You've got your great new digital camera. You've installed Adobe Photoshop Elements 6. Now what? The glorious images you're hoping for won't just happen: You need to learn how to make them happen. Preferably, right now. For that, you need Philip Andrews's Adobe Photoshop Elements 6.0: A Visual Introduction to Digital Photography.
Andrews is a busy guy: We've just finished raving about his new book for sophisticated working photographers, The Complete Raw Workflow Guide. (See review below.) Fortunately, this is one author who understands beginners as well as he understands professionals. Andrews clearly explains why each Photoshop Element tool exists, what problems it solves, when you'll need it, and how you'll use it. It's a rare page that doesn't contain at least one gorgeous, full-color example. And, in this edition, Andrews goes even further than ever before, adding a CD-ROM full of video tutorials.
You'll master all the basics: brightness and contrast, color corrections, filters, selections, layers, type, painting, drawing, and more. You'll walk through creating panoramas, then preparing images for Web, email, and print. There's also a full chapter of projects: everything from greeting cards to Acrobat PDF slide shows to Web-based "flipbooks."
Speaking of projects: Andrews brings together everything you've learned with a start-to-finish "family history" project. You'll walk through capturing source files; organizing and tagging Albums; editing, restoring, and retouching images; converting images to gray or old-fashioned tints; creating and fine-tuning your Photo Book; and finally, outputting to print. Combine your images with his instructions: You'll wind up with a book you'll love even more than his.
This book is titled How to Cheat with Photoshop Elements 6, but is it cheating to simply get really good at Elements really quick, so you can get really creative? Whatever you call it, that's what this book delivers.
Oh, all right: there are some honest-to-goodness "cheats" here. (Elements lacks Photoshop's powerful Layer Masks feature, but the authors show you how to get the identical result.) The heart of this book, however, is hands-on projects designed to trigger your imagination.
For instance, the authors love composites and montages and show you how to make them stunningly realistic. (There's a full chapter on using transformation and distortion to create perspective, wrap text on curved surfaces, and so forth.) Want to recolor a sky, simulate candlelight or flashlight illumination, fake neon signs or writing in the sand? OK, maybe that's cheating -- but it sure is fun.
It's this simple: Photopedia brings together all the information you need to take outstanding digital photos, no matter what camera (or level of experience) you have.
Michael Miller answers all the questions other folks assume you already know the answers to. (What's the best way to hold a point-and-shoot when you're using an LCD viewfinder? When should you turn off the flash?) But he also shares pro-quality insights into everything from composition to focus to lighting. There's a full chapter on portraiture (which just might save you a trip to the professional studio next holiday season). There's another on candids, and one on travel/vacation photography (everything from packing properly to deleting unwanted strangers from your shots).
It's all presented in the simplest possible English, with loads of full-color examples. (We've seen plenty of great digital photography books by now: Miller's stands out by being a really easy and pleasurable read.)
"Shooting raw" may be the most radical change many photographers have faced since going digital. Philip Andrews will help you revamp your workflow and leverage Adobe's newest raw tools to maximize your quality, creativity, and control.
Andrews's Photoshop CS3: Essential Skills was one of the best Photoshop primers we've seen in years. He brings the same intelligence and clarity to this new book. He explains exactly what raw means to you (with specific scenarios for portrait, nature, and editorial photographers); then systematically walks through capture, download, processing, editing, printing, and file management.
You'll find detailed guidance for everything from adjusting tone and white balance to "shooting tethered." Andrews thoroughly covers Photoshop, Elements, Camera Raw, and Lightroom, but up-to-date Photoshop users may especially appreciate his tips for using CS3's new Smart Objects and grayscale converters. Whatever you want out of raw, this book will help you achieve it.