Book Excerpts Archives

October 24, 2014

Excerpt: "Shoot Macro: Techniques for Photography Up Close"

This is an excerpt from "Shoot Macro: Techniques for Photography Up Close" (Amherst Media), $27.95

Acclaimed photographer and Professional Photographer contributor Stan Sholik takes you deep into the lighting and shooting techniques used to produce otherworldly images of tiny subjects. Step-by-step techniques show you how to choose and use the right equipment, solve common problems, and make best use of the specialized equipment designed for this technically demanding genre.



A rose is such an over-photographed subject. A new macro photo must add a little something unique to the way we see it, or it’s not worth doing. This is my take on it from a few years ago when Lensbaby first introduced their macro lens kit.


For those unfamiliar with Lensbabies, it is an optic system that replaces the lens on Canon and Nikon DSLRs, many 4/3 cameras, or PL-mount video cameras. There are several lens bodies that allow you to shift the focus point while blurring other areas of the image, and a range of optics that mount into the bodies and simulate various camera lenses. There are also lens accessories, such as the macro lens kit that I use as well as newer macro converter extension tubes.


For this photo I used a Lensbaby Composer body on my Nikon with the Lensbaby double glass optic, an f/8 aperture disc, and both macro close-up lenses. The double glass optic is a well corrected, multicoated lens that is quite sharp when the Composer is not shifted. But when you manually shift the Composer, the area of sharpness moves and blurred edges appear. The amount of sharpness and blur, as well as the exposure, are determined by the lens aperture. The aperture is adjusted by discs that you place into the Composer.

For close-up and macro photography there is a +4 and a +10 diopter available in a kit. These you can screw onto most of the optics either individually or in combination.

As always, choosing the right subject is important. I found these small roses at a market when I was shopping and bought them to photograph. While I was shooting them with my Nikon macro lens and producing results that I was happy with, I thought of the Lensbaby macro lenses that I had recently acquired.


Using available sunlight, I started playing around with the macro lenses individually and in combination. With the +4 diopter mounted on the double glass optic and the f/8 aperture disc installed, I shifted the Composer quite a way off axis to create an area of sharp focus and streaks of blur around the area. This is my favorite from that day. The shot works because there is enough color contrast in the red to clearly show the blur. With a single color rose, it doesn’t work well at all.

January 20, 2014

Creativity and Inspiration, an Excerpt from "Inspiration in Photography" by Brooke Shaden

Inspiration-in-Photo_500px.jpgThe following is an excerpt from Brooke Shaden's "Inspiration in Photography" (Focal Press, $34.95). 

Creativity Can Be Learned 

What is it speci­fically about creativity that so many people shy away from? Why is it normal to think that creativity is something reserved for the obviously artistic? The reason lies in our perception of creativity and how we interact with that notion. Creativity is often nothing more than problem-solving. To come up against a problem during a project—be it an obstacle or a desire—and then ­figure out a way to resolve the issue: that is being creative.

So often creativity and inspiration are treated as being the same or very similar things, when actually they have separate meanings. Creativity is the application of a thought, while inspiration is the force that originates that thought. Not everyone is always inspired, but everyone can be creative. We all have our own ways of bringing forth our creativity; the key is learning how to embrace our own personal style.

How then does one learn creativity? If everyone is creative, there must be little learning involved to actually be so. The real work is in ­figuring out how we personally are creative and how we can apply that energy to our work. Think about your life as it currently stands. I am willing to bet that you do something creative every day, whether you see it as such or not. Take your job, for example, or school. Every single day, in order to be productive, you need to make decisions that keep progress moving. So you are being creative, because you are problem-solving to move your desires to completion.



This picture was taken in the very early morning in a foggy field. I was out shooting with my friend, the amazing photographer Miss Aniela, and we ran through cold, wet grass so that I could get this picture. The inspiration behind this image is the recurring theme in my dreams that something or someone is chasing me. This picture creates an atmosphere of pursuit, giving the feeling that something or someone is chasing the subjects through the field.

What about more obvious creative endeavors? Here I’m talking about what we do with our spare time. It doesn’t matter if the answer is watching television or mountain biking. Anything can be fuel for inspiration. For example: I watch television and movies as a way of relaxing after working hard. Specifically, I watch Game of Thrones, not only because I ­find it wonderfully exciting, but because it shows me a different world. I take inspiration from it visually, as well as narratively. That inspiration then feeds into building my photographs, because it informs the way I see the world and the way I de­ne beauty and intrigue.

Now take my other favorite hobby: hiking. I love going hiking because it clears my mind, but I also try to see it as a creative endeavor. Hiking shows me settings that I can use for my photographs, and frees my mind from the daily grind. It allows me to fi­nd inspiration in every step, because I am not only doing what I enjoy, but also applying it to my photography on a daily basis.

So it is worth thinking about what we love and how we can turn that into something creative.


TALLY (2009)

Skin photographs beautifully with window light on it, so I decided to challenge myself for this series and use natural window light and a plain white wall as a background as often and interestingly as possible. By using chocolate sauce to add an unsettling element, I was able to distract from the dull surroundings and focus the eye on the subject, who is posed displaying unease and tension. Never underestimate the power of giving yourself projects to work to.

Inspiration is Everywhere

Thus far I have been presenting inspiration as an abstract feeling that appears on a whim. This certainly does happen—no matter what we do for a living or for fun, we all know the power of a great idea hitting us from nowhere or a beautiful daydream sucking us in whole. This is the type of inspiration that is wonderful to experience, but is often fleeting, and impossible to control. What happens when a client needs a photograph in a hurry and no ideas come to mind? What happens when life takes over and things do not work out as planned? What happens when our usual method of brainstorming fails and there is no time left to sit and wonder?

The answer to these questions is the answer to how we de­fine inspiration. I believe that there is no clear de­finition for what inspiration is, and even less of a concrete method of how to ­find it. I believe that inspiration is everywhere. We just have to look for it. In life, if we look for something hard enough, chances are we will ­find it. I might never have another amazing idea completely off the cuff again, but if I can train myself to ­find inspiration in everything, then I will be constantly inspired.

The commonly held view is that inspiration is reserved for an elite few artists who are so in touch with their inner workings that they fi­nd themselves inspired constantly, as if by some kind of magic. While this might be how some people function, I have never met an artist who has not been frustrated at some point by a lack of inspiration. We all need help sometimes ­finding it, and luckily there are some techniques that help a lot.

I’ll talk about these techniques in greater depth in the next section, but in general, they involve changing our personal perspective. From fi­nding meaning in every little part of our routine, to looking back on memories to ­find stories we can use, there is potential inspiration in our whole life if we choose to open our eyes to it. I believe that most people turn a blind eye to inspiration, not because they do not seek it, but because they have been conditioned not to see it. How often do you take the same route to work each morning? How often do you eat the same breakfast, visit the same restaurants, or travel to the same vacation spots? Human beings are creatures of habit, and breaking some of those habits might well be the key to opening up our minds to ­find inspiration.


