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Book Review – Photoshop CS3: Photographer’s Handbook by Brad Hinkel and Steve Laskevitch

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When someone is first starting out with Photoshop, they can become overwhelmed very quickly with all of the features and tools and options that are available. Photoshop CS3: Photographer's Handbook was written to alleviate that situation.

The goal of Photoshop CS3: Photographer's Handbook is four-part. First is to get a solid foundation in Photoshop CS3. Second is to learn a practical workflow for editing images. Third is to teach individual techniques for image editing. And finally it is to teach photographic techniques for image editing.

Photoshop CS3: Photographer's Handbook has 213 pages and is divided into an introduction and six chapters. This book is for those who want to learn to use the basic tools and image editing techniques from within Photoshop. It is aimed toward the use of Photoshop CS3 and Lightroom 1.0. The introduction helps get you set up and gets you ready to use Photoshop.

Chapter one, "Essentials of Photoshop CS3," discusses the main elements of Photoshop. This is to set you up for the later work that you will do. There are short exercises that help reinforce your understanding. Here you will work with some of the tools like the Paintbrush, Pen, Layers, Smart Objects, Levels and Curves. You will learn of histograms and what they can do, as well as the various types of files that are available to work with.

Chapter two, "The Image Editing Workflow," explains what a sample workflow is and why it is important to processing your images. By creating a carefully constructed structure, you will be able to tighten your focus on the larger tasks in each stage of the process. Each stage in the process is examined.

Chapter three, "Printing," considers the two main choices for how you would want to accomplish this process. First is a basic method that relies on your printer driver to deliver your images. Second is a more professional method that uses profiles to deliver much more accurate output.

Chapter four, "Images for the Web and Devices," explore the fact that more images are sent somewhere other than the printer. Most of these end up on the web. Here you will learn the all important techniques of getting your images out of Photoshop and on the web or other device.

Chapter five, "Advanced Options," examines all of the other techniques that need to be introduced in a book on image editing. Here you will work with Blending Layers, Toning, Color, and the Black and White conversion tools. There is also discussion on photographic interpretive effects that apply different looks to an image.

Chapter six, "Adobe Photoshop Lightroom," finishes up with a discussion of Adobe's new workflow product Lightroom. Here the authors explain how Lightroom can do many of the same workflow techniques discussed earlier and leave it to you to decide if you need both products. Lightroom can be both a separate product as well as an extension to your Photoshop workflow. You will need to be familiar with Bridge, Photoshop and Camera Raw to work with this discussion.

Photoshop CS3: Photographer's Handbook is a good book for those who want a overview of Photoshop and want to get into it quickly. It is also great for a primer on what a working workflow can be. It won't get you into the depths of Photoshop, nor do I believe that it was meant to. If you are feeling overwhelmed with your digital images and you want to get a handle before it becomes out of control then Photoshop CS3: Photographer's Handbook will provide the tools to put you back in control.

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About T. Michael Testi

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