Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Photoshop Lightroom books – Book Review

In 2012 Adobe released Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 and a new version of its Creative Suite 6 that included the new Adobe Photoshop CS6. If you bought either of those software packages, you may need some literature to learn or improve your skills. I review a list of books that may be useful. And I kept my favorite book for the end of this review.


The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 Book
Author: Martin Evening
Company: Adobe Press books by Peachpit
ISBN: 978-0-321-81959-8, 681 pages
Price: $54.99 US

This book will certainly be my main reference for all that is related to Lightroom 4. It starts by explaining the core architecture of Lightroom, goes in deep with all modules, talks about how to integrate Photoshop in the Lightroom workflow, and details every aspect of the interface, functions, presets, and preferences. It is well illustrated with color pictures. If you are a Lightroom user, I highly suggest keeping this book near your computer.

MyMac Review Rating: 9 out of 10



The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 Book For Digital Photographers
Author: Scott Kelby
Company: New Riders
ISBN: 978-0-321-81958-1, 488 pages
Price: $49.99 US

This other excellent book on Lightroom 4 is a step-by-step how-to title to get the best out of the software for photographers. You’ll see topics on how to import and organize your pictures and videos, develop your photos, and how and when to jump in Photoshop. It covers all the modules of Lightroom, except the Web module (available on the web) which the author describes as abandon-ware from Adobe. The book ends with a chapter on the specific workflow Scott Kelby uses in Lightroom. The images used in the book are available for download if you want to follow the exercises exactly as described.

MyMac Review Rating: 9 out of 10



Photoshop CS6 and Lightroom 4, a Photographer’s Handbook
Author: Stephen Laskevitch
Company: Rocky Nook
ISBN: 978-1-937538-03-3, 326 pages
Price: $44.95 US

This book is interesting in the fact that it will show you basic techniques using Photoshop, Bridge, ACR (Adobe Camera Raw) and Lightroom. The title is a bit misleading as I first thought it would be a book showing a workflow based on using Lightroom to catalog and modify your images, and jumping to Photoshop for advance photo retouching or modifications. But the author mainly shows how to accomplish similar tasks in Lightroom, or in Bridge/ACR or in Photoshop. If you only have the budget to buy one book on both Photoshop and Lightroom, this may be it, but it is not a book I was really impressed with.

MyMac Review Rating: 6 out of 10



Understanding Adobe Photoshop CS6
Author: Richard Harrington
Company: Peachpit Press
ISBN: 978-0-321-83462-1, 303 pages with DVD
Price: $59.99 US

I previously reviewed the edition of this book aimed at Photoshop CS5. This new edition covers the same topics, but is updated to reflect some of the changes in Photoshop CS6, such as the Properties panel and Characters/Paragraph style. I still think it is one of the first books you should read if you are new to Photoshop CS6. For more details on what you’ll get, you can read my review of the previous edition.

MyMac Review Rating: 8 out of 10



Photoshop CS6 Unlocked: 101 Tips, Tricks, and Techniques
Author: Corrie Haffly
Company: Sitepoint Books
ISBN: 978-0-9872478-7-2, 417 pages
Price: $39.95 US

This book is in a different category of Photoshop content. Instead of teaching you what’s new in Photoshop CS6 and how to use it in a general manner, it goes into deeper techniques to accomplish different tasks. The cover of the book says it is for web designers, and you’ll find two full chapters on how to create buttons and backgrounds for your web site, but there is more. Chapter seven is particularly interesting with tutorials, such as how to create a magnifying glass effect or put a picture onto a product box. It looks more at the creative side of Photoshop than learning the software. And I bet some techniques showed in this book can also apply for app design as well, even if it is showing it for web usage only.

MyMac Review Rating: 7 out of 10



Photoshop CS6 The Missing Manual
Author: Lesa Snider
Company: O’Reilly
ISBN: 978-1-449-31615-0, 862 pages
Price: $49.99 US

This book is well suited for people who want to know almost everything Photoshop CS6 can do overall. It covers all the important features of Photoshop CS6: cropping, layers (group, blend modes), changing colors, making selections, channels, the brush tools, the Vector Tools, text, filters, video editing, printing, and web. You will also learn the basic of actions, plug-ins (managing them as well as a few important ones on the market) and Bridge. It doesn’t explore every detail of each topic, but it is a nice overview of all the features available in Photoshop CS6. It is a good reference book on Photoshop in general. It is illustrated with color images as well.

