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GoAskErin Lightroom Bootcamp - 2014 Trip Report

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GoAskErin Lightroom Bootcamp - 2014 Trip Report

Lightroom Bootcamp Trip Report
By: Erin Quigley

W ho'd have thought that the luxurious Little Cayman Beach Resort would be the perfect place for an intense, in-your-face bootcamp? It proved to be exactly that for all four Total Immersion Lightroom Bootcamps that I led this year.

After a successful first outing with two spring sessions, I decided to run them again in the fall - this time with a first week designed for beginners, followed immediately by a second session tailored for more advanced editors.

Over the course of the first week, the beginning group was tasked to learn essential Lightroom techniques from Import to Export, and they rocked! The second week's group (which included several ambitious graduates from the beginning session) ventured into more complex editing and organizational techniques, with frequent forays into Photoshop. The advanced session also focused on how to analyze and avoid over-processing images.


All Images Copyright - GoAskErin Lightroom Bootcamp Photographers

LCBR's excellent dive operation, Reef Divers, made sure we found the best critters and set-ups for our shots. Two beautiful dives each morning provided the images we worked with in class every day, and as each afternoon's training introduced new skills and systematically reviewed the techniques of the days before, the participants developed confidence in their workflow and grew eager to know more.

After dinner, training continued back in the classroom with one-on-one coaching. I limit the number of participants in the Bootcamps so that everyone gets plenty of individual help. I was thrilled at how committed both groups were to getting a handle on the tools that make Lightroom and Photoshop such crazy powerful pieces of software. They could've been at the bar, slogging down Mai-Tai's but instead they chose to continue working on their editing skills. To be honest, a delivery of "special water" to the classroom from time to time was not uncommon, but the troops remained focused and more motivated than ever to reach their goals.

I love seeing people reach that "Aha!" moment, when suddenly everything starts to click, and they feel in control of their own post-processing workflow. They know where their images are, they know how to access them, and they know what tools to use on any given image. Uneven lighting? BOOM! Lightroom's graduated filter to the rescue. Selective sharpening? WHAM! Call in the adjustment brush.

Beyond technical mastery, it's cool to observe how the editing techniques we covered in class informed and improved everybody's shooting. After learning how to adjust strobes in post, I saw better lighting coming straight out of the camera. After a session on cropping, I saw better compositions on the next dive. There's a definite correlation between improved editing skills and better images, and the improvement happens simultaneously above and below the water.

Lightroom and Photoshop are amazing assets for underwater shooters, but they can also be roadblocks if learning them is too daunting. Removing the roadblock by customizing a logical workflow and mastering useful tools frees up time and creativity. It also helps if learning is as much fun as it is was in Little Cayman! Check out some Before and Afters from the 2014 Total Immersion Lightroom Bootcamp participants in the above Slideshow.

Erin QuigleyErin Quigley is a Adobe ACE certified digital imaging consultant specializing in customized workflows and editing strategies using Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom. She is an award-winning underwater photographer and video editor, and creator of, which provides one-on-one instruction, custom video tutorials, and Photoshop and Lightroom resources specifically developed for underwater shooters.

Backscatter offers two types of trips: workshops and expeditions. Workshops are learning trips where there is great diving, but the focus is honing your skills (photography, videography, post processing and editing). All diving and shooting skill levels are welcomed for our underwater photography workshops. Expeditions focus on diving and shooting in some of the planet's most sought after locales. Advanced divers and shooters are best suited to these expeditions. Join us for an upcoming workshop or expedition! We hope to see you under the waves!

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