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on 16 April 2011
Over the years I have amassed quite a collection of instructional books on Photoshop. Over the past couple of years I've come to rely primarily on two excellent authors and Scott Kelby is one of those. Even so when I saw he was writing a book on professional portrait retouching I was a little unsure how he would strike the right balance between showing real professional techniques while maintaining the easy to follow format that has become a trademark of his recipe-style books. Well, I am delighted to tell that you Scott has taken my misplaced concern and kicked it out the park. This book is an absolute delight to read and follow.

The book is broken out into chapters of related content, eyes, skin, face shaping, hair, lips, and slimming & trimming and culminates like some of his other books with a workflow section in which he demonstrates a 5, 15, and 30 minute retouch workflow. You can download the files used in the chapters from his web site and one really nice touch is that not only does he provide you with good sized image files, but also makes available an additional image per lesson that you can use to reinforce what you have learned. In essence you get two chances to practice and can compare with Scott's results for validation. I think this is an excellent idea and I hope other authors take note and start doing the same in their future books of this nature.

Working through the chapters I found each instruction easy to follow and I would expect that even those new to Photoshop would not have a problem doing so despite the book claiming to be aimed at the Intermediate user. I have to say that this really is testimony to Scott's clear and concise style of instruction combined with good supporting screenshots as he goes along.

I have very few complaints about this book, but if i had to dig for something then I would have liked a few more male models. There are some but it is very heavily geared toward female models. In Scott's defence this is primarily what most photographers are shooting anyway. I think also some portrait styles would have been interesting but again this is not a book about creating a 'glamour' look or a 'grunge' style but in fact educating the photographer to the subtleties of good, natural-looking retouching.

A couple other value-adds that come with the book are the eyebrow brush set and retouching checklist extension, both downloads from the book's web page. All in all I would say this book is a perfect addition to any portrait photographer's library. A well earned 5 stars from me.
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on 19 July 2011
If you ever find yourself sat infront of your computer screen staring at some portrait shots you've taken, Photoshop open and saying "Now what?" or quite simply you want to make your portrait shots look their very best, then I can't say it any simpler than You Need This Book!

`Professional Portrait Retouching Techniques for Photographers using Photoshop' is the latest book by Photographer and Photoshop Guru Scott Kelby and in my own opinion this time he's out done himself and produced what I predict will become the Retouching Bible! Seriously...the book is that good!

With what appears to be an infinite supply of Photoshop books out there lining shelves in book stores it can be incredibly difficult knowing which ones/s to get especially when each and every one promises to `share the secrets of the pros'. The risk of possibly wasting your hard earned cash on a book that you'll glance through disappointingly and then never pick up again is real, and one that I'm sure most of us have done on more than one occasion.

However, this latest book changes things. We now have a book that not only gives us techniques that are easy to follow and apply but a book that eliminates the feeling of `What do I do now?'

This new book is full to the brim of techniques that work and work extremely well and what's more they're written and explained in a way that makes them easy to understand and then apply to your own work.

If you're familiar with Scott's Digital Photography Book series [Link] and the one page, one tip style then this is kind of written in the same way. Now obviously I don't mean that each technique takes just one page to explain but what I do mean is that the techniques don't drag on and confuse the heck out of you; Scott gets to the point and in a way that feels like he's there with you..."Do this, now do that...there you go!" Simple!

Some folks have `complained' in the past about Scott's humour in his writing but I think even `they' are going to be impressed this time. I don't know if it's an intentional decision on Scott's behalf but this latest book does seem to be written in a way that's slightly different to what we've become accustomed to, but that's definitely a good thing. Personally I like Scott's writing style...I'm a very visual person so for me to read, I need to be entertained as well as informed but this latest book will definitely appeal to all.

So what does the book cover?
The book is made up of 7 Chapters each covering a different area of retouching and on most occasions showing more than one technique to achieve the same/similar result so you can choose which fits in best with your way of working...

Chapter 1: Retouching Eyes

Increasing Contrast in the Iris
Darkening the Outer Rim of the Iris
Adding More Life to the Eyes
Enhancing and/or Creating Catch Lights
Brightening the Whites of the Eyes
Removing Eye Veins
Changing Eye Colour
Reducing Dark Circles Under Eyes
Making Eyes Larger (or Smaller)
Swapping One Eye for the Other
Enhancing Eyelashes
Creating Beautiful Eyebrows
Making Fuller Eyebrows
Darkening the Eyebrows
Sharpening Eyes to Make Them Sparkle

Chapter 2: Retouching Skin

Removing Blemishes
How to Avoid Plastic-Looking Skin
Basic "Quickie" Skin Softening
Softening Skin While Retaining Texture
Softening Skin & Adding Texture Back In
High Pass Skin Softening
Softening Skin Using Channels
Reducing or Removing Wrinkles
Removing Hot Spots
Balance Skin Tones
Reducing Stubble
Applying Digital Makeup
Creating Porcelain-Looking Skin
Sharpening Portraits

