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Book Review – Photoshop Elements Drop Dead Lighting Techniques by Barry Huggins

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While Adobe Photoshop is the ultimate tool for professional photographers, much of the time it is overkill for the novice to advanced amateur photographer. But that doesn’t mean that they should be left out of creating wonderful images and professional looking pictures. That’s where Adobe Photoshop Elements comes in. Elements is the scaled-down version of Photoshop that allows anyone to create professional looking photos at a fraction of the cost. The goal of Barry Huggins book Photoshop Elements Drop Dead Lighting Techniques is to show you how to use Elements to create extraordinary images.

Photoshop Elements Drop Dead Lighting Techniques is broken down into seven chapters contained in 224 pages. Some of the images featured in the book are available from the Lark Books Download website for you to work with using the step-by-step instructions contained in each example.

Chapter one, “The Basics,” covers the tools and features within Elements that you will need to work through the examples. These include how to make selections, lighting filters, the Brush tool, working with Layers, fills and gradients, as well as Clone Stamp tool and Healing brushes.

Chapter two, “Shadows and Projections,” will show you how to cast realistic looking shadows, how to cast and project light, how to cast shadows through blinds, and capture light shining through stained glass.

Chapter three, “Reflections,” explores how to create reflections off of water and metal as well as how to remove unwanted reflections from objects.

Chapter four, “Quality of Light,” teaches you the difference between warm light and cold light. You will learn how to create moonlight as well as mixing light from different sources. You will find out how to handle low light situations as well as over-lit exposures. You will create both neon and candle light as well.

Chapter five, “Special Effects with Light,” takes you through a myriad of special effects techniques including Retro Studio lighting, Film Noir, creating fire, silhouettes, laser lights, light trails, starry skies, and emulating precious metals on text as well as many other techniques.

Chapter six, “Lighting and Weather,” will have you creating sunsets from daylight and sunny days from gray days. You will create lighting, rainbows, heat haze, fog and dramatic skies.

Chapter seven, “Reference,” contains a glossary of technical terms so you can better understand the technology, a set of Photoshop Elements shortcuts, an index and a set of online resources for you to gain additional information.

Photoshop Elements Drop Dead Lighting Techniques provides a wealth of information, especially for those who are new to digital editing and photo manipulation. While the author goes over the tools and techniques that you will need to perform these manipulations, there is some assumption that you are familiar with Photoshop Elements and how it works. I think that if you are ready to move beyond just taking pictures and printing them, then Photoshop Elements Drop Dead Lighting Techniques is a great place to start.

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About T. Michael Testi

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