The Digital Darkroom Guide with Adobe Photoshop by Maurice Hamilton

The Digital Darkroom Guide with Adobe PhotoshopBook Title: The Digital Darkroom Guide with Adobe Photoshop
Author: Maurice Hamilton
Book Provided By: Amherst Media

Photoshop can seem like mystery to many people, and while I am familiar with the basics, I wanted a deeper understanding of the creative uses of this program. It seems that every day a new photography book hits the shelves and it can be difficult to find one to suit your needs in that overwhelming market. But once in a while, a book distinguishes itself from the pack. “The Digital Darkroom Guide with Adobe Photoshop” by Maurice Hamilton is such a book, it is an easy-to-read, reference guide that can assist even an experienced Photoshop user with new techniques.

This book is packed with useful information and creative techniques in an easy-to-follow format. For many, it will become a much-used reference as you return to different sections to apply the various ideas to your images. It includes five chapters with an introduction by Maurice Hamilton, the author and contributing photographer. Mr. Hamilton states in his introduction “Although the techniques described in this book are appropriate for intermediate users of Photoshop, no prior experience with Photoshop is necessary.” This is an accurate statement, though you must follow along with the procedures outlined in his book and actually try them on your own images.

The text comes primarily from the authors’ own experience and one of the distinguishing characteristics is the emphasis it places on darkroom techniques and formulary. After a preliminary discussion on the basics of equipment and color management, it gets into the nitty-gritty of Photoshop essentials. This chapter provides a working overview for people with only a passing knowledge of this program. It is outlined in an easy-to-read and use interface with plenty of screenshots to allow the reader to follow along without getting lost in excess detail.

One of the most important ideas related is the quality of the beginning image. In the chapter “Creating the Master Image” the author discusses processes for scanning images as well as digitally captured images. This is the largest chapter in the book and covers topics such as tonality, curves, levels and repairing image flaws. It explains the purpose of working on duplicate layers and gives step-by-step instructions for many of the basic techniques used to process an image. It includes a wealth of screenshots and follow-along examples of the authors own images and final results.

The next chapters discuss special effects applied to images and again, the fundamental tone is the use of non-destructive methods. With Photoshop, one can apply a number of methods to achieve the desired look, some of theses methods are destructive. In almost all cases there is an option emphasized such as using a non-destructive layer over the original. These chapters also discuss, in technical detail, creating composite panos and masking depth of field.

The book is richly illustrated and interesting in a graphical sense. It is appealing and easy to read without being bulky. If creating simple, beautiful effects is what you desire for your images then this book is for you. It will go a long way towards advancing your understanding and moving your images in the right direction.

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