Media praise for Stephen Johnson on Digital Photography

Have a blog? Join our Reader Review Program

"What makes Stephen Johnson a great photographer, isn't because he is incredibly adept with technology, or that he was a visionary in his use of high resolution digital photography. It is that his work captures the sublime essence of landscape photography. His pioneering digital work in the National Parks are stunning explorations of places first explored by Jackson, Muybridge, Watkins, and O'Sullivan, and in doing so, he has created an entirely new photographic standard in an already incredibly rich visual history."
-- Harris Fogel, Chairman, Media Arts Department, The University of the Arts, Philadelphia, PA

"A look inside the mind of a master! Whether you shoot professionally or for your own enjoyment, Stephen Johnson has much to share. Here you'll find his insights into digital capture, image processing, output, and even the ethics of photography. This book is not only instructive and informative, it's inspirational and thought-provoking."
-- Pete Bauer, Photoshop User Magazine

"Johnson is a well known landscape photographer who has produced some amazing digital panoramic images using scanningback cameras. The book contains many pages of very informative technical explanations of how digital imaging works from a photographer’s point of view. He explains the techniques he uses in capturing digital images as well as scanning film. Although there are several chapters on Photoshop techniques, this is by no means another how-to-use- Photoshop book. Overall it is an excellent guide for those who want to know more about what goes on “behind the scenes” in digital photography."
-- John Rettie, photojournalist, Rangefinder

"This is a superb book - the best photography book I have ever seen. This kind of book is generally a "how to" or a "look at my great pictures collection." Stephen Johnson covers all this and a whole lot more – an entire universe that I have never seen treated in a single volume before. This beautifully laid out printed volume is Johnson’s photographic biography, artistic memoire, history of photography and photographic techniques, and introduction to the technology of digital photography...Quite simply the best photography book I have ever seen."
-- Gordon Cook, Cook's Collaborative Edge

"Woven into the story is a detailed look at how digital imaging has evolved from its beginnings though till today. This is seen though the eyes of someone who has been a consultant to a number of companies over the years including Adobe, Eastman Kodak, Apple and HP. Through his experiences Steve chronicles the development not just of the various hardware systems used to create digital images, but also the software products, such as Photoshop, which have had a seminal influence on our current craft."
-- Michael Reichmann, The Luminous Landscape

"This is by no means a "how to" book but instead you will gain a lot of inspiration for your own digital work and also can enjoy some of his excellent photos."
-- , Digital Outback Photo

"If there was ever required reading for students of digital photography, Stephen Johnson's On Digital Photography would be it. I have read other wonderful books on the subject, but none has the breadth and scope of Johnson's work. He was there, at the beginning of the age of digital photography. "
-- Artie Alinikoff, http://www.mymac.com/showarticle.php?id=2686

"A five star review."
-- , PhotoTipp.hu

"This book provides a feast of photographs for anyone interested in capturing nature, or shooting excellent portraits. Johnson is an artist as well as a photographer and uses this book to help us (readers) develop our artistic eyes and photographic skills to produce photos that captivate viewers with intriguing images, careful design, and subtle colors...Rather than a basic how-to book, such as the Dummies and Missing Manual series, this one is for photographers ready to take the next steps in both artistic and technical aspects of digital photography. "
-- Linda Knapp, The Seattle Times

"...provides a practical in-depth introduction to digital photography that offers the latest techniques to beginning and experienced photographers alike. "
-- , Photo Life

"Richly illustrated with examples of Johnson's often revolutionary images, along with informative graphics on everything from the details of image capture on a CCD chip to historical photographs, this rewarding and enlightening book should be on the bookshelf of everyone who is fascinated with all things photographic (digital that is)."
-- Jack Howard, Popular Photography & Imaging

