Adobe’s Lightroom Product is a lifesaver! I consider it my most valuable tool in my post production workflow. It’s primary function is it’s ability to to make broad stroke change to your photos, changing exposure, correcting color temperature, sharpening, noise reduction, correcting distortion from the lens your using, ect. It also has a local adjustment brush for making these same changes to a select area. More importantly it can easily copy and paste these setting changes en mass to a group of photos at once - so you can quickly correct all the shots you took in the same environment without having to go into each one individually. Massive time saver!!
It’s totally non destructive - it never touches the original file so you can always undo any change you later decide you don’t like.
It’s also a tremendous aid for organizing your photos; both physically on your hard drive and in virtual collections within the product; it also handles metadata and keyboards. It can also export to both your hard drive and publish to numerous online services.
For Black and Whites:
One useful trick I've employed in the past is to highlight your entire shoot, then use the add a new collection button, tell it to make virtual copies in the set; then convert the whole set’s treatment to black and white; you can then evaluate which photos look good in black and white and delete the reset (this will only delete the virtual copies not the original ) - you can then go back in and fine tune each shot for the best result (I use NIK’s sliver efex to get GREAT black and white shots)
there are 1000s of presets out there for free all over the web; I like Lightroom Killer tips - they put a new one out every week - I've probably got a few hundred collect for some pretty cool effects; these presets basically just move all the sliders for you to get a certain “look”. Huge time saver that can give you some pretty cool pics with just a single click.
For the best result figure out how you want to organize your photos and stick to that idea. I keep a folder for each year, then a folder for each month under that, then dates under that, then if i have multiple events in a day folders under that
Jane Doe Maternity Shoot
Mike+Susan Engagement Session
Stars! Colors! quick and smart collections!
Lightroom is great for organization, if you are viewing a photo and hit 1-5 on your number-pad it will star that photo with that many stars; 6-7 is a color; q adds to a quick collection for easy groupings. you can also make a “smart” collection using a wide range of criteria that automatically update as you add more photos; for example a collection of all 4 and 5 star photos from the current year.
What I do is after a shoot I review each photo quickly at a glance and assign it a star rating (hitting X to reject any blurry or terrible shots for later deletion), if I see something that needs full Photoshop (removing a item from the background or heavy healing brush work ect) I flag it red.
after I finish editing that photo I flag it green.
When you see a photo that you have several creative thoughts on how you want to approach it remember you can always right click and “create a virtual copy” - this makes a duplicate photo in your library that you can crop/edit/ sepia tone ect without any effect on the original; and it’s doesn't take up any more hard drive space! how awesome is that! :)
For further reading/watching:
The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 Book for Digital Photographers by Scott Kelby
Loved Scotts book, I’d say it’s the best book for quickly learning lightroom basics in a easy to read fasion
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 - The Missing FAQ by Victoria Bampton
Another excellent resource full of answers to questions that you will certainly run into when using it!