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In Photoshop Lightroom 3 Essential Training, author Chris Orwig provides a comprehensive look at Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3, the popular photo-asset management, enhancement, and publishing program. The course covers indispensable techniques such as importing, processing, and organizing images in the Library, correcting and adjusting images in the Develop module, and creating slideshows, web galleries, and print picture packages. In addition to exploring all of Lightroom 3's capabilities, this course is rich with creative tips and expert advice on photographic workflow. Exercise files accompany the course.
All right, so I mentioned that Lightroom is this great program that I use on a regular basis. So you may be thinking, okay, well why? Well, you're going to need to come up with your own answer to that question. Here I thought it would be helpful to share with you some of the reasons why I found Lightroom to be such a useful and helpful program, and I thought it'd be helpful to do this by way of illustrating a few ideas and some images. All right. Well, for starters, one of the reasons why I like Lightroom so much is because it is elegant and simple. Let me explain.
A while back I was in Switzerland, and I was on a train and sitting next to me was this guy who was in the Swiss Army. So eventually of course I had to ask him, do you actually have a Swiss Army Knife? And he said yeah, of course and he pulled out a knife, and it looked very similar to the one here on the left. So many of us get ensnared into the idea that we need all of these features, yet we actually don't, and this particular knife on the right, it weighs seven pounds, and it's not very useful at all. And one of things I like about Lightroom is that it is simple and elegant and when they built it, they said, "hey, let's just take the essentials and let's just include the essentials and let's make those essentials really good," and somehow this context helps me to be focused and determined.
Here are some photographs that I captured of Kelly Slater, who is a world champion surfer, and when I hung out with him I was just so impressed how focused and determined he is, and in order to be the best in the world that's something you really have to have this narrow focus, this determination that is iron strong. And somehow because Lightroom is simple and elegant, it helps me sharpen my overall focus. It reminds me that hey, I'm in the game of making pictures and I'm all about the art and craft of photography and in that context I'm interested in creating compelling and engaging and enlivening photographs.
In other words, what the program does for me is it extends or expands my overall Vision, because I'm working with this elegant tool that's simple and easy to use. It helps me to think big, helps me to dream big dreams. On the other side of things, it helps me to be really fast. Now a lot of people get excited about Lightroom because it's 64-bit now and it's really fast in the way it renders the images. It's really fast and while I agree with that and I share in that excitement, I think I'm even more excited that I can use the program quickly. Not just that the program itself is quick, but that my workflow is quick.
In other words, I don't need to learn 500 shortcuts to use Lightroom well. I only need to learn a handful of shortcuts. The program is intuitive. It's pretty clear. It's concise. It's based on some of these essential things that I need to do, which ultimately help me to be much quicker, as I progress throughout my overall workflow. And what this does for me is it makes my workflow much more cohesive. In other words, I don't have to hop and skip and then go do something here and then go do something there. It's so well designed that again it makes my workflow really seamless and really fluid.
Now another thing that's important in regards to Lightroom is that it helps me focus in on details, because of the way it renders previews and because of the way you can zoom in and really focus in on different aspects of your photographs, I'm able to get into the details and in photography small details can make or break a photograph and again so I find Lightroom's functionality there to be really helpful, in order to make images that are that much better. Another thing that I've discovered in my days is that context matters and for a moment I'll talk about physical space and then go back to Lightroom.
Here's a snapshot of my office from a few years ago, and one of the things that I've discovered is that my office and studio need to be creative spaces, so that when I walk into them I'm excited and I'm invigorated, and that's incredibly true with physical spaces and also with software. If I open up an application and it just looks awkward or it looks confusing, or I feel bogged down, it's going to be difficult to create compelling photographs. On the other hand, Lightroom doesn't do that. Lightroom excites me. I open it up.
It's clean. It's simple. I can minimize things if I want to, I can focus in on the image, and it helps me to become a more efficient and more creative photographer. All right. Well, back to the physical space for a moment. One of the things as I mentioned I've discovered is that space matters. So I have a question for you. What you need to do in your own physical space, your own context, to turn it into a greenhouse of creativity? In other words, your workspace, your office, your studio, whatever it is, what you need to do today to make that a more creative place? Now the Lightroom team has done that for us with Lightroom.
What are you going to do on your end in regards to your overall context? All right. Well, let's keep moving. Earlier, we started to talk about our overall workflow and one of the things that happens when we tend to talk about workflow is we talk about workflow as if it exists in a vacuum. We just talk about different aspects of what we need to do. We really focus in on work. Oh, I think that there's something missing there and one of the things that I think is missing that our workflow, in order for it to be effective, it needs to allow us to grow and develop who we are.
In other words, I need my workflow to be really quick, so that I've time to get out and surf and bike and hike and run and camp and do all those things and become a passionate person, because if I'm a passionate person, I can then bring that back to my workflow and if my workflow is seamless and fluid, then I have time to become more passionate, and the two go hand-in-hand. All right. Well, back to the original question, why use Lightroom? And as you can tell I'm pretty passionate about Lightroom and what my hope here is just to share with you some of the background behind this passion in distilling the answer to this question.
I like Lightroom so much because of speed, simplicity, creativity, passion and vision. It's a tool which helps me to become a better photographer and for me, photography, as Marc Riboud once said, is savoring life at 1/100 of a second, and therefore Lightroom as a tool helps me get more out of life and ultimately helps me create more compelling and engaging photographs.
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