Ernest Perez has a terrific new book out that describes the best of easy-to-use, free, and inexpensive apps for retouching, restoring, and manipulating digital images. Perez’s goal in writing Digital Photo Magic was to save time and money for librarians, teachers, archivists, and others who find they have some image clean-up or “repair” ahead of them en route to creating digital collections, exhibits, or publications.
Early feedback suggests he has succeeded, and then some.
Perez–a former library director at the Houston Chronicle and Chicago Sun-Times and a frequent contributor to the library literature–begins with a useful overview of the current situation as regards digital photo resources and retouching technologies. He goes on to explain why librarians, archivists, museum curators, and educators care about such matters–or should.
The longtime news librarian and passionate amateur photographer speaks to the challenges faced by organizations that operate on tight budgets and with limited human resources, yet still need to do credible (often public-facing) work with digital images. He offers a primer on “Digital Image Details” in Chapter 2–available as a sneak peek here.
Perez’s confident and enthusiastic approach makes you want to dive right in and start using his “digital photo magic” (DPM) system right away. There are hundreds of remarkable free and low-cost tools out there and, in most cases, little or no previous experience is needed to use them effectively. Perez points you to his favorites and lets you know what they do best.
What I think of as the heart of the book are the dozens of step-by-step tutorials and before-and-after shots (many from the author’s personal collection of family snapshots, along with numerous historic images). But Perez doesn’t stop there as he makes what some might consider “grunt work” fun and easy.
I think I know what Ernest Perez is doing right now: he’s at his computer, tinkering with some online program he just learned about, mastering new techniques for restoring old photos, retouching friends’ social headshots, removing entire objects (and people) from landscape scenes, and adding dramatic graphic touches to free his inner artist. Already a digital photo magician, he wants you to be one, too–that’s why he wrote the book, and it’s why he’s going to keep things fresh on the DPM website.
Digital Photo Magic is widely available as an ebook, including direct from the ITI ebookstore, but I must admit I love the way it turned out in print. Hey, your humble editor put some time in on this one–I’m dying to know what you think!