FETUS (2009)

The subject of rebirth is prevalent throughout my images, particularly in Fetus. I found myself in Walmart trying various containers on my head to find one big enough to use in this shoot. Shooting, I had a remote in my hand and I did a back bend over a couch to dip my head into the container. I had two people on standby should something go wrong, but luckily I got the shot in three tries. It was intensely claustrophobic, and remains the most terrifying photo shoot I’ve ever done. If you’re stuck for inspiration, think about what scares you—is it something you could incorporate into a shot or series?



Underwater photography was something that I had never tried before creating this image. I learned a lot about what works underwater and what doesn’t when creating this picture, and that in itself can be motivating and inspirational. I took a lot of bad pictures that day, and realized that sometimes complete failure is the best form of inspiration because it pushes us to try harder and learn more. Oddly enough, this final picture from that day remains a favorite of mine across my whole portfolio. Maybe I like it so much because I know how hard-won it was.



October 10, 2013

Excerpt: Color, Dodging, and Burning Tips from "Digital Image Editing and Special Effects"

The following is an excerpt from Michael Freeman's "Digital Image Editing and Special Effects" (Focal Press, $24.95). 

Color adjustments

There could be any number of reasons why you may feel it necessary to adjust the colors in an image. It might be that you simply want to boost the overall color of an image for a more saturated look; alternatively you may want to single out one particular color to increase or decrease saturation without affecting the rest of the colors in the image. Whatever color adjustment you want to make, you’ll get the best results using the Hue/Saturation command. This is a powerful tool that lets you make color changes quickly and easily.

When you choose your camera's user settings, it's advisable to set the color saturation control to a minimum, unless you're intending to print directly from the camera. Although this will usually result in images that lack color right out of the camera, it does mean that you can color correct the image in a much more controlled manner using image-editing software, rather than relying on your camera's processor to get it right for you.

Once the camera has embedded the color settings, it’s often difficult to change them should you want to—especially if you’re shooting JPEGs—without degrading the image. Here a Hue/Saturation command was used and the Saturation slider moved to the right to boost the overall color. A fairly strong setting was used to make the most of the warm reds of the sunset.

1: This photograph of fishing boats has attractive, nicely saturated colors, but the yellow nets in the foreground are not as vivid as they seemed at the time of shooting.


2: If we increase the overall saturation of the image so that the nets are brighter, the result is distinctly oversaturated colors across the board. Not the result we want.



3: One of the benefits of the Hue/Saturation command is that you can select specific colors to enhance using the pull-down menu. By selecting “Yellows” we can increase the saturation of the yellow hues in the image without oversaturating the rest of the image.



4: If you’re working with raw files, Lightroom offers a powerful color control panel that features three sliders—Hue, Saturation, and Luminence—for each of the key eight colors—Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Aqua, Blue, Purple, and Magenta. The sliders let you target specific color adjustments with accuracy.



Fine-tuning color

Although the Hue/Saturation dialog is a powerful and relatively versatile tool, when it comes to making really specific color corrections it’s necessary to use the command in combination with other tools. In this example, we need to select and correct a very specific color without affecting any of the other colors in the photograph. This is a good example of a very localized correction that simply would not be possible to accomplish using a raw conversion program.

This striking image of a humming-bird hawkmoth in flight has captured the insect well. However, the Valerian on which it is feeding appears too red (perhaps reflected light from a red colored wall). The Hue/Saturation command on its own will not be able to isolate the color of the plant as it is a mixture of a number of subtle hues.


Instead, we select the Eyedropper tool from the Toolbox and click on a particularly red part of the plant. Having sampled the color, we’ll next go to Select > Color Range. This brings up the Color Range dialog box. This shows all the elements of the picture that share the sampled color in white. Moving the Fuzziness slider to the right will widen the selection. Here we’ve set the slider so that most of the plant has been selected.



Having set the Fuzziness slider, clicking OK will make the selection, outlined by the familiar marching ants.


Now that we’ve isolated the offending color, we can use the Hue/Saturation command to change the color of the selected area. Hiding the marching ants selection by pressing Ctrl/_ + H provides us with a clear view of the plant as we’re making the adjustment.

Experimenting with various Hue settings, and reducing the saturation a little, provides us with a much more accurate color— important to keep the botanists happy! Using the Color Range command is an excellent way of selecting an area of an image for corrections other than just color.



Dodging & burning

Dodging and burning are old darkroom terms and involve making specific areas of an image either lighter (dodging) or darker (burning). In the days of black-and-white printing, the dodging and burning process was considered a fundamental creative process in order to arrive at the final printed result. Conventionally, dodging was carried out by masking certain areas of the print so they would receive less light as the photo was being exposed, thereby making them lighter.

Other areas that received additional light during exposure became darker when the print was developed—and these areas were said to be “burned” or “burned in.” Using the digital Dodge and Burn tools has the same effect, but they are much easier to control, and you can always go back a step if you don’t like the result.

This photograph of ferns was shot in dappled sunlight, with light scattered by the canopy of the tree’s leaves. The fern shows up quite brightly against the relatively dark bark of the tree behind, but we can use the Dodge and Burn tools to emphasize the effect.


With the Burn tool selected, a fairly strong exposure was set in the Tool Options bar, and the Range kept to the default Midtones. Next, with an appropriately sized brush, the Burn tool was painted over the trunk of the tree to darken it.



Once all the areas that needed darkening were burned in, the Burn tool was replaced by the Dodge tool. Similar values were set in the Tool Options bar, and another brush size selected, which covered just the ferns.


It’s better to Dodge and Burn gradually, making several passes over the relevant areas. That way you remain in control of the adjustment. The finished result picks out the fern, making it stand out against the backdrop.


TIP You’ll find you’ll get much better results using the Dodge and Burn tools with images in 16-bit mode. So don’t convert any images you’ve opened as raw files into JPEGs (or reduce them to 8-bit) if you’re intending to use these tools. Alternatively use the Adjustment brush in Lightroom or Aperture and adjust the exposure to lighten or darken selected parts of the image.


Michael Freeman is a veteran professional editorial photographer. While he has written 66 books on the craft of photography, Freeman has also released a total of 135 books selling more than 4 million copies. Freeman is also the author of "The Black & White Photography Field Guide" and newly released "The Photographer's Eye: A Graphic Guide" and "The Photographer's Eye Course," a book and DVD package, all published by Focal Press.

