I don’t like to waste time looking for pictures. I want to be taking them, or working on them, using or admiring them – anything other than trying to find where the damn things have gone. So before I used Lightroom, I was well-known in the iView MediaPro and Extensis Portfolio communities. Cataloguing programs and digital asset management came naturally to someone whose background was in accounting and then financial IT consulting – I had always been into organising information and quickly finding answers in masses of data. So once I had moved from film to digital and began accumulating many thousands of pictures, I naturally applied those skills and that experience to organising my photographic workflow.

This business background distinguishes my approach to Lightroom from other authors who approached digital photography from careers as graphic artists or photographers and who see Lightroom more from a Photoshop perspective. Although I had been using Photoshop long before Lightroom, I try to show Lightroom as an entirely different kind of tool – one that is as much about managing your pictures as it is about processing them.

Do you really want to be splattered with exclamation marks?

I admit I have little patience with many of the bland tutorials and writing about Lightroom. Do you benefit from being told things are “easy” when they’re not, or hearing a technique is “awesome” when it’s really little more than turd-polishing? Lightroom is not a difficult program, but proficiency demands some effort on the user’s part and a measure of clear thought.

A fresh start

Don’t believe that there’s more than one way to do something in Lightroom. It’s not like Photoshop where tools and techniques from its stone age keep getting dug up, polished, and presented so convincingly in a shiny new web site or a freshly-printed book that the reader struggles to see that an old technique may still provide top quality results but is long-obsolete, cumbersome, or creatively-limited – and is really best-forgotten?

There is usually one right way to do something in Lightroom – that’s its point – and while there may be circumstances when the ideal way may be unsuitable, why be afraid to say that which method is actually best? In my view clarity and occasionally a sharp tongue will do Lightroom users good.

I was minding my own business at the trade show and simply looking forward to watching various presentations – but 5 minutes after saying hello to Adobe, I was demonstrating Lightroom. I never did get to see Colin Prior.