Review – The Adobe Photoshop CS5 Book for Digital Photographers
Written by: Tiffany Joyce
The Adobe Photoshop CS5 Book for Digital Photographers is one of the latest in Scott Kelby’s long, long list of photography-oriented publications. I also own this book’s predecessor for Photoshop CS3, also by Kelby. I purchased the CS5 book because of the significant enhancements that were made to the program, but many (if not all) of the concepts and techniques discussed in the CS3 book are also applicable to CS5 (there are just a few menu differences that I can see).
If you’re familiar with any of Kelby’s other books, you’ll also be familiar with his conversational style and his sense of humor. I’ve read many other reviews of Kelby’s work, and appreciation of his style seems to be hit-and-miss – some love it, others not so much. I find that I enjoy it, myself. No dry textbooks for me, if you please!
What I like most about this book is that, while you can read it straight through cover-to-cover, you can also just pick it up, peruse the index to see if a particular point you’re searching for is covered, and jump right in. Kelby describes every single technique in a numbered, step-by-step process. No matter if there are three steps or thirteen, it is extremely easy to follow along and create the same effects on your own photographs. Some techniques are built upon in a series of tutorials, but even those can be taken out of sequence and applied per your needs.
The book’s layout is very user-friendly. Photographs, images and screen shots aid in the understanding of the concepts, and the steps are clearly numbered and spread comfortably out across the pages, without being crowded or busy. I would have liked a spiral-bound option for this book, as I’m typically sitting on the couch with the book beside me, and the binding is stiff and won’t stay open to the page. It’s a small issue, though – sooner our later I’m bound to break the spine with how much I’m using it, then it’ll stay open just fine.
This book covers features new to Photoshop CS5, such as “Mini-Bridge”, “Merge to HDR Pro”, and “Content-Aware Fill”. Mostly, though, Kelby writes about how to apply post-processing in a professional manner. He covers today’s popular techniques such as the “grunge” effect, desaturated portraits, antiqued photos, and high-contrast effects. He also writes about how best to crop a photo, sharpening techniques and how to apply different settings to different kinds of photographs, color correction, black and white methods, fixes to common problems, and workflow suggestions.
Throughout, Kelby points out tips and tricks, keyboard shortcuts, and all those “little” tidbits of wisdom that the pros are privy to, that makes post-processing SO much easier. At the end of each and every section is a chapter called “Photoshop Killer Tips” that adds topic-specific time savers and impressive insider knowledge that really delves into the detailed functionality of Photoshop CS5.
I highly recommend this book to both those who are new to post-processing and/or Photoshop CS5, and those who have a good basic understanding but would really like to amp up their skills. Photoshop CS5 has a pretty steep learning curve, but The Adobe Photoshop CS5 Book for Digital Photographers is an excellent tool to help new users come up to speed quickly.
Photo credits (all): Tiffany Joyce.
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