Looking for the best Photoshop books to get you up to speed or hone your skills?
This list was first published in 2011, and has been updated yearly since.
Adobe Photoshop is an extremely popular graphics editing program developed and published by Adobe Systems. Photoshop is also currently,the leading graphics editing application and is used worldwide by graphic artists, digital photographers, magazines and newspapers, web and graphic designers. It is a powerful tool packed full of professional features, and is used to produce the highest level of digital photography and graphics. For these reasons alone it is extremely popular, and Photoshop books line the shelves of nearly every photographer, graphic artists, and web designer.
If you are only looking for one or two Photoshop books, I definitely recommend one of the 5-star listed ones here. They are popular, well-written, well-received and easy to follow for even those completely new to programming in general. Some in this list focus primarily on a particular industry or Photoshop technique and range from beginner-expert level. Overall, however, all these books are popular Amazon best-sellers with great reviews.
Beginner’s Guide to Digital Painting in Photoshop
The Beginner’s Guide to Digital Painting in Photoshop is a book aimed at giving a comprehensive introduction to the basics of digital painting using Photoshop. It is highly recommended for beginners, as well as being packed with insightful and great tips for medium-level users. The book starts out with basic principles, introducing the workspace, setting adjustment and optimization and an introduction to the main features of the program. It also covers composition, perspective, art theory, tonal values, and using photos for textures or as matte painting bases, as well as any and all the relevant tools. Everything Photoshop-related that a DIY learner might want to gain an understanding of is covered in this book. Read more..
Photoshop Masking & Compositing
This books prime focus is on photorealistic compositing and the tools and techniques used for masking and combining images. It features work by leading artists and photographers, and uses numerous step-by-step examples as well as highlights the tools and techniques used throughout the process. Techniques covered include making fast and accurate selections, mastering the software’s masking tools, and implementing the concept and photography from start to finish. Because of the level of detail covered, advanced users can skim much of the intermediate material while still gaining good value from this book. It’s mainly aimed at intermediate-advanced users, however newcomers to Photoshop will still be able to walk themselves throughout the tutorials with some perseverance. Read more..
Photoshop Down & Dirty Tricks for Designers
This book is aimed at any creative person who wants to harness the power of Photoshop to make sure their imagination is put to good use and their ideas stand out. The detailed tutorials within are to the point, well laid-out and easy to follow. Despite going in-depth, the text is written well and light enough to not become tedious or boring to read. The writer not only describes what he is doing, but shows you with both before and after images, which are well-placed throughout the book and demonstrate practically everything that needs graphical clarification. The tricks and tips within this book will definitely increase your general skills in Photoshop. Read more..
Layers: The Complete Guide to Photoshop’s Most Powerful Feature
We all know layers play a defining role in any Photoshop work, and this book makes it easy for newcomers to understand why and how different layers and masks work. This book is not a Photoshop reference or tutorial teaching you the ins and outs of the software, assuming a good base knowledge and understanding so it can focus on layer mastery. The basics of layers and masks only are covered, with the text quickly moving into advanced layers and masking techniques to enhance and control your images. If you want to correct boring skies, intrusive shadows and highlights, introduce effects and textures, fix bad skin and other effects detrimental to your final product, then grab this book. Read more..
Adobe Photoshop CS6 for Photographers: A professional image editor’s guide to the creative use of Photoshop for the Macintosh and PC
This is another book aimed at intermediate to advanced users of Photoshop rather than beginners, primarily photographers instead of digital artists and graphic artists. The book introduces the reader to the ins-and-outs of Photoshop and building an understanding of the what, when, where and why of the many tools available. It goes into deep detail and discussion of Adobe Camera Raw processing and Brdige, ensuring that photographers that need an understanding of these linked programs will not be putting the book down empty-handed. It covers, as one reviewer puts it, detailed ‘particulars’, which include required computer specs for installation, program configuration tips, menu customization options and the knowledge of creating actions. If you’ve already gone through one of the beginner books on this list, this may be the second Photoshop book you want to add to your collection, especially if you are a digital photographer. Read more..
Photoshop Compositing Secrets: Unlocking the Key to Perfect Selections and Amazing Photoshop Effects for Totally Realistic Composites
This highly recommended book is for advanced users who want to expand their skills and take their photo and graphic capabilities to the next level. Much of this book covers subject lighting, advanced masking, and introducing seamless backgrounds. This kind of material tends to require access to a studio and leans towards readers with access to these as well as multiple lights and lighting arrangements. Topics such as shadows, filters, clipping masks, layer blend modes, fringe removal are all covered in this context, as well as material on various composite photos both individual shots or action shots and various ways to make backgrounds pop. Despite the advanced material and expected knowledge and experience that comes with this book, the writing is down-to-earth, understandable and comprehensive. Read more..
Adobe Photoshop CS5 Classroom in a Book
This book is aimed at someone slightly familiar with Photoshop, as some basic knowledge of the software is implied with the language. One of its strongest points is the well-received DVD-ROM containing two hour’s worth of video tutorials. These video lessons complement and enhance many of the tutorials found within the book. At the end of each topic detailed are review questions and answers which solidify your understanding of the material. It is a good addition to your Photoshop library but perhaps not the strongest if you are a true beginner looking for an entry-level introduction. Read more..
Photoshop CS6: The Missing Manual
The Missing Manual series appears in almost every design/development list for good reason. The basics of Photoshop are addressed and well-explained here in a clear and light manner. Aimed specifically at beginners, topics covered include the menus, tools, general features, layers, filters, masks, selection tools, cropping, resizing, and channels. The writer presents its illustrations and information in a detailed and insightful way while s till remaining light-hearted and conversation so as not to bore her readers. Every piece and detail of Photoshop is focused on and explained for beginners to ensure a strong working background for those new to the software. In short, this book is clear, concise and well-written and considered a great introduction for those new to Photoshop. Read more..
The Adobe Photoshop CS5 Book for Digital Photographers
Another exceptionally well-written and easy to follow Photoshop book aimed at digital photographers. Many important topics are covered, including backlighting, removing reflections, black and white photos, Camera Raw, group photos and fixing common image problems, and a Photoshop killer tips section ends each chapter which is full of great info. Even the most inexperienced users will feel at ease with this straight-forward and step-by-step tutorial packed text, and will find they are seeing results with their photos and images in no time. Full of before and after photos and directions, overall this book is a great introduction to the power of Photoshop. Read more..