The quantum leaps made in quality digital photography
have brought us to a point where the digital camera is a vital necessity. From printers
to advanced SLRs and lenses, photo software to video-editing applications, our high-tech, gotta-have-it-now world benefits from digital cameras
in ways that were not even imagined when they were first being sold.
Along with all the gadgets and toys comes a disappointing reality: the learning curve. We expect a lot from our digital cameras; after all, they are instantaneous – with preview screens, we can see what our image will look like right after we snap the photo. With this level of instant gratification, we also tend to expect that the quality of the images we take will be as quickly enhanced. It’s easy to forget the disappointment of flipping through a stack of newly printed photographs only to find a few of them acceptable.
Digital Photography Software
This is where photo software – and the dreaded learning curve – tend to come in. Programs for editing, enhancing, and even drastically altering the digital photos we take are on the rise. They help us do everything from color correction to sharpening, and if we take it a step further these same programs can help us take a simple photograph and turn it into a stunning work of art.
Photoshop remains the Industry Standard, and shows no signs of releasing its grip. When Adobe purchased Macromedia, developers of the Dreamweaver and Fireworks software, this idea of Adobe and Photoshop in general continuing to dominate the market was basically cemented. In short, if you want to be taken seriously as a digital photographer, you need to learn Photoshop.
First-time users of this massive and extremely powerful program are often shocked by the number of “things” revealed the second they first open it. With all that Photoshop can do for the digital photographer, where are we supposed to turn to learn the program and really harness its power?
The following five books are absolutely indispensable to the digital photographer. Not only will they teach you the basics of using Photoshop, they will show you how to compose a more dramatic, impactful image using your digital camera and even give you step-by-step instructions on popular digital photo projects.
Step-by-Step Composition Techniques for Digital Photographers: Published by Amherst Media, this newly-released guide presents techniques which transform everyday scenes into attention-grabbing images. Each of the lessons are arranged in a quick, two-page format and are illustrated with full color photographs. This layout makes the book easy to use, and lets you see immediate results as you put the quick lessons into action.
Photoshop CS2 for Dummies: Wiley Publishing’s latest “for Dummies” guide, this book takes the same clear, easy-for-everyone approach that their series is so well-known for and applies it to Adobe’s latest release of Photoshop. This guide takes the guesswork out of all the tools and functions included with the power-house program, many of which are a challenge for the advanced Photoshop user.
50 Fast Digital Photo Projects: Another Wiley Publishing release, this book is one of the coolest how-to books I’ve ever seen. In its pages are contained step-by-step projects that help you create unique and useful art and gifts using your digital images; everything from calendars to greeting cards. Each of the projects is presented with full-color illustration and photography to help you get the most from your work.
Photoshop CS2 Essential Skills: Released by Focal Press, there is no more comprehensive guide to helping you learn Photoshop CS2. Each of the program’s many tools and options like filters, color, tonality, and sharpness are covered with in-depth lessons. Once you’ve gotten through the For Dummies book and have a good understanding of where to find Photoshop’s “stuff”, this is the guide you need to help you further your creative potential.
Color Correction and Enhancement with Adobe Photoshop: The final must-have book in our list, this one is also published by Amherst Media. Without going into a specific Photoshop version, this book shows gives you step-by-step instructions to maximize your image quality. Quick fixes with tools bundled into Photoshop are presented alongside professional solutions using more sophisticated color correction tools. From restoring color and contrast to faded or yellowed prints to ensuring that your color matches from image to image, this book helps you take control of your digital photography.