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Book Review: The Digital Photography Workflow HandBook by Juergen Gulbins And Uwe Steinmueller

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In the age of digital photography, one of the hardest tasks to develop is an efficient workflow to get you through the processing of your photos so you can get back out to shoot again. The workflow is the process that happens after you capture your images and moves through the point of output production – this includes printing or posting to the internet.

The importance of workflow is many times underestimated and even sometimes neglected, which leads to poorly managed collections as well as images that are much weaker than they could be. The Digital Photography Workflow HandBook is a book that will take you through the entire workflow using step-by-step instructions to help you get the best possible results from your equipment. The book is hard-bound, 552 pages in length and contains 13 chapters.

Chapter 1, “Introducing the Digital Photo Workflow,” will give you an overview of a well-run workflow. It will describe what a workflow is, how one works, and how it needs to be fast, affordable, adaptable, and capable of delivering optimum image quality.

Chapter 2, “The Basic Workflow,” now takes on the actual workflow process. It is here that you get into the details behind an efficient workflow. While there is no single way to process an image, by having a foundation to build upon, you will be able to develop your own strategies in tackling specific tasks.

Chapter 3, “Color Management Know-How,” is essential because color is one of the central elements of the photographic process. It is here that you will get a basic understanding of color, the color models, and how to get your hardware to reproduce colors correctly.

Chapter 4, “Image Processing Basics,” will show you how to deal with the basic processing details that are important to the following chapters. At this point it doesn’t matter if you shoot RAW or other digital formats, what is important is that you learn these Photoshop techniques that are used regularly in the basic workflow.

Chapter 5, “Raw Editing and Conversion,” is an important topic if you work with RAW files. While the focus is on the Adobe RAW tools, they also cover a number of third party RAW converters as well.

Chapter 6, “All-In-One Workflow Tools,” are products like Adobe Lightroom, Apple Aperture, and Bibble Labs Bibble 5. What these products do is provide an all-encompassing ability to manage your workflow from capture to output. They can provide a high level of integration, but they can also have some weaknesses as well.

Chapter 7, “Photoshop Layers,” are an essential part of the Photoshop workflow. Layers allow you to make subtle changes to your images, and, with the use of adjustment layers and Smart Filters, you can readjust your individual corrections at a later time.

Chapter 8, “Advanced Photoshop Techniques,” now gets into additional topics such as Smart Objects, and the use of selective correction tools to perform complex, non-destructive image corrections. You will also be introduced to a number of other tools that will allow you to work more effectively in Photoshop.

Chapter 9, “Multishot Techniques,” will show you the best ways to work with images that are taken in series. That is when you are working with panoramic shots, High Dynamic Range (HDR) images, or Focus Stacking and you have to take a series of shots to create one final image. This chapter will show you how to manage these files.

Chapter 10, “Turning Color into Black-and-White,” takes more than just switching from RGB to gray scale. To get high quality black-and-white images takes a series of complex steps. This chapter will step you through everything you need to know.

Chapter 11, “Printing and Image Presentation,” is generally the reason that you take photographs. It is the reason for your workflow. Here you will learn how to produce various types of digital photographic output with the primary focus on high-quality digital prints.

Chapter 12, “Useful Photoshop Plug-ins,” is not here to sell you on these products, but rather to make you aware of their existence and the benefits that they might bring to your digital workflow. Most of these provide abilities not available in Photoshop, or enhance the capabilities that do exist.

Chapter 13, “Data Management and Backup,” are important to the digital photographic workflow. Here you will examine a structured image data management system that includes file management, storage, and backing up your data.

The Digital Photography Workflow HandBook is very systematically developed, concise in its presentation, and very well written. For the uninitiated, it may appear to be overwhelming, but upon investigation, through the well done, step-by-step instructions, the use of high quality illustrations, and notes provided in the margins, make this a book that will be understandable at all levels.

The Digital Photography Workflow HandBook, being hard cover, is also well constructed to last a long time. The sturdy pages and the high quality images make this an even better value. If you want to develop a high quality workflow based on a solid foundation, then I can very highly recommend The Digital Photography Workflow HandBook.

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About T. Michael Testi

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