Book Review: Digital Photography Boot Camp by Kevin Kubota

Digital Photography Boot Camp by Kevin KubotaKevin Kubota is a successful educator in digital photography. His seminars and workshops are highly sought after by professionals and enthusiasts alike to improve their skills. His manner of speaking and presentation make the lessons easy to digest. He’s such a good speaker that he’s been invited countless times to speak in important photography events. Needless to say, his Kubota Workshops has run a successful series of seminars with very satisfied participants.

Can he bring his successful teaching style to the printed word? Can he communicate his workshop ideas in a book? Can he write as well as he speaks?

In Digital Photography Boot Camp, A Step-by-Step Guide for Professionals, Kevin shows he can. He ably conveys his ideas via the written word in this book, very much like listening to the guy while delivering his light-hearted talk in the classroom. Short of being able to interrupt Kevin with a question or two to clarify or reinforce a point, this book is as good as it gets, next to being in the workshop itself. Maybe even better, because the printed word is there and can be consulted again and again on demand.

The author organized his book in a dozen chapters going from Introduction, Digital Essentials, Creativity and Inspiration, and Digital Shooting Techniques to cover the basic framework.

He goes on to Workflow, Color Management, Photoshop Essentials, Photoshop Corrective Techniques, Photoshop Enhancements, and Photoshop Actions to cover the production aspect of image editing; and finally he discusses Printing and Presenting to round out the final product and present it like pros do.

In his Introduction, Kevin squarely declares that film is dead (that’s where he’s at in this debate) and that digital is the way forward. He cites the many benefits of digital for the professional photographer and his client. Among the benefits he cites are the ability to have multiple originals, cost savings, instant reviews, creative leeway, consistency in printing, and many others.

Then he goes to work in Chapters 5 to 11, where he details his lessons in concise, easy-to-follow procedures, interspersed with his own digital photographic techniques that could prove very useful for the professional photographer.

The book is well written, printed in high quality paper and chock-full of pictures that not only reinforces the lessons but also are quite pleasing to the eye. Not a single spread is without a picture or illustration, very instructive.

The last chapter, The Big Picture, emphasizes the power of photography and what a picture can do to change things. Kevin gets a bit preachy here, but I guess we can allow it for a guy who’s done quite well and believes deeply in some cause or something.

Kevin Kubota distilled the most important contents of his workshops in Digital Photography Boot Camp. The book proves that he can write just as well as he speaks. It is a very instructive book for the professional digital photographer. But I highly recommend this also for the enthusiast who has just bought his first digital SLR camera. The book will show the enthusiast how the pros do it.

Digital Photography Boot Camp, A Step-by-Step Guide for Professionals by Kevin Kubota. Amherst Media, 8½ x 11, 140p. $34.95 USA, $48.95 Canada.

Table of Contents – Topics

  1. Introduction – What About Film? Is it Dead? The Benefits of Digital, The Digital da Vinci Model, Change Your Mind and Your Clients Will Follow, Every Book Has a Purpose, Downloads.
  2. Digital Essentials – The New Digital Paradigm, Digital Capture, RAW vs. JPEG: The Main Event, Megapixels and Resolution.
  3. Creativity and Inspiration – Where Does it Come From? The Creative Process, Techniques for Creativity and Inspiration, Say “Boom” While Watching the World, Projects, Use Creative Tools, Be a Groupie, Inspiration from Giving.
  4. Digital Shooting Techniques – Every Camera Has a Personality, Acting Like a Digital Photographer.
  5. Workflow – Overview, Downloading/Organizing, Recommended Storage Setups, Catalogs vs. Viewers, iView Basic Setup, iView Features, Unique Parts of the Workflow, Cheat Sheet, System Details, Working with RAW Files, Ready for Presentation.
  6. Color Management – Color in the Digital World, Pieces of the Color Puzzle, Color Spaces.
  7. Photoshop Essentials – The Basics, Working Efficiently in Photoshop, The Photoshop Workflow, 8 Bits vs. 16 Bits, Evaluating Overall Image Quality, Save a Master File in PSD Format, Prepare to Print.
  8. Photoshop Corrective Techniques – Underexposure Fix, Clarify Cuts the Haze, Hot Yellow Fix, Retouching Basics, Swapping Body Parts, Digital Liposuction.
  9. Photoshop Enhancements – Handcolored Black & White Images, Softening with KevSoft, Digital Fill Flash, Cleaning Up the Eyes and Teeth, Selective Focus, High-Speed Black & White Film, Vignette? You Bet, Borders and Edges.
  10. Photoshop Actions – The Action Palette, The Batch Dialog Box, Creating a Basic Action, Creating a Droplet.
  11. Printing and Presenting – Creating the Perfect Mood, Presentation Ingredients, Making an iView Slide Show, A Complete Digital Sales Solution, Printing Proof Booklets, Online Proofing and Selling, CD-ROM and DVD Slide Shows, Albums and Other Presentations, Album Gallery, Magazine-Style Albums and Collages.
  12. The Big Picture – What Can You Do? The Keys to Success.

Published by Chris Malinao

Chris teaches Lightroom as workflow software to photography students at the FPPF, Federation of Philippine Photographers Foundation. He also teaches smartphone photography.