June 11, 2013

Blogging for Photographers: Creating a Community and Dealing with Negative Comments

Jolie O’Dell's new book, "Blogging for Photographers," is a thorough guide to everything you'll need to know about beginning and succeeding in the blogging process. From early preparation that will save you loads of time to more advanced advice on how to navigate the Internet and the potential pitfalls of putting yourself in front of the public. She goes over the technical side and shows you examples of specific successful blogs to illustrate her points. Here we share a small part of her chapter on community, which also includes information on spam, blogger networking, making good impressions with introductions, moving up networking tiers, and integrating social media.   —Joan Sherwood, Senior Editor, Professional Photographer

This article was excerpted from Jolie O’Dell’s “Blogging for Photographers: Showcase Your Creativity and Build Your Audience” book, published by Focal Press last month. “Blogging for Photographers” is available in stores and online for $24.95.



One of the great parts of being a blogger is the fact that you get to interact with your audience. But when you’ve done your part by creating great content, readers get to do their part by responding to it, sharing it, and getting more involved with you, your blog, and each other.

Building a community is an exciting and sometimes exhausting endeavor, but it brings you close to your audience and creates real connections between you and your readers. And when those connections start to form, you’ll see some interesting “network effects” on your blog.

A thriving network can start to have a gravity-like effect on the surrounding areas of the internet. The stronger your community becomes, the more readers will get pulled into it. One regular reader will share a link in a tweet, another will email his friend about an insightful post you wrote. Little by little, your readership will grow; as you make connections on a personal level, your network will grow. And as your network grows, so does your personal brand, your business, and your overall ranking in the world of photo blogging.


Creating a community in comments

Don’t be shy—if your readers were interested enough to leave a comment, you should meet them halfway and start a dialog whenever possible.

The first, easiest, and most obvious way to start building a community is by reading and responding to the comments on your blog.

Note, I did not say by obsessively checking and pondering the deeper meaning of the comments on your blog.

This can be hinky territory for even the most self-assured photo bloggers. Your snaps and scribbles will acquire a diverse crowd of readers, and not all of them will be supportive, pleasant, or sane. That’s the gamble you take when you work in the public eye. Prepare yourself for some positivity, some neutrality, some negativity, and a healthy serving of spam, and try not to take it all too seriously.

If you’re particularly concerned about angry, unpleasant, or profanity-laced comments, your content management system (CMS) will likely give you an option for pre-screening comments before they are publicly published on your blog. If you choose to moderate all your comments this way, try to check for new comments at least once a day, more frequently if you get more than a handful of comments.

With that caveat in mind, know that the comments section on any post can be a lively salon for fascinating conversations between peers. Beginners can ask you questions; you can respond with specific tips. Old pros can offer you suggestions for new techniques to try. Avid fans can give you digital applause, and thoughtful connoisseurs can give you constructive critiques.

You don’t have to respond to every comment you get. In fact, many of your commenters’ thoughts may be along two well-worn lines: “That’s great!” and “Me too!” While these kinds of responses can certainly enliven and flesh out your comments section, they don’t really add much substance to the conversation you started when you published your blog post, and they don’t necessarily require a response from you. If you’d like to respond, you may absolutely do so, but be advised that the blogger who responds to every comment creates a cluttered conversation stream and cultivates an overly eager image.

Rather, it might be best (especially when you start getting more than one or two comments on a given post) to chime into the comments only when you have a specific thought to add, a question to address, or a point to clarify. Think of yourself as the host or hostess at a reception. Your job is to welcome people in, set the tone for the event (both of which you’ve already done in your blog post), and then facilitate a natural and pleasant conversational flow. Too much chatter on your part is as destructive to said flow as stone silence.

When you chime into a conversation in the comments section underneath a post, you can reply to a group or to a specific commenter. Just avoid confusion by being specific about whom you’re addressing, and be as clear as possible with whatever point you’re trying to make or question you’re trying to answer.

In general, your readers will be delighted to know that you’re not only an engaging writer and terrific photographer but also an active participant with your fans and friends online. You’ll probably build ongoing online relationships with at least a few folks who return frequently to read and comment; it’s the very beginning of a community and can end up being one of the strongest parts of your blog if you choose to make it so.

When responding to comments from others, be as personable as you would if you were speaking to them in real life. After all, when you take away all the code and pixels, we’re all flesh and blood, very real and distinct personalities who are quite connected through the internet. Even though we may be physically remote, we should strive to be as polite and respectful as if we were sitting next to one another in a public place.

Practicing such courtesy is easy when you’re answering a simple question or responding to a positive remark from a fan or friend. However, when a reader has a critical comment, it can be difficult to rein yourself in. The web gives us all a powerful feeling of invulnerability, and too often we take this feeling as license to insult and shame others whom we perceive as insulting us.

blogging-Negative comments.jpg



No matter how cheerful your posts are, you will invariably have to deal with some naysayers and nasties at some point.

Getting critical comments—be they constructive or otherwise—is absolutely unavoidable for any blogger. In fact, fear of such comments has held many a creative soul back from blogging. But you shouldn’t let your apprehensions about this facet of online life intimidate you or detract your enthusiasm.

In fact, your policy on and reactions to negative comments can be a huge factor in establishing the ethos of your blog’s community. How you respond to these kinds of comments will set you apart and define your character—and, if you’re blogging as a business owner, will send strong signals to your potential commenters.

Different bloggers have different approaches. The thoughtful will carefully engage detractors in an intelligent and reasonable debate. The thick-skinned will poke fun at meanies. The Pollyannas of the internet will post a thorough section on their expectations of positive commenting and will delete anything with a hint of snideness or profanity.

But every seasoned blogger will have developed their own techniques for dealing with negative comments. Here are a few helpful tips and coping mechanisms for the bad/ugly spectrum of comments, from the ugliest insults to well-meant critiques:

Don’t feed the trolls! This is Rule One of online communication. It simply means that while you will encounter “trolls,” i.e., web-dwellers who exist online for the purpose of inflicting emotional pain on others, you are under no circumstances to “feed” them, i.e., show any sign that you notice or are affected in any way by their antics. If you get a “trollish” comment, delete it, do not respond to it, and move forward immediately without paying any further mind.

Take the high road. If someone leaves a nasty comment or one that’s just critical of your work, you can always come out on top by being unflappably gracious. A simple, “I’m sorry you feel that way. Have a great day!” can quickly and successfully close the matter, allowing you to save face, still remain in control of the situation, and not be dragged into a flame war (a heated back-and-forth that sucks everyone involved into a maelstrom of negativity and hyperbole).

Sometimes, you don’t have to respond with a correction or rebuke to an obviously incorrect negative commenter. Your other readers will come to your rescue—a good sign of a healthy community.

Delete, delete, delete. You’re in charge here; this is your playground. You are in no way obliged to publish every comment you get, and you can delete anything that doesn’t fit in with the vibe you’re trying to cultivate. Free speech certainly has its place, but your blog isn’t a public or government-owned property. If detractors want to speak freely, they can darn well set up blogs of their own.

