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Leslie Alsheimer is an internationally published and award winning photographer, author, and photo-educator based in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is the Founder and Director of the Santa Fe Digital Darkroom Photography Workshops & Tours, and an instructor with the Nikon Mentor Series, American Photo and Eddie Adams Workshops. Her documentary essays were recently awarded and published in National Geographic Traveler and PDN magazine's "World in Focus competition and received two Honorable Mention LUCIE Awards at the 2008 International Photography Awards. Leslie can be found on the web at: lesliealsheimer.com and santafedigitaldarkroom.com
I picked this up off of Amazon because I wanted some literature on B&W relating to CS3. After having gone through it I have to say I'm very disappointed in my purchase. I have about a dozen or so other books I've gone through in the last year and this is probably the worst. But the sad thing is, there are actually very few books out there on B&W so maybe that's why other reviewers gave it such high marks?? Save your money...she doesn't offer anything more than you can get from free ipod downloads on the subject..or various other free sources out there. Also, only about 1/3 of the book actually covers B&W topic!! The first 91 pages is basically 'fluff'..as well as the last 100 pages. Basically a big push on why you should be using Lightroom (gee...there's another $200 that probably isn't necessary)...how to best setup for quality printing...color management, etc. The same crap that we see in book after book. I know why I should be using Adobe RGB (1998) instead of sRGB...I don't need to pay another $40 for a book that devotes an entire chapter on color management..or why I should be taking my photos in RAW format instead of low quality jpeg's... Pages 91 to about 139 actually cover B&W topic. Before and after this she squeezes in topics like (1) printing (2)editing in photoshop (3)quality capture RAW (4) Lightroom crap (5) Color management. Her coverage of these topics is OK...certainly not the best I've read on them...but my point is, I wasn't expecting it in the book. Anyways, if you want to throw your $ away..buy it...I'd pass on it though..
I'm keen to further explore B&W in the digital world and thought this looked the ideal book (even though I use Photoshop Elements 6 instead of Photoshop CS3). Much of the material is thorough and well written, but some key areas I found to be lacking.
While many books cover workflow, colour management etc, this book repeats these topics and covers them well. Unfortunately the B&W component is a lacking, especially in Lightroom. A substantial part of the first 80 pages is devoted to Lightroom, yet the B&W conversion process is descibed in only one page. I was hoping to get more out of this conversion process and tips of a more artistic nature to ensure the best possible image is carried across to Photoshop. Instead it basically suggests "click greyscale conversion" and open Photoshop. The art of the B&W conversion is what makes/breaks an image and I would have thought that Lightroom would be more appropiate than the channel mixer in Photoshop. With "channels" for each colour I would have liked to seen examples and how these were achieved in Lightroom
Although I have not yet fully covered the photoshop part of the book, what I have read is thorough and well written.
I found it difficult to rate this book - it is very good in many ways, but unfortunately did not fill the gap in which I was looking for.
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Black and White in Photoshop CS3 and Photoshop Lightroom is more than just a book on photo editing, it is a book that details an entire workflow from start to finish, outlining how every decision affects the end quality of a black and white photo.
Here's a brief walkthrough of the book:
Ch 1. Color management
Chapter 1 Explores the necessity of having a color managed workspace, even for black and white photography. The author gives the six basic components of color management in the workflow phase: camera capture, workspace environment, monitor calibration, software working space, printer profiles, and evaluation.
Ch 2. Workflow Phase 1: Highest Quality Capture
In this chapter the author gives suggestions on file formats, such as jpeg, RAW, TIFF and DNG, as well as ideas on properly capturing a digital image, both through a camera and through a scanner if you are scanning film.
Ch 3. Workflow Phase 2: Black and White in Lightroom
Chapter 3 gives a basic lightroom workflow as well as an introductory course on using the different modules. This is probably useful for someone learning lightroom, but unfortunately there are only about 4 pages devoted to black and white conversion, and the instruction is fairly basic.
Ch 4. Black and White in Photoshop
This is the meat and potatoes of the book where you will learn about the various black and white conversion methods within photoshop. The methods covered in the book are greyscale mode change, desaturate, the channel mixer, and photoshop's black and white conversion feature.
The book has examples of each feature in action, and shows how each of the color channels can have an effect on the final result of the photo.
There is a desperate need for an in depth look at digital BW conversion and how to apply the zone system for better BW images.
This book is not.
One imagines the authors thought there was a larger audience in need of beginning guidance, so they aimed it for beginners for whom such comprehensive information is too advanced. So it is basically a power point presentation of mostly elementary techniques.
The writing style reflects the elementary level of the material, and is much too distracting and cutesy for the subject matter being covered.
Even as an introductory manual, much of the book would be eliminated by good editing.
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