Tell me if this is you. You do your research, find the title you want, then head to the bookstore to make your final purchase. Once there, you discover a number of other titles of the same subject and spend the next hour flipping through them, trying to decide which one to by. Yep that’s me too. Imagine what you could have done with that lost hour.
When it comes to Adobe Photoshop CS5 books, there are a number of great titles out there, all of which are well written and packed with enough info to keep you busy learning the software for months. Problem is, though, that each book is written in a particular style that may or may not present the material in a way that matches your own learning style.
I’ve reviewed each of these books in previous posts on the blog, but today we’ll compare them in terms of your own learning style, your own experience with Photoshop and what you’re looking for in a Photoshop Book.
Guidebook for the Novice Photoshop User
You’ve a new or beginning Photoshop user, or you’ve had a previous version of Photoshop on your computer for some time, but never delved too deeply or learned all that it can do. Maybe you’ve been using Photoshop Elements or some other photo software, but your photography skills and experience are growing and you’re eager to take your imagery to the next level.
You’re not quite ready for one of the bigger manuals, and are looking for some basic instruction to get you started.
You want Adobe Digital Imaging HOW-TOs: 100 Essential Techniques for Photoshop CS5, Lightroom 3 and Camera RAW 6 by Acclaimed Photoshop author Dan Moughamian. Dan’s book starts at the beginning and will help you establish a solid workflow from scratch, while gradually opening you up to some of the more powerful tools that Photoshop has to offer
Jump Right In and Get Your Hands Dirty Style Book
You want to know the fastest way to achieve professional results from your imagery. You want to get in quickly, learn the techniques and methods that the pros use and see how to apply them to your own workflow. Maybe you’re already an experienced Photoshop user, are coming from a previous version and want to learn how to apply the latest tools to your own workflow. You want practical, down to earth, conversational, and you don’t mind a little off the cuff humor or the occasional rant. You want to learn Photoshop with the guy with whom you’d like to share a beer.
You want The Adobe Photoshop CS5 Book for Digital Photographers by Scott Kelby.
Kelby is the world’s leading expert on Photoshop and his books have long been award winning favorites. They’re concise, clearly written in a friendly style, and filled with Scott’s patented “Killer Photoshop Tips” that can help you quickly and efficiently move through each step of the software.
The format and goal of the Kelby CS5 book is to get you up to speed as quickly as possible. Essentially, he walks you through his own digital workflow while showing the exact methods that he uses to edit, process and output his images. With Kelby’s book, you’ll learn pro techniques, insider tips and time saving workarounds that will make you an efficient Photoshop user as quickly as possible.
Complete Reference Manual
You want to know EVERYTHING about Adobe Photoshop CS5. You want a detailed manual that walks you through all the new tools and actions that have been packed into CS5. You want to know multiple ways of how to sharpen or retouch a photograph and you want all of this info written in a through, intelligent style and no sophomoric humor to get in the way of the learning process.
You want Adobe Photoshop CS5 for Photographers by Martin Evening. Martin is an internationally renowned Photoshop user and an excellent teacher. His books offer step-by-step tutorials, professional tips, and hundreds of illustrations, screen grabs and video lessons.
At 768 pages, this is the Photoshop CS5 Bible. You won’t find a more thorough guide to this program anywhere. It’s the kind of book that you’ll need to grow into if you’re a beginning Photoshop user, but even so, it’s all there if you need it.
Photoshop CS5 Workshop In A Book
You’d really like to take a weekend workshop on Photoshop. Maybe you don’t have the time, or else none of those big name PS guys come to your town. You like to learn material in big chunks, devouring entire chapters and then taking the time to digest and practice what you’ve learned, while being able to go back to the reference manual.
You want Adobe Photoshop CS5 for Photographers: The Ultimate Workshop by Martin Evening and Jeff Schewe. Written by not just one, but a pair of acclaimed Photoshop Gurus, this book is exactly that, a workshop in a book. It’s a compete tutorial that shows you how to master the features and tools that CS5 has to offer and how each method fits into a compete photography workflow.
The book is broken up into 13 topic-based chapters, each of which are designed to replicate a single workshop session. It also comes with a DVD that contains over 3 hours of tutorial content, as well as a number of other goodies.
If you’ve got the time, energy and enthusiasm to spend delving into Adobe Photoshop CS5 on a workshop type schedule, then this book is a great choice. Read my full review here.