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Customer Review

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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