Photoshop CS2 RAW

This book comes to grips with working with RAW files in Photoshop, and does it well.
Photoshop CS2 RAW
By Mikkel Aaland
O’Reilly, 2006
ISBN: 0 596 00851 1

This O’Reilly book gets to grip with that troublesome topic for many photographers, RAW files, whether to shoot them and what to do with them.

Photoshop CS2 RAW

In 200 heavily illustrated pages you will find sections on:
*    Shooting & Importing RAW
*    Using Adobe Bridge
*    Using Adobe Camera RAW
*    Using Camera RAW Adjust & Curve Controls
*    Advanced Tonal Control
*    Sharpening RAW Smartly
*    Reducing Noise, Correcting Chromatic Aberrations & Controlling Vignetting
*    Better Black & White Images with RAW
*    Archiving & Working with DNG
*    Converting & Delivering RAW

Right at the start, the book steps off on the wrong foot, at least to me. It devotes only three pages (1/2 of which is illustrations) to the discussion of when to shoot RAW. To me this is far too little and really would benefit from a clear comparison right up front of what is captured in RAW and what in TIFF or JPEG, so that the reader can make an informed choice.

The book then redeems itself somewhat by giving a sensible coverage of the use of Bridge, including the appropriate warning to turn off Bridge’s auto adjustment of thumbnail exposure and color. The book hits its stride when it gets into the details of making image adjustments in Camera RAW. Here you get step by step advice on the main things one would do with an image in Camera RAW to setup an image correctly for Photoshop. This is all good advice too. I like the fact that the author also gets into more advanced topics, such as preparing two quite different versions of an image in Camera RAW and then blending them together in Photoshop to handle different treatment requirements for different parts of the image. He also covers HDR (High Dynamic Range) image merging. There is good coverage of whether to sharpen in Camera RAW or Photoshop, and how to do this well in both. This is also good discussion of how to handle noise in Camera RAW. There is a nice chapter on shooting BW using RAW. This is followed by a discussion of the DNG format and whether you should use it for archiving and, if so, how to do this. A final chapter covers using automation to make your workflow work better.

Photoshop CS2 RAW

This is a very good book and provides a lot of useful advice for those who have decided to use RAW. With the one proviso of what I consider an inadequate coverage of the issues around RAW choice, everything else is covered at an appropriate depth to keep pretty much anyone happy. This is a good book and worth a place on the bookshelf of the photographer who is serious about their photography.

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