Friday, December 24, 2010

Favorite book on photographic composition

Michael Freeman’s The Photographer’s Eye is a beautiful book that I find myself going back to and thinking about much more than other photo books. As someone with no training in art or graphic design, I find this book immensely valuable in helping me think more explicitly and clearly about the art of composing photographs.

Here’s a promotional video that gives some sense of Michael’s approach

Here are some photo galleries on Michael’s web page

Online Photoshop tutorials and digital imaging discussions

I’ve found the following online tutorials enormously useful in learning some of the basics of Photoshop, as well as some more sophisticated techniques:

Adobe TV Learn Photoshop CS5 covers many of the basics

Julieanne Kost’s Blog has tons of tips and tricks relating to Photoshop and Lightroom

Mark Johnson has an extensive series of free video tutorials on his Photoshop Workbench

Glenn Mitchell of The Light’s Right has lots of excellent in-depth tutorials available as free PDF downloads, including this superb overview of digital dodging (selective lightening) and burning (selective darkening) techniques:

Tony Kuyper also has a series of excellent tutorials on more sophisticated Photoshop techniques such as luminance masking (which allows highly selective dodging and burning of particular tonal ranges within an image)

I have appreciate the accumulated wisdom and experience available in the searchable discussion archive of the Photoshop Users Support Group an Flickr:

as well as the Digital Photography Review forum on software and retouching

and PhotoNet’s forum on digital darkroom issues

Best Digital Imaging Book ever

Photoshop has a steep learning curve that can seem daunting, which is why there are lots of instructional materials available. It’s slightly dated now, and won’t include references to some of the features and functions in the newest versions of Photoshop, but the most enduringly useful digital imaging book I’ve read is The Creative Digital Darkroom by Katrin Eismann and Sean Duggan. If you want to learn how to use some of the most powerful core features that Photoshop has to offer, in ways that are most relevant to photographers (rather than graphic artists), this is the book.

I find myself going back to this book much more often than the offerings by Martin Evening or Scott Kelby (fine as those books may be).