Like many people these days, I am a keen amateur photographer with a DSLR capable of many megapixels. I have learnt a lot in the last few years about taking a good photo and how to process that raw photo using Photoshop CS3 and more recently Lightroom 2. I needed to find out more about 'known unknowns' such as sharpening and why a print looks different to the image on a monitor; and have subsequently found 'unknown unknowns' such as edge burning. This book has provided key information about making optimal images and prints which I have not found in any other books and RS explains things very clearly with specific settings to try out in PS and LR2.
I agree with most of the points made by previous reviewers, but I will add a few observations of my own.
- I think it is perfectly justified that RS includes what makes a good photo as this is integral to achieving a good print at the end of your workflow. - I already knew about monitor calibration and many of the suggestions for how to take a good picture. However, RS includes lots of print specific hints to illustrate many of the suggestions which are worth knowing in a print context - RS really knows his stuff and explains some high end concepts (for me anyway) such as sharpening and masks in a lot of detail. - For those of us brought up on the 'doing' though photo magazines and using the software this is an ideal level of explanation and explains the 'why' of techniques I have been using but not knowing why... - The book that I bought is the 'New' guide, which follows three previous editions. Therefore it not only includes information that has always been relevant to good prints, but it is also fully up-to-date with DSLR lore and examples for Raw photos and Lightroom 2. This is not the case with several other much-touted photography books.
I disagree with an earlier reviewer that the 'print early, print often' suggestion is controversial. I know my printer well enough already for everyday printing. I don't think I will ever know my monitor and printer well enough not to have to print several proofs for competition entries... If you are at the stage of needing this book, you will know that there is a world of difference between what you see on the screen and what you see with a final print. And that readers, is a photo fact!
Other reviewers have indicated 5* if you have an Epson printer, 4* if you don't. I happen to have an Epson R2400, but most of my learning from this book is independent of the make of my printer. I would still score this book 5* if I owned a different make of printer - although I am even happier having an Epson. You will probably get more from this book if you have at least six cartridges in your printer, and even more if like me, you have eight/nine cartridges and print colour and B+W... This book has improved my understanding a great deal and I now need to invest time and ink to achieve better prints. Incidentally, if you don't already use a bulk ink flow system you really should start looking into it for pigment ink at a sixth of the price...
And finally... p.58 "Let me be straight with you. You get better photographs by taking lots of pictures and better prints by making lots of prints, not by following a workflow. Photography and digital printing are crafts. You can study them and learn about them, but to gain the experience of what works and what does not requires you to 'do them'... to master any craft, you need to work at that craft."
I agree whole heartedly with this view, and I recommend this book to anyone who wants to enjoy their photography more by improving their digital printing - whether or not they own an Epson printer.