Are you a serious photographer? Do you take photographs for a living? If not, are you a “prosumer” who still cares deeply about the quality of the images you’re creating? Do you work with Photoshop?
If so, chances are, you’ve been frustrated with the digital photography books you’ve read. Ever say to yourself: “I know how to focus. Tell me something that’ll really help me!”
Sound familiar? Then you really ought to check out Scott Kelby’s The Photoshop Book for Digital Photographers.
Kelby’s organized the book’s content around the questions serious photographers ask him in his enormously popular seminars -- and on evening-long discussions with two of the industry’s top digital photographers, one specializing in commercial products and another in fashion. So there are no introductory essays about f-stops, lenses, or framing your shots. Just the stuff real photographers want to know.
He starts at the moment your photos enter Photoshop from your digital camera. Then, he scrupulously follows real professional workflow. Sorting and categorizing photos. Coping with image problems that jump right out at you. Color correction. Selections and masking. Retouching. Special effects. Sharpening. And finally, the money moment: client review and approval.
Kelby begins with a professional’s eye view of the new Photoshop File Browser. Shrink the filenames that appear under your thumbnails so you’ll be able to read the entire filename later, when you need to. Why you should create a second contact sheet manually -- one that shows only your best shots. Faster and more flexible ways to rank and rename your photos -- including Photoshop’s very convenient batch renaming feature.
Then, it’s on to cropping and resizing: getting the custom sizes you need; creating your own custom crop tools (and why you might); automating close cropping; straightening photos using visible grids; even a handy trick for turning small photos into poster-sized prints.
You’ll learn how to compensate for problems in your original image -- from too much (or little) flash to color aliasing, keystoning to digital noise -- including topics like high ISO and blue channel noise that most books skip entirely. There’s even guidance on removing moiré artifacts that arise when your subjects wear clothes with regular patterns of stitching or weaving -- the nerve of them!
Kelby introduces detailed color correction techniques for correcting flesh tones. You’ll also find techniques for editing, dodging, and burning 16-bit photos -- a topic that nearly every photographer wants to know about, and few digital photography books mention.
You’ll find chapters on masking, special effects, pro-quality special effects and sharpening, and more. In particular, there’s plenty of coverage of retouching portraits to make people look the way they wish they did. (Say g’bye to all blemishes, dark circles, acne, gray hair, dull eyes, wrinkles, and excess poundage!)
Wherever Kelby provides a really advanced tip, he flags it with a “For Pros Only” logo. Those flags warn you about techniques that take a little extra effort -- but experienced non-pros are absolutely welcome. If your images matter, Scott Kelby is writing for you. Bill Camarda
Bill Camarda is a consultant, writer, and web/multimedia content developer. His 15 books include Special Edition Using Word 2000 and Upgrading & Fixing Networks for Dummies, Second Edition.