Author: Tim Grey

Publisher: Sybex (Wiley)

Review by Conrad J. Obregon

Let there be no mistake about it. Photoshop (PS) is not an easy program to use, with all those menus, tools and panels. Yet anyone who aspires to master digital photography had better learn how to use Photoshop. The problem is compounded by lots of goldilocks-like books that are either too simple or too complex for someone just beginning to learn the program. What’s a photographer to do?

Tim Grey addresses this problem in his book, Photoshop CS4 Workflow: The Digital Photographer’s Guide. The author leads the reader in gentle steps through the most important parts of PS CS4. He starts with advice on how to use the separate programs that are incorporated in PS, Bridge and Camera Raw. He then covers basic adjustments for rotating and cropping, tone and color adjustment and image cleanup. He moves on to advanced tonal and color adjustments, selections and targeted adjustments, and creative adjustments. He finishes up by showing how to save files, automate workflow and print. After reading the introductory material, the section on basic adjustments and the methods of saving and outputting files, the beginner should be able to begin processing his images in PS. He can then return to the other sections as he goes along.

The book is not perfect. There are no images to download and no tutorials. Grey concentrates on using the buttons and sliders without ever explaining how to figure out what adjustments a person might want to make to an image to improve it. Many of the more advanced PS tools that a photographer might ultimately want to use are not discussed.

Add to that the fact that Grey clearly favors the use of the PS program itself to make most adjustments, rather then Camera Raw or PS’s sister product Lightroom, while other advanced photographers use these two tools more heavily.

So long as the reader understands that post processing images can involve many steps before one can be called an expert, and that the serious photographer will probably read many more books to learn how to create a great digital image, this book will serve as a good introduction to the use of Photoshop. But it’s not the end of the road.