Category Archives Books


Hi gang:
Next week I’ll be wrapping up writing Volume 3 of my book, “The Digital Photography Book,” and while I still have the chance I wanted to ask you if there were any particular topics, subjects, or techniques you wanted me to cover in this new book.

Now, before you get involved, there are three things you should know:

  1. This book picks up right where Volume 2 left off, so there are chapters that focus on the next level of studio stuff, and the next things you need to know about small off-camera flash, and there are chapters on shooting landscapes & travel, how to photograph children, how to shoot Sports, a chapter on lenses, a chapter on composition, one on just how to take better photos, a chapter on shooting products, and of course, my photo recipes (how to get this type of shot). So, keep those in mind, because those topics are already in the new book.
  2. Below I’ve posted the table of contents for Volumes 1 and Volumes 2 (two completely different books), so before you post an idea, could you take a quick look there first and see if it’s already been covered in one of the first two books.
  3. If I wind up using one of your ideas in Volume 3, I’ll give you your choice of: My new “Photoshop CS4 Book for Digital Photographers,” my “Lightroom 2 Book for Digital Photographers,” or my soon-to-be-released book, “Photoshop Down & Dirty Tricks.” Again, your choice if I use your tip (and I’ll let you know here on the blog right away).

So, that’s the scoop. I really appreciate the thought you guys put into this, and as you’ve seen, I really take your ideas to heart, and often right straight to paper, so I offer my thanks in advance. Now, here (below) are the Vol. 1 and Vol.2 TOCs (click on them for a larger view):








OK, this is the official unveiling of the completely new cover for my Photoshop CS4 Down & Dirty Tricks books (shown above), created by my wonderfully talented in-house book designer Jessica Maldonado.

This new cover came about after I did a post last month about finishing up my writing on the book, and a number of you mentioned that the old cover looked pretty dated (we had just updated the old CS2 cover with new colors and a slight modification to the type). We all agreed that it did look dated, and so Jess started from scratch and created the entirely new cover you see above (which we at NAPP HQ all love, so be nice to Jess). Thanks Jessica for all your hard work on this total redesign!

NOTE: Although the book is available for pre-order on and Barnes &, they’re probably still showing the old cover, so don’t let that throw you.


I got a pre-release copy of Joe McNally’s new “Hot Shoe Diaries” (Big Light from Small Flashes) this week and I’ve got to tell you—it rocks!!!!! The publisher did a fantastic job with the layout, and they were able to create a look that gives it the feel of his smash bestseller, “The Moment it Clicks,” while still having its own separate identity. The book contains a lot more “how to” than “The Moment it Clicks,” did (in fact, that’s the focus of this follow-up book), but there’s still lots of Joe’s amazing and inspirational imagery, along with his behind-the-scenes stories. That makes it a great read as it informs and delights. I’m not done with it yet, but this is one I’m going to read cover-to-cover. Twice! Here’s the link to it Barnes & and Congratulations Joe—-you’ve done it again!!!!


David sent me the first four or so chapters of the book, and I immediately thought to myself—-this book is going to be huge!!!!

It’s still a couple of months from being published, but the images are just so captivating, and the way he’s structured the book is just spot on, that it is just going to be a massive hit for anyone into shooting editorial style travel or people (or just learning about photography from a broader scope). His teachings on composition are worth the price of the book alone!

Keep it going David—-I can’t wait to see the rest!!!! (Note: The cover above is a “stunt cover” and not the actual cover, which David tells me they are finalizing now). You can pre-order it now on

OK, that’s all I’ve got on books today, but I wanted to share this stuff while it’s top of my mind.

joesnewbk After Joe’s release of what became the huge hit of 2009, his landmark book, “The Moment It Clicks,” everybody was asking for more Joe, and specifically “when’s he gonna do a book on small flashes?” Well, the wait it just about over! On Monday, Joe announced on his blog that he has finished all the writing for his new book, “The Hot Shoe Diaries,” (Big Light from Small Flashes) and now it’s in the final production stages, with an anticipated shipping date in mid to late March. I askedĀ  Joe about his new book, and here’s what he said:

“Up front I dedicate a section of the book to the great shooters who taught us all, and those who are following in their footsteps to create a learning and sharing environment on the Web. Then, I do a thing on holding cameras and also holding flash…..I do thing on Quality, Color and Direction. Then 4 big sections….the biggest one is on using one light. Tried to offer up lots of simple solutions….”

That’s the short and sweet version, but if you’ve got a minute, Joe gave some great insights (and a look at some of the inside spreads) about the book on his blog. Here’s the link to it on Joe’s blog, but if you’re like me, and can’t wait to tear into this book, you can preorder it today from (where it’s the #1 bestselling preorder book in the entire photography category), or from Barnes &

First, thanks SO much to everyone who shared their ideas for what they’d like to see covered in my new Photoshop CS4 Down & Dirty Tricks book. The good news is: A lot of the techniques you guys asked for are already in the book (which is really good news for me), and some of your ideas are going to be added to the book (now that I know what you’re looking for).

psw09poster2After reading your comments (over 150 of them), I did realize that I haven’t done a good job of making it clear exactly what the book is about, which is why I included this Photoshop World poster at left. Creating that poster from scratch, including putting the collage together which includes the field, the stadium, the lights, the helmet, the reflection of the stadium in the helmet, adding the shadows, creating the text effects, etc. —that whole thing–that is a Down & Dirty Trick (well, it’s the kind of thing my book is full of, anyway).

That poster (created as part of our college football theme this year at Photoshop World) was not only designed by NAPP’s own Creative Director (and Photoshop World instructor) Felix Nelson, but Felix did a step-by-step of how he created it in this month’s issue of Photoshop User magazine, in the column Felix and I created called (you guessed it) “Photoshop Down & Dirty Tricks”(our column is now in it’s 10th year in the magazine!)