Don’t fear the banhammer. The banhammer is your privilege as a blog owner; in most CMSes, you can permanently ban any commenter who you feel is dragging down the tone of the conversation with verbal abuse, threats, or profanity (if that’s not okay on your blog).

Take a deep breath. If you get a particularly vitriolic comment that just sets your teeth on edge, walk away from your computer (or shut down your smartphone) and go blow off some steam before responding (or not responding, or just deleting the comment altogether). Some low-blow comments will go straight for your emotional jugular. In those moments, you might need a mantra; I have a few of my own! “These people don’t pay my bills” is a perspective-saving personal favorite that reminds me why I blog and reinforces the fact that a bad comment has no real-world impact on me.

Negative isn’t always nasty. Some folks will leave comments that they didn’t like your work or they didn’t understand your story or they hate the lens you’re using, and so on. Don’t let it get to you emotionally, and assume that the commenter meant well. If you start by giving them the benefit of the doubt, you can decide for yourself whether the criticism does, in fact, have any merit; but if it was made without malice, there’s no need to get upset.

Laugh! Sometimes, an overly negative commenter is so off-base that their words go from offensive to just plain bizarre, outlandish, and ludicrous. Feel free to shake your head and chuckle. One seasoned pro in the blogosphere tells me he likes to reply to these commenters with three simple words: “You fascinate me.” It’s a little wink-wink that lets other commenters know you’re in on the joke and don’t take the negativity to heart.

Just remember: Your commenters, positive and negative alike, don’t really know you. Any comments they leave are more a reflection on them than on you. Dark people leave dark comments, and we have to pity them for not having better things to do with their lives.

Finally, there might sometimes be posts that stir up strong reactions or controversies in the community. Likewise, if you do any personal blogging, you might also find yourself delving into some very tender territory. In most blogging software, you can turn comments on and off for an individual post, and on my own blogs, I will very often flip the switch into no-comment mode if I feel that I’ve said all I have to say and I don’t particularly need or want feedback from others.

This might strike some of your readers as a high-handed way of avoiding criticism, but look at all the facts: You took the time and effort to set up a blog, do all your photography, and craft a well-thought-out blog post on a perhaps sensitive subject. It’s your work, and no one is entitled to any part of it. If you don’t feel like subjecting yourself to commentary—positive or negative—you can simply close the comments section.

When I do this on my own blog, I run a brief disclaimer at the bottom of the post, where the comments section would normally be found:

“Comments are closed for this post. You are encouraged to disagree, debate, or expand the conversation on your own blog; you will be linked to via trackbacks and pingbacks.”

It’s a polite but firm way of telling your readers that while you appreciate them, this particular post is a one-way talk or speech or demonstration rather than a roundtable discussion.

It goes without saying that people act differently online than they do in real life. It takes a cool, collected head to rise above the noise sometimes—but patience and an even temper almost always pay off.

January 14, 2013

Essential Selection: Excerpted from "Adobe Photoshop Masking & Compositing"

Explore one of the most powerful tools in Photoshop for making and perfecting accurate selections. 

Excerpted from “Adobe Photoshop Masking & Compositing,” Second Edition, by Katrin Eismann, Seán Duggan, and James Porto. Copyright © 2013. Used with permission of Pearson Education, Inc. and New Riders.

Working with Adobe Photoshop can be a lot like a daily commute, and it can seem like you're in a rut and going over the same territory. When making selections, most people simply grab one of the familiar selection tools from the toolbar and hope a quick drag or click will get the job done. To achieve professional results, relying on the standard selection tools may create disappointing results.

Making selections in Photoshop is such a fundamental part of working in the program that an entire menu is devoted to them, the Select menu. Here we'll take a closer look at the amazing power of the Refine Edge dialog.

REFINE EDGE: In the Options bar for the Marquee and Lasso selection tools is a setting for feathering the selection. Feathering creates a softer edge with a more gradual transition between the selected and nonselected areas. The main problem with choosing a Feather setting in the Options bar is that you cannot see the result and must guess at what number might be appropriate. Fortunately, there is a better way to apply edge feathering, as well as other modifications, to a selection and that is to use the Refine Edge dialog.

Refine Edge can be accessed either in the Select menu or via a button in the Options bar when a selection tool is active. In addition to feathering, the Refine Edge dialog includes a number of other very useful controls for modifying the edges of a selection. This section will primarily be a detailed exploration of the possibilities offered by the Refine Edge dialog, not a strict step-by-step exercise. To properly cover all of the options in Refine Edge, however, we need to start with a basic selection so we have a selection edge to modify; for that we'll use the photo of the curious dog (Figure 1).


Figure 1: This image resource is available to download at A great majority of the files used throughout the book are available for download at the resource link referenced in the book’s Introduction.  ©Seán Duggan

1. Choose the Quick Selection tool with the Auto-Enhance option selected, and set the brush size to 100 pixels. Start the selection by dragging diagonally down from the top of the dog's left ear. Next, drag down from the right ear to complete the selection of the dog's head. Continue dragging over the dog's body until the selection is expanded to cover the entire dog. A few drags with the Quick Selection tool should do it.

2. Zoom in to make sure that you are not missing any areas, such as by the ring on the dog's collar or the bottom edges of the front feet (Figure 2). If you see areas that should be selected but are not, just click on them with the Quick Selection tool (for fine work, make the brush size smaller by tapping on the left bracket key).


 201301we_Fig 7-32b.jpg


Figure 2: Selecting the dog with the Quick Selection tool and fine-tuning the selection around the dog's collar and feet.

3. With the dog selected, click the Refine Edge button in the Options bar or choose Select > Refine Edge.

Continue reading "Essential Selection: Excerpted from "Adobe Photoshop Masking & Compositing"" »

June 13, 2012

"Adobe Photoshop CS6 for Photographers" Excerpt: What's New in Camera Raw 7.0, The New Camera Raw Workflow


The following has been excerpted and edited from the 10th edition of Martin Evening's book, "Adobe Photoshop CS6 for Photographers." The book is currently available for purchase for $54.95 at, and, as well as in major bookstores. To view CS6 video tutorials based on the contents of this book, click here.

(From Chapter 1)

What's new in Camera Raw 7.0 

Camera Raw 7.0 offers some further image processing refinements. In particular, there is now a new Process 2012 option in which the main Basic panel controls have been completely revised to provide more extensive editing capabilities for both raw and non-raw images. In fact, if you are familiar with the image editing controls in Adobe Revel for tablet devices, you'll already have seen how these work. The main Process 2012 sliders are also available as localized adjustments, along with new Temp and Tint adjustment controls. Lastly, the Tone Curve panel now also offers an RGB point curve editing option.


