This book is really more a reference encyclopedia than a textbook.
The author is clearly very knowledgeable about light theory, the history of light, and the different types of lights that are available. I suspect much of the basic information provided on the different construction of various light bulbs will neither be of interest nor much use to most photographers.
However, there are several valuable chapters such as “Light and Shade” and “Controlling Light” that are well worth reading. In addition the sections on hard and soft light, direct and indirect light are very useful.
I feel this is an excellent supplementary text for anyone learning photographic lighting. For schools teaching photography, I’d recommend they include this book in their libraries.
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I consider this book an excellent introduction for anyone who is starting to do serious photography and for the occasional serious photographer who may not have previously done portrait photography.
The author opens with basic information about equipment and camera settings. I like that he emphasizes that an expensive camera is not a requisite for successful imaging. He then discusses composition including how to direct a model, elements of lighting, and some basic rules of composition. There is a discussion of the merits and techniques of street photography. The last section discusses photo editing.
In addition to my opening comment, this would be a good text for an Introductory Course at the high school or college level.
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I have used the 3rd edition of this book when I teach. The 4th Edition improves on the earlier version and brings one “up-to-date.” This is a text I’ll continue to recommend.
The authors introduce the book with some basic information on the physics of light. If you really want to know the how and the why of lighting, this information is important. In my opinion, too often photographers know some basic lighting formulas such as for lighting portraits but they don’t know why these formulas work. The why becomes very important when one encounters a situation that varies from the usual.
As everyone knows, a photographic image is two dimensional. The proper use of lighting is critical to provide an illusion of three dimensions. Another important facet of lighting is the avoidance of unwanted reflections, particularly when photographing a shiny object. Do you ever photograph a black object on a black background? How to do well in all of the preceding situations, and in many more, are explained.
This is a book that all photographers should have in their library.
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