One of the perks of leading one of the Scott Kelby Worldwide Photowalks is that you get a free book for your troubles. This year there was a choice between a Lightroom book and a Photoshop book. I elected to receive the Photoshop CS5 book, mainly because I use Lightroom almost daily (and have done since the very first beta) and am fairly up to date with what it can and cannot do. Photoshop on the other hand doesn’t get anywhere near as much use these days so I’m not always current on the changes. In fact, I don’t even upgrade every time a new release comes out, occasionally skipping a generation because Lightroom meets 95% of my needs. That said, Photoshop CS5 was an upgrade I made, so I was eager to see what was what.
The last time I read a Photoshop book was back when Photoshop CS first came out and I bought Martin Evening’s guide to Photoshop and Bruce Fraser’s guide to Camera Raw. As any Photoshop user knows, there have been a lot of changes since. I’ve read other Kelby books, as well as being a regular browser of his blog, so had a pretty good idea of what to expect. I must say that I am a fan of Scott’s sense of humor and it definitely helps make his books very readable.
After a quick flick through the book upon receiving it, I noted the sections that covered the new features and started on them. Unlike a lot of photographers, I don’t really pay attention to new features in software or with cameras unless I’m planning to buy that particular item. I know people who can quote specs and additions all day, but for me, creating photographs is what it’s all about, not memorising new features. Therefore, there were a number of things I found in the book that I had no idea about – dramatically improved HDR and better selection tools to name two. If it weren’t for Kelby’s book, I probably wouldn’t have even bothered looking at the HDR tools, as I was definitely not impressed by HDR in earlier versions.
This book has a very conversational style that should appeal to a wide ranging audience. For those who are just getting started with Photoshop, it offers by-the-numbers recipes for a lot of common adjustments. If you’re a bit more experienced these may not be necessary but they can give you a good starting point to areas of Photoshop that you’re not 100% familiar with.
Overall, the book covers all you need to know about Photoshop CS5 as it applies to photographers. Camera RAW, curves, black and white conversions, sharpening, print output and more are covered, as it as some quick tips and a look at Scott’s workflow.
On the whole, this book is worth a look. I know that if I hadn’t received it for free for leading the Photowalk, I probably wouldn’t have thought of buying a Photoshop book and that would have been a shame. In the future when I upgrade Photoshop again, I’ll be making a point of picking up the relevant Scott Kelby Photoshop book at the same time.
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