The Way of the Digital Photographer: Walking the Photoshop post-production path to more creative photography

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9780321943071: The Way of the Digital Photographer: Walking the Photoshop post-production path to more creative photography

In The Way of the Digital Photographer, master photographer and digital artist Harold Davis explains how you can use Photoshop to become a better digital photographer. This is an extraordinary book about photography that shows you how to use Photoshop as a tool to creating great images.

To be truly special, digital photographs need both camera and computer working together. Using detailed examples and case studies from his own work, Davis provides myriad ideas that you can use to unlock your own creativity and make those one-of-a-kind images you have always dreamed of. Readers will discover how to effectively use post-processing techniques. They will also gain insight into using these techniques to inform their choices when making a photo, and in post-production workflow.

The Way of the Digital Photographer is for anyone who has ever been baffled by Photoshop layers, and also for photographers who want to include their Photoshop skills in a digital workflow that serves their personal creative goals. Step-by-step tutorials explain the core Photoshop features of layers, layer masks and blending modes. You will learn techniques for pre-visualizing your images with both photography and Photoshop in mind, and take your image-making skills to the next level. In The Way of the Digital Photographer you will learn how to:

  • Use textures and backgrounds with your images
  • Create layers and layer masks to enable photographic effects
  • Realistically add details to your images by "painting" right on a layer
  • Take advantage of LAB color effects
  • Multi-process your RAW files for maximum punch
  • Combine bracketed exposure sequences to extend the range of lights and darks in a photo
  • Move beyond everyday photography and make compelling, creative images that will get noticed!

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Review:

A Letter to Amazon Customers from Harold Davis

Dear Amazon Reader:

Harold Davis

If you are thinking of buying my book The Way of the Digital Photographer there is something you should know about my approach to photography. Just as quality film photos by serious photographers were finished in the chemical darkroom, serious digital photographers---almost without exception---include working in the digital darkroom as part of their workflow.

When I give a workshop or in-person presentation of my work someone nearly always raises their hand and asks, "Was that 'Photoshopped'?"

My response is, "Yes. And with my work the answer will always be 'Yes'."

I am not alone in using Photoshop as part of my work. In fact, whether they will publicly admit it or not, almost every professional or serious amateur photographer uses Photoshop or other post-production software to enhance their work. The question is not whether it is used. The question is simply whether the tools of digital post-production are used skillfully.

So if you are looking for a photography book that will tell you how to get it right without using the digital darkroom, The Way of the Digital Photographer is not for you. By the way, it never was possible to get it right without involving post-production. For example, Ansel Adams put huge effort into manipulating his images long after they had left the camera to make his wonderful prints. Digital photography is best when photography and Photoshop work together!

Photography begins with creativity and vision. But without mastery of craft, creativity and vision by themselves will never amount to much. If you are ready to really learn the craft of digital photography, and looking for a photography book with thorough, detailed and specific instructions on becoming a better digital image maker, then The Way of the Digital Photographer is written for you!

Starting with the building blocks of creative post-production such as layers, layer masking, and blending modes, I will show you how to approach designing a personal digital workflow to enhance your work and move it in new directions. I also show you how to "finish" digital photos using tools such as LAB color adjustments, filters, backgrounds and textures.

As a photographer, you also need to internalize the impact of the digital darkroom when you make photos...and bring this knowledge back in a rigorous and intuitive way into the process of photography itself. No matter what photographic hardware you use -- from iPhone to DSLR -- I will show you how to be a technically more accomplished photographer in the digital era, while not losing the creative spirit that got you into photography in the first place.

When I wear my hat as a photography educator and writer, my greatest pleasure is teaching new techniques, and helping others find the sources of their own creativity. Please join me on The Way of the Digital Photographer, and may the photographic force be with you!



Example Photos and Commentary

Flowers of Late Summer

Dahlias tend to bloom later than the other flowers in my garden, so I enjoyed the opportunity to photograph these end-of-summer blossoms on my light box. After creating an image of the flowers with a white background, I added them to a background and used a texture effect to cut the "harshness" of the background and create a pleasing overall image.

Exposure and processing information: 35mm, six exposures at shutter speeds ranging from 10 seconds to 1/10 of a second, all exposures at f/13 and ISO 100, tripod mounted; exposures combined using Nik HDR Efex Pro and hand-HDR in Adobe Camera RAW and Photoshop; I also added a scanned paper background and light texturize overlay to this version.

Just So

On an overcast, gray day, I took the RER (Réseau Express Régional) out of central Paris to the suburb of Bourg-la-Reine. From the train station in Bourg-la-Reine I carried my gear the mile or so to the Parc de Sceaux (pronounced "Park de So"). The Parc de Sceaux is a less-well-known masterpiece of landscape design by André Le Nôtre, the seventeenth-century landscape architect of Louis XIV responsible for the gardens at Versaille, the Tuilleries, and other famous formal French gardens.

As I explored the area, my concern was that the looming clouds might turn to rain, making photography difficult. But as I approached the long channel of water that radiated across the width of the gardens in a cross formation, the clouds parted and the sun emerged, making the reflections just so...beautiful!

This image is a composite blend of five exposures. Each exposure was shot using a 35mm lens on my full-frame camera at f/11 and ISO 100, with shutter speeds ranging from 1/30 of a second to 1/500 of a second. I used a circular polarizer to enhance the reflections, and combined the exposures in Photoshop using layers and masking.



Bixby Bridge by Starlight

Over the years, I’ve enjoyed photographing the dramatic Bixby Bridge on the Big Sur coast of California at night, and it is always fun to take a workshop group to this location. Getting out of the car, it is hard at first to see much in the inky blackness except that it is a long way down to the Pacific Ocean. As things resolve, it becomes clear that one can create interesting images, provided one keeps the camera open long enough, since there really isn’t much light. But in this case the camera sees more than we do!

Exposure and processing information: Nikon D800, Zeiss 15mm f/2.8 lens, ten exposures, each exposure at four minutes, f/2.8 and ISO 500, tripod mounted; exposures stacked using the Photoshop CC Statistics script, enhanced using LAB color adjustments.



La Tour Eiffel

At night, the area under the Eiffel Tower turns into an exciting display of lights, colors and people -- as you can see in this iPhone shot of this small carousel beneath the Eiffel Tower, the king of all amusement park rides!

iPhone 4 captured using the Slow Shutter app, with colors enhanced using the FilterStorm for iPhone app.

About the Author:

Harold Davis is an award-winning professional photographer whose work is widely admired and collected. He is the author of many bestselling photography books, and his popular workshops are often sold out. Harold Davis is a Moab printmaking Master and a Zeiss Camera Lens Ambassador.  Learn more about Harold and his photography at photoblog2.com.

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