"On Digital Photography. Stephen Johnson. I know of few who have the depth and experience of Steve, regarding the making of digital photographs. This book has it all. The history, the mechanics, the uses, and the future. With class. With experience. One of Steve's major problems is that he is always a jump ahead of everyone else. Now, you can clearly follow the way he works and importantly, the way he thinks. Frankly I have a sour taste in my mouth for the digital folks, and I must say, they are most fortunate to have Steve as a spokesperson, as most of them can best be described as non practical nerds. Steve has single handedly lifted digital photography from a tasteless illiterate and chaotic splash, to a plane of elegance, shared only by the finest of print making processes. It's about time. It's here. And people like Steve have put it right up there."
-- Al Weber, Al Weber Newsletter, Photographer and Teacher

"There are so many photography books on the market that one might wonder at the need for yet another – but "Stephen Johnson on Digital Photography comes from a digital photography pioneer whose photos are part of many professional institutional holdings, so his tips come from not just experience, but an innovative approach which embraces editing programs other than Photoshop alone."
-- The Midwest Book Review

"He brings together those things that are missing in most of the current books...the prints illustrating the book are absolutely stunning."
-- Barbara Middleton, Rock Spring News

"Stephen Johnson On Digital Photography, by one of the first and leading practitioners in the field, gives insight into the underpinnings of how digital camera sensors capture light and basic and advanced exposure techniques. There's an extensive section on the Digital Darkroom, showing how to work with color spaces, histograms, raw files, and Photoshop tweaks. Sections on printing and archiving discuss what you do after you've taken your perfect pictures."
-- Extreme Tech's Gift Guide 2006

"Representative photos of U.S. National Parks from his portfolio illustrate the work for which Johnson is so acclaimed. Life magazine stated that he “applies science to nature and creates art” in his landscapes. This digital photography pioneer focuses on a wide range of topics, from the history of electronic imaging and basic camera and editing techniques, to the impact and ethical use of images. The guide includes notes on teaching photography in the digital age, restoration and digital archive projects, selected reading, software and Internet resources, and a glossary"
-- Jane Erskine, BOOK NEWS, Inc.

"Stephen Johnson on Digital Photography is a terrific book. Magnificent photos. Informative. Creative. Joyful. Well written. Every photographer, amateur or professional will benefit from this work."
-- Morton Dean, former CBS & ABC News Correspondent

"To put it mildly, I am extremely impressed. The illustrations within the book are great examples of what is possible with digital photography. I started reading the book, front to back, but decided that I could better serve myself by sitting down at the computer and applying the information to some of my photographs. I can now stay at the computer for about an hour before I need to rest my back. The book is written the way Steve lectures, clearly and concisely."
-- L. Hert

"It really fills that glaring gap in the market for a comprehensive yet easy to read book on digital photography. It covers everything one needs to know to make informed decisions about digital photography and imaging and, the bonus, it comes from the acknowledged pioneer in the field. Well done."
-- Anthony Hobbs, Professor of Art at the Dublin College of Art, Ireland

"A comprehensive volume that combines plenty of how-to advice with Johnson's aesthetic philosophy about photography, the new book is a must for anyone using a digital camera."
-- Chris Hunter, Pacifica Tribune Online

"This is a truly fascinating book. Rather than just another How-To book on digital photography, the author takes the reader on a journey through a history of "digital imaging", shows how the same principles of "classic" photography apply to digital photography today, and examines what the future may hold...This was a great book--not only to read about some of the history of photography, but to also see a master at work on his own photographs. This is one of the most insightful, interesting, and educational books I have read on digital photography, or even photography in general."
-- Mike George, Amazon.com

"A look inside the mind of a master! Whether you shoot professionally or for your own enjoyment, Stephen Johnson has much to share. Here you'll find his insights into digital capture, image processing, output, and even the ethics of photography. This book is not only instructive and informative, it's inspirational and thought-provoking."
-- Pete Bauer, Bauer-O'Connell LLC

"Stephen Johnson on Digtal Photography is the beginning of our digital photography education. There are way too many "Tips and Tricks" books out there on cute little Photoshop ideas. This book is not one of them! What has been needed for so very long is a start-to-finish book on digital photography that talks more about the process rather than Photoshop, Stephen's book does that. If you are on the fence about this book, fall over into the pasture and get it, there is even an ethics section on digital photography, long overdue. "
-- Richard L. Newman, Education Coordinator Calumet Photographic

