Planning to Retouch, Repair or Manipulate Digital Images?

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.

Digital Photo Magic

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.

JWB restored

Not author Ernest Perez, but John Wilkes Booth as restored using DPM. (The book reveals the step-by-step process.)

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!



About John Bryans

John B. Bryans is Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of the book publishing divisions of Information Today, Inc. (ITI) and its sister company, Plexus Publishing, Inc. Since 1979 John has worked in book publishing as an editor, book packager, and publisher. He began his career in the world of New York mass-market publishing, specializing in historical fiction and popular nonfiction before moving into technology publishing in the late 1980s. In 1995, at Online Inc., he launched CyberAge Books—a popular line of titles for online searchers, librarians, and business information professionals. In 1998 ITI acquired CyberAge Books and John joined the ITI staff on the edge of the Pine Barrens in rural southern New Jersey. Currently, he acquires and edits books and ebooks in diverse genres including library and information science and technology, cyberculture, education and careers in the information professions, educational technology, knowledge management, networking and customer engagement, indexing, and clinical research, and—regionally for southern New Jersey—mystery and suspense, history, nature and the environment. In 2001 he acquired and published Boardwalk Empire by Nelson Johnson, which inspired an Emmy-winning dramatic series on HBO and became the publisher's first New York Times bestseller.