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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Resources To Help You Take Better Photos

Our landscape guru’s list of top photo tip books, videos and more

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Tony Sweet has recently brought out a DVD that allows us to see him at work, both in the field and at the computer—Tony Sweet’s Visual Literacy. He also has a new book coming out, The Artistic Eye and the Digital Edge.

John Shaw has written a very useful e-book: John Shaw’s Photoshop CS3 Guide. Available on CD, it focuses on postprocessing your digital images, whether from digital capture or from scanned film. The e-book doesn’t cover information on digital cameras or the process of digital capture. Rather, John focuses on sharing the techniques he uses to optimize his images. The basic information included will apply to both past and future updates.

Another valuable source on image optimization is Arthur Morris’ Digital Basics File. Available as a PDF download, it’s designed to get you quickly up to speed on image postprocessing.

Speaking of keeping up with photo technology, Adobe recently updated Photoshop again—just when I’m feeling comfortable with CS3! Seriously, CS4 has some valuable new advances that affect its power and its ease of use. One of the features I’m especially enjoying is the new interface for making layer masks. PhotoshopCAFE is a useful website that offers online videos about new CS4 features.

Lastly, I want to let you know about a new book, The Digital SLR Expert: Landscapes, for which I wrote a chapter on “Composition.” Other authors contributing chapters are well-known landscape photographers Tom Mackie, David Noton, Darwin Wiggett and Tony Worobiec. In my chapter, I discuss using the frame, creating order out of chaos, adding depth to a scene, concepts of cropping and how to work a scene thoroughly to maximize your results from any location. This book is beautifully illustrated and is a comprehensive study of how to improve your landscape images.

I hope these resources prove useful to you. As you work to improve your technical skills, try not to let the overload of information overwhelm your creative instincts. Great photographs originate within the heart of the artist.

The holiday season is nearly here. ’Tis the season to be learning.
Happy Holidays!

To learn about William Neill’s new e-books, Impressions of Light and Landscapes of the Spirit, Digital Edition, check out his PhotoBlog or sign up for newsletter updates on his courses with BetterPhoto.com, visit www.williamneill.com.

Author’s Note:
The Outdoor Photographer website is a valuable tool with links to educational resources, including live links for the resources seen in this column. Here are the links to websites that I find particularly useful for photographers.

Arthur Morris’ Digital Basics File

John Paul Caponigro

John Shaw’s Photoshop CS3 Guide


Lewis Kemper’s The Photographer’s Toolbox for Photoshop

The Digital SLR Expert: Landscapes

The Luminous Landscape

Tony Sweet’s Visual Literacy

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