This is a book which, from its title suggests that it concerns itself with the technically complex matters of lighting, correctly photographing and retouching the images involving people. However it commences with a brief course on the basic principles of digital photography which may be of greater relevance were the book intended to be an introduction to photography or specifically to portraiture. Lighting techniques and especially retouching are not likely to be considered or undertaken by those whose background in photography can be counted in days or weeks rather than years or decades, so why the introductory chapter? It may not be the author's choice but that of the publishers. In any event, it should not be included and somewhat reduces the value of the book.
If some readers are unaware, the book formed the basis of a similarly named on-line course which originally was held live over three days, I believe in 2009 or 2010, and of a daily duration approaching 6 hours. The course is now being sold but the book is a much less expensive and more easily referenced alternative. The on-line version uses many of the illustrations from the book.
I had seen part of that course some time ago and it was my introduction to Lee Varis. His is not a name I can readily associate with a specific photograph, magazine article or any other book that he may have written (if any) and the book is written in much the same way as he conducted the course - almost as a conversation between him and the reader (a small group on the course). Some may find that style friendly and amenable; others may dislike it for the same reasons.
Its coverage is very comprehensive and includes information on the use of exposure meters which will be difficult to find anywhere else. Some parts are unique and valuable, others can be found elsewhere. There are better books on lighting, on portraiture and also on retouching but this includes something of all.
Overall, it is reasonably good.
on 18 March 2014
It may be my mistake, but when I purchased this book I thought it was a textbook for advanced photo editing (something like the books by Katrin Eismann) specialized for the skin. When I had it in hand, I discovered that it was a collection of basical tutorials. Only two stars because the same informations are not hard to find for free on the net.