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My Favorite
Photography and
Photoshop Books

Be sure to get a book about the Photoshop version you're using!

None of my tutorials go very deeply into their subjects. For a better understanding of the many aspects of photography and Photoshop, I strongly recommend these books:

  Bruce at Adobe Headquarters in San Francisco

Photography Books:

Real World Digital Photography - Third Edition - Industrial strength digital photography techniques
by Katrin Eismann, Seán Duggan, and Tim Grey
Katrin Eismann has long been my Photoshop retouching diva. You'll see my rave reviews of some of her other books below. For this book, she is joined by two other well known photographer/educators as they break down nearly everything about digital photography into very understandable segments. It's amazing how well they've explained and illustrated such a breadth of material, and you don't have to be a technician to understand it. They begin with the photographer's hopes and expectations and explain the steps necessary to achieve those expectations from beginning camera operation through digital image enhancement. Take a look at the table of contents on the Amazon page ("Click to look inside") and you'll see this book is a modern "bible" of photography. As a photography/Photoshop educator myself, I'm really impressed with what a great job they've done here.

LIFE Guide to Digital Photography - Everything you need to shoot like the pros
by Joe McNally
I find Joe McNally to be the photographer who inspires and informs me the most. In case you don't know, Joe has been thirty years in the field as a shooter. He has been on the road over 20 years for National Geographic, as a LIFE staffer and a Sports Illustrated contractor. In this comprehensive book, Joe walks the reader from the very basics of photography all the way to his methods, tips and techniques for beautifully capturing images as the photographer sees them.

The Hot Shoe Diaries -Big Light from Small Flashes
by Joe McNally
There are many times when available light will give you a beautiful portrait. Even in those situations, however, off-camera flash can give you that "dazzle" factor which may be lacking otherwise. Joe starts this book with an explanation of what gear he uses (Nikon) and explains why he uses it, when and how. I suspect he wrote this part because so many of us ask him questions along these lines. He then begins with a single flash (and its modifiers) and goes on from there to tell us where he put hot shoe flashes (and how) to create the absolutely stunning images he's known for in "location portraiture." I've had studio lights and have been shooting professionally for 30 years in and out of the studio and this book (and a subsequent Kelby seminar by him) took my photographs up another big notch.

The Moment it Clicks - Photography secrets from one of the world's top shooters
by Joe McNally
Joe brings the reader along on over a hundred of his best shots in this book. We get to learn what he had in mind and how he made those shots so visually exciting and interesting. The book doesn't explain a set of static rules to follow to get good photos, instead it gives the reader many insights into the mind of a truly great photographer.

Photoshop Books:

Photoshop CS4 Studio Techniques by Ben Willmore
The Photoshop 5.5 version of this book was the textbook in the Advanced Photoshop class I took years ago. This new version is even better. In addition to improvements in the software, Ben is becoming an even better writer as he goes along. He's my Photoshop Guru! This book, his other one and Scott Kelby's book (both below) have excellent explainations of how to use Adobe Camera Raw. If you're only going to buy one book on Photoshop, I recommend this be the one! (Note: I believe there's a CS5 version of this about to go to press.)

Photoshop CS4 Visual QuickStart Guide
by Elaine Weinmann
This isn't a step-by-step tutorial, but a really good overall reference.

Photoshop CS4: Up to Speed by Ben Willmore
This book assumes you're well versed in Photoshop, and gives only information about all of the terrific new features of CS4. Very well written, and used in the Upgrade class taught at the junior college nearby. (Note: I spoke with Ben at a seminar and he said he's not going to offer a version of this book for CS5. At least I got to thank him personally for the previous editions.)

The Adobe Photoshop CS4 Book for Digital Photographers by Scott Kelby
Scott offers a step-by-step tutorial approach to probably everything you want to do with Photoshop, including keyboard shortcuts as he goes along in his jocular style of writing. This book and the ones by Ben Willmore are exceptionally well illustrated with examples I can see!

Photoshop Lab Color - The Canyon Conundrum and Other Adventures in the Most Powerful Colorspace
by Dan Margulis
David Biedny
(author of The Photoshop Handbook and co-author of Photoshop Channel Chops) describes this book in his introduction as "...the most deeply advanced, inspiring, insightful, maddening, awesome, demanding and illuminating educational effort - in any media format - ever created for Photoshop. ... Paradigm shift has never seemed so appropriate a term as it does in discribing this book." This is not a book you can skim through and expect to learn anything. But it's pure gold!

The Photoshop Channels Book "starring" Scott Kelby
I learned more about channels from this book in two days of spare time than in all the rest of my Photoshop education! If you already know how to sharpen and reduce noise in the same image, maybe you don't need to read this book. He goes through Lab, Calculations, Apply Image (and more) and shows a terrific Alpha Channel Edge Mask technique that, alone is worth the purchase price!

Photoshop Masking & Compositing by Katrin Eismann
I wish I could zoom in on the illustrations in this book as you can in my PDF tutorials, because some of them aren't large enough to see the subtle things she's telling you about. (She does provide you with a companion web site where you can see the images more clearly.) In this book, Katrin tells everything you ever wanted to know about selecting portions of a photograph including the really difficult things to select such as wispy hair and transparent objects. Very well written... The successor to Channel Chops (different authors) which has become a $500 per copy collector's item. Katrin also wrote the photo retouching & restoration book, below.

Photoshop Studio by Bert Monroy
Bert's an absolute magician in creating illustrations in Photoshop and Illustrator! He doesn't work from photos, but creates photograph-like images of things which either no longer exist, don't exist yet, or are only in his imagination. These are vector-based images which can be enlarged to billboard size, and you'll see the filaments in the light bulbs... incredible. The techniques he uses in creating his illustrations will help anyone trying to enhance a photograph as well.

Photoshop Restoration & Retouching by Katrin Eismann
This book was the textbook for the Photo Retouching & Restoration class I took years ago. It shares the same flaw of small illustrations as her Masking & Compositing book, above, but is an excellent workbook on the subject and has a companion site with the high resolution images she's working on so you can follow along using her techniques. Highly recommended.

Real World Camera Raw with Adobe Photoshop CS by Bruce Fraser
This was the first book I could find on Camera Raw and was a good introduction to the subject. Unlike most Real World books, it's only a couple of hundred pages. He does tend to repeat himself, but in doing so he makes important points.