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Mastering Lightroom with SLR Lounge – Course Review

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Lightroom courses, let’s be honest, are all over the place. This comes as no surprise. Lightroom is an essential tool in digital photography. Editing quickly and efficiently in the program is a fundamental skill.

Courses I’ve reviewed in the past by SLR Lounge all proved to be fantastic with little exception. Let’s see if their Mastering Lightroom course (dubbed as the Complete A-Z Lightroom Tutorial) lives up to the high expectations.

[This is one of several dozen photography education products we’ve reviewed. Click here to see how it compares on our comparison page.]

Black and white portrait of an Indian couple

Overview

Mastering Lightroom is a video course consisting of roughly 7 hours of material. It promises to bring you to a solid pro user level, starting from the fundamentals.

Contents

First, let’s see the core content. There are 38 episodes in four chapters.


Introduction + Chapter One

Introduction

What is Lightroom?

The Seven Lightroom Modules & Our Two Focuses


Chapter Two

How to Create a Lightroom Catalog & Import Photos

The 5 Primary Purposes of the Library Module

The 4 Library View Modes and Their Purpose

The Lightroom Interface & Our Favorite Shortcuts

How to Quickly Cull Images in Lightroom

How to Modify Metadata and Create Presets

How to Rename Images

Understanding the Export Dialogue


Chapter Three

The Purpose and Layout of the Develop Module

Working on a High-Quality Display

Raw vs. Jpeg Processing

The Basics of Color Correction

The Unknown Power of Curves

Advanced Color Mapping Through HSL, Split Toning, Camera Calibration

Detail, Noise, Lens Correction & Effects

Fantastic Black and White Conversions

Transform to Fix Lines

How to Create Powerful Presets

Everything You Need to Know About Cropping

Lightroom Retouching with Cloning and Healing

The Power of Local Area Adjustments

Retouching and Smoothing Skin with Local Area Adjustments

Dodging and Burning within Lightroom

HDR + Panoramic Merge

5 Ways to Synchronize Settings and Batch Process Photos

Two Ways to Edit in Photoshop


Chapter Four

How to Optimize Lightroom Performance

How to Customize Lightroom Preferences

How to Fix Broken Image References

How to Create an Image Watermark

How to Customize the Identity Plate + View Modes

Setting Up a Tethered Import

Conclusion


Additionally, the course includes an ongoing education module. The episodes here are publicly available, but also relevant to the content of Mastering Lightroom. Currently, there are four episodes in this module:

  1. How to Save Time Using Lightroom’s New Multi-Batch Export
  2. The Ultimate Guide to HDR Portraits + 3 Free Lightroom Presets!
  3. How to Edit Faster in Lightroom: 6 RAW Processing Tips
  4. How to Quickly Create a Convincing Tilt-Shift Effect in Lightroom

The RAW files appearing in the course are available for download. You can follow along the course with the exact same images that Pye works on.Lightroom library view

You also get a 10% discount code for the Loupedeck. It’s a piece of hardware that can speed up your Lightroom processing by providing separate buttons and knobs for many of the functions.

About the Creators

SLR Lounge is based in California. They are a team of experienced professionals in the photo field, as well as long-time educators.

Mastering Lightroom, as most of their courses, is authored and presented by Pye Jirsa. He is also one of the founders of Lin & Jirsa Photography, and one of the best-known wedding photographers in the US.Mastering Lightroom presenter Pye Jirsa

Who is Mastering Lightroom For?

The title of the course gives a hint here, but it’s not the full answer. Mastering Lightroom is great for beginners and those who want to perfect their skills.

It lives up to the “Complete A-Z Tutorial” designation. It starts from the basics but quickly jumps to more advanced territories. There are many little tips and tricks included that you rarely find elsewhere – let alone in one package.

Pricing

There are two options for getting this course. You can purchase it on its own for $129. In this case, you’ll have lifetime access, and you can download the videos for offline watching.

