Review: Eddie Tapp on Digital Photography

Color management for advanced Mac users. (December 14th, 2006)

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Product Manufacturer: O'Reilly Media, Inc.

Price: $29.99 US ?20.99 GBP

The Good

  • Easy to read. Excellent design.

The Bad

  • Not for novice Mac users.

A few months ago O’Reilly Media brought commercial photographer and trainer, Eddie Tapp on board to write a series of focused books for serious photographers. The Eddie Tapp on Digital Photography series is tutorial-like in its approach, with each book representing a complete seminar on a particular aspect of digital photography. Seminars do not always translate well into books, but I am impressed with this attempt.

The second book in the series, released in October, covers working with color and all of its associated hardware and software. Practical Color Management: Eddie Tapp on Digital Photography, includes a guest chapter by color expert Rick Lucas.

Color Management Made Almost Easy

My review of the Pantone huey colorimeter opened my eyes to color management, which changed how I work with and edit my photographs. As a film and digital photographer, understanding color is my pot at the end of the rainbow, no gold, just good photographic prints. You need to learn about the nuances of how color changes from the screen, the scanner, and out the printer, if you really want your prints to have that polished finish with correct color. The key is learning that black hole of color management.

This easy to read and well-designed book is aimed at people with some knowledge of computers and digital photo editing. The well-produced photographs, charts, and illustrations do not leave you guessing at what color you are supposed to be seeing. On each page, the black text is printed over light gray, so the glossy paper does not blind you while reading. This sets the book apart from most other books on color and it shows their regard of the reader. While the concepts are deep, the amount of material per page is easily digestible.

I found the first third of the book informative and a good overall introduction to color management. It explains the background concepts and terminology, but I felt like much information was missing. The last three chapters filled most of those holes of information with more detail than I hope I will ever need. You learn about color spaces you can choose in Photoshop, specific examples about device calibration, and some of the hardware needed.

Not for Novices

While many of the explanations make more sense if you have the example products, such as Photoshop, color calibration tools, and various color charts, Tapp’s prose makes short work out of understanding the color workflow across devices.

This is not a book for novices, but the presentation style and language makes it easy to read. If you are not sure whether you are ready for a book of this caliber, you can download or read the Table of Contents and Chapter 2, “Understanding Key Color Management Concepts,” on O’Reilly’s site to get a solid taste of its content.

I walked away feeling like I had learned a lot about color management, but recognized that it is a serious financial investment to gather the tools necessary to implement the process correctly.

by ilene hoffman, Reviews Editor


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