The Photoshop CS4 Companion for Photographers
Portable Photoshop Advice You Can Take Anywhere
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Final Release Date: October 2008
Pages: 208

"Derrick shows that Photoshop can be friendly as well as powerful. In part, he does that by focusing photographers on the essential steps of an efficient workflow. With this guide in hand, you'll quickly learn how to leverage Photoshop CS4's features to organize and improve your pictures."-- John Nack, Principal Product Manager, Adobe Photoshop & Bridge

Many photographers -- even the pros -- feel overwhelmed by all the editing options Photoshop provides. The Photoshop CS4 Companion for Photographers pares it down to only the tools you'll need most often, and shows you how to use those tools as part of an efficient and enjoyable workflow. This book explains an easy method for processing your images using the new user-friendly features that come with Photoshop CS4, including Adobe Bridge, Photo Downloader, and Adobe Camera Raw.

A perfect fit for your laptop bag, this guide is designed to help you process photos in the field. Professional photographer and bestselling author Derrick Story teaches you how to quickly and efficiently organize and edit your photos without compromising the originals. With this book, you will:

  • Import your images and apply metadata with Photo Downloader
  • Rate your images and add keywords with Adobe Bridge
  • Make basic (and reversible) edits with Adobe Camera Raw, such as cropping, color balance, and tonal adjustments
  • Use advanced ACR tools for black & white conversion, spot removal, batch processing, and more
  • Refine your images with Photoshop using adjustment layers, masking, and smart objects
  • Apply advanced Photoshop techniques for retouching portaits, swapping colors, correcting lens distortion, and much more

To use Photoshop effectively, photographers must know which tools they really need and which ones they don't. The Photoshop CS4 Companion for Photographers gives you the knowledge to create your own efficient path to great-looking photos.

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oreillyThe Photoshop CS4 Companion for Photographers

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(7 of 7 customers found this review helpful)


Excellent introduction for digital photographers

By Abbott

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly The Photoshop CS4 Companion for Photographers:

I got this book to complement Deke McClelland's excellent One-On-One volume (ISBN 978-0596521899) and am glad I did. The books are definitely complementary.

The Companion for Photographers is well thought-out. Mr. Story presents a totally Adobe-based workflow that starts with importing images using Photo Downloader in Adobe Bridge, adds metadata, then does quite a bit of editing using Adobe Camera RAW (ACR), and finally uses Photoshop CS4 for final adjustments when needed.

The book doesn't attempt to make you a Photoshop CS4 expert. I found it to be an excellent introductory guide for digital photographers who want to know enough about Photoshop CS4 to use the program well without getting inundated in too many details. It succeeds well at that level.

No sample/demo disc is included. Instead, Story invites the reader to follow along and try the techniques on their own images. This works fine for me, although some may prefer to use something provided with the book.

The workflow is logical and presented with sufficient detail and delightful prose. However, my workflow is based on Apple's Aperture, and I didn't know quite what to do with the Bridge description. What did interest me, and will likely cause me to try importing with Bridge in the future, was the automatic metadata addition/embedding during import, which I didn't know about until reading this book.

I found the Adobe Camera RAW presentation excellent. ACR received a lot of enhancements in CS4 and Story covered them very well, succinctly and interestingly. He really shows how much you can do in ACR, much of which required Photoshop in earlier versions. His descriptions are simple, direct and understandable.

Layers, whose capabilities and accessibility were greatly improved in CS4, are covered very well in the book. You won't become an expert in using layers after a casual reading, but you should definitely feel like exploring them if you haven't already. And if you've been using Photoshop for a while, the discussion on new layer capabilities will serve as a good introduction to their capabilities.

There's a very valuable "Recipes" chapter that covers many of the most common adjustments/edits photographers are likely to need for their images. Story presents them with impressive clarity.

Big plusses for me in this book: very approachable introduction to CS4; delightful prose (almost conversational, as opposed to academic); copious use of photos and screen captures; useful recipes for the most common photographic corrections; and the physical size of the book (makes it very easy to carry with you if desired). I'm highly recommending this volume to my digital photographer friends.

(3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)


The Most Useful Information in a Small Package

By Hartley Jackson

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly The Photoshop CS4 Companion for Photographers:

The Photoshop CS4 Companion for Photographers is smaller and weighs less than you laptop computer. It contains the CS4 information that photographers use, and not the features and details in CS4 that photographers seldom if ever use. The information is presented in the sequence of a photographer's work flow from importing the pictures through to the final print. The writing is clear and friendly.

Reviewing this book made me want to upgrade to CS4 and to own this book.

In The Photoshop CS4 Companion for Photographers you learn what to do when you import photos and sort, rate, and keyword them in Bridge and use the new Smart Collections and Specialized Search Folders.

