book reviews

Everyday Photoshop for Photographers by Julie King

Before I use a book, I give it a feel test. I’m looking for a useful feel; is it inviting, does it compel me to open it, are the pages easy to read, is it easy to navigate, does the index work? Julie King’s Everyday Photoshop for Photographers, passes all my preliminary feel tests with high marks.

The pages are laid out so the chapter headings flip across the top in an easy to read fashion. They are large and descriptive, so when I searched for masking, I flipped quickly to Chapter 6, Selective Editing: Masking in Photoshop. The right hand page lists the Part section in vertical type. I really appreciate a book that flips well.

The information presented utilizes brief concise paragraphs with lots of bulleting and bold headers. Snippets of important information are specifically color coded to content, Remember(Blue), Watch Out!(Red), and Time Saver(Green). These are strategically placed with excellent information.

However, when working with a subject such as Photoshop, it is extremely important to visualize the techniques discussed with images reflecting sometimes subtle differences. There’s just nothing worse than portraying Photoshop results with lousy pictures. King has an excellent collection of high quality images that faithfully reproduce the techniques discussed. They are bright, clear and visualize even the most subtle Photoshop effects. The qualities of the images are crucial to the text and often self-explaining.

Included are excellent screen shots of Photoshop’s tools and palettes. They are easy on the eyes in the context of the text. Tables list speed keys for tools and commands. King also added Tool Tricks, more blocked snippets of ready to use information such as:

Press a number key to adjust the opacity of the next stroke you paint with the Brush tool or Clone tool. Press 0 for full opacity, 9 for 90 percent opacity, 8 for 80 percent opacity, and so on. To adjust opacity in increments smaller than ten, type the specific value: 85, 23 or whatever.

King provides a basic background on the use of Photoshop, how to move around within it, providing basic element descriptions using common, everyday language that a novice user can understand and relate easily. She discusses manipulating photographs via cropping and color controls, masking techniques, levels filter use to control exposure and color variances, remixing and replacing colors, fixing defects with the cloning tool and healing brush. Her text will be useful to the novice or the expert.

Reviewed By: Mary Kuster