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Book Review: Adobe Photoshop CS5 For Photographers by Martin Evening

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Martin Evening has released the latest version of his seminal work on Photoshop – Adobe Photoshop CS5 For Photographers. This is a book on Photoshop by a professional working photographer for professional photographers. Martin Evening is a professional fashion and beauty photographer who has been working with Photoshop for years as both an alpha and beta tester.

He has been fundamentally writing this book since Photoshop 5 (actually version 4 which was never published) and to this end, the author has focused on the essential information that you need to know about Photoshop if you work in photography. He covers all of the main elements like Camera Raw, Bridge, Levels, Curves, and more as well as all of the things that are new in Photoshop CS5.

Now to accomplish this, beginning with the prior version, for CS4, there are some things that have been removed and have been reworked with the help of Jeff Schewe and have been put into a book called Photoshop for Photographers: The Ultimate Workshop which will be released at a later date.

While Adobe Photoshop CS5 For Photographers is not a beginner's guide, over the years, the content has been adapted for a broader readership. Even so, it is still a reference book for all things Photoshop and dealing with photographs. There is a reason the subtitle begins with "A Professional Image Editor's Guide…"

Adobe Photoshop CS5 For Photographers is really a reference book for both advanced amateur and professional photographers. It is a listing of every conceivable technique that a photographer may need to implement in the pursuit of creating digital photographic images using Adobe Photoshop. It contains 15 chapters covering over 700 pages.

Chapters 1-2 are more of an introduction to the changes and new features that come with Adobe Photoshop CS5, as well as a guide to the physical layout of Photoshop interface. You will also see how to configure Photoshop to optimize your computer system as well as what sorts of accessories are needed to help you in your work.

Chapter 3, "Camera Raw Image Processing," has really grown and taken on a life of its own. Because you can process your JPEG and Tiff as well as your RAW images and do so much more, a significantly larger chapter is devoted to the subject. Chapter 4, "Sharpening and Noise Reduction," examines pre-sharpening your photos in Photoshop. This topic was all but untouched in previous versions, but now with the changes in Camera Raw, it is become much more important.

Chapter 5, "Image Editing Essentials," now gets into specifics about editing a photograph outside of Camera Raw. There are some techniques that overlap, but this also works with images that have never been near to Camera Raw. Here you will learn about the fundamentals of image editing. Chapter 6, "Black and White," shows you how to create black and white images from original color images. It also goes into cross process looks as well as infrared effects, and other darkroom related techniques.

Chapter 7, "Extending the Dynamic Range," is all about capturing the greatest range of tones from the minimum shadows to the brightest highlights and in this chapter you will look at various techniques for accomplishing this. Chapter 8, "Image Retouching," examines the basic techniques for modifying an image to enhance your photographs. These include working with the Clone Stamp tool, the Healing brush, the Patch tool, Liquefy tool, and many more.

Chapter 9, "Layers, Selections, and Masking," looks into what it takes to make composite images that use different image elements to create something totally new. This all begins with making selections and working with channels. Chapter 10, "Essential Filters for Photoshop Editing," gets into one of the more powerful features of Photoshop; the plug-in filters. Instead of trying to look at all of the hundred or so filters that are in Photoshop, you will focus on the 15 or so that are useful for photographic work.

Chapter 11, "Image Management," is all about the use of Adobe Bridge to allow you to preview images, choose the one you want to open in Photoshop, perform ranking, add metadata, and other basic file management tasks. Chapter 12, "Color Management," will introduce you to the basic concepts of color management and look at the color management interface of Photoshop.

Chapter 13, "Print Output," is the printer version of color management. Here you will look at what it takes to get images to print so that they look like what you have on the screen. Chapter 14, "Output for the Web," shows that unlike the printer, you have no control over who will see your work on the Web, and therefore, no control over how the image is viewed. Here you will see how best to output online. Chapter 15, "Automating Photoshop," looks at how you can speed your work by using keyboard shortcuts, creating actions, and how to use scripts to automate Photoshop.

Keep in mind that, while there is a DVD that comes with the book and it comes with many of the images you see in the book, not all of the images are included. In the introduction the author explains that some of the images in the book, especially the ones with the models, are of restricted use and can not be given away. There is also movie tutorials, additional tips, and a keyboard reference guide.

To me Adobe Photoshop CS5 For Photographers is just about the most important reference book I have. It covers just about all aspects of Photoshop and presents them with an eye toward the photographer. It is written by a professional photographer for professional photographers. It covers both Mac and Windows in a clear and concise manner. For intermediate and advanced Photoshop users, it is the definitive word on Photoshop. For the beginner, with other sources for additional foundation, it will make you that advanced user. For anyone who is serious about photography and Photoshop, Adobe Photoshop CS5 For Photographers is a must have.

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About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.