Books For Photographers

This page is a compilation of books that were most instrumental in bringing me up to speed with Photoshop. While Photoshop is not the end-all of most pro photographers’ tool kits, it is generally the foundation where all photographers generally get started. So to help out those that are on the path to achieving better results, here is a list of books (for all levels) that will help them get to the next level.

The absolute beginning to learning about photoshop is     the Classroom In A Book series from Adobe. This book will start you from the beginning. It will teach you about the photoshop work area, how to use each tool, layer usage, basic color correction and more. It comes with a CD loaded with project files so that you can follow along with the lessons in the book. The book checks in at just under $50 USD which makes it an expensive book, but will be  the best money you spend to get yourself started in an orderly  fashion. You can find this book at Adobe’s web site.






Level 1
So after you have learned about “what” the tools are about. This Scott Kelby book will help you learn “when” they will work best and how to apply them. This book will revisit some things that you learned in Classroom In A Book but will also start to talk about workflows. It will also teach you some basic methods to start creating essential photo styles that most photographers use at some time or another. This book sells for around $40USD and is generally updated along with, or soon after, each Photoshop Update.





Level 2

Oh the hidden power of Photoshop!!! Channels are the basis of every image that we look at. Once you understand channels you will have an entirely different way to create the results that will exceed in almost every way the way your previous results. Channels is the key to fixing flat images, making impossible selections, reducing noise, and creating some incredible black and white images. Once you master this, you should be able to hang with most photo editors and not sound stupid. This book took me the longest to get through and it is the only book that sits next to my keyboard as I constantly am referring to it as i try to internalize every aspect of channel work. It is that important!!! This Scott Kelby book too is about $40 USD and is generally updated along with, or soon after, each Photoshop Update.


Level 3

So now that you have been in the mix with photoshop for awhile, you have started to notice some tedious things about getting things done in Photoshop. This book’s only purpose is to turn you into a speed freak…did I say speed freak? I meant SPEED FREAK!!! For professionals, time is money. Not a professional? Well that’s ok but who doesn’t want to get twice the work done in half the time? It has sped me up immeasurably and people are constantly astounded at how fast i can get through an entire photo from CF card to print ready. This book is not a read from cover to cover. Generally you read a portion and then three weeks later you say “ugh” during an edit and then remember something about it in this book. You look it up and voila! you are golden. Scott Kelby does it again and it comes in around $30 dollars.


So you finally got to the point where you can create a decent image in Photoshop. A client calls you up and loves your work… the client wants a 4 foot by 6 foot print sent immediately to their Headquarters for their media director to review and then cut you a big check. You realize you need a great looking print and call up the local PRO print shop and they ask you for the file. You send it and three minutes later you get a call asking if your monitor is calibrated and what ICC profile you used because the gamut warnings are plentiful and by the way…you have an RGB profile associated with one part of your project and another layer for some reason has a CMYK profile…could you please normalize your work into one color space? and please give them 150 pixels per inch vs the 72 pixels per inch that you sent them. You don’t seem to have any answers because the photo center at Wal-Mart just gave you prints.

The answers are in the book “Real World Color Management“. This book is dull but will put you toe to toe with almost any printing guru and get you speaking the same language and help you navigate away from common but costly mistakes that come from the printing process. If you make a great Photoshop file don’t you want it to sparkle on paper? You can be lazy about this as most PRO print shops will do the all the work for you and make your color adjustments and get it just right…for about $35 USD to print a partial preview and $50 USD an hour for labor. The book costs around $50 USD…You might be a photographer but I bet you can do the math…