"Johnson's new book Stephen Johnson on Digital Photography is a comprehensive volume that combines plenty of how-to advice with Johnson's aesthetic philosophy about photography, the new book is a must for anyone using a digital camera."
-- Chris Hunter, Pacifica Tribune, CA

"A master photographer and teacher since 1977, Stephen Johnson is widely recognized as a pioneer of digital photography. His new book, Stephen Johnson on Digital Photography, chronicles his ride on the bleeding edge of this medium's evolution, and provides a practical in-depth introduction to digital photography that includes the latest techniques. Complete with beautiful color photographic examples and illustrations, this book is a unique, passionate, holistic examination of photography in the digital era. Having taken several workshops with Steve Johnson, I can heartily recommend his long-awaited book that provides a nice blend of history, personal anecdotes of a pioneer (the fellow with the arrows in his back), perspectives on being an artist, and practical “how-to” advice learned from experience (his and colleagues)."
-- Rich Edwards, Get Visually Stimulated Newsletter

"I've been reading Stephen Johnson on Digital Photography for the last week, and I think it's a remarkable and essential book. Congratulations! I think the writing is both personable and very clear, and immensely useful. I can't help but think that this book will become a standard textbook for students of digital imaging. This book is a must-have."
-- Larry Baca, Digital Imaging Consultant

"Stephen Johnson On Digital Photography is a remarkable overview of digital imaging from its technological roots to the highest form of its current 'Stone Age' state and a glimpse toward what the future will bring, A true pioneer and artist, Mr. Johnson's roots in documentary photography and conservation inform each step of the way as he argues the case for a less is more "straight photography" approach in the age of easy image manipulation."
-- Ellis Vener, Ellis Vener Photography

"Photography is a kind of religion for Stephen Johnson, involving finding beauty in nature, opening our eyes, heightening our awareness...He's devoted to a kind of realism that involves working slowly and deliberately, capturing as much detail and tone and color info as possible, messing endlessly with the camera and computer and monitor and printer to convey the effect of the original experience, and never collaging or compositing or retouching to alter the photographic image."
-- Dianne Pitman, art historian

"Unlike any other book on digital photography I've read up to this point, [this book is] part science class, part history lecture, part art lesson, and all education. Not the read if you're looking for a "rules for taking good digital pictures" book. However, if you're looking for an intelligent discussion on all that goes into a digital image, this is the book. Details on how digital cameras and scanners work; how light is transformed into a digital image...A unique look at digital photography, smart and well written."
-- Eric Wuehler, Amazon.com

"The book covers the entire gamut of digital photography...I most enjoyed this book for the earnestness of the author. In the age when digital photography books seem to specialize in the wise crack, this was refreshing...I enjoyed reading it, both for its philosophy and its account of the journeys of digital photography and the author. "
-- Conrad J. Obregon, Amazon.com

"From learning basic camera techniques to exploring ethical issues in digital imaging, landscape photographer Johnson shows readers how to artistically understand and create great photography while also covering Photoshop techniques and tips."
-- Hard Copy, PC Photo

"Johnson wrote the book he would like to read and it shows. It is a stunning book that brings together the vastness of the topic into a single handbook. It has some truly magnificent landscape images that show the artistic talent of the author."
-- T. Michael Testi, Blogcritics.org

"A master of the image-making process, Stephen Johnson shows the reader how to develop an "eye" for composing masterful images. Johnson leads the reader through the basics of the digital photography technology and shows how to reproduce images in the highest level of quality. The many photographs, reproduced in both full color and black-and-white, have been printed on high quality glossy paper, making the book an exemplar of the quality that can be achieved using digital tools. This is both a course on the art of image-making and a beautiful coffee table book."
-- Michael Kleper, The Kleper Report on Digital Publishing

"This landscape photographer covers a range of topics, from learning basic camera techniques to exploring ethical issues in digital imaging. He shows readers how to understand and create great photography while also covering Photoshop techniques and tips."
-- book reviewer, Outdoor Photographer

