A few weeks ago, I reviewed Lightroom books by Scott Kelby, Nat Coalson and Martin Evening. Today we look at another very useful title that’s geared more toward the emerging digital photographer: Adobe Digital Imaging HOW-TOs: 100 Essential Techniques for Photoshop CS5, Lightroom 3 and Camera RAW 6.
Published by Adobe Press, and written by a veteran of the Adboe test team, Dan Moughamian, Adobe Digital Imaging HOW-TOs is a concise manual for working with digital images and learning how to easily navigate through Adobe Lightroom 3, Adobe Camera RAW and Photoshop CS5.
Unlike many software manuals that can often overwhelm new users, this book was designed with a very simple goal in mind: to teach you the important and relevant techniques and functions so that you can jump right in, learn the programs and begin building a solid digital imaging expertise.
It does a very good job at that. Written as a series of 100 essential tips, and targeted to beginning and intermediate users, the book walks you through the four main steps of any digital photography workflow, which are importing and organizing your images, developing your RAW files, retouching and perfecting your images in Photoshop, and preparing your finished images for output.
Technique #1 starts right at the beginning by getting you familiar with the Lightroom 3 interface, and from there it teaches you all the important steps that you’ll need to know to make use of this powerful program, like adding metadata, using smart collections, synchronizing and renaming folders, how to shoot tethered, and how to compare similar photos during your editing process.
From there, it moves onto the developing stage and it teaches you how to fine tune your images and how to get them ready for print, slideshows or web galleries. The last section teaches you how to setup the Photoshop CS5 interface and make use of the powerful tools at your disposal, like how to use the new Content-Aware Fill Tool, how to make Photomerge panoramas, how to Refine Selections, how to use Adjustment Layers, the Spot Healing tool, HUD color pickers, Lens Correction and more. There’s even a section on how to make the most of CS5’s great new HDR-Pro features and some more advanced techniques, such as Manual Lens Correction and HDR Toning.
Each of the 100 techniques is written as a series of very clear steps and illustrated with full-color screenshots that teach you how to perform and understand exactly what you’re doing. Many of them even contain useful sidebar tips. Most of the techniques take up a single flip of the page, while a handful take up a few pages. It’s quick, easy and concise. This method lets you become familiar with each step so that it will quickly burn itself into your workflow memory. If you forget how to perform a specific technique, though, you can simply refer to the table of contents and easily find what you’re looking for.
I see this book as an excellent reference for photographers who are new to Adobe software, or who want a book that will guide them along quickly and clearly. Like I said, it doesn’t overwhelm, it gives you the essential information that you need to know, and it gets you going quickly.
Maybe you’ve been using iPhoto or Picasa to organize and edit your images and have just decided to make the jump to Lightroom and/or Photoshop, or maybe you’re looking for a single, affordable reference that covers both programs (three if you count Adobe Camera RAW, which is built into LR and PS).
If so, then I’d highly recommend Adobe Digital Imaging HOW-TOs: 100 Essential Techniques for Photoshop CS5, Lightroom 3 and Camera RAW 6. It’s a really great book that contains enough detail so that you can jump right in and begin, learning the software, improving your photos and establishing a workflow right now. And as you work through it, you’ll build a solid working expertise of these powerful applications one technique at a time.
Check out www.colortrails.com for more information and tips by author Dan Moughamian.