Preview: The Way of the Digital Photographer

I am very pleased to be able to show you a preview adapted from my new book, The Way of the Digital Photographer. In this story: a special pre-publication discount offer from the publisher; the Table of Contents; material from the introduction to The Way of the Digital Photographer.

This is a special offer on pre-orders of both the print and eBook versions of The Way of the Digital Photographer directly from the publisher, Peachpit. I have arranged this discount as a way to say thanks for your support and reading my blog. To receive the 30% discount from Peachpit, be sure to use the discount code PP-DAVIS30 (this code is case sensitive) after you add my book to your shopping cart when you proceed to check-out. Click here to order The Way of the Digital Photographer now!

Way of the Digital Photographer

Book description: In The Way of the Digital Photographer, master photographer and digital artist Harold Davis shows you how to make digital photography an art form. Great digital photographs need both camera and computer to be truly extraordinary. Using detailed examples and case studies from his own work, Davis provides myriad ideas you can use in your own work, and he shows you how to unlock your own creativity to make those special images you have always dreamed of! Readers discover how to effectively use post-processing techniques and gain insight as to how the techniques and steps involved can inform their choices when making a photo and in post-production workflow.

Pre-order your copy of The Way of the Digital Photographer: Walking the Photoshop post-production path to more creative photography!

 Table of Contents

18 Digital Photography Is Painting
21 First things first
21 The camera to use
22 JPEG versus RAW
24 Photoshop prejudices
27 Seeing is about light
33 It all starts with a layer
38 Adjustment layers
43 Working with layer masks
44 Creating a layer stack
45 Combining two exposures with a Hide All
layer mask
47 Using a Reveal All layer mask to combine
two exposures
51 Using the Brush Tool
54 Selective sharpening
59 Working with gradients
60 Using the Gradient Tool to seamlessly
blend two layers
67 Drawing directly on a layer
71 Introducing blending modes
73 Screen Blending Mode
80 Using Screen for selective lightening
83 Multiply Blending Mode
87 Blending mode categories
88 Testing the blending mode categories
91 Comparative blending
97 Workflow
102 Do it on your iPhone: Slow Shutter Cam
104 Multi-RAW and Hand-HDR
107 Multi-RAW processing
108 Expanding tonal range with multi-RAW processing
109 Getting the widest gamut with
ProPhoto RGB
111 All roads lead to Photoshop: Smart
objects and Lightroom
112 Adjusting exposure selectively
117 Hand-HDR
118 Shooting a bracketed sequence for
120 May the force be with your florals
125 Automated HDR
126 Automated HDR programs
134 Do it on your iPhone: PhotoForge
136 Enhancement to Glory
139 Workflow redux
140 Checkpoints
143 Tripping the light fantastic
144 Why be average?
145 Multiply and Screen blending modes
146 Sharpening and blurring
147 Glamour Glow and Tonal Contrast
148 A second helping of HDR
149 Pushing the boundaries: Pixel Bender
150 Some other painterly filters
155 Using LAB inversions
156 Understanding the LAB color model
167 Black and white
175 Backgrounds and textures
176 Blending a background with an image
178 Using textures to change the scene
184 Do it on your iPhone: Lo-Mob and Plastic
186 Resources
188 Notes
189 Glossary
190 Index


Your digital camera probably resembles a film camera in both appearance and basic functionality. Like a film camera, your digital camera has a lens with aperture and shutter controls that can be used to decide how much light penetrates into the body of the camera for each shot.

But that’s where the similarities between film and digital cameras end. Despite the similarity in appearance of the hardware device used to make the exposures, digital photography is an entirely new medium compared to film photography.

Historically, chemical properties of film and developing were used to record light that entered the camera. Today with a digital camera, the light is captured as a digital signal by a sensor. Digital signal data recorded by the sensor can be processed by the computer in your camera. More powerfully, and here’s where the fun really begins, image data saved by your camera can be processed on a standalone computer after you upload your files.

People don’t fully understand this new digital medium that consists of the camera-computer partnership. They’re still hooked on the fact that their hand-held computer with a lens (a.k.a. a digital single-lens-reflex, or DSLR) looks like
a good old-fashioned film camera—and if it looks like one, it must work like one. Not so. For those who get over this misunderstanding the door is wide open for experimentation and new approaches.

Digital is different. Very different.

One of the main goals of The Way of the Digital Photographer is to show you how to take advantage of this difference to enrich your own work.

In The Way of the Digital Photographer, you’ll discover how to effectively use several of the post-processing techniques that I use to create the final versions of my own imagery.

These techniques are presented as case studies in the context of actual examples, so you can understand what each step does. More important, I want you to gain insight into how the techniques and steps involved can inform your choices when you make a photo and in your post-production workflow. (For a discussion of workflow and to understand how best to adapt your workflow to the digital world, turn to page 107.)

Digital photography and post-production techniques that are used to inform one another—how you take a photograph with an idea or pre-visualization in mind, knowing what you can do to it later in post-production—are the basis of this new digital medium. If you can see a photograph in your mind’s eye before you take it and know how you can process it later to achieve your vision, then nothing can hold your imagery back. Truly, the sky’s the limit!

Technique without heart is banal and useless. I’ve found in the workshops I give that many people come to digital photography precisely because they enjoy—and are good at—working with technology. Indeed, perhaps these folks work in technology related industries.

But even if you are a technocrat it is important not to lose the creative aspects of digital photography. Often the people who start with digital photography because they are comfortable with the gear find some resistance to fully engaging their creative powers. They may be more comfortable with measuring pixels and navigating software than with conveying emotion.

If this describes you, be of good cheer. Provided that you approach image making in the spirit that anything is possible, you may be amazed by what you can achieve.

Along with the post-production case studies in The Way of the Digital Photographer, you will find thoughts and exercises, presented as Meditations. These Meditations will help you with the conceptual and emotional side of digital photography and also guide you in pre-visualizing your photographs with the idea of post-production in mind.

As you walk down the path of the digital photographer, you will find that photography is about your creative vision and your notions about art. Digital photography is also a way to show others your very personal view of the world. By combining your pre-visualization with your photography and appropriate post-production techniques, you can fully render anything you can imagine.

Please keep in mind the 30% pre-publication discount from the publisher for The Way of the Digital Photographer. Use discount code PP-DAVIS30 (case sensitive) at checkout to get your discount.

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