Chapter 3: Reshaping Facial Features

Reshaping the Face and Head
Making Features More Symmetrical
Sculpting the Face by Dodging & Burning

Chapter 4: Retouching Hair

Adding Highlights to Hair
Removing Stray Hair Strands
Fixing Gaps in Hair
Changing Hair Colour
Darkening a Part Line
Hiding Roots

Chapter 5: Retouching the Lips and Mouth

Making Lips Larger
Creating Glossy Lips
Applying or Tweaking Lipstick
Changing the Shade of Lip Colour
Repairing Teeth
Whitening Teeth and Reducing Yellowing

Chapter 6: Slimming and Trimming

Overall Slimming
Slimming One Person in a Group Shot
Reducing a Double Chin & Thinning the Face
Thinning Arms or Legs
Getting Great Abs
Fixing Clothes (Lumps, Bagging & Folds)

Chapter 7: My 5-, 15-, and 30 Minute Retouches

Retouching Checklist
My Five-Minute Retouch
My 15-Minute Retouch
My 30-Minute Retouch

Now this Chapter is the icing on the cake! Sure it's ok to know all these different techniques but when do you apply them, and in what order and more to the point how do you decide what needs doing anyway?

In Chapter 7 Scott goes through 3 retouches from start to finish...each more involved than the next; a 5 minute, a 15 minute and a 30 minute retouch covering techniques explained throughout the book and what's more there's an included `Check List' that you can use during your own retouching that goes through the kind of questions you should be asking yourself and that will help you to decide what to do.

Summary
As Photographers we should all aim to get the best `out of camera' images we can but it doesn't stop there! The money and time we've all invested, and continue to do so, to improve our skills still doesn't take away the fact that EVERY image requires some form of editing...even if it's adding a little more contrast and some sharpening.

Being proficient in Photoshop is all part of being a photographer just as knowing what to do in the dark room was in the days of film and this book will give you all you need to finish off your portraits and show them off at their very best.

No matter how proficient you may be in Photoshop you will DEFINITELY learn some valuable techniques amongst the books 384 pages, oh and although the book is written in such a way that you can dive into any section you want, be sure NOT to skip the introduction as there's some valuable hints and tips plus details of the book's accompanying website that includes downloads for you to use too.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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There are two excellent books on the subject of digital photo retouching. One is Photoshop Restoration and Retouching (Voices That Matter) which was originally written by Katrin Eismann, but is sometimes seen in joint authorship with another, and last published or revised in 2005 (I don't know of any later revision) which is a good all-round look at the subject and the other is this, and which is directed at those who may be either portrait photographers or working with one.

Scott Kelby is arguably the foremost expert on Photoshop and has authored several books on some aspect of its use and also some more general titles, plus others relating to other Adobe products. He also holds courses on the same range of topics and is a major presence on CBT (Computer-based Training) either on disk or via downloads. Many of his books are under the New Riders/Voices That Matter imprint but some have alternate publishers. You cannot really go wrong with anything of his or with anything from New Riders who specialise in the instructional books but are not solely limited to them; there are some creative ones.

Kelby has conducted either a live course or released a CBT version where he covers the subject of digital portrait retouching. It is very probable that the book is either a development of that or was inspired by it, but the book is able to cover rather more and expand on elements very much more fully than a one- or two-hour course could ever do.

This book sits across the dividing lines between instructional, practical and creative. Portraits, as seen in print, show perfect blemish-free skin tones, without dark lines under eyes, facial lines etc. Reality is usually less kind and either you, your client or sitter may prefer something other than bold reality. Whatever the personal imperfections, they may not want others to see them.

In the magazine world, there are few photographs that are not retouched in a major way and some so distorted from reality that the subject may be barely recognisable. This book is not, of necessity, suggesting that you go down that road but part of the way - to moderation!

Retouching does require time and skill; you need to expend one to gain the other. Fortunately, if you work in digital, you can save your work in stages and, if the event of a serious error, you can either step backwards or revert to the last saved version or one prior. This provides an excellent learning process.

The book is an excellent introduction to the many techniques that can be used, the tools provided within Photoshop that will help you and even discusses third-party add-ons that can reduce the work load.

If you are a portrait photographer, especially if semi-pro or professional, then this is a must have!
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on 27 July 2012
As a professional photographer up against tough deadlines for demanding clients in the public eye, this book is a life-saver. 8 hours burning and dodging is all very well - but the techniques described in this book are a massive time-saver and deliver really high quality results. It's also clearly written, thorough, intelligently organised, and highly practical and to-the-point - all the things that photography books so rarely are.

Since Scott Kelby's helped me make a living, it seems only fair I can chip in to help him earn his! I highly, highly recommended this book.
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on 26 June 2013
Not sure if this book is worth the money really - or they are just selling on the Scott Kelby franchise.

Ive seen all of these techniques in other photoshop books that I have, so was abit disappointed with this purchase.

Doesnt it show anything new and exciting - no, not really.

