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Book Review: Photoshop CS5 And Lightroom 3: A Photographers Handbook by Stephen Laskevitch

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Photographers can feel overwhelmed when first starting out with Photoshop. The vast number of features alone can be paralyzing. While there are a huge number of books on using Photoshop, not many of them provide a fundamental set of steps to ease the fear. The goal of Photoshop CS5 And Lightroom 3: A Photographers Handbook is to relieve that fear.

Photoshop CS5 And Lightroom 3 works through all four of the major Adobe products – Photoshop CS5, Bridge, Camera Raw, and Lightroom 3, and provides a fundamental workflow that will get you to that point to where you can begin to form your own flow based on this set up. Photoshop CS5 And Lightroom 3 is 296 pages in length and covers 10 chapters.

Chapter 1, “Terms & Concepts,” begins by looking at some background on digital photography and defining what a digital image is and how it is defined through pixels, size, and resolution. You also will look at color, color spaces, color management and how images are stored in various file formats.

Chapter 2, “System Configuration,” takes a look at how you might configure your settings in Photoshop, Bridge, Lightroom, and Camera Raw. You will also see some considerations when buying hardware as well. The author makes suggestions here, but in the end, you will have to determine what works best for your workflow.

Chapter 3, “The Interface: A Tour,” examines the various products and how you can become more productive with them. In this chapter you will learn how to rapidly zoom in and out, pan around, leap from one image to another, as well as jumping from one application to another in order to streamline your workflow and get you in and out much faster.

Chapter 4, “Capture & Import,” focuses on the various import features that are found in Bridge and Lightroom. It focuses on the most important parts of importing, digital negatives, and specialty imports like for HDR images and Panoramas.

Chapter 5, “Organizing and Archiving Images,” becomes more important in the digital age because of the ease of collecting and building a massive library for users at any level. The problem is more about efficiently rating the quality, processing the best images, and finding them quickly when you need them. This chapter will show you how to best come up with a solution that works for you.

Chapter 6, “Global Adjustments,” are the ones that affect the image as a whole. Here you will look at cropping, white balance, straightening, working with color, tone, hue, saturation, and converting to black and white. You will also look at sharpening, lens correction, and working with filters.

Chapter 7, “Local Adjustments,” is all about getting down into the details. In the film days you had techniques like dodging and burning, but in the digital age, there are many more techniques that are available to modify specific portions of your images. This chapter looks at selection and masking tools that you can use to make local adjustments.

Chapter 8, “Cleanup and Retouching,” means many things to many people. This can go from simple cleaning of sensor dust, to the overall reconstruction of the human body. This chapter looks at many of the techniques used to address everything in between, including the use of healing brush, clone stamp tool, patch tool, content aware fill, and much more.

Chapter 9, “Creative Edits & Alternates,” is about getting the image that you visualize. Masters in the traditional darkroom could accomplish a lot. Those in the digital darkroom can accomplish so much more. This chapter looks at what you can do with very radical methods.

Chapter 10, “Output – Print, Web, and Presentation,” should be easier than it is and this chapter is devoted to making it as simple as possible. Here you will learn the essential steps for getting images in and out of your computer and putting it where it needs to be whether it is on the web or on some paper.

Photoshop CS5 And Lightroom 3 takes a standalone approach in that it addresses a fully functional workflow from capture to output. In situations where more than one product can handle a particular task, you are presented with those options. The pages show clearly which application is being described.

Photoshop CS5 And Lightroom 3 is clearly aimed at the beginner to intermediate user as it is by its nature for general application and information, does not go into a lot of depth but it does meet its goal of providing a clear and usable workflow that just about anyone can use to get up to speed. If you are struggling on how to make this all work, if you are new to digital imaging and want to get up to speed fast, you should definitely check out Photoshop CS5 And Lightroom 3: A Photographers Handbook.

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About T. Michael Testi

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