MyMac Review Rating: 8 out of 10



The Adobe Photoshop CS6 for Digital Photographers
Author: Scott Kelby
Company: New Riders
ISBN: 978-0-321-82374-8, 453 pages
Price: $54.99 US

In this book, author Kelby shows us how to use Photoshop CS6 to enhance pictures you (or someone else) have taken. It is really a book for people who already know Photoshop and want to have step-by-step procedures to create stunning pictures. It covers techniques such as making a model pop (eyes enhancements, scar removal), a chapter is dedicated to HDR, another to B&W photography, three chapters are dedicated to Adobe Camera Raw alone. Chapters eight and nine are dedicated to common problem fixes and special effects, followed by sharpening techniques and color management for printing. The book ends with a section on video, and Scott’s step-by-step workflow on using Photoshop CS6. If you’re using Photoshop specifically for your photography business, it is a highly recommended book.

MyMac Review Rating: 9 out of 10



Photoshop CS6 Visual Quickstart Guide
Author: Elaine Weinmann and Peter Lourekas
Company: Peachpit Press
ISBN: 978-0-321-82218-5, 487 pages and digital download
Price: $39.99 US

This is another great book on Photoshop CS6 that covers most of the important topics you need to know about the software. But where this book shines is with the digital content that comes with it. Instead of providing a DVD with video and/or photo files, the back of the book provides a code to get the digital content for this title. There are fifteen videos available, but the most important is the book itself in PDF, MODI, and EPUB format. With all those iPads, eReaders, and tablets on the market today, I’m surprised that publishers do not provide this kind of download more often. It is like buying the physical DVD or BlueRay disk of a movie, and have the iTunes code for the digital movie download. The best of both worlds.

MyMac Review Rating: 8 out of 10



Adobe Photoshop CS6 Learn By Video
Author: Kelly McCathran
Company: Peachpit Press
ISBN: 978-0-312-84071-4, 31 pages booklet, 14 hours of video on DVD
Price: $64.99 US

If you are the visual type, this one maybe for you. This is not really a book, but a video training on DVD that you can watch on your computer, and probably on your iPad (I haven’t tried transferring files to my iPad via iTunes). The videos, produced by online service video2brain, cover the basic of photo retouching and printing, and a few more concepts in Photoshop CS6 such as video and 3D. The course is nicely done, but I found the money to value to be poor. At $65 for a single course, when you can subscribe to the whole catalog (246 courses at time of writing) of training for as little as $14.99 per month, it may not be the best investment for you.

MyMac Review Rating: 4 out of 10



Adobe Photoshop CS6 Classroom in a Book
Author: Multiple contributors
Company: Adobe Press books by Peachpit
ISBN: 978-0-321-82733-3, 385 pages with DVD
Price: $54.99 US

This book is another great tour of Photoshop CS6 features that could be useful for beginner to intermediate users. It covers most of the features in a nice overview and will get you started with the software. In goes into photo retouching as well as video editing, typographic design, vector drawing, the mixer brush, 3D, masks and channels, and compositing. This could be a good starter book if you are new to the software.

MyMac Review Rating: 7 out of 10



The Hidden Power of Blend Modes in Adobe Photoshop
Author: Scott Valentine
Company: Adobe Press books by Peachpit
ISBN: 978-0-321-82376-2, 209 pages
Price: $39.99 US

Blend modes are some of the most important features of Photoshop, but also ones that take more time to master. This book describes how Photoshop users can enhance their photos or images using blend modes. Many techniques are explained in detail with color images. The book is not very thick at 209 pages, but it packed lots of useful information in a little package. If you are looking to create some effects to your images in no time with Photoshop, you should have this book as a reference in your library.

MyMac Review Rating: 8 out of 10



Adobe Creative Suite 6 Design & Web Premium
Author: Multiple contributors
Company: Adobe Press books by Peachpit
ISBN: 978-0-321-82260-4, 302 pages with DVD
Price: $54.99 US

If you bought the Design and Web Premium version of Creative Suite 6, this book is written to help you start with this software suite. It will show you basic functionalities of the different software included in the suite, and show you how to publish to web, mobile device, or PDF format. While the book is not bad as a starter kit, it does not go very far in any specific details. It should be recommended for beginners at most.

MyMac Review Rating: 5 out of 10



Photoshop Compositing Secrets
Author: Matt Kloskowski
Company: Peachpit Press
ISBN: 978-0-321-80823-3, 380 pages
Price: $49.99 US

This one describe how to make composite images that appear to be real using Photoshop. You’ll learn how to take the picture of your subject in studio, extract it from its original background, how to create a new stunning background for it, and how to place the subject on its new background so that it looks as real as possible. You will learn how to use Photoshop to create sports composite, movie posters, group composite (family, professional), live concert, and multi-exposure. If you want to have a very nice preview of what Matt Kloskowski can do to work his magic with Photoshop, I suggest you take a look at this video in which you’ll see how he created one of the composites in the book.

MyMac Review Rating: 10 out of 10


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