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Editor Review: Lightroom 4 for the Underwater Photographer
 March 15, 2013 @ 01:41 PM (EST)

Somewhere along the line we all “lose” some images as we strive to organize our ever growing library.  Most of us now use some sort of organizational tools, with the most popular offerings being Adobe’s Lightroom and Apple’s Aperture.  Both of these programs are now several iterations deep and seemed neck and neck until Apple’s development seemed to stall and Adobe pulled vastly ahead. 

For most users, during the initial iterations of both Lightroom and Aperture, the majority of major editing took place in an external program such as Photoshop.  With the latest iterations of Lightroom, many of the commonly used edits found in Photoshop are now available in Lightroom, in a non-destructive and disk-space saving manner. 

Tapping into the huge potential of the tools now at our fingertips is daunting, especially for the underwater photographer as most books and online tutorials are aimed at making brides look better or fixing the color of the grass.  Filling this gap are Doug & Lorenza Sloss.  Their tutorial DVD for Lightroom 3 and Photoshop are standard equipment for any and all underwater photographers of all skill levels.  Doug’s celar and concise tutorials have saved many a marginal image and helped make great ones even better.  Their latest offering is no different.

Lightroom 4 has significant improvements over its predecessor, Lightroom 3, including, but not limited to, enhanced video support and extended publishing options as well as some added adjustments.  Lightroom 4 for the Undewater Photographer contains over 13 hours of tutorials that take the user from setup of Lightroom to importing, editing, and publishing their final product in print or web form. 

The Layout:
The Sloss’ have ditched the DVD in favor of a flash disk for this version, great news for those of us without DVD drives.  The drive is not platform centric and can be launched on either a mac or PC.  The menu is broken down into 4 sections with a total of 61 tutorial videos.   Once clicked the videos open in a separate window, making it easy to reaccess the main menu at any time and have multiple tutorials open at the same time, very simple and intuitive.  The naming scheme is clear and concise, with each video doing just what it says on the tin.

The Tutorials:
In addition to explaining techniques, Doug takes the time to teach good workflow habits as well, something that is crucial once your library reaches mammoth proportions.  Choosing your management software is a major decision as switching later on can be a painful experience so it is important to be aware of the features and limitations of the software you choose.

The flow of tutorials follows a logical order beginning with the explanation of what Lightroom can do and how to get your images into the system.  The next section involves organizing and sorting your images into manageable subsets followed by the most robust section – developing your images.  Many of these tutroials are reminiscent of the Photoshop Tutorials in Doug’s earlier offering, but now take advantage of the non-destructive environment of Lightroom.  Finally, the tutorials are rounded out with the sections covering Photoshop and 3rd Party HDR integration as well as publishing to various media including Slideshows, Print, and the Web.

The tutorials themselves are all narrated in the Author’s unique tone that keeps you engaged and following along.  His thorough knowledge of the subject matter is clearly evident in his detailed explanations and examples.

Final Comments:
For the advanced user, there are shortcuts and tips that will enhance their experience and for beginners there is solid advice about building your library with the proper foundations and learning effective editing techniques.  With the easy to navigate menu and clear descriptions, it is ideal for use as a quick reference guide when editing or organizing.  By covering the enhanced Video editing capabilities of Lightroom 4, the author also tackles the challenges of integrating video into a still image library that many people face now with the increased popularity of HDSLRs.

To find out more about Lighroom 4 for the Underwater Photographer visit their website.

When purchasing underwater photography equipment like the product mentioned in this article, please support DPG by supporting our retail partner -- Backscatter.com.


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