Book Review: Photoshop Retouching Cookbook for Digital Photographers

Title: Photoshop Retouching Cookbook for Digital Photographers
Subtitle: 113 Easy-to-Follow Recipes to Improve Your Photos and Create Special Effects
First Edition: August 2005
ISBN: 0-596-10030-2
Pages: 176

This book is packed full of 113 recipes for getting the most out of your Photoshop experience. Most of the recipes are clear and concise. While the book is intended for use similarly to a food cookbook in that generally a person would not sit down and read this book cover to cover a la War and Peace but instead search for a recipe that suited their immediate needs, I found myself paging through sequentially, discovering many ways to “convince” photoshop to do what you want.

Throughout this book, you may find yourself, like I did, nodding and seeing how many professional and talented retouchers have created the effects that you see on a daily basis, in print or on advertising billboards.

If layers confuse or confound you, this is an excellent book. It uses layers in nearly every recipe. By the time you’ve gone through this book, layers will become your best friend.

There are currently no errata on file for this book, and I certainly didn’t see anything in the book that struck me as significantly wrong. Though I did find that with my Photoshop CS2, some of the examples didn’t work with the steps that were in the book, despite the note on the front cover stating that it covered CS2. (which made things like layer masks a little tougher to grasp.)

If I had one beef about the book it would be that some of the recipes seemed “rushed”. In a traditional cookbook, you would find a recipe that will either point you to another recipe required for a portion of the recipe, or have the recipe reprinted as part of the new recipe. Though periodically the book would do this, I found that this was typically done at the beginning, sometimes as we proceeded through the book, this practice wasn’t kept up, and I would find myself searching through the book for the recipe that had covered the step that was mentioned but not referenced or explained.

There is something here for everyone, of all levels, to learn. The novice will gain immense understanding of Photoshop, her features and the power hidden behind the scenes of this immense program. Even professional Photoshop users and trainers will find tidbits of information here to make their workflow more efficient or enjoyable.

The Table of Contents can be found at:
Errata can be found at:
Sample files for use in the lessons in the book can be found at:
A sample of the book can be found at:

All in all, I found this book very informative and would have no problem recommending it to any person looking to get more out of their Photoshop experience.

Hey! I'd love to hear what you think of this!