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Saturday, June 09, 2007

"Skin" by Lee Varis

I haven't blogged about books in a while so I thought I would do a write up on a great new book I have been poring over recently. Lee Varis has written an excellent book called "Skin" and subtitled - "The complete guide to digitally lighting, photographing and retouching faces and bodies."

Over nine chapters and around 400 pages, Varis reveals his techniques for producing great images of people. He has structured his book on the steps in the workflow process, so he starts not with the picture taking, but with a discussion on configuring photoshop software, colour management and calibration, important beginning steps that others would miss or stick in an appendix somewhere.

Although there is an excellent chapter on studio lighting, with example images and lighting plans, the major focus of the book is digital workflow using photoshop, so readers using film or 'lesser' software packages are not catered for. Particular emphasis on the kinds of edits one does when one is photographing people. Skin tone, smoothing and beautifying are covered in some detail and there are some more sophisticated topics too, such has how to fake a tattoo.

The book finishes with a discussion on rendering digital images to print and some parting speculation on future trends in photography.

The book is illustrated with full colour photographs throughout, helpful when Varis is using them to illustrate some relatively subtle corrections. The book comes with a helpful CD with tutorial files and sample images, with the edits applied in layers, so one can witness electronically and deconstruct the effects described in the paper book.

It is a good book for digital photographers who know their basics but want to really push themselves creatively and technically when taking photographs of people. I certainly used this book to help navigate me into areas of photoshop I have not really used before and it has been a creative source of inspiration as well. I would love to see a second edition with even more examples, but at $25 street price, its a worthy addition to the bookshelf.


Blogger redwoodtwig said...

This is a great book, I've found it very useful also. However, I'm wondering if I'm the only one who can't seem to get the arrow keys to adjust the curve as he describes in the main skin tone adjustment chapter. Any suggestions?

6:53 pm  

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