Book Review: Photoshop Lightroom Adventure, Mastering Adobe’s next-generation tool for digital photographers by Mikkel Aaland

Photoshop Lightroom Adventure, Mastering Adobe's next-generation tool for digital photographers by Mikkel AalandBrowsing through the book feels like pleasantly enjoying a first-rate coffee table book or travel photography book on a relaxed evening at home; the full-page and full-spread photographs of Icelandic scenes were so masterfully done you could be forgiven for thinking this book was intended for something else.

But there’s work to do, of course, because this book deals with how to go about a digital photographic workflow from start to finish using Adobe’s Photoshop Lightroom.

Photoshop Lightroom Adventure by Mikkel Aaland was conceived as an adventure trip to the Arctic nation of Iceland to field test what was then a beta version of Lightroom. A dozen or so photographers and a handful of Adobe creatives went to the top of the world to experience a once-in-a-lifetime adventure where one can enjoy 24 hours of soft daylight in “nature’s own lightroom.”

The photographers went to work, including the author who is himself an award-winning photographer and author of 10 books. “At the end of a long day shooting, we all gathered in workrooms, fired up our computers, and got to work,” says Mikkel.

It was a master stroke. With the least distraction in Arctic isolation, the photographers accomplished much. And Mikkel got to write this beautiful book.

He starts out by explaining the modular nature of Lightroom, how it works by describing the various aspects such as the Library, Develop, Slideshow, Print and Web modules.

Then he proceeds with the preliminaries: organizing the Lightroom workspace, setting interface preferences and creating Identity Plates.

Mikkel then goes in-depth with how to import images into Lightroom, how to use the Library module, the Develop module and all the other how-tos that you may also find in other tutorials about Lightroom. The subtle difference here is that Mikkel sometimes shows us the hidden and not-so-obvious facets of LR known only to an insider to its development.

But the real genius of the book lies in the various ways the photographers in the team used LR in tweaking their images. The master photographers in the Iceland team made brilliant contributions to the book, describing how they achieved the final look of their images.

To name some:

Angela Drury shows us how she uses the Camera Calibration pane for some of the special effects.

Michael Reichmann fine tunes a toning method that produces great results, especially when viewed as a gallery-quality print.

Richard Morgenstein mixes light to create an eerie look that works especially well on landscape shots and portraits.

Maggie Hallahan’s high key recipe processes her images in LR to achieve that distinctive “Wow!” look.

Martin Sundberg’s Velvia look is done by tweaking just one slider (Saturation) to create more vivid, intense colors.

The 332 pages of the book are broken down into 12 chapters, with each chapter illustrated by screenshots that clearly explains the various LR processes. This 2007 publication is completely updated for Photoshop Lightroom 1.2 and is intended for photographers who are already familiar with Adobe’s imaging applications. But a complete novice should be able to follow along and enjoy the deeper experience that this book offers.

In all, a superbly produced book. Highly recommended.

Photoshop Lightroom Adventure, Mastering Adobe’s next-generation tool for digital photographers by Mikkel Aaland, O’Reily, ISBN: 0-596-10099-X, 8″ x 10″, 332 pages, US $39.99, CAN $47.99, UK £24.99.



Chapter 1 – The Lightroom Workspace Revealed
Lightroom Modules
Organizing the Lightroom Workspace
Creating Identity Plates

Chapter 2 – Importing Images into Lightroom
Importing Images into Lightroom
Import Photos Dialog Options
Creating & Using Watched Folders

Chapter 3 – Using the Library Module
The Library Module Revealed
Creating & Applying Keywords in the Library Module
Using the Metadata Pane
Editing a Day’s Shoot in Iceland
Using Virtual Copies to Create Multiple Versions
Creating & Using Stacks
Using Quick Develop

Chapter 4 – The Develop Module
The Develop Module Revealed
Develop View Options
Cropping in Develop Module
Retouching Tools in Develop
Noise Reduction
Sharpening the Way You Like It
Lens Corrections

Chapter 5 – Develop Great-Looking Photos
Evaluating Tonal Distribution & Color
Adjusting White Balance
Basic Tone Controls
Tone Curve for Advance Control

Chapter 6 – Color-Tuned Photos
Controlling Vibrance & Saturation
Adding Clarity
The HSL Color Pane
The Split Toning Pane
Color Calibrating Your Camera

Chapter 7 – Black and White Special Effects
When to Convert to Black and White
Basic Black and White Conversion
Using Grayscale Mix for More Control
Adding a Color Tint
Getting a Cross-Processing Look with Split Toning
Pushing the Boundaries with Special Effects

Chapter 8 – Develop Recipes from Iceland
Controlled Toning
Mixing Light
High Drama
A Cibachrome Look
An Antique Look
The Bergman Look
Oz Colors

Chapter 9 – Exporting Files
Exporting Revealed
Editing in Photoshop & Other Applications
Saving Metadata to the Original File

Chapter 10 – Lightroom Slideshows
The Slideshow Module Revealed
Real World: Creating the Adventure Slideshow
Using Metadata and Custom Text for Slideshow Captions
Exporting to a PDF Slideshow
Creating a QuickTime Slideshow

Chapter 11 – Power Printing
The Print Module Revealed
Selecting & Printing a Single Full-Page Image
Adding Text to Prints
Printing Multiple Images
Lightroom Color Management

Chapter 12 – Creating a Web Gallery
The Web Module Revealed
Customizing a Web Gallery
Adding Text to Web Galleries


Published by Chris Malinao

Chris teaches Lightroom as workflow software to photography students at the FPPF, Federation of Philippine Photographers Foundation. He also teaches smartphone photography.