Most helpful critical review
72 of 73 people found the following review helpful
Clearly written, contains some helpful tips, but title is misleading and some of the retouches don't look so great.
on September 6, 2011
First of all, this book should not be called "Professional Portrait Retouching Techniques for Photographers". It should be called "Fast and Easy Retouching for Professional Photographers". Many of the techniques in this book are useful, and especially if you're a Photoshop rookie, you'll probably benefit from learning them. But as Scott says himself in the intro, these aren't pro retouching techniques.
I also felt there was quite a bit of redundancy in this book. For example, nearly every retouch you do will involve working on a duplicate layer and then using layer masks and layer opacity to control where, and how much of your retouch shows through. This is a crucial step and Scott is right to include it, but he gives it a whole paragraph each time, as though you haven't already learned this step in every other chapter. Maybe this was done to allow a user to skip directly to any chapter, but I still think this could have been explained in detail just once, in the beginning, and then simply referred to.
I disagree with a few specific techniques: in one chapter, Scott recommends using the dodge/burn tools on a gray layer set to soft light mode, which is essentially painting black and white on that layer to adjust the underlying lights and darks. But this completely defeats the purpose of using the dodge/burn tools, which can be set to automatically only brighten your highlights and darken your shadows while ignoring adjacent pixels.
I wasn't thrilled with the final result of the neck retouch (featured on back cover); it looks rather phony and overly blurred to my eyes.
Since I called out one I didn't like, to be fair, I'll call out one I liked: eyelashes. I like the chapter on darkening/accentuating eyelashes.
Everything is cleary written and illustrated, and for the most part, these are useful techniques to learn, especially if you don't really want to learn how to master Photoshop - just get in and out. I have 10 years of experience working with portraits in Photoshop, and I found a few useful tips myself, so I think a novice would probably benefit from this book.