Figure 1.104 When you select a single raw image in Bridge, and double-click to open, you will see the Camera Raw dialog shown here. The Basic panel controls are a good place to get started, but the Auto button can often apply an adjustment that is ideally suited for most types of images. Once you are happy, click on the Open Image button at the bottom to open it in Photoshop. TIP: If you click on the Full Screen mode button in Camera Raw (circled above in blue), you can quickly switch the Camera Raw view to Full Screen mode.


Saving from raw files

If you save an image that's been opened up from a raw file original, Photoshop will by default suggest you save it using the native Photoshop (PSD) file format. You are always forced to save it as something else and never to overwrite the original raw image. Most raw formats have unique extensions anyway like .crw or .nef. However, Canon did once decide to use a .tif extension for some of their raw file formats (so that the thumbnails would show up in their proprietary browser program). The danger here was that if you overrode the Photoshop default behavior and tried saving an opened Canon raw image as a TIFF, you risked overwriting the original raw file.


Opening photos from Bridge via Camera Raw

If you double-click to open a raw or DNG image via Bridge, these will automatically open via the Camera Raw dialog shown in Figure 1.104, where Photoshop will host Camera Raw. Alternatively, if you choose File ➯ Open in Camera Raw... via the Bridge menu, this will open the file in Camera Raw hosted by Bridge. The advantage of doing this is that it allows you to free up Photoshop to carry on working on other images. If you choose to open multiple raw images you will see a filmstrip of thumbnails appear down the left-hand side of the Camera Raw dialog, where you can edit one image and then sync the settings across all the other selected photos. There is also a preference setting in Bridge that allows you to open up JPEG and TIFF images via Camera Raw too.

I would say that the main benefit of using Camera Raw is that any edits you apply in Camera Raw are nonpermanent and this latest version in Photoshop CS6 offers yet further major advances in raw image processing. If you are still a little intimidated by the Camera Raw dialog interface, you can for now just click on the Auto button (circled in red in Figure 1.104). When the default settings in Camera Raw are set to Auto, Camera Raw usually does a pretty good job of optimizing the image settings for you. You can then click on the 'Done' or 'Open Image' button without concerning yourself too much just yet with what all the Camera Raw controls do. This should give you a good image to start working with in Photoshop and the beauty of working with Camera Raw is that you never risk overwriting the original master raw file. If you don't like the auto settings Camera Raw gives you, then it is relatively easy to adjust the tone and color sliders and make your own improvements upon the auto adjustment settings.

Easter eggs

There are some hidden items in Photoshop. If you drag down from the system or Apple menu to select About Photoshop..., the splash screen reopens and after about 5 seconds the text starts to scroll telling you lots of stuff about the Adobe team who wrote the program, etc. Hold down opt/alt and the text scrolls faster. Last, but not least, you'll see a special mention to the most important Photoshop user of all... Now hold down cmd/ctrl-alt and choose About Photoshop... Here, you will see the Superstition beta test version of the splash screen (Figure 1.105 below). When the credits have finished scrolling, carefully control/alt-click in the white space above the credits (and below Superstition) to see what are known as Adobe Transient Witticisms appearing one at a time above the credits. Being a member of the team that makes Photoshop has many rewards, but one of the perks is having the opportunity to add little office in-jokes in a secret spot on the Photoshop splash screen. It's a sign of what spending long hours building a new version of Photoshop will do to you. And if you are looking for the Merlin begone Easter egg, associated with the Layers panel options, well, Merlin is truly begone now!


Figure 1.105 The Superstition beta splash screen.

Continue reading ""Adobe Photoshop CS6 for Photographers" Excerpt: What's New in Camera Raw 7.0, The New Camera Raw Workflow" »

January 12, 2012

Words of Experience, a Review of "Sketching Light" by Joe McNally

By Ellis Vener


“Sketching Light: An Illustrated Tour of the Possibilities of Flash”
By Joe Mc Nally
Part of the series, “Voices That Matter,” published by New Riders Press

Read an excerpt from “Sketching Light"

Every well-known successful photographer you can think of knows how to use light to tell stories. By “well known” and “successful,” I don’t mean someone with thousands of friends and followers on social networking sites, I mean photographers who make their living and reputation by working for real-world clients. You likely have your favorites; mine are Dan Winters, Gregory Heisler, Matthew Jordan Smith, Nick Knight and Joe McNally. Perhaps no one on my list is as broadly influential as Joe McNally, mostly because he has successfully taken on the challenge of using social networks and teaching what he knows through seminars, workshops and books.

Fortune has favored McNally with resilience and a great sense of self-deprecating humor. He seems to approach assignments big and small with equally intense levels of preparation, energy and flexibility. Fortunately for us, he brings these traits to his fourth how-to book, “Sketching Light: An Illustrated Tour of the Possibilities of Flash” (New Riders Press).

In this lighting cookbook, McNally provides abundant recipes and results, complete with copious notes, diagrams and “war stories.” These are not the kind of lighting formulas that mandate placing Light A with Modifier X at a 32-degree angle to the left, slightly above and 6 feet from the subject, and placing Light B with Modifier Y here or there with specific key-to-fill-to-accent ratios—you get the point. Instead, McNally gets you to thinking about how to generate and use light to help the story you want the photograph to tell, and to make that story engage with the viewer’s imagination. Even if you think you already know a lot about lighting, I bet you’ll pick up more than a few good ideas from “Sketching Light.”

And really, the book really isn’t so much about how to make nice with light, but how to live. In the first lines in the introduction, he writes:

The key word on the cover of this book is not “flash,” or even “light.” It’s the word “possibilities.” Because that is, at its core, what this book is about. It isn’t about pictures that already exist. It’s about what might be possible to create, in terms of pictures, if you experiment with light.

Continue reading "Words of Experience, a Review of "Sketching Light" by Joe McNally" »

January 9, 2012

Here's Sunshine Up Your Skirt! An excerpt from Joe McNally's "Sketching Light"


Excerpted from “Sketching Light” by Joe McNally. Copyright © 2012. Used with permission of Pearson Education, Inc. and New Riders.

Read the Professional Photographer review of “Sketching Light”

Every once in a while, you try something on a wing and a prayer, and you get a picture that works. You gave it just about zero chance of success when you put the light out there, and then it’s so absurdly first-frame simple, you have one of those “coulda had a V8” moments back at the LCD. Which, of course, you then try to cover up by assuming a knew-it-all-along look, a confident nod, and a quiet, murmured, “Think I’ll just shoot a few more of these.”


I was on the main plaza in pre-dawn Venice, which is the only time of day that beautiful, historic place is not a sea of backpacks and a jumble of accents and languages. The sun was up and light was bounding out on the waterways, but I was struck by the cool, beautiful nature of the ancient arches, where open shade still ruled.

