I’ve had the pleasure of reading a highly interesting book about Lightroom this weekend. It’s called The Photographer’s Workflow and it’s written by travel photographer Gavin Gough.
As you know, I just wrote a Lightroom eBook myself called Lightroom 4 UnMasked, which was published through Craft & Vision. So shouldn’t I be promoting my own eBook instead of Gavin’s? Well, the fact is that I truly believe that our books are not competitors or that one is “better” than the other. On the contrary, both complement each other extremely well, which is probably why Gavin was kind enough to place a reference to my eBook at the end of his, and which is why I am writing this blog post.
It’s about Lightroom allright
Although there’s no mention of ‘Lightroom’ in the title of Gavin’s eBook, it’s about Lightroom allright.
Gavin compares the photographic workflow to a conveyor belt in a factory, where raw materials are being imported, managed, processed and exported and discusses how he uses Lightroom to tackle that process.
As such, the eBook focuses almost exclusively on importing, the Library Module, Develop Module and Exporting. There is no mention for example of my beloved output modules such as Slideshow, Print or Web.
Gavin describes his own workflow, but gives enough information on how you can adapt that to suit your own needs.
As British as sipping a cup of tea in a Land Rover
The eBook is beautifully laid out and I love the way each chapter opening image really pertains to the content of that chapter. The writing style is fluid and full of typical British humor, which I like. No over-the-top guru-style preaching but practical, down-to-earth advice. If Stephen Fry would ever write a book about Lightroom, it would probably read like Gavin’s.
I consider myself an advanced user – I have a neon ‘Lightroom Certified Expert’ sign on my wall – kidding . Yet I learned from this eBook, particularly with regards to metadata. Gavin’s amongst others a stock photographer, which I’m not, so I read the parts and advice on metadata presets and captioning with great interest. If you’re less of an expert, you’ll pick up invaluable pieces of advice throughout the entire eBook.
Anyone who advocates the use of Presets, Templates and (Smart) Collections is a friend of mine
In my own books, courses and workshops, I always advocate the use of presets, templates, Collections and Smart Collections and I give an example of how Lightroom assists me with my marketing by using a Marketing Keyword Set and a matching set of Smart Collections. I’ll also say that you can push the idea of Smart Collections even further, combining them into an entire workflow. Up to now, I referred people to John Beardsworth’s Smart Collections Workflow for an example, but now I can refer them to Gavin’s workflow: his use of Smart Collections really takes the ‘conveyor belt’ idea to the extreme: you enter fresh images in a collection, and from there, they’re automatically put into a Smart Collection workflow. When you rate them, assign keywords and develop them, they move through the workflow.
For me, this is the true value of this eBook. It challenges you – more than once – to revisit your own habits (also with regards to backups) and shows you new ways you might put Lightroom to use. And even if Gavin’s workflow is not the one for you, you’ll get an idea as to how you can set up something similar for yourself.
Gavin’s Smart Collection’s are included in the download (as well as some training videos) so you can start using them (or start messing around with them to create your own workflow) right away.
$30 isn’t cheap for an eBook but in this case, it’s well worth the price. For the money, you not only get Gavin’s 120 page eBook but a complete package with the Smart Collections, some tutorial videos and a set of Develop presets as well. And there’s more, until end of january and exclusively for MoreThanWords, code photowork33jan gets you $10 off!
Now, before you rush off to Gavin’s virtual book store, where does my own Lightroom 4 Unmasked eBook fit in all of this? Well, as mentioned, Gavin’s eBook only talks about a subset of Lightroom’s functions: Import, Library, Develop and Export. And even these aspects are only covered as far as they are relevant to the workflow Gavin uses. For example, there’s no mention of how to use Lightroom on two computers nor of the way Lightroom and Photoshop interact. And of course, there’s no mention of the output modules, which I happen to use all of the time and which are important to anyone who wants to print from Lightroom, make photo albums or who wants to use Lightroom to make an online ordering website.
This is where I think Lightroom 4 Unmasked fits in: my eBook is really meant to be a COMPLETE guidebook on Lightroom 4. As such, it covers lots of things that Gavin’s book (deliberately) doesn’t while elsewhere, it does not go into the amount of detail that Gavin’s does. Hence, both books complement each other so well. I would say that of my 312 pages, there is only about 60 pages that overlap with Gavin’s. And even in those pages that talk about the same things, it’s sometimes interesting to read how two authors can have completely identical, similar or downright different views on specific topics (as with regards to converting to DNG, for example).
You can find Gavin’s eBook, the Photographer’s Workflow here. ($20 with discount code photowork33jan, until end of january only)
You can fine my eBook, Lightroom 4 UnMasked here ($20).