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Book Review: How To Wow – Photoshop CS3 For Photographers By Jack Davis

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With Photoshop, you have at your fingertips a tool of great power. And with that power comes the ability to create great experiences if you take the time and learn how. The goal of How To Wow: Photoshop CS3 For Photographers is to give you the techniques, tips, insights, and essential principles that will help you achieve the highest quality results. You will gain the ability to produce the wow factor.

It is also the goal of How To Wow to give you the ability to accomplish this with the greatest degree of flexibility, while maintaining the speed to get it done in the fewest number of steps. This book is 304 pages with 15 chapters divided into four sections. I will address the four sections.

Section I, "Workflow & Optimizing," begins by reminding us that Photoshop is not the most important tool, but rather, it is the camera that shapes the story you want to tell, and the camera provides you with the raw material to present your story to the world. After you have captured your image you now must have processes in place to prepare your image for display. You will need Adobe Bridge and Camera Raw to begin your preparation, a smart, non-destructive workflow to make sure that you harm no pixels, the techniques and abilities to make selections, and the ability to optimize your colors and tones with targeted tweaking.

Section II, "Retouching & Repairing," explains that the reason for retouching is to remove the distractions that draw the eye and mind away from the subject and subsequently your story. To do this you need to know what a distraction is, and what an integral part of the story is and how to remove the former and enhance the later. This all begins in Camera Raw. Next we look at the skin and how to soften it and let the subject shine through. From there you will see how to patch, reduce wrinkles, reshape body parts, enhance eyes, teeth, hair, lips, and skin, as well as replacing, removing and repairing objects in your image.

Section III, "Enhancing & Embellishing," is all about going beyond that captured moment and crafting what you experienced in the camera and translate that experience to the viewer of your image. This is where you put your best foot forward. It is the icing on the cake. It is the WOW factor. In this section you will learn how to take some liberties with your image. Primarily these will be with your colors, tones, and hues. You will see how to work with edge glows, overlays, and blurring effects. It will be with conversion to black and white, tinting, and hand coloring. It is all about making the most with your image.

Section IV, "Preparing For Print," is the purpose of why we take photos; to show them in some form or manner. Sometimes it is on the web, others, it is the more traditional route; the printer. The devil is in the details and with regard to printing it is in the sharpening, noise reduction, and finally the proofing and printing. Here you will examine how best to sharpen both globally and targeted areas of your image. You will see how to cleanup artifacts, how to soft-proof and print preview your image, and get your image ready to output.

How To Wow is printed in full color and is very nicely laid out. It is fully indexed and contains a good sampling of the author's work throughout and at the end of the book. There is also a CD ROM that contains a majority of the images (some are not available because of copyright restrictions) used in the step-by-step instructions so that you can follow along.

What I like about How To Wow: Photoshop CS3 For Photographers is the way it flows. Within each section is a logical progression such that if you need to locate or learn a skill, you don't have to trudge through a lot of dialog or learn much in the way of prior steps. You can digest that single skill. Keep in mind that it is geared toward the intermediate and above level user and so expects that you are familiar with Photoshop to a certain degree. With that in mind, I can highly recommend this book.

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About T. Michael Testi

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