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Who Is Richard?

Richard Lynch has been taking, developing and printing photos for nearly half a century for processing in both the analog and digital darkrooms. As a teacher, writer, photographer, pre-press specialist and innovator, Richard always seeks to get more out of his equipment, streamline processes, and efficiently achieve predictable results. He is one of the rare image technicians and photographers who has used Photoshop since Photoshop 2.0 (1991). He has contributed several of the program's standard features such as the Layer Styles indicator and the Rotate View Tool.

He's been writing about image editing since the late 90s and published nine books on image editing (translated into 10 different languages), and more than 50 articles on photography, photographic equipment and image editing for print magazines. These magazines include Popular Photography, PCPhoto, Advanced Photoshop, and a two year stint as a columnist for Digital Photography Techniques.

Who Richard Continues to Be

As an instructor, Richard teaches digital arts and image editing online, live in college classrooms, and privately, and is a long-time contributor to photographic communities as well as a featured conference presenter. His ground-breaking work in uncovering the hidden interface components in Photoshop Elements continues to influence the community of Elements users world-wide.

His books and articles usually explore advanced techniques for image editing, but manages to simplify these complicated techniques so that anyone can use them. He creates custom made tools that simplify common image editing tasks, making even complex image editing processes easier for anyone to apply and master.

Exploration has often been the name of the game in Richard's passion for photography. Partially due to a thrifty nature, and partially due to the need to experiment, he began using vintage lenses on his digital cameras. This led to experimenting with bellows, extension tubes, and modification of analog and digital equipment for specific purposes. He totes a Sigma SD1 with R76 filter for infrared shooting, defined manual methods in Photoshop and Elements for CMYK separations, HDR processing and panorama stitching, and favors a vintage Helios 40-2 85mm f1.5 lens on a 1mm extension tube for alien results in macro phtoography.

Richard is available for individual and corporate training through video conferencing. Please contact him for details.


The Adobe Photoshop Layers Book [no version, 2012]
The Adobe Photoshop Layers Book CS 4 [2009]
The Adobe Photoshop Layers Book CS 3 [2007]
The Hidden Power of Photoshop Elements 4 [2006]
The Hidden Power of Photoshop Elements 3 [2005]
The Hidden Power of Photoshop CS [2004]
The Hidden Power of Photoshop Elements 2 [2003]
Special Edition Using Photoshop 6 [2000]
Adobe Photoshop 5 How To [1998]

Work Summary

Author: Focal Press, SYBEX, QUE, Waite Group Press
1997 - Present

Freelance Writer & Editor: thebookdoc
1991 - Present

Freelance Photographer, Image Editor, Trainer: Propictrix
2003 - Present

Communications Manager, SofTrek Corporation
1998 - 2011

Senior Editor & Designer, Amherst Media, Inc.
1991 - 1998

Richard continues to work as an image editor, imaging consultant, digital imaging expert and trainer. He can be reached for any of these via email.

History [The Long Version]

Early Years
Richard Lynch started taking photos at a very early age and was involved in developing and printing photos in an analog darkroom by the time he was 10. He graduated from a simple plastic Argus 127 camera, complete with ominous detachable flash and dangerously hot flash bulbs, to a Pentax K1000 by the time he was in high school. He began to dabble in using computers at this time, mostly to hack into the system and write simple programs. These were the big, scary computers that had huge spinning tape wheels and stored data on perforated paper tape. They had no real graphic capacity.

College Explorations
Later in his teens, and as he entered St. John's University, Richard augmented his photographic experience by shooting claymations on a Canon 310 Super 8 movie camera, which sported single-frame shooting for stop-action. It was a great learning experience for a variety of reasons, including lighting, flash photography and the finer points of using accessories for stability (tripod and cable release). He found use in his studies of calculus in programming animations on an old desktop computer using strings of equations that would fill and empty spaces on a monochrome monitor to create a sense of motion. He also experimented with illustration, combining pencil sketches with photocopying to create tonal depth and allowing multiple revisions.

Soon after receiving a BA in literature and rhetoric from Binghamton University, he was introduced to an Apple Macintosh II computer before it hit the market at the offices of Computer Reseller News (CRN -- where his spouse worked as a designer). Weekend trips to the magazine offices allowed him to explore a new world of digital art made possible by cutting-edge scanners and printers, and he continued to experiment with state-of-the-art equipment and expand his knowledge of computers and artistic interests while studying writing at Vermont College. CRN became a source for stocking his home computer setup. Virtually unused equipment, used in reviews for the magazine that would otherwise have been discarded, was either purchased cheaply or flatly gifted. This included computer, a printer, and a scanner.

Post College
After completing studies for a MFA in writing, and short stints as a chef, college writing professor and book doctor, he got a job as the editor of a small photography book publisher/distributor. This allowed him to indulge his interest in photography by introducing him to a readily available library of books by industry experts. But as the leader of the very small production crew, he also became responsible for evolving book production, design, layout, pre-press, and image editing into the digital age. The next 4+ years also served to immerse him in using Photoshop for image editing, sometimes working 8 or 10 hours a day with the program for prepress correction of the images that went into the books published in-house. His Photoshop style developed from previous understanding of light, imaging and the darkroom, as the program was in its infancy and there were few resources to learn from. He continued to hold multiple jobs (teaching college English and creative writing) while working for the publisher and pursuing his own writing and visual arts interests

The Digital Camera Age
Richard started doing freelance work in Photoshop for local photographers when he found out it was a salable skill outside the publisher's offices. Soon after his first few freelance successes, he attempted to broaden his market by advertising Photoshop services on the Internet. One of the first calls he received was from an editor (Waite Group Press) inquiring first about services, and then about his qualifications to possibly write a book on the subject of Photoshop. Being a trained writer, editor, instructor and graphics pro, writing a book seemed like a logical step. After complications in negotiation brought on by Waite Group being sold to Macmillan, Richard signed his first contract with SAMS, to produce a book in the then popular weighty style of 700+ page tomes as part of the established "How To" series.