If you dont have any other photoshop technique books - this would be a good buy. If you do, dont bother.
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on 18 March 2012
AN ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC BOOK THAT I'VE READ COVER TO COVER TWICE ALREADY AND STARTED ON THE PROJECTS HE TAKES YOU THROUGH AND A COUPLE OF MY OWN. I FIND SCOTT KELBY'S BOOKS ARE DESIGNED TO TEACH YOU IN A NON TECHY AS A FRIEND GIVING AWAY FREE ADVICE. WHEN NORMALLY YOUR WORKING IN ANY ADOBE PROGRAMME IT SEEMS NOTHING "BUT TO TECHNICAL FOR WORDS."
THE COVER PICTURE OF HIS DAUGHTER IS BRILLIANT AND HE EVEN SHOWS YOU HOW HE PRODUCED THAT ONE.
SINCE I'VE PURCHASED THIS BOOK I'VE JOINED HIS WEB SITE, WATCHED MANY DOCUMENTARY VIDEOS OF HIS AND PURCHASED A FEW OF THE PROGRAMMES HE'S RECOMMENDED. ALRIGHT HE'S GOT ME HOOKED, BUT AS A BUDDING PRO PHOTOGRAPHER I ALSO HAVE TO BE A PRO USER OF ALL THINGS ADOBE, AND I CAN HONESTLY SAY, I'M GETTING THERE AFTER THIS BOOK AND A FEW OTHERS OF SCOTTS BOOKS THAT I'VE READ & FOLLOWED TO THE LETTER. WELL DONE SCOTT KELBY,ANOTHER FINE ACHIEVEMENT.
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on 9 October 2011
This is the second Scott Kelby's book I have bought and quite frankly it is the best Photoshop book on the market just now in my opinion, and I have spent a lot of time in libraries checking out Photoshop books for photographers. The tutorials are clear and easy to follow and with the added option of downloading the images used in the book and also some very good Photoshop brushes for eyelashes.
I have been amazed at how my portraits have stepped up a level since using these tutorils and love the comments I get from the sitters, I also let my college tutor have a look and he was so impressed he ordered one.
The other book I mentioned earlier is the Adobe Photoshop cs3 book for digital photographers, if like me you use CS3 thenAdobe Photoshop CS3 Book for Digital Photographers (Voices That Matter) these two books should be part of your editing kit.
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on 5 April 2012
A simple to follow, highly detailed well laid out technique book that will take a very long time to put down after has picking it up to read.

If you want drastic photoshop one fits all solutions this is not the book for you, rather than HDR do's and don't, graduating techniques and cutting and pasting a racing car into the Gobi desert, this helps you fine tune those minor details that most of us fail on, missed oppurtunities to add or or better eccentuate an element of a portrait. In some cases, the pictures displayed before and after are quite-if not very - similar, but in real life when you get editing and printing these little, clever and subtle adjustments make a hell of a difference.

The layout is superb, detailed in a step by step guide for each 'fix' or adjustment, seperated by chapters which refer skin, eyes, lips etc etc, helping you build up a little personal set of adjustments. The book finals on quick fixes of various durations, a professional workflow I do not know, but very informative and effective

As a reverence guide this book is worth its weight, just don't treat it as gospel, adjust, interpret and reinvent as you see fit, using this as guidance.

If you are new to Photoshop then this book would be a bit heavy and perhaps overkill. If you've got the money to spend buy it as your skills will quickly grow into use for this brilliant technique guide.
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on 18 April 2011
I don't know if I had a dodgy print run, its the cheap paper it is printed on or if my eyes are failing me but many of the before and after images are identical or so close that you can't actually appreciate the value of the technique without trying it. A good example is page 166, I struggle to find any differences.

Don't get me wrong I am a huge fan of subtle editing that looks realistic but these simply look the same in many cases. Unless you look at the book in very bright sunlight its hard to discern a difference.

I would have expected a photographers retouching book to be a bit better cared for in the printing department. The paper is clearly cheap and that has degraded the quality of the images to the point you lose the changes in some images.

That said the techniques are many that I already use, and I know they work. The others I dont use seem good too. So the content is great but the images are too similar to appreciate the power of the book without doing it yourself.

I love Mr Kelby's work usually but this book doesn't quite practice what he preaches.

I am torn between 3 and 4 stars, but went with 3, consider it 3.5
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on 21 August 2013
I went on Scott Kelby's 7 Point System for Photoshop Seminar and he shared a lot of ideas on how to retouch portraits and photos of women and men to make the photos look better without you being able to tell. This is basically a book going into huge detail on how to do this. At the end of the book he gives you the process for a 5 minute, 15 minute and 30 minute retouch depending on how much time you want to spend on post production. And of course you can spend less than 5 minutes.
What is particularly good about this book is that it shows you exactly how to do it without anyone being able to spot that you have improved it.
Nobody wants to know that the wonderful photo that you have produced that makes them look good is fake. Make your wives and girlfriends happy by removing their double chins , spots, blemishes and wrinkles, making their eyes look bigger and brighter and making them look slimmer. This book lets you know all the secrets on how to do it - and do it in a subtle way
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