I've long been a student, if not a practitioner, of Zen Buddhism, so the title of this book certainly caught my attention. I'm disappointed to say that, other than the title, there is nothing of Zen in this book. What is here is a good introduction to digital photography post-processing.
The book instructs on the use of Adobe Lightroom to catalog, process and make adjustments to captured images. Even though Lightroom alone will satisfy many photographers' needs, its ability to make local adjustments is limited, so the author describes how to make those adjustments in the far more powerful, but more complex, Adobe Photoshop, using layers, masks and retouching. He gives a brief tour of available plug-ins and then finishes up by showing how to use Lightroom to get one's images before others.
The book is presented in such a way that the beginner can read just the Lightroom chapters. Then, if and when the photographer is ready for the stronger power of Photoshop, he or she can move on to those chapters. When it comes to plug-ins, which allow specialized treatments within the Lightroom and Photoshop realm, he explains what the major plug-ins do to help readers decide whether to explore them.
Fitzgerald won my heart when, in his discussion of keywording, which is a way of marking an image file for convenient recovery, he discussed dealing with `ghost keywords', which are mostly a form of duplicate identifications. There probably are photographers who have never encountered the ghost keyword problem, but not most mere mortals. Yet this is the first book that I've encountered that discusses this problem.
Both Lightroom and Photoshop offer many similar ways of dealing with post-processing, and Photoshop contains many tools that a photographer will never use. Fitzgerald limits himself to telling you just a few of these ways, but that's enough for the beginner to easily learn how to process an image. After gaining some experience, the user should go to other resources to learn how to squeeze even more out of these pieces of software.
I didn't always agree that the author's procedure for a particular function was the best. For example, he discourages photographers from using the pick and reject flags in Lightroom, which I prefer for a sort of images, but the method he suggests is not unreasonable. Similarly, he doesn't discuss using the keyboard to control adding or subtracting from selections. Still these are functions that one can pick up with experience.
There are no real tutorials in the book, but the readers can load up the software and use their own images to follow the instruction. There is also no examination of what tools in Lightroom or Photoshop to use to create artistic images, so once again the reader will have to rely on other resources.
It appears that sometime after the book was written, Adobe changed its "Creative Cloud" policies so that one can get both Lightroom and Photoshop in a monthly, continuous upgrade form for just $10 a month so there is little reason not to integrate the programs to create the best possible images. There's no Zen here, but there is a good way for beginners, and perhaps even a few more experienced photographers, to learn how to use the programs.