Immediately after the contract was signed, he was on the phone to vendors seeking equipment and software to use in development and illustration of the book. He quickly received a few of the then-popular 640x480 consumer cameras, and some plug-in and peripheral software, but scored bigger with loans of a Kodak 410 (Nikon body, 1.5 mp) and Linotype-Hell Saphir pro desktop scanner directly from the manufacturers. With these tools in hand, he had a formidable setup to experiment at home while writing and illustrating. The book was written on a new, customized Motorola Starmax 4000, Mac clone. Regretfully, the book strained relationships with the owner of the publishing house -- the owner felt publishing for another company was competition, though the publishing house offered no opportunity to write and they were not publishing any Photoshop books at the time. To dissipate the problem and allow continued work on other books, Richard took a job working as a documentation specialist for a software manufacturer specializing in database/CRM software for fundraising.

Richard wrote one more series title for QUE in the "Special Edition Using" series between 1999 and 2000. Despite the book being a financial success, the publisher decided to "go with another author" for the second edition. Without a publisher or title, Richard called around to friends in the business to attempt to generate new leads. One editor asked him to have a look at Photoshop Elements and consider writing on that program rather than Photoshop. Richard was not too keen on the idea, having heard Elements was nothing but a dumbed-down version of Photoshop, but in need of a new publisher and new opportunity, accepted the challenge. The editor sent him a free copy of Elements to explore.

Within a few short hours after installing, Richard's disinterest turned to excitement when he found out that Elements was not a dumbed-down version of Photoshop at all, but a shell over Photoshop which hid and disabled some of the premium features. He also discovered it was possible to re-enable the hidden features by writing actions in Photoshop and installing them in Elements using Recipes. The proposal to the publisher (Sybex) suggested that these tool sets created a situation where Elements would have nearly all the glitz and glory of Photoshop at 1/10th the cost of to the user.

Enter the Hidden Power Series
This sure-fire and unique angle on marketing opened the publisher to considering a non-series title, and the Hidden Power series was born. Richard used his writing, photographic, Photoshop, computing and design skills in development to produce something unlike anything on the market, and it paid off. Books became significantly shorter, better organized, more process oriented, and with software customized to enhance the utility of Elements. The success of the first book on Elements spawned a version of Hidden Power for Photoshop CS, which used custom Actions to enhance images using layers in a way similar to manipulating negatives in the analog/wet darkroom. The hope was to lure in curious stalwarts in the photographic community who had not yet joined the digital revolution.

Two more editions of the Hidden Power of Elements followed (2004 and 2006), the first winning a design and content award from a popular design website. During production of the version for Elements 4, it became clear that the Wiley camp was keen on supporting their own series titles over those purchased from Sybex. Also, competition began to infiltrate the success of Hidden Power by imitating the ideas and actions used by the Hidden Power series. To complicate matters further, a number of shareware enthusiasts were creating their own tool sets and circulating them on the internet for free. The result was that no contract was signed for the 4th edition. However, several other books by other authors came out in the Hidden Power series lending credence to the series value in the market.

Teaching Online with
During the time between the final two editions of the Hidden Power books, Richard became involved with to teach photography and image editing. Working for BetterPhoto turned out to be an enlightening experience, because delivering coursework over 4 or 8 classes required even more condensing, clarity, and refining of techniques to fit the course structures. Courses were proposed for Photoshop introduction, color management, essential editing techniques, and an advanced process-based course which divulged Richard's process in working with images. The advanced course used layers as an organizational tool to maintain a streamlined workflow, record and examine techniques, and use truly non-destructive editing. The courses appealed to different levels of users, and became a successful series at the school, and within 2 years Richard was one of the three top-selling instructors. This was achieved by creating a series in a vision where students could pick their point of entry by their skill level and follow the series.

The Adobe Photoshop Layers Book
Again looking for more writing opportunities, Richard pitched the idea of his Leveraging Layers class as book to Focal Press. He chose to propose to Focal Press because of experience with the quality of their photo books when working for the publisher/distributor, Amherst Media in the 90s. Marketing the book as a variation of the course would also work in cross promotion between student traffic, readers seeking courses, and forums/communities. The heavy reliance on organization and process-based, non-destructive workflow made the resulting book very different from other Photoshop books that were task-based. It was combined with a set of production actions that helped the user perform tasks within the larger scope of the process. The book has been successful through three versions for Photoshop CS3, CS4 and the latest edition which was not dedicated to a specific version of Photoshop.

He is currently at work on new proposals for more ground-breaking image editing materials.


The First and Best Book Dedicated to Photoshop Layers

The Adobe Photoshop Layers Book

"The Adobe Photoshop Layers Book is the best 'how to' book I've ever come across!"
-- Ralph Holmberg [Reader]

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