The Best Books: Mastering Photoshop Series

Photoshop books

If you want to master Photoshop, a complete course can be found in the books recommended below. If you are new to Photoshop it wold be best if you started with one of the books in The Best Digital Photography Books or Lightroom & Photoshop: The Essential Books before you tackle the books below.

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Begin with one or two of the basic to intermediate books in this article, or better yet, read Lightroom & Photoshop: The Essential Books. After that, jump into the list of advanced books that follow.


Your image processing begins with how you process your RAW files with Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) in Photoshop or Lightroom. Your best guides are by Jeff Schewe and the late Bruce Fraser. If you are using Photoshop CC or CS6 or using Lightroom 5 or 4, get The Digital Negative: Raw Image Processing in Lightroom, Camera Raw, and Photoshop by Jeff Schewe. If you are using an older version of Photoshop, get Real World Camera Raw with Adobe Photoshop CS5 by Fraser and Schewe (or the Photoshop CS4 version of the book or the Photoshop CS3 version of the book). Be sure to get the version of the book that matches your software version. You can find them all here and in the first section of this article. What you do with your RAW files determines how much or how little you can do with the file in Photoshop. You maximize your possibilities by making the right choices in ACR. Make the wrong choices, and you have limited what you can do later on.

After that, you can jump into color correction with the two books by Dan Margulis. I would suggest you read Professional Photoshop: The Classic Guide to Color Correction (5th Edition) first, followed by Photoshop LAB Color: The Canyon Conundrum and Other Adventures in the Most Powerful Colorspace.

Dive into digital retouching with the two books by Katrin Eismann. I would suggest you begin with Adobe Photoshop Restoration & Retouching (3rd Edition) before moving on to Photoshop Masking & Compositing.

It doesn’t matter whether you read Margulis or Eismann first, or if you read one book by Eismann and one by Margulis before moving on to the second book by either author, but I do recommend your start with a camera RAW book by Schewe/Fraser).

Reading these 5 advanced books, plus whichever basic-intermediate books you choose, will provide a master course in Photoshop. You will be able to do amazing things. Have fun!


You can buy all of these books at my photography store which is powered by’s great prices, fast delivery, excellent service, and first class guarantee.

The “best of the best” photography gear, books, accessories, and online photo labs: a series of articles.