By Betsy Finn, Cr.Photog., CPP
Ellen and Josh Anon, a mother-son photographer team, have partnered to write “Photoshop CS5 for Nature Photographers.” The book is written specifically for nature photographers who want to fully utilize features in Adobe Photoshop CS 5. The authors focus mainly on techniques using the standard version of Photoshop, but also include sidebars in each chapter on how to do particular tasks using Photoshop Elements.
“Photoshop CS5 for Nature Photographers” is subtitled “A Workshop in a Book” for good reason. As each chapter progresses, you'll find sections titled Try It. These sections are helpful if you learn by doing, allowing you to download the appropriate image file from the companion website and practice the techniques you've learned. In addition to the working files, there are also video tutorials available to give you a better understanding of certain techniques. I found the section on how to adjust color temperature without relying on visual techniques particularly interesting. This process would be invaluable for any photographer who suffers from color blindness or who has to work on a non-calibrated or improperly calibrated monitor.
The goal of this book is to provide photographers with an easy and efficient workflow. With that in mind, the Anons discus workflow, exposure, color, adjustments, composites, output techniques, and more. They present two workflow options (traditional and flexible) for you to choose from, as fits best into your working style.
The flexible workflow, as depicted in Figure 5.8 on page 202, utilizes the new Smart Object and Smart Filter capabilities to minimize duplicate files. The Anon's traditional workflow relies on creating separate rendered copies of the image, based on print size and other specifications.
“Photoshop CS5 for Nature Photographers” has very thorough explanations of how to use the tools and options available (and often used by the Anons) in Photoshop. While the book is admittedly geared toward nature photographers, the information contained within its covers provides an extremely thorough explanation of Photoshop functions, actions, and features that you will find helpful regardless of your photographic specialty and your Photoshop skill level. I came away from this book with a deeper understanding of how to use Photoshop, and actually learned about quite a few shortcuts and features of which I was previously unaware.
Cover to cover, “Photoshop CS5 for Nature Photographers” took me a little longer to read than I would have liked. But, considering the amount of information stuffed within the pages of this text -- I can't complain. If you need detailed (and practical) explanations of how to use the various features of Photoshop CS5, then this book will be a godsend. I plan on keeping it in my library as a reference book, because even though I already know my way around Photoshop and Bridge, the Anons taught me tips and techniques that I can use to enhance my workflow as a portrait photographer.