"He has a mind for technique and inspiration. You'll find both theory and practical advice. And don't let the title fool you; between these covers, he also explores a range of subjects including scanning, the digital darkroom, specific Photoshop techniques, printing, and more."
-- Peter Bauer, Photoshop User

"For those who want to dig into the details of the technology, Johnson provides plenty of material. He details the inner workings of camera image sensors, illustrates the differences in how many shades of gray can be displayed with 8-bit, 12-bit and 16-bit image data, explains image conversion between two color spaces, and shows historical digital sensors used in spy satellites and interplanetary probes. The book is stocked with numerous reproductions of Johnson's own photographs, a delight to behold and ample incentive to head out with your own camera. My favorites are images that at first blush appear washed-out or overexposed, but on deeper inspection are a true reflection of their subjects. "
-- Stephen Shankland, CNET

"This book provides a feast of photographs for anyone interested in capturing nature, or shooting excellent portraits. Johnson is an artist as well as a photographer and uses this book to help us (readers) develop our artistic eyes and photographic skills to produce photos that captivate viewers with intriguing images, careful design, and subtle colors. To help us learn the art and craft of digital photography, Johnson teaches digital "darkroom" techniques (using Adobe Photoshop) to transform images captured by the camera into prints that hold the viewer's attention. Rather than a basic how-to book, such as the Dummies and Missing Manual series, this one is for photographers ready to take the next steps in both artistic and technical aspects of digital photography. "
-- Linda Knapp, Seattle Times

"I know of few who have the depth and experience of Steve, regarding the making of digital photographs. This book has it all. The history, the mechanics, the uses, and the future. With class. With experience. One of Steve's major problems is that he is always a jump ahead of everyone else. Now, you can clearly follow the way he works and importantly, the way he thinks. Frankly I have a sour taste in my mouth for the digital folks, and I must say, they are most fortunate to have Steve as a spokesperson, as most of them can best be described as non practical nerds. Steve has single handedly lifted digital photography from a tasteless illiterate and chaotic splash, to a plane of elegance, shared only by the finest of print making processes. It's about time. It's here. And people like Steve have put it right up there."
-- Al Weber, Photographer and Teacher, Carmel, California

"He discusses why we take pictures, not just how. He examines the ability to capture and hold a moment before the lens and "...intervention in the image, not for the purpose of distortive manipulation, but to assert control over your work." And he emphasizes why we use digital photography: besides immediacy, control, versatility, accuracy of the camera sensor, the "Gee Whiz" factor; the play of it...I highly recommend Stephen Johnson on Digital Photography for a visual journey/lesson of photographic history, techniques, and geography. Johnson is a truly sharing innovative teacher offering beautiful and unique photography throughout."
-- Dick Evans, Bay Bytes Newsletter

"If you want to learn about digital photography but have had your fill of redeye reduction tips and unsharp mask tutorials, a new book by Stephen Johnson is worth a look. On Digital Photography has plenty of pointers on color correction and tonal balance, but what sets it apart is Johnson's enthusiasm for the history and mechanics of digital photography--and the abundant landscape pictures that serve as inspiration...For those who want to dig into the details of the technology, Johnson provides plenty of material. He details the inner workings of camera image sensors, illustrates the differences in how many shades of gray can be displayed with 8-bit, 12-bit and 16-bit image data, explains image conversion between two color spaces, and shows historical digital sensors used in spy satellites and interplanetary probes...On Digital Photography is a somewhat meandering exploration of what's on Johnson's mind. It also includes some previously published material, not so fresh but still valuable. Overall, Johnson's tour of the digital photography landscape, while not terribly structured, is one worth taking."
-- Stephen Shankland, CNET News.com