So, this book doesn’t cover things like color correction, or portrait retouching, or sharpening, or Lab color, or photo restorations, or Actions, or HDR (all those things are covered in my other books). This book is about special effects, collages, photographic effects, type effects, advertising effects, and stuff like that, and luckily I got LOTS of great ideas from your ideas, and because of that, these folks are getting free signed books from me:

  • Steve Vansak
  • Joe Gass
  • Dennis Smith
  • Jay Rodriguez
  • Trenton Moore
  • Jacob Hurlbut
  • Tim
  • Debbi
  • Matt Timmons
  • Csaba
  • Vincent Mistretta
  • Sacha Fernandez

Disclaimer: I am sending these folks signed copies of the book when it comes out, because they had great ideas, or pointed me to great examples. However, that doesn’t mean that I’ll actually be able to figure any of these effects out, so keep your fingers crossed.

3D Stuff: There were a lot of requests yesterday for effects using the new 3D tools in Photoshop CS4 Extended. I’m totally not a 3D designer on any level, but I knew this book would need to have some cool 3D stuff, so a few months back I went to my in-house Photoshop 3D expert Corey Barker, and asked him to do a special chapter for my book with a bunch of 3D tricks. Corey is just amazing, and I think having this extra chapter from him is definitely going to take things up a big notch.

The Book Cover: We had a book team meeting yesterday, and while our original idea was just to update the old book cover (so readers would recognize that it’s a new version of the old book), the old cover is just too old looking, so Jessica Maldonado (my in-house book designer and general wonder designer) is going to come up with something completely new and fresh. I’ll show you guys the new cover once Jess has it nailed down (Note to Peachpit Press; we’re sending a new cover!). ;-)


I’m just 8 days from the deadline to turn in my “Photoshop CS4 Down & Dirty Tricks” book, and before I turn it all in, I wanted to see if I could get some input from you on what to include in these last chapters.

First, a little background on the book. This is the book that started my whole career, as it was the first book I ever wrote, and the first edition was on Photoshop 5.5 (the Photoshop 6 cover is shown above, because it was essentially the same book). The book is a special effects book, and is based on teaching the reader how to create the same looks and effects you see in magazines, on the Web, on TV, etc.


I’ve been planning on doing a new edition of this book for years now (the last version was for Photoshop CS—-just CS, not CS2, not CS3. Just CS), so it’s long overdue, but it just kept getting pushed to the back burner by other book projects, but I’ve gotten so many letters and emails asking for it, I felt I had to do it (I get more requests for this book than about all the others combined). The first version of the book was for Photoshop 5.5, followed by the book you see above (which was for Photoshop 6). Ya know, now that I’m looking at it; even the new cover up top looks a little dated. We might have to work on that.

So, before I wrap things up, I was hoping that you’d share any ideas for effects you’d like to see covered in the book. If you’ve seen a look, or an ad, or a Web graphic, or anything you can point me to, I’ll check it out and see if I can figure out the look, and get it in the final chapters of the book.

If you turn me on to an effect, and your idea makes it into the book, I’ll send you a signed copy of the book as soon as it comes off press, plus you’ll have my undying gratitude, and a mention in the book, as well as the blog, and I might even send you a small box of crackers or something. Anyway, I could really use your input, because I really want to make this my best Down & Dirty Trick book yet! Just post your comments here on the blog.

Thanks in advance for any ideas you’ve shared. I appreciate it very much!

41cezb03rl_ss500_I don’t normally do book reviews, because I don’t think it’s right for me, a Photoshop and photography book author, to publicly criticize another author’s Photoshop or photography instruction book. It just ain’t right. Luckily, with this book I don’t have to (which is why I’m making an exception and doing a book review).

I just got a copy of “Footprint Travel Photography” by Steve Davey (published by FootPrintBooks), and I have to tell you, I’m very impressed. Here are seven things I love about this book:

  1. The author is a great travel photographer, and this book is loaded with this beautiful images.
  2. It’s got a nice, clean layout that makes you want to read the book
  3. It’s broken down into short, digestible one, two, and four page sections on a particular topic or idea.
  4. The author writes in a very conversational style, and gives lots of detail without getting overly techie, or trying to sound like he’s smarter than you (he is smarter than me, but he doesn’t rub it in your face).
  5. Although there are lots of small photos in the book, the layout does allow for a decent number of large photos, and they really have an impact.
  6. I love the smaller form factor of the book. Not too big, yet wide enough to accommodate a lot of photos.
  7. But perhaps what I love best about this book (and what made me want to write this review), is that he did something I find very valuable. For every photo in the book (and it’s packed with photos from exotic locales around the globe), he tells you exactly where the shot was taken. Often times, more than just the city, and country. Sometimes, he’ll tell you exactly where at the location he took the shot (from across such-and-such a river, or from a plane flying over, etc.). It drives me nuts when I see a great shot in a travel photo book, and there’s no mention of where the photo was taken, so I was particularly delighted to see how well he covered this thoughout the book. Also, after mentioning the locale, he usually adds a few lines of background info or a tip.

I could only find one thing that I would change about the book, and that is the font size for the regular text is really small (and I’ve had a lifetime of being accused of using too small a font size, so small sizes don’t normally bother me) and the caption-sized text (of which there is quite a lot) is crazy small (either that, or I’m getting really old. I’m probably getting really old). But that wouldn’t stop me one bit (in fact, I’m having to nit-pick to get to that).

I’m going to be spending some more time with the book this week, but since I was excited about it, I wanted to share my first impressions on this new book. Here’s a link to it on and Barnes & It’s around $20. Totally worth it.