In this page I hope to address some of the common questions I have been (or may be) asked.
Why did you want to write this book?
The idea for this book actually occurred to me a few years ago when I was working on one of the other books I had coauthored with the late Bruce Fraser, Real World Image Sharpening with Adobe Photoshop, Camera Raw, and Lightroom, 2nd Edition. In that book I had to address cross-application sharpening with Camera Raw, Lightroom and Photoshop. It occurred to me then, that a book dedicated to just raw image processing would be useful. So, when I found out that the publisher wasn’t going to update the Real World Camera Raw series (for various reasons) and Martin Evening and I had agreed not do a Photoshop CS6 revision of our Adobe Photoshop CS5 for Photographers: The Ultimate Workshop I decided to pitch The Digital Negative book. Peachpit was kind enough (and smart enough) to sign me up to do the new book.
How long does it take to write a book like this?
Well, when I’m in what I call BookHell™, it seems like it takes forever. In point of fact, the real writing didn’t start until the beginning of Fall 2014 and I finished the manuscript on time at the end of August 2015 (although there was some fine tuning and tweaking after that). So, call it about 7.5 months of actual writing. But you must understand that I have been working on the book for years–in my mind.
The color reproduction in the book looks really good, who did the CMYK separations?
Well, if you think the reproduction looks really good, then I take full credit! If you think it looks like crap, then somebody else was at fault (just kidding). I actually owe a debt of gratitude to Chris Murphy of Color Remedies who custom made some profiles based on the SWOP 2006 standard. Chris literally helped write the book on Color Management. He was the coauthor (with Fred Bunting and the late Bruce Fraser ) of Real World Color Management 2nd Edition. Chris made a pair of CMYK profiles; one with a Medium GCR and 320% total ink limits and another profile with Max Black for the K generation designed for separating UI screenshot figures. For figures that were pure image, I soft proofed the Pro Photo RGB images using the SWOP Medium GCR and adjusted the images. For figures that only had UI screenshots I used the Max Black profile. For images that had both UI and images (such as in Lightroom, Camera Raw or Photoshop) I separated the figures twice, once with the SWOP Medium GCR and once with the Max Black separation. I then copied the the images from the SWOP seps and pasted them in the Max Black seps. This gave me the best of each profile. This technique was shown to me by Martin Evening and we had used it on our two book editions. Thanks Chris and Martin!
Who picked the image for the cover of the book?
The cover and interior design were done by Mimi Heft and she chose that image from about 40 different images I supplied as possible candidates. To be honest, Mimi deserves credit for convincing me to use that image–as I said in the acknowledgments, it’s not one I would have picked (even though is was one of the 90 or so I sent her). It was also Mimi and production manager Lisa Brazieal who surprised me by adding a spot varnish on the front and back cover images. I didn’t even know about it until I got my author’s copies. Thanks Mimi and Lisa!
Why are the posts containing the Example Images password protected?
As a photographer from a commercial background, I didn’t want my original images available to just anybody. I wanted the example DNGs to be available to readers of the book only. That’s why I chose a special password found in the book. You can find the password in The DIGITAL NEGATIVE on page 42 of Chapter 2 Adobe Raw Image Processing: An Overview. In Figure 2.2, I show a screenshot of one of the initial versions of an application from the fall of 2002 that was a precursor to Lightroom. The name of that application is the password to view the Example Image posts. Note: the password is case sensitive! Once you enter the password for a single post, you’ll have direct access to all the other Example Images posts.
Why are the download files DNG files?
I chose to use down-sampled Lossy DNG with included snapshots that show the Before/After adjustments. The 5MP DNGs are plenty large enough to see the image’s adjustments without making the downloads too large. Obviously, since these images are my copyrighted work, I also didn’t want to have full size images floating around. The 5MP DNGs work very well to show how the image parameters have been adjusted. At this point, I’m still debating how to put the example images from the image sharpening on line. The Detail panel settings really need the full resolution images to really see the sharpening and noise reduction. Stay tuned, I’m still working on how to do that. If you have any suggestions, I’m all ears!
Do you still shoot commercially?
No, not really. I consider myself a reformed advertising photographer. I simply don’t enjoy working for clients these days. I do, however, still love shooting and I enjoy shooting for myself much more than for clients. Sadly, I’ve not had the chance to do much new shooting since starting on the book (although I did shoot some new images specially for the book). There are a couple of projects I would like to work on–in particular a series of studio still life images using my Phase One IQ 180 on my Sinar view camera. If/when I have something to show, I’ll post it. In the meantime my main commercial web site is still around at www.schewephoto.com.
Why do you include the brand and model of the cameras you used?
Martin Evening and I got a lot of grief when we did the Ultimate Workshop book and included the camera, lens and other info for all the main shots. Some people accused us of selling ad space in the book. Not at all. We both think that it’s important to provide a provenance of how an image was captured, with what camera, lens, and ISO. I continued that tradition in The Digital Negative. While I have a lot of contacts and friends in the industry, I’m not under any contract for endorsements for cameras, lenses or printers. I do often get really good deals, but all the equipment I’m currently using is stuff I’ve personally paid for (in one form or another). Am I available to endorse a product? Nope, not interested.
Do you give lectures, seminars or workshops?
Yes. I often speak at various conferences. I’ve been a regular speaker at Photoshop World. At this point my schedule is clear for the remainder of 2015 except for a workshop, the Annual Fine Art Photography Summit Organized with Alain and Natalie Briot. Because of prior commitments (namely the book), I didn’t get to do a PODAS this year. Hopefully next year.
It’s my plan to offer multi-day workshops in my studio at some point starting in 2016. They will be small group workshops (limited to about twelve people) and do a drill down in my studio of how to capture and process stellar images. More about this soon…
Do you have any video tutorials?
I’m still trying to decide whether or not to post any streaming videos to this web site. TBD. But in the meantime, if you are interested, I’ve done several video tutorials with my good friend and colleague Michael Reichmann and Kevin Raber of the Luminous Landscape website. Two best selling multi-hour tutorials are; Camera to Print & Screen a multi-hour tutorial to maximize image quality at capture and to exactly reproduce your image on screen, paper, canvas or other media and a recently released Lightroom 6/CC.
Are you working on any new books?
Yes, but at this stage I can’t talk about it. Stay tuned because I’m pretty excited!