"Stephen Johnson On Digital Photography, by one of the first and leading practitioners in the field, gives insight into the underpinnings of how digital camera sensors capture light and basic and advanced exposure techniques. There's an extensive section on the Digital Darkroom, showing how to work with color spaces, histograms, raw files, and Photoshop tweaks. Sections on printing and archiving discuss what you do after you've taken your perfect pictures. But this book goes beyond those nuts and bolts, too, giving insight into the Art and philosophy of photography, as well as laying out the evolution of the craft and how the eye itself perceives color and light. And it's not only an excellent introduction to digital photography and the art of photography in general, it's also full of beautiful images, so you could even use it as an engaging coffee table accessory."
-- Editor, ExtremeTech

"Although there are some hints on the cover, it isn't until you scan the contents page that you can fully appreciate the scope of this book. Over the course of seven sections Stephen Johnson's book leads the reader on a journey: from the invention of the early electronic fax and cathode ray tube in the 1800s; through his own encounters as a pioneering digital photographer; and ending with his personal digital imaging manifesto."
-- Nigel Goldsmith, Ariadne

"The book has helped broaden my overall knowledge of digital photography. In viewing the book’s side by side comparisons (same scene) of film vs. digital exposures, the most serious doubter will be convinced."
-- John Donan, Orange Bytes (North Orange County Computer Club)

"Beyond being a history book, On Digital Photography also provides useful technical and artistic discussions. Those looking for a discussion on aesthetics will find chapters on composition and artistry. Those interested in the art and journey of Stephen Johnson will find lots of information about Johnson’s personal journey as an artist and a pioneer of digital photography. Those who are looking for a “how-to” book will find chapters on color management and on Photoshop techniques...Encyclopedic in its breadth, On Digital Photography might cover more areas than some photographers will want to know. Nevertheless, this is a good book to “fill in the gaps” of one’s understanding of how digital imaging came to be. Anyone truly interested in digital photography will find everything in this book of interest. "
-- Dan Landis, Tripod Camera Club

"Stephen Johnson on Digital Photography is full of solid information and helpful tips on taking the best pictures with your camera, editing them on your Mac, and presenting them on-screen, on the Web or in print. It is beautifully illustrated, with lots of Stephen’s photographs, as well as some from masters like Ansel Adams. And, unlike so many other computer books, you always get a sense of the author in this book, and Stephen's not afraid to tell you when there is no one answer to a problem, such as he does when he talks about image sharpening. It might not become the standard bookshelf reference text, but I think many readers should find that they’ll learn almost as much Stephen's book as they would from a traditional photographic text."
-- Rick LePage, Macworld

"Stephen Johnson is a pioneer in the field of digital photography. He was one of the first digital photographers using something called a “scanning camera”. He approaches the subject with great care and experience. His thorough approach to the vari- ous aspects of digital photography makes this book an excellent text book for a class."
-- Victoria Maciulski, Fat Bits: A Publication of Conejo Ventura Macintosh Users Group

"In his fine book, Stephen Johnson on Digital Photography, the internationally renowned shooter agrees, explaining that preparation is critical: A monitor properly calibrated to show the true colors of the print, correct printer and paper settings, restraint on enlarging a small photo file to an unrealistically large size, and restraint, period. "Take it slow and understand your choices," Johnson writes. "Don't flail about pushing buttons, turning on features you don't yet understand, and printing as though there were no costs involved.""
-- Stephen Williams, Newsday

"This book lives up to every outstanding review! In my opinion Stephen Johnson has produced a masterpiece."
-- Gary Lester

"Stephen Johnson on Digital Photography is a well written, easy to follow, easy to understand, and very approachable introduction to digital photography as both a science and an art form. While most books on digital photography work only with the digital darkroom options this book provides a detailed understanding of each step of creating a digital photograph including how the camera works and why it is important for you to understand how it works. He discusses how various camera features affect the end result. And because of this more complete approach to the subject as well as the quality of the information Stephen Johnson on Digital Photography is a highly recommended purchase."
-- Harold McFarland, Harold's Bookshelf



"Stephen Johnson on Digital Photography is a terrific book. Magnificent photos. Informative. Creative. Joyful. Well written. Every photographer, amateur or professional will benefit from this work."
--Morton Dean, former CBS & ABC News Correspondent