When trying to work simply and influence a scene with just one small flash, open shade can be your best friend. You don’t have to stress the light by fighting the high, hard sun, and the muted tones introduce the possibility of effectively influencing the color palette of the scene without bringing in movie grip trucks.

This setup was, as I indicated above, crazy simple. I used the little plastic floor stand that comes with the SB-900, put a full CTO warming gel on the light, took off the dome diffuser, and zoomed the flash head to 200mm so the light spread would remain pretty tight, and placed it out there on the ancient stones of the plaza. The zoom feature helps in directing the light right to the dancer, and also keeping floor spill to a minimum. As worn as they are, the tiles on the plaza will pick up light and reflect it pretty well, so if your light is zoomed wide and splashes everywhere, you got a problem. Zooming the light tight sends it where it needs to go—to the dancer—and minimizes the telltale photon path on the floor. A hint of light works fine. A big, blown highlight is not okay. Nuking the floor is always a concern, obviously, when you actually place the light down there. I didn’t need to employ this tactic here, but a couple of simple swatches of gaffer tape on the floor side of the flash head, serving as cutters or flags, works really well, as shown here.


I just happened to have a ballerina with me. I’d suggested dancers to the group I was shooting with, and it was a notion they embraced vigorously. Bringing a dancer onto the Plaza Venezia in dawn light is definitely stacking the deck in your favor, kinda like flying in a sure thing, but it’s a good thought when seeking subjects for flash portraits. It’s certainly better than wandering the streets hoping an ancient drunk with an interesting hat stumbles into a beautiful highlight. (Unless, of course, you’re street shooting and looking for happenstance. Different mission altogether.)

Continue reading "Here's Sunshine Up Your Skirt! An excerpt from Joe McNally's "Sketching Light"" »

November 3, 2011

Lighting Styles and Setups from "Kevin Kubota's Lighting Notebook": Kid In A Candystore and More

The following is excerpted from “Kevin Kubota’s Lighting Notebook: 101 Lighting Styles and Setups for Digital Photographers” (Wiley). Look for three more informative excerpts in the November issue of Professional Photographer magazine.


Kid In A Candystore


The final image was processed in Lightroom with my Vintage 2 preset, from the Vintage Delish collection. I like the added warmth in the shadows, which feels like chocolate!

One of the best ways to get children to cooperate on a photo shoot is with good, old-fashioned bribes. Candy works really well, so why not do the entire session in a candy store and save a trip! The image I had in my mind was of this little girl sitting on the counter licking a giant lollipop. When we got there, however, the lollipops they had were not actually very giant. I knew I needed a wideangle lens to exaggerate the perspective and make the lollipop look larger than life.

The RayFlash ringlight attachment is an innovative photo tool. It fits to the front of any camera speedlight and encircles the lens. Unlike most other ringlight setups, the RayFlash is completely portable, allowing you to move about and try different angles. It also allows for normal TTL flash operation, so you don’t have to worry about adjusting the light manually. Normally, the RayFlash is used with semiwide to normal perspective lenses, but I decided to use it with a 10.5mm fisheye lens, which has such a wide angle of view that it actually shows the edges of the ringlight. I loved the effect as it felt like looking through a portal to a fantasy world of delectable treats.

A portable speedlight was placed behind the subject to add an edge light and separation from the background. A PowerSnoot from Gary Fong was used to constrain the light to a narrow beam. I balanced my flash exposure with the existing light in the shop using TTL mode on the oncamera flash and manually for the backlight. The second speedlight was triggered by the built-in optical slave, which works fairly well when in close proximity and indoors.

After taking a few images of our little lady delightfully devouring the lollipop, the candy smeared all over her face and an even better image came to light than I originally imagined. Can you say “sugar rush”?


I asked Mom to stand very close and keep an eye on her daughter in case she started to scoot off the edge of the counter. Fortunately, she wasn’t going anywhere—as long as the lollipop lasted.


The original image from the camera


Exposure Info:
10.5mm lens setting
f/4.0 at 1/160 sec. ISO 500
Exposure comp. +/– 0

Tools Used:
Nikon D300s 10.5mm f/2.8 fisheye Nikkor lens
RayFlash ringlight from Rogue Imaging
Nikon SB800 Speedlight
Gary Fong PowerSnoot

Go to the jump for two more tutorials!

Continue reading "Lighting Styles and Setups from "Kevin Kubota's Lighting Notebook": Kid In A Candystore and More" »

December 30, 2009

Review: "The Changing Range of Light"

By Thea Dodds,

“The Changing Range of Light: Portraits of the Sierra Nevada” combines art and science in a book of landscape photography, employing imagery to inspire action. It features gorgeous landscapes of the Sierra Nevada mountain range by Elizabeth Carmel, and text vignettes outlining the effect of global climate change in the Sierras by Robert Coats, PhD. and Geoffrey Schladow, PhD.


Carmel is an acclaimed landscape photographer based in Trukee, Calif. This volume is a follow-up to her book, “Brilliant Waters,” also featuring photographs from the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Contributing author Robert Coats has a B.S. and M.S. in Forestry and a PhD. in Wildland Resource Science from the University of California at Berkeley. Contributing author Geoffrey Schladow holds a B. Eng. and PhD. in civil engineering from the University of Western Australia, and a M. Eng. in hydraulic engineering from the University of California at Berkeley.

The release of this 136 page, full color book was well timed with the December convening of the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, the largest conference of its kind in history. Carmel is courageous for publishing a book that combines grassroots education with contemporary landscape photography. She risks taking the reader away from her art with the addition of scientific commentary that is heavy both in content and technical in its language. It is striking how well the images lead the reader to the text, and the text takes the reader back to the images with additional information and appreciation. The climate change vignettes are interrupted by poetry at well-timed intervals to give the reader a needed breath of lighter content.

Continue reading "Review: "The Changing Range of Light"" »

January 19, 2009

Lighting a Space Effectively and Efficiently

By Jim Benest

The following is partially excerpted from Andrew Darlow’s "301 Inkjet Tips and Techniques: An Essential Printing Resource for Photographers" (Course Technology, PTR).

There are many ways to light artwork. You can choose different types of light (traditional halogen, fluorescent, LED and others), and many different strengths and focus types (direct, indirect, spot, flood, etc.). These tips offer some suggestions for lighting a commercial gallery, but the suggestions can be used for any location where artwork will be displayed, such as a doctor’s office, home or office building.

TIP 229
Determine how many pieces you will put on each wall.

Depending upon whether you will have one piece in the center of a wall or three or more stacked (like in our gallery), your lighting will be different. Also consider the mood you want to have in the space. You can choose from dark ambient lighting with dramatic spotlights on every piece of art, or you can select a more broadly lit effect, as we use in our gallery.

