Today I passed the exam in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom for the Adobe Certified Expert program. I share my personal experience and thoughts for other people interested in the certification. Besides the study of help and use of the software, I recommend ExamAids.
About Adobe Photoshop Lightroom ACE Exam
For who has never heard about the Adobe Certified Expert (ACE) certifications, plenty of information can be found in the dedicated section on the Adobe site. For sample questions and a quick overview on the specific exam for Lightroom, there is an handy introductory guide in PDF.
For a discussion about the reasons for getting certified, there’s a quite commented post on Photoshop Lightroom Killer Tips. I only add that I worked with various training centers and schools that gave good attention to the “piece of paper”.
How did I prepare for the Adobe Certified Expert exam?
I went back to Lightroom 1.0, I read the whole help once and I challenged myself a few times with an ExamAid. A couple of days were enough for everything, but I guess that the previous intense and passionate use of Lightroom has helped me a lot. Questions had their difficulties, but I found the Adobe Photoshop Lightroom ACE Exam more reachable then the one in Photoshop CS3.
I wasn’t sure about the exact 1.x minor release to concentrate on. I had a fresher memory of Lightroom 1.4, so I just prepared myself with Lightroom 1.0. Probably it wasn’t necessary: I’m sure that a couple of questions were about features introduced in LR 1.1 or 1.2. This is the case of “the painter”, that replaced the “keyword stamper” in LR 1.1.
I confirm that reading the software help is an absolute must for any ACE exam: questions are pretty coherent and aligned with it. It’s advisable to pay attention on features that you don’t usually use in your daily workflow. In my case it was the whole slideshow module.
I took advantage of the Adobe Photoshop Lightroom ACE Exam Aid, which was effectively propaedeutic. Basically it gives a you a good idea of the exam structure/topics and previews possible tricks in questions, like “which of the following options is NOT…” I would have probably passed the exam even without the aid, but I felt more secure with an earlier test. My notebook was not in love with its Java requirement: some restarts solved the issue. Recommended even if a bit pricey.
Few curious things learned while preparing the ACE exam
In my daily work in Photoshop I’ve been preferring TIFF files over PSD since several years ago and I kept this habit even with Lightroom integration. I realized only through Lightroom help that it’s recommended also by Adobe itself: “The TIFF format provides greater compression and industry compatibility than Photoshop format (PSD), and is the recommended format for exchanging files between Lightroom and Photoshop.”
I thought that differences between PC and Mac versions were inexistent, actually there are a couple of “sweeties” more on Mac. One is the spell checker (Edit > Spelling > Check Spelling). Another is a shortcut for special characters (In the Library module, Edit > Special Characters). Well, for Windows users not in love with the “Character map”, there is a web alternative. Last one for slideshow: you can choose music from iTunes playlists only on Mac.
I remember the first time that I played with Lightroom: I felt like a pioneer while experimenting with split toning for recreating a cross processed look. Besides the fact that probably many others has done it before me, I just faced with the help of Lightroom 1.0 talking about split toning sliders: “You can also apply special effects, such as a cross-processed look, to a color photo.“