached by Adobe for ideas about what would make an ideal photographers' workflow tool. The early versions of the program were very rudimentary compared to what we see now, although there were some pretty neat concepts floated that never made it any further into what eventually became the Lightroom program. You can read the full story that Jeff Schewe wrote for Lightroom-news.com.
This wasn't the first time I had alpha tested a program from Adobe, but the Shadowland development was pretty special. I saw a lot of innovative ideas emerge thick and fast, and the engineering team was incredibly responsive to the ideas that myself and the other select alpha testers came up with. This was definitely a most memorable alpha testing experience.
PP: Anything special readers can expect in the next version of your book?
ME: The Lightroom development team has barely stood still since the first release of version 1.0 and neither have I. First of all, I wrote an update to accompany the release of version 1.1. Since then, I have continued to work on the book, expanding current themes and adding new content. As readers might expect, the next version of the book will be bigger and even more detailed than the first edition. I have also decided to split the book content up into more chapters, which I think will make it easier still for people to learn about Lightroom in gradual stages.
* To access the 1.1 update to The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Book: The Complete Guide for Photographers, go to http://www.peachpit.com, create an account, and then register your copy of the book.