You learn how to do basic camera editing of JPEG and RAW images in Adobe Camera Raw. ACR saves your original image and saves the metadata changes as you use the latest advanced editing tools. With the new nondestructive editing tools you can safely start with cropping your images. You learn to use sliders to adjust over all exposure and highest, midterm, and shadows, and to adjust color, clarity, vibrance, saturation, and contrast. You can compare the original image, and the previous image to the one with your latest settings.

You use Advanced Camera RAW to help make your good shots great. You learn to do batch correct spot removal, and to do localized correction with the adjustment brush and graduated filters.

Photoshop is used only to make your great pictures perfect using such tools as the clone tool, levels, layer masks, and nondestructive sharpening with smart objects and smart sharpening.

The Photoshop CS4 Companion for Photographers next covers recipes for photographers including topics such as portraits, pictures of the world around us, and panoramas. It ends with color collaboration, making the print, and viewing the print on the wall so that you look at it over time and listen to comments about it to continue to learn as a photographer.

(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)


Great for all levels

By McPeek

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly The Photoshop CS4 Companion for Photographers:

I have read a number of "how to" types of books over the years. Nearly all of the books focused on specific features of the application. This is a necessary "evil." However, in such a small book, Derrick Story manages to do something that I find unique. He describes a simple workflow suitable for a digital photographer and explains the benefits and why it works. He spends quite a bit of time in Photo Downloader and Bridge, then moves over to Adobe Camera Raw. There are two chapters devoted to Photoshop. This may seem odd given the title, but I feel it is perfectly inline with the purpose of the book.

This book is a great way for a new Photoshop user to "get their feet wet" and it offers tips that may be great for Pros as well.

(2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)


a no-brainer

By Jeff Kew - Vancouver InDesign User Group

from Vancouver

Comments about oreilly The Photoshop CS4 Companion for Photographers:

this is a great little book for the price. It's got everything in it that you would expect; download, processing and printing. It's all there. What you'll discover is that after reading the book, you'll find it easier to just leave by your keyboard. It's small enough that it doesn't get in the way.

This is by no means a complete photoshop book. It is targeted for a specific task and it's priced that way too. Far too often Photoshop books are crammed with everything and weigh in at a few pounds. For many that's a necessity, but that's not what this book is about. In fact, if you're a shooter that is mobile and processes on site, you'll probably end up throwing this book in your bag as a quick reference.

(3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)


An essential for upgraders to CS4 or those considering it

By Steve Cooper

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly The Photoshop CS4 Companion for Photographers:

Adobe Photoshop is a forbiddingly complex program. Many books on the subject make the mistake of emphasizing this complexity by seeking to cover every aspect of its every possible application. This approach is not suitable for photographers, who know that they need to be conversant with only certain groups of functions, but who need help in determining which groups are important and how best to utilize them. Without assistance this is not an easy task, and is invariably time consuming.

In this book, practicing professional photographer, lecturer, author and podcaster Derrick Story sifts the wheat from the chaff and demonstrates through clear and simple examples how efficient and effective use of the Photoshop CS4 suite (including Image Downloader, Adobe Bridge and Adobe Camera Raw) lies primarily with an understanding of the logical workflow that it facilitates.

Written in a pleasantly conversational but never condescending manner, the book comprises six main sections , one for each of the workflow steps.

First is the importing of images using the Image Downloader function of CS4, including titling and addition of meta data which is most efficiently done in this environment.

Then comes the use of Adobe Bridge in rating images to establish a work priority, and in keywording to make later searching and organization easy and efficient.

The following two sections deal with basic and advanced editing of RAW (and now also JPEG and TIFF) image files in Adobe Camera Raw. A typical Raw workflow is laid out step-by-step, and the new localized editing functions of ACR explained and illustrated. The philosophy is that as much work as possible should be carried out non-destructively in ACR before resorting to Photoshop for the fine tuning.

The next section covers classic image adjustment techniques in Photoshop itself, concentrating on the improvements to tools and functions that CS4 incorporates.

This is followed by a collection of 'Photoshop Recipes' covering a number of the adjustments most commonly needed in portraiture, architectural and landscape photography. Don't look here for mind-numbing techniques using dozens of layers , these are understandable methods that can be applied every day with ease, but which do incorporate many of the latest refinements to Photoshop features.

Finally, the book deals with the essential techniques of equipment calibration and printing.

Although the book is primarily intended to be read while working with Photoshop CS4, the clear explanations of technique and the many illustrations combine to make it entirely possible to 'follow along' without actually using the program , a boon to those merely contemplating a purchase or upgrade.

As a carry-around companion exemplary in its conciseness and clarity, the book ideally suits two groups of photographers:

Those new to Photoshop or merely contemplating the latest upgrade need to understand whether the new features offer useful improvements to their present working environments, and whether the essentials are capable of being mastered with reasonable effort.

Professionals and enthusiasts who upgrade as a matter of course may too easily fall into the trap of simply working out how to follow their normal workflow in the changed environment, and may never discover the real benefits of changing that workflow to fit a new paradigm. This book will encourage them to invest just a little learning time in order to significantly improve the efficiency and consistency of their work.

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