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3.9 out of 5 stars16
3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 18 March 2004
The problem with most guidebooks I've seen is that they don't really explain how the photo was lit and the photos aren't actually very good. This book is different. The diagrams and explanations are very clear and easy to follow. The photos are all very contemporary and of a consistently high standard. I have found this book very useful and would highly recommend it.
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on 17 September 2007
I've bought a number of books to try and understand how lighting works for portraits. This is my favourite. Not only are the photos very contemporary but I have found them really inspirational. The book lays out the lighting with a 3D plan and a plan view looking from above. It also talks about styling / stylists as well as the usual equipment explanations. I haven't found a better book yet. 'Nuff said really.
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on 9 November 2007
I bought this along with several other books on lighting in general and particularly studio lighting as I am setting up my own studio.

This book is packed full of beautiful and professional images from front to back. If you are looking for a book that shows you a lighting setup and how that translates to the final image this is the book for you.

A simple key is used on all images to show you the type of light, number, lens and aperture and this is consistent throughout. Shows you difference between natural and studio light and how the number of lights gives you more choice. Rather refreshingly though there is a focus on keeping it simple. Most of the images can be recreated with one or two lights and a reflector so even beginners can get started.

I have books on the technical details of light and lighting and they are very useful, but if you're more visual this book will help you along, or at the very least inspire you to shoot some great images.
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on 3 February 2012
This book is terrible. I should have realised looking at the cover image that it wasn't going to be a great investment but the other reviews changed my mind.
So I'd ask you to do the same: would you want to be credited with taking that image on the cover of an out of focus lady and a blurry cat? If the answer is yes, grab it and be happy, if not, then steer clear! Every photo in the book is awful, I was willing to keep it if they were 50% decent but most look like they have been taken with a Polaroid camera, no lighting know how necessary. The lighting set-ups they discuss are pitifully simple and wouldn't cut it in the professional world or suit someone who would like their photos to be profitable at some stage. The diagrams were drawn at bizarre angles and don't follow the standard lighting diagram layout being used today (See Light & Shoot for these, I got this at the same time and am very happy with it). Most of them just show a subject standing by a window and the photographer taking their picture by it - you don't need this book to learn that!
I mostly bought this book to see the lighting set-ups of different photographers and shots so I didn't read much of it before returning. However, for me, photography is a visual process and the learning of it should be the same too. If more than a two light set-up is too complicated for the author to explain in a diagram, that author isn't likely to be able to teach me anything I don't know about photography. If you're a beginner and you are really interested in understanding how to use better lighting but aren't going to be investing in any studio or strobe equipment soon then have a look at Perfect Exposure. It contains the technical know-how to capture great shots with any light available, window or no window ;)
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on 12 May 2008
The author is obviously a real pro.

He does give details of the techniques and lighting positions employed in the VERY creative photographs he displays.

However, I prefer other books directed at amateurs which teach a slightly lower level of creative photography together with longer and more understandable explanations and from which an amateur like me would probably benefit more.
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on 24 October 2008
I first saw this book in Waterstones, and what a book it is, it has excellent illustrations of the lighting used in the many photos it portrays. It was worth the asking price in Waterstone, but at the price Amazon are charging it is an excellent bargain.

It doesnt just show artificial lighting, it also shows photos with very basic lighting techniques, using windows and reflectors etc, Although it does use some very complex lightning techniques later in the book. In many of the photos it also describes lens used, and the camera settings used to achieve the effect.
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on 20 February 2012
Received this book from a friend, and found that this is a pretty quick read.

The book provides some good ideas on composition, and lighting, which ranges from a single window, to quite sophisticated studio lighting. You may also need to do some very serious post production to achieve some of the effects in the effects in this book.

The book is helpful