Scott Kelby's 7-Point System for Adobe Photoshop CS3 is truly a unique book on a number of different levels. First, it presents a system for correcting photographic image problems using seven main areas of focus within Photoshop. This means that you don't have to become an expert in all things Photoshop, rather only seven basic techniques.
Second, this is not a book in which you learn technique “A” in lesson one, “B” in lesson two, etc. It is more of book in which each lesson you explore a photo with problem “A” and you see the steps to fix it. Then the next lesson you go to photo “B” and see the problems and learn how to fix them.
This may confuse some people. If you are looking for a book that teaches you how to use curves, or channels, or masks, this may not be the book for you. Yes you will learn how to use each of these techniques, but indirectly. What this book will teach you more of is a workflow for fixing photographic problems.
So in essence Scott Kelby's 7-Point System is a training manual that explains how Scott Kelby manages to work with images. It is laid out into 21 lessons covering 264 pages.
One side note, I said that this contains 21 chapters. In the realm of the NAPP world this is a significant number; no, not because 21 divided by 3 is 7 which equals the number in the title, rather that is the number of lessons contained in all of the training videos that I have review in my column, so therefore, I predict that there will be a Scott Kelby's 7-Point System training video one day soon!
One thing to note, you must read the introduction. Quite cleverly, Kelby inserts critical information that you cannot successfully succeed without it. He seems to want people to read the introduction. It also covers the general reason he developed this method and how the book in general works.
Since it doesn’t make much since to cover each lesson; I mean if I said “Lesson 10, Porch Silhouette, Bar Harbor, Maine is about a Porch…” it would get rather boring so instead, I will highlight the seven points. No I am not revealing any secrets from the book here since how each step is implemented can be different for each photographic situation.
With Point 1, you start off in "Raw" mode. This can be from Photoshop with the ACR plug-in or from Lightroom where you work with just some basic adjustments. These adjustments are easier and faster to do in Raw as opposed to Photoshop. Point 2, you will work with "Curves Adjustments"; most of it is very basic and does not require advanced technical skills.
Point 3 is covers the use of "Shadows and Highlights" to eliminate clipping, or tonal problems within the photo. Point 4 covers "Painting with Light". By learning how to control the light in your images will give you incredible control to fix exposure problems and bring out detail.
Point 5, "Channels Adjustments", uses Lab color channels to show you three different versions of your photo that can be used to bring out the vibrancy and color contrast in your image. Point 6 "Layer Blend Modes & Layer Masks" enhances the skills that you learned with Point 4. Point 7, “Sharpening Techniques” shows you how to bring out the clarity in your photos.
Scott Kelby's 7-Point System is one of those books that that you really have to work through to get out of it all of the lessons it contains. It may even require that you work through some of the lessons several times to get good at it. But if you do, by the end, you will find that you have become very good with Photoshop and image correction.
Scott Kelby's 7-Point System is very well written, as are all of Kelby’s books. The lessons are all very much step by step and easy to follow along for users of any level. If I had one minor complaint about the book it is that, while all steps are explained in detail, not all of the explanations for why they were done a particular way are explained; for example, you may be told to flatten an image, but not why, or what the implications of flattening it are. But handily all of the photos from the lesson are available online for download.
All in all, Scott Kelby's 7-Point System for Adobe Photoshop CS3 is a great book. It will have you looking at your photos in a new way. You will see ones that may not have made the “cut,” having new life. It will also give you the fundamental basis for an image correction work flow. If you want to learn how to correct images in a professional way, then this book is a must-have.