Top positive review
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Other books on photography techniques take note!
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.