A view of one side of The Collective Fine Art Gallery, with multiple types of lighting shown in the track lighting system. Photo ©Andrew Darlow

Continue reading "Lighting a Space Effectively and Efficiently" »

December 1, 2008

Using Outside Printing Companies

By Andrew Darlow 

Are you able to invest the time and effort it takes to handle your own inkjet printing? Preparing files, hand-feeding individual sheets of paper or loading rolls of canvas, waiting for printing to finish, and trimming and mounting prints when necessary?

In many cases, you can save time and money by printing your work yourself, but it’s a good idea to think about the many costs and other commitments that are involved before making any printer purchase.

There are many reasons to consider having someone else do your printing for you. Also consider the investment necessary to keep inks and paper on hand.

How do you find a reliable and competent printer? In many cases, traditional photo labs are where professional photographers go to have their inkjet prints made. The same features one looks for in a lab carry over to inkjet printing:

Customer Service
Fast Turnaround
Finishing Options (such as canvas stretching and mounting/spraying)

Continue reading "Using Outside Printing Companies" »

September 1, 2007

The Designer's Apprentice: Automating Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign in Adobe Creative Suite 3, by Rick Ralston

The Designer's Apprentice

Rick Ralston's "The Designer's Apprentice" (Adobe Press, $39.99) shows you how to use the Automation tools in Creative Suite 3 to save time and effort, freeing you for more creative work. Though written for a graphic designer audience, this book has valuable information for professional photographers as well.

Though automation may seem intimidating, it doesn't have to be. You can make your computer and software work better for you. Learn how to combine your customer data with images for personalized communications. Learn how to record macro-like Actions with Photoshop and then reuse them with multiple files.

Also, keep an eye on the magazine for more information from Rick Ralston, written exclusively for the Professional Photographer audience. He'll explain what automation can accomplish for professional photographers, what ROI you can expect from incorporating automation into your workflow, and how you can get started.

In the meantime, enjoy this excerpt that teaches you how to make a Photoshop Action that gives your images the Reflecto effect, familiar from Apple's marketing and featured on the book's cover.

Download the Reflecto Action tutorial from "The Designer's Apprentice," by Rick Ralston 

Excerpted from "The Designer's Apprentice: Automating Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign in Adobe Creative Suite 3" by Rick Ralston. Copyright © 2008. Used with permission of Pearson Education, Inc. and Adobe Press.

August 1, 2007

Book Excerpt: "Photoshop Lightroom Adventure" by Mikkel Aaland

Mikkel Aaland turned his experiences from a once-in-a-lifetime photography expedition to Iceland into a striking guided tour of Lightroom in "Photoshop Lightroom Adventure" (O'Reilly, $39.99). Along the way he shows readers how they, too, can use Lightroom to create exciting new images. More importantly, Aaland, an award-winning photographer and bestselling author, inspires readers by providing a far deeper experience than most instructional manuals. Part Icelandic road trip, part photo essay, "Lightroom's" photo-rich pages come packed with beautiful, exciting photographs from a dozen talented working photographers.

"Yes, it's a technical book. Yet it's not only a complete guide to the latest version of the application, but a pleasure to look at, too," explains Aaland. For this is not an update of previous Lightroom versions, but the first book written specifically for Lightroom 1.1. "And my new book honors photography through the beautiful images that fill every chapter," adds Aaland.

Professional Photographer magazine's Web Exclusives gives has a special excerpt from Chapter 3 of Mikkel Aaland's "Photoshop Lightroom Adventure," Editing a Day's Shoot in Iceland. In this valuable excerpt, Aaland takes you through editing a day's shoot in Lightroom, illustrating Library Module features and variations, from setting thumbnail size and customizing the Loupe view to magnifying in tandem and creating a collection.

Download a PDF excerpt from Chapter 3 of "Photoshop Lightroom Adventure" (8.4MB)

Photoshop Lightroom Adventure
Mastering Adobe's next-generation tool for digital photographers

By Mikkel Aaland
First Edition: July 2007 (est.)
ISBN 10: 0-596-10099-X
ISBN 13: 9780596100995
Copyright © 2007 O'Reilly Media, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission. 

Continue reading "Book Excerpt: "Photoshop Lightroom Adventure" by Mikkel Aaland" »

June 4, 2007

Book Excerpt: "Adobe Photoshop CS3 for Photographers" by Martin Evening

200706we_eveningcover If you've been wondering what's new in Adobe Photoshop CS3, why not get your information from the best? Martin Evening is a fantastic photographer and gifted teacher who makes time in his professional schedule to instruct photographers on digital imaging and Photoshop. Evening’s Adobe Photoshop for Photographers titles have become classic reference sources, written to deal directly with the needs of photographers and filled with a wealth of practical advice, hints and tips to help you achieve professional results.

"Adobe Photoshop CS3 for Photographers," is published by Focal Press, an imprint of Elsevier.
ISBN: 0-240-52028-9 (old style ISBN)
ISBN: 978-0-240-52028-5 (new style ISBN)

Download What's new in Adobe Photoshop CS3 (PDF, 3.6MB), Chapter 1 of the newly released "Photoshop CS3 for Photographers" by Martin Evening.

Printed with permission from Focal Press, a division of Elsevier. Copyright 2007. "Adobe Photoshop CS3 for Photographers" by Martin Evening. For more information about this book, please visit

March 1, 2007

EXCERPT: Professional Filter Techniques for Digital Photographers

200703we_filtertech_ In his newest book, "Professional Filter Techniques for Digital Photographers" (Amherst Media; $34.95) pro photographer Stan Sholik covers the gamut of possibilities and applications now available to the digital photographer through traditional (hardware) filters and filter software.

He advises on how to select your best filter options for your photographic style and how implementing the device will impact your photos. Covering filters used for color correction, contrast enhancement, soft focus, and a full spectrum of interesting, artistic effects, this book will satisfy your quest for technical precision and your yearning for greater creative expression.


  • Comparisons of effects achieved using traditional vs. digital filters
  • Charts that allow readers to predict effects of a variety of filter types
  • Page after page of analyses of top filters

In this excerpt, Sholik examines color converting, light balancing and compensation filters.

Continue reading "EXCERPT: Professional Filter Techniques for Digital Photographers" »

August 24, 2006

Capsule Review: "Window Seat" by Julieanne Kost

Windowseat_1 By Ellis Vener

"Window Seat: The Art of Digital Photography and Creative Thinking," by Julieanne Kost, is one of the more profound Photoshop and photography related books I've seen in many years, yet has the least amount of technical content. The photographs are from Kost's collection of photographs made while on business trips over a five year period. As a mainstay in Adobe's Photoshop education program, Adobe Evangelist Kost is on the road "about 200 days" a year. While she has educated many thousands of photographers on Adobe's flagship software through  various Photoshop conferences, workshops, and a DVD series from Software Cinema), the real meat of her book is a plainspoken treatise on how to stay fresh and creative, even in the face of your fears or while mired in the prosaic grind of the workaday world.

