Mikkel Aaland

Mikkel Aaland

Photographer, author, workshop leader.

  • @mikkelaaland
Mikkel Aaland is an award-winning photographer, popular workshop leader, and the author of ten books, including Photoshop CS2 RAW (O'Reilly 2006), Shooting Digital (2nd edition, Sybex, 2006), Photoshop Elements 4 Solutions (4th edition Sybex/Wiley, 2006), Photoshop for the Web, 2nd edition (O'Reilly, 1999), Still Images in Multimedia (Hayden, 1996), and Digital Photography (Random House, 1992). Since 2001 Aaland has been a regular guest on G4's Call For Help TV Program with Leo Laporte. In 2003 he was a guest columnist for newsweek.com. In 2004, Shooting Digital was named the best "Digital Photography" book of the year by the Designer's Bookshelf.

Aaland's documentary photographs have been exhibited in major institutions around the world, including the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris and the former Lenin Museum in Prague. In 1981 he received the National Art Directors award for photography. He has contributed both text and/or photography to Wired, Outside, Digital Creativity, American Photo, The Washington Post, and Newsweek, as well as several European publications.

Aaland has been a pioneer in digital photography, an interest that dates back to a 1980 interview he conducted with Ansel Adams. When Aaland asked Adams what he would be pursuing if he were just starting out, Adams discussed at length his fascination with digital photographs of the planets. Aaland has pursued this new technology since its infancy. During the 1980s he reported on digital photography as west coast editor of the Swedish FOTO magazine, and wrote a column on the subject for American Photographer magazine. Aaland is one of the few orginal Adobe Lightroom's alpha and beta user, and he served as an unpaid advisor on the project for over a year.

Photoshop Lightroom 2 Adventure Photoshop Lightroom 2 Adventure
by Mikkel Aaland
October 2008
Print: $44.99

Photoshop CS3 RAW Photoshop CS3 RAW
by Mikkel Aaland
December 2007
Print: $34.99
Ebook: $27.99

Photoshop Lightroom Adventure Photoshop Lightroom Adventure
by Mikkel Aaland
July 2007
Print: $39.99

Photoshop CS2 RAW Photoshop CS2 RAW
by Mikkel Aaland
March 2006
Print: $34.99
Ebook: $27.99

Photoshop for the Web Photoshop for the Web
by Mikkel Aaland
Second Edition November 1999

Photoshop for the Web Photoshop for the Web
by Mikkel Aaland
April 1998

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Mikkel blogs at:

Lightroom's 16-bit Print the Holy Grail?

January 02 2009

The other day someone told me that Lightroom 2's 16-bit print capability is the holy grail of printing. Up to now I've been perfectly happy with the standard 8-bit printing. But fearing I was missing out on something special I... read more

See You at Photo Plus Expo?

October 20 2008

I'm packing up and getting ready for a trip to the big Apple and Photo Plus Expo. Yesterday, just in time for the Expo, I received my copy of the book Photoshop Lightroom 2 Adventure, and I am a proud... read more

Lightroom Scratch: Making Handmade Video from Still Images

October 09 2008

I want to show you a cool way to create handmade "video" using Adobe Lightroom, a digital SLR, and a "scratch" technique used by disc jockys. But first, some backstory. I am a still photographer, and yet I am... read more

Photokina Round-Up: A Personal View

September 30 2008

I am back in Norway, sitting by the river behind our house, letting all my impressions of the last week in Cologne at Photokina splash over me like the waterfall several hundred meters downstream from here. It's interesting to watch.... read more

Photokina Report: Hasselblad or Video in Your Future?