The SLR Lounge Premium Subscription also includes this course. With the subscription, you gain access to every course and tutorial by SLR Lounge for one year. In this instance, however, you can’t download the videos. You’ll have to watch them online.

This option normally costs $348/year. At the time of writing, you can subscribe for a discounted fee of $248/year.

What I Loved

Coverage

There’s a reason this course is called the “A-Z Complete Lightroom Tutorial”. It really does include everything there is in Lightroom. But it also includes workflow tips, style considerations, tasteful suggestions, and a lot of other useful content.

I missed a chapter dedicated to teaching the purpose, styles, and mindset of image editing. However, while there’s no separate chapter for these, Pye does talk a lot about them throughout the course.

On-Point Explanations

I loved that every step and trick of editing is explained with real-life examples and uses.

I don’t really see the point of showing how HSL tools work by making a green woodland image turn pink (an example I see all too often).

Instead, Pye demonstrates the power of Lightroom’s tools on real portraits and wedding shots, in most cases. This not only allows him to show what the tools do, but you also get valuable advice on how to work with them delicately and tastefully. This adds great value.

Accuracy

There’s nothing to particularly emphasize here. It’s flawless. Pye is a master of Lightroom and a photographer well-known for his editing and shooting style.

Consequently, everything he says is accurate, on-point and really hard to argue with.

Production

A Lightroom course is not the hardest thing in the world to shoot. Even so, Mastering Lightroom excels with fantastic production quality.

Audio sounds great, it’s clear and easily understandable. Video quality, the lighting, the colours, and the environment all look outstanding.

The editor, too, has done a terrific job. Mastering Lightroom is densely cut, so the 7-hour course is full of valuable information. Some funny bloopers are left in, but they are not distracting. Instead, they loosen up the course a little.

Clearly, SLR Lounge had plenty of experience to perfect their production.

Style

I love Pye’s style of teaching. It’s entertaining, fun, but he always gets straight to the point. He doesn’t try to convince the viewer that his workflow or approach are the “ultimate”, even though they are the best I’ve seen.

He is also one of the few educators from whom I constantly learn a lot. He can always surprise me with smart tips and tricks.

Areas to Improve

I’m trying to come up with something significant here, but there’s hardly anything to mention.

I did miss a dedicated chapter for style and taste, but that’s it. I could say that $129 is not necessarily a low price – but there’s no better alternative.

While I haven’t seen every Lightroom course on the market, I’ve seen plenty. Not only those that have made it to getting reviewed on ExpertPhotography.

I can fairly certainly say that this course is as great as it gets in Lightroom education.

Alternatives

Last week, I’ve reviewed Decoding Lightroom by Contrastly, a 5-hour long video course with similar coverage as this one.

There are differences in favour of Mastering Lightroom by SLR Lounge. But coming in at less than half of the price, Decoding Lightroom poses as a viable, inexpensive alternative.

Conclusion

To answer my own question from the intro of this article: yes, Mastering Lightroom is as good as I expected, if not better.

If you’re looking for cohesive, A-Z education on Lightroom, this is the way to go.

If you like the idea of the Premium Subscription, I advise investing in it. For $248/year (at the moment), you get weeks of photography education at a quality unmatched by almost every other provider. (I am aware that this sounds quite salesy – but it’s true.)

But if you only want to purchase Mastering Lightroom, it’s a great deal on its own. Check it out here.

Scores

We’ve reviewed several dozen photography education products using the same scoring system as this one below. To learn more about how this works and how each product compares to each other, click here: Best Photography Courses and eBooks.
Value for Money (20)
19
Coverage (20){{column-name-2}}: 18
Accuracy (20){{column-name-2}}: 20
Ease of Learning (15){{column-name-2}}: 14
Production Value (15){{column-name-2}}: 15
Uniqueness (5){{column-name-2}}: 0
Community and Learning Support (5){{column-name-2}}: 5
Total (100){{column-name-2}}: 91
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