Make sure you don’t miss a single Photofocus post – point your feed reader to the free Photofocus RSS Feed here and subscribe. I have two books for photographers I want to mention today. The first is by Photoshop guru and Kelby Media Trainer Matt Kloskowski – (Disclaimer – Matt has appeared on the Photofocus […]

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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 […]

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The 50 Greatest Photo Opportunities in New York City Author: Amadou Diallo Publisher: Course Technology Cengage Learning Review by Conrad J. Obregon This is a simple book that proved a pleasant surprise. This book of places to photograph includes chapters on New York City’s architecture, city life, events, urban oasis and secret NYC. There is […]

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Digital Portrait Photography Author: Steve Sint Publisher: Lark Books (Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.) Review by Conrad J. Obregon If you want to catch the soul of a subject, this may not be the book for you. But if you want to take a portrait that will show the subject to his or her best advantage, […]

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You’ve collected hundreds of great images, you have something important to share and you’re ready to see your book pop onto the shelf at Borders. How do you get from where you are now, to the bookstore?

It all starts with a book proposal.

And it gets harder from here.

The ugly facts are that the recession is making it harder than ever to get a book deal. Photo books are even harder to promote to publishers since they typically don’t sell well compared with the average Stephen King novel.

But nonetheless, books will continue to be made and bought so why not take your shot?

The first thing you’ll need to do is craft a snappy title and come up with your best photo for the proposal. Then you need to write a proposal that convinces the publisher you can write the book.

Here are some suggestions as to format and content. There is no wrong or right way to do this, but the ideas I am sharing with you have worked for me when I pitched books. Continue reading

Adobe Photoshop CS4 for Photographers

Author: Martin Evening

Publisher: Focal Press (Elsevier)

Review by Conrad J. Obregon

Blame it on Adobe. Each version of Photoshop (PS) gets more and more capabilities, and, as a result, each time Martin Evening writes a book about PS it gets longer. In fact not only has this book reached over 650 pages, but Evening tells us that he’s writing a second book to tell us how to use the software because this book just tells us what the sliders and button do.

Evening starts with a general introduction to PS CS4 and tells the reader how to configure the software. He then discusses every aspect of the latest PS version from the use of Camera Raw to printing. The chapters are organized along conceptual lines. For example, there is a chapter on sharpening and noise reduction, right after the discussion of Camera Raw, because of the input sharpening facility in Camera Raw. Even though the sharpening filters are part of the filter menu the author doesn’t mention them when he talks about filters, but he then returns to output sharpening in the chapter on printing. Continue reading

I am going to recommend a couple of books I’ve been reading lately. These aren’t going to be the in-depth reviews that you get here from Conrad almost every Sunday – just quick picks of stuff I like. The first book I want to suggest is Rick Sammon’s Top Digital Photography Secrets. This book also […]

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Author: Photography by Christopher Beane; Text by Anthony F. Janson

Publisher: Artisan (Workman Publishing)

Review by Conrad J. Obregon

Every once in a long while a book of photographs comes along that provides not just beautiful images, but that makes you stop and think about the nature of photography and vision itself. “Flower” is such a book.

Christopher Beane’s images are of beautiful, voluptuous flowers, but from a viewpoint that seems to give a new meaning to the genre. The images, taken in close-up, are curvy and saturated. They are almost abstract, like modernist paintings designed not to show us the flower but the nature of color and form itself. They seem closest to the works of Georgia O’Keefe, but they are not derivative. Rather they head in a new direction. Continue reading

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2: A Digital Photographer’s Guide

Authors: Dave Huss and David Plotkin

Publisher: Focal Press

Review by Conrad J. Obregon

I suspect that as the Lightroom image processing software matures, users will be looking for different kinds of information to best use it. As a consequence, a book that may be perfect for new users may be too simple for experienced hands.

Huss and Plotkin provide us with an approach to Lightroom that may appeal to people already familiar with the software. The chapters of the book follow the format of most other authors, working the way through each of Lightroom’s five modules. When discussing the Library function they further divide the tasks into getting photos into Lightroom and organizing the photos, as well as using the quick develop functions. They examine the tools for adjusting photos in the development module, with a separate chapter on using the local adjustment tools introduced in Lightroom 2. They finish up by covering the slideshow, web and print modules. Continue reading

One of the greatest photography how-to books of all time is back. “The Art of Bird Photography” by Arthur Morris has been out of print for some time. But Artie got the rights to print the book himself and it’s available for sale through his website. If you are a photographer, you should buy […]

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Landscape Beyond

Author: David Ward

Publisher: Argentum (Aurum Press)

Review by Conrad J. Obregon

There are plenty of photography books that instruct on technique. There are fewer showing how technique can be used to disclose vision. Fewer still are those showing how to develop vision. David Ward’s first book,”Landscape Within”, is a part of this latter group.

Now Ward has returned with further ruminations upon this topic. Although Ward is primarily a landscape photographer, emphasizing the intimate landscape, all photographers can benefit from reading his books. Like the first book, this one consists of a portfolio of Ward’s photographs, which, while related to the essays, illustrate his points generally, rather then being tied to any specific point. Ward says the essays illustrate what he considers to be the three essential elements of his work: simplicity, mystery and beauty. The fourth essay, called “Questions or Answers”, suggests that there are two different types of photographs (or perhaps photographers – I’m not sure): Those that raise questions and those that provide answers. Ward also provides useful technical data on his pictures, and to appease some critics, but not me, information on where photographs were taken. Continue reading

Step-by-Step Wedding Photography

Author: Damon Tucci

Publisher: Amherst Media

Review by Conrad J. Obregon

Sometimes I wonder if wedding photography is so competitive that practitioners are always trying to get any edge they can so that they are always willing to buy new books on wedding photography. Or maybe it’s that the field looks so lucrative to outsiders that they are willing to buy wedding photography books to try and figure out how to get a piece of the pie. Or maybe it’s that so much is on the line that wedding photographers will grasp at any straw to avoid an error. There must be some explanation of why there are so many books published on the subject. Here’s another entry in the race.

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