September 24 2008

Ok, so I promised to report on the new Leica medium format camera but I got distracted with a Hasselblad press conference instead. I'm glad I did. Hasselblad has been off my radar for some time now, but today changed... read more

Photokina Report--Lightroom to the Rescue

September 23 2008

It's been a full day here at the granddaddy of all photo shows, Photokina, held every two years in Cologne, Germany. The day started with a nice surprise: A double page spread in the Show Daily on the Adobe Tasmania... read more

Super Vignette with Lightroom 2

July 29 2008

A couple weeks ago, at the Adobe summer school here in Europe I hinted that Lightroom Beta 2 users would be pleasantly surprised at some of the new features coming out in Lightroom 2. Well... LR 2 is now out... read more

Romatic Tasmania with LR Negative Clarity

May 15 2008

I've been playing with the Lightroom 2 public beta (free here) and finding some things I really like. Take the new Clarity, for example. Clarity controls are found under the Basic pane in the right panel of the Develop module. Traditionally, Lightroom's Clarity has been used for local contrast enhancement… read more

Follow the Lightroom Adventure to Tasmania

May 15 2008

There are just two weeks left for a chance to win free trip onboard Qantas airlines to Tasmania! Sign up here. All of you who followed the Adobe Lightroom Adventure on the O’Reilly site know what a treasure Tasmania is. It’s photographers and travelers’ paradise and the Adventure team all… read more

Lightroom Crop Madness

October 25 2007

Ok, here’s a question that has me stumped. Maybe someone out there has an answer, The question comes from Eric Charles, directed to me on the ASMPNorCal Lightroom forum. He wonders if there is a way to set a specific... read more

Is it a Bug, a Mistake, or a Feature?

October 15 2007

I’m developing a real respect for the people who make their living in tech support. They are the ones on the front lines who constantly have to figure out if a problem is a bug, a user-error, or simply an... read more

Add This to My Lightroom Wish List

October 08 2007

I'm finally getting up to speed with Photoshop CS3 and I'm really excited about the new Photomerge. The old one was ok, but the new one really rocks and does a great job of merging and blending multiple images shot... read more

The Case of the Missing Thumbnails

October 01 2007

It’s frustrating getting simple questions I can’t answer. The other night, at the Apple store in San Francisco, I talked about the Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Adventure, and then demonstrated Lightroom. When I was finished with my song and dance a... read more

Lightroom 1.2: Maintenance Upgrade

September 21 2007

Going from Lightroom 1.0 to 1.1 was a major upgrade, with considerable changes to both features and performance. Last week Adobe announced Lightroom 1.2 and while there are no new features, there have been some under the hood changes that... read more

Visualizing Color Space

September 16 2007

Last Tuesday night, at an ASMPNorCal event led by Bill Atkinson and Joseph Holmes titled, The Color of Nature: From High-End Digital Capture to Fine Art, I watched an entire room of professional photographers experience an epiphany. ... read more

A Call for Help, And a Reward

September 10 2007

Photoshop Lightroom Adventure is going into reprint, which means it's selling very well AND I have a chance to fix any small errors or typos in the book… So, dear readers and owners of my book, I’m asking for your... read more

Lightroom Underwater

August 30 2007

It's normal this time of year to ask, "What did you do for your vacation?" Yesterday I ran into Adobe's Bill Stotzner and he told me he took Lightroom underwater for his vacation. Let me explain. ... read more

Straying from Lightroom

August 27 2007

For the last year I've been pretty much Lightroom-centric but now I'm updating my Photoshop RAW book to CS3 and I'm straying back into the world of Bridge, Camera Raw, and Photoshop. It's giving me a chance to write about... read more

My Three Favorite Lightroom Questions at Book Passage Conference

August 19 2007

I'm back in the US and taking a short break from teaching at the 16th Annual Book Passage Travel Writers and Photographers conference in Corte Madera, California. The attendees are great, and several of them are quite accomplished photographers. It's... read more

A Very Good Week

August 11 2007

We just closed up the summer house in Norway, and we are enroute back to San Francisco. It's been a memorable week, filled with many positive events. First, on Monday, there was Michael Reichmann's Luminous Landscape piece on the Lightroom... read more

Lightroom to the Rescue!

August 03 2007

On Tuesday, while shooting images at a small iron foundry here in Ulefoss, Norway for my Under the Hood, Working Raw project, I messed up. What followed is both a testimonial for Lightroom and shooting in the RAW mode.... read more

Is Lightroom a Verb or a Lifestyle?