Continue reading "Capsule Review: "Window Seat" by Julieanne Kost" »

April 1, 2006

EXCERPT: Photoshop Blending Modes Cookbook for Digital Photographers

Blendmodescover Layer blending modes have been part of Photoshop for years, but because they're not easy to understand at first glance, this immensely useful feature tends to get overlooked. "Photoshop Blending Modes Cookbook for Digital Photographers" is the only recipe-format book that covers blending modes specifically for digital photographers.

The book covers:
•    Changing hue, saturation, luminosity, and color
•    Correcting basic color shifts
•    Repairing highlights
•    Sharpening or softening focus
•    Adjusting lighting for subtle or dramatic effects
•    Controlling contrast
•    Creating surface effects and textures
•    Adding interest to landscapes and urban scenes
•    Enhancing portraits of children and adults
•    Simulating graphics arts techiques

and much more.

Continue reading "EXCERPT: Photoshop Blending Modes Cookbook for Digital Photographers" »

March 10, 2006

Documentary photographer Steve Simon captures "The Republicans"

In the summer of 2004, armed with cameras and press credentials, Canadian photojournalist Steve Simon moved in and out of Madison Square Garden, capturing the essence of the 2004 Republican Convention. The arrangement of his images in "The Republicans" (Charta, $35.00) delivers an outstanding visual narrative of iconic opposites and shrewd observations, a recording of an unprecedented moment in American politics, power structure and media predominance.

"I knew this would be both an important political convention and an ironic portrait of the Republican Party against the interesting choice of New York City as its backdrop," said Simon. "With 15,000 accredited media covering 5,000 Republican delegates, I understood how powerful the media's role would be in presenting the convention to Americans and to the world. That's why I elected to focus my cameras not only on the delegates inside and the protesters outside, but on the media participants themselves."

Continue reading "Documentary photographer Steve Simon captures "The Republicans"" »

February 1, 2006

EXCERPT: Photoshop CS2 RAW

200602bc_pspcs2rawHow do the best photographers turn RAW data into beautiful images? Bestselling author and award-winning photographer Mikkel Aaland shows you how. His straightforward, visually oriented instruction will take you step-by-step through the process of capturing, organizing, and optimizing RAW images. You'll learn how to produce the best possible digital images, using Photoshop CS2, Adobe Bridge, and Camera Raw. Aaland--whose pioneering work in digital photography dates back to 1981--draws on his own 30 years of experience, as well the expertise of over 10 top-notch professional photographers who generously share their tips and techniques. His personal, easy-to-follow style illuminates and inspires, but doesn't intimidate or needlessly complicate. You'll get immediate results when you apply these solutions-oriented techniques to your own photographic work.

Continue reading "EXCERPT: Photoshop CS2 RAW" »

January 1, 2006

EXCERPT: Adobe Photoshop CS2 One-on-One

200512bc_pscs2_1on1Whether you're a newbie or a seasoned Photoshopper, without expert guidance you might never get further than sliding your mouse across the surface of Photoshop's true capability. "Adobe Photoshop CS2 One-on-One," the number-one selling Photoshop tutorial book updated for CS2, can help you master this most powerful-and daunting-of graphic tools. A straightforward, step-by-step user's guide to Photoshop and the new features of CS2, Adobe Photoshop CS2 One-on-One will show you how to take full advantage of all that Photoshop offers.

"Adobe Photoshop CS2 One on One" by Deke McClelland, published by Deke Press/O'Reilly, ISBN: 0-596-10096-5, $39.95 USA

Download Lesson 3: Correcting Color Balance

Lesson Files
(Right-click or control-click to save linked file to desktop.) 


Watch QuickTime Total Training Video: Variations and Camera Raw


October 1, 2005

The DAM Book: Digital Asset Management for Photographers

200510bc_dambookcov In the world of digital photography, digital asset management (DAM) refers to every part of the process that follows the taking of the picture, through final output and permanent storage.  Anyone who shoots, scans or stores digital photographs is practicing some form of DAM, but most of us are not doing so systematically or efficiently.  In The DAM Book, photographer Peter Krogh presents a solid plan and practical advice on how to file, find, protect and re-use photographs, focusing on best practices for digital photographers using Adobe Photoshop CS2.

"The DAM Book: Digital Asset Management for Photographers" by Peter Krough, publisher O'Reilly, ISBN: 0-596-10018-3.

Visit O'Reilly online to order your copy.

Read Chapter 3: Creating the Digital Archive

September 1, 2005

How to Do Everything with Photoshop CS2

200509bc_everythingcov In this full-color, easy-to-use book, award-winning designer and best-selling author Colin Smith teaches the fundamentals as well as the more advanced features of Photoshop. Smith shows how to use traditional drawing and painting tools ranging from pencils to airbrushes, how to add and manipulate text, retouch photos, create special effects, and more. A bonus "Behind the Scenes" gallery demonstrates the Photoshop techniques used by professional artists. Read more of Smith's Photoshop tips at

"How to Do Everything with Photoshop CS2" by Colin Smith, publisher McGraw-Hill Osborne, ISBN: 0-07-226160-9, $29.99 USA

Read Chapter 9: Save time with automation.

July 1, 2005

Photoshop Retouching Cookbook for Digital Photographers

200507bc_oreillycov_1 "Photoshop Retouching Cookbook for Digital Photographers" tells you everything you need to know to adjust, correct, retouch, and manipulate your photographs—without making you first learn everything there is to know about Photoshop CS2. These straightforward, easy-to-follow recipes give you specific directions so you can quickly and easily:

- Fix exposure, focus, and color problems
- Add special effects like motion blurs, lens effects, and surface textures
- Improve portraits by removing red eye, wrinkles, and blemishes
- Add and remove objects from photos seamlessly
- Use lighting effects to create more dramatic images
- Restore faded and damaged photos
- Give new shots a vintage, old-fashioned look
- Create posterized and hand-tinted images

With clear step-by-step instructions, hundreds of full-color examples, and practical tips covering key techniques in detail, this book will help you turn everyday photos into memorable images.

Download a PDF file excerpt on Soft Focus Techniques.
Download a PDF file excerpt on Removing Skin Blemishes and Wrinkles.

Continue reading "Photoshop Retouching Cookbook for Digital Photographers" »

May 1, 2005

Adobe Photoshop CS2 for Photographers, by Martin Evening

200505bc_evening Printed with permission from Focal Press, a division of Elsevier.

This new title by Martin Evening will be in stores by the end of May (ISBN: 0240519841; $44.95). For more information about this book, please see Martin Evening's Web site at

For ordering information and to view similar titles, please visit

Download Chapter 1, What's New in Photoshop CS2 (1.6MB)

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