July 27 2007

As the rain continues to fall in Ulefoss, Norway where we are summering, and the children brave the cold water in spite of the wettest summer on record--see photo below--I have plenty of time to ruminate about things that may... read more

My Favorite (simple) LR Keyboard Commands

July 19 2007

I'm visually oriented. Give me a well-designed UI and I'm happy. I have a limited memory for keyboard shortcuts. One keystroke is ok. Two is pushing it. Three or more... forget it. I especially like keyboard commands that follow some... read more

Doubt is a Lonely Pain

July 12 2007

Madrid, Spain: My Lightroom Adventure book has been at the printer for almost two weeks now. For me, the time between a book going to the printer and the time when it is bound and shipped and actually in my... read more

Color Label Sets, New (to me!) in 1.1

July 06 2007

It's easy to get excited about Lightroom 1.1's obvious new features such as Clarity, catalogs, and its powerful new sharpening controls. But there are many less sexy yet helpful improvements that all add up to make 1.1 a fantastic upgrade.... read more

What I Like about LR 1.1

June 27 2007

You are in for a treat! Lightroom 1.1 is available today and I think you'll be amazed at what Adobe has done in the short time since the original release of 1.0. I still can't believe they are calling it... read more

Lightroom Update "Near Future"

May 31 2007

May 31, 2007 Tom Hogarty, Adobe Lighroom's product manager said today in his blog "Lightroom will be updated in the near future". I invite everyone to check out his exact words, and then, to all of you who have been... read more

Don't Waste Your Time

May 25 2007

Many digital camera manufacturers offer custom image effects that are sometimes quite compelling. The Canon 5D, for example, offers you a choice of electronic filters and toning effects to create a specific black and white look. But if you are... read more

Don't Forget to Look at the Photo

May 18 2007

My Lightroom Adventure book tech editor, Doug Nelson, and I got in an argument the other day about the value of placing certain camera EXIF data under the Library module Histogram. ... read more

More Hidden Surprises

May 11 2007

In an earlier blog I wrote about Lightroom’s contextual menus, which are like hidden Easter eggs sprinkled throughout the user interface, revealed with a right/click of the mouse. But, hey, there are more surprises! Try this and you’ll see what I mean: Hold the option key while clicking on and… read more

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Webcast: Shooting Digital: What are YOU missing?
April 09, 2009
In this webcast we will look at some commonly forgotten or unknown features of digital cameras and imaging software, then open the discussion to your experiences with the known and unknown world of digital photography.

"Thrilling photographic adventures aside, you definitely need Mikkel Aaland’s Photoshop Lightroom 2 Adventure: Mastering Adobe’s Next-Generation Tool for Digital Photographers if you are serious about your digital photography."
--Dominique James, Sacramento Book Review

"If you want to learn about Lightroom 2 the easy and pleasurable way, this book may be for you. "
--Brian Seed, The Picture Professional, Issue 1, 2009

"Although the Lightroom landscape is unfamiliar to me, I can tell you that Mikkel's explanations of just how the ACR-type development tools work are clear, complete, and very useful. They confirmed some details I'd had notions about but couldn't find explicitly clarified elsewhere. I'm betting that the rest of the book is just that good."
--Ctein, The Online Photographer

"I'm only 40% of the way through it and already I've learned several very useful things. Some are basics I just hadn't noticed..."
--Ctein, The Online Photographer

"From using different modules such as Develop to black and white effects, no Photoshop collection should be without Photoshop Lightroom Adventure."
--Diane C. Donovan, California Bookwatch: The Photography Shelf

"This is one of the most detailed how-to books you will find covering the new Lightroom 2 program. It is a hands-on guide that will teach you how to use Lightroom to make your images really stand out in a crowd....If you are going to be using Lightroom, then this is a "must-have" book, and I do not say that very often."
--Paul W. Faust, Impressions of Light

"I'm a digital tech freak, but I was set in my ways. Most of what Lightroom does can be done in Photoshop, after all. But...I’ve just finished reading Photoshop Lightroom 2 Adventure, by Mikkel Aaland (O’Reilly Media; $44.99), and I’m a changed man. I’ve been locked away in my studio for weeks now playing with the software, the book and my digital images."
--John C. Carnett, Popular Science

"Every page of Aaland's book is filled stunning photography and screen shots that explore every aspect of Lightroom 2.0...He is a master of breaking down complicated concepts about digital photography in a succinct manner...Indeed, Photoshop Lightroom Adventure 2 will be the only guide you need to learn the program."
--Bakari Chavanu, MyMac Magazine

"It is a gorgeous and absolutely indispensable book for all Lightroom users."
--Gordon Cook, Cook's Collaborative Edge

"This book covers Lightroom 2.0 from the ground up so any one new to using Lightroom could benefit from this. But there is more than enough new or changed items with this release that even for someone fairly versed in Lightroom 1.x will find useful knowledge between the covers."
--Michael T. Sedwick, Behind the Shutter Curtain

"Photoshop Lightroom 2 Adventure is on the other hand a great concept for a book. It allows me as the reader, an entertaining way to learn of new photographers, see how they compare to others who basically are shooting the same sites, all while learning the new features of Lightroom 2."
--T. Michael Testi, Blogcritics Magazine

"What separate's Aaland's adventure book from the other lightroom adventure books? The superb photos illustrating techniques. Rather than resorting to stock, the book inspires with stunning images shot in Tasmania by Aaland and a teen of 18 pros. It's hands-on Lightroom-learning in the real (make that exotic) world."
--Derek Pell, Zoom Street Magazine

"After repeatedly being given unsatisfactory, incomplete and sometimes just plain wrong answers by my fellow photographers and even personnel at the camera stores that I frequent, I really didn't know very much about camera RAW except that I should use it instead of shooting JPEGs. Finally this book not only tells people exactly why they should use it and when, but makes it clear that Adobe's newest release of CAMERA RAW 4.4.1 is such an improvement over the latest one that will work with CS2 that it makes the issue of finding out whether or not I can do some sort of workaround to let me use CS2 with my Nikon D3's (and soon D300's) RAW images irrelevant...If you have not read this book already, you really should do so - especially since it specifically discusses Adobe's PHOTOSHOP CS3, and how to derive maximum benefit from RAW image files while using it."
--Jan Wagner, AutoMatters automotive columnist

"Neo-pros need this - and any computer or photography library strong in Photoshop techniques will find it popular."
--James Cox, California Bookwatch: The Computer Shelf

"Photoshop CS3 RAW has easy-to-follow instructions and beautiful illustrative graphics that help the reader gain a quick understanding of Photoshop CS3's three distinct working environments for RAW files..."
--Stan Ashbrook, PSA Journal

"Photoshop CS3 RAW by Mikkel Aaland succeeds in instructing us how to use Adobe Camera RAW in Photoshop CS3 as a very important workflow tool to process and enhance RAW images. This book is particularly suited for the beginning photographer who is just now starting to use his new DSLR camera to shoot RAW and has Photoshop CS3 installed in his computer. The lessons could go deep at times, but it can only benefit the photographer to understand the hows and whys of the tools used."
--Chris Malinao, Studio Lighting

"The outstanding thing to note about Mikkel Aaland's book Photoshop CS3 Raw: Get the Most Out of the Raw Format with Adobe Photoshop, Camera Raw, and Bridge is that is organized very systematically. Instead of being a breathless description of everything you can do with the software, Aaland focuses on why you would do something and how to do it. It's an effort that is fun to read and easy to reference."
--Aspi Havewala, Blogcritics Magazine

"This most excellent book is one of the first to be devoted exclusively to the topic of shooting in the raw, by explaining the advantages and challenges of using Adobe Camera Raw to produce magnificent images. In other words, this best-selling book is full of inside knowledge of how new features let photographers optimize and convert images for the best results in Adobe Photoshop CS3."
--John Vacca, Amazon.com

"Mikkel Aaland's experience in the digital realm shows through in Photoshop CS3 RAW...If you want to learn how to shoot in Raw and need help to understand what you are doing, then Photoshop CS3 RAW is a great place to start. There are sample files that are available for download that will make sure that you get the same results that are found in the book. Photoshop CS3 RAW is highly recommended."
--T. Michael Testi, Blogcritics Magazine

"The book also covers impressive ground in terms of exploring and explaining the features of a complex application. There is coverage of virtually everything you'd like to know about Lightroom - which pretty much encompasses all the recent advances in PC-based digital picture processing. Thus the book is also a really good tutorial of the subject as well."
--Aspi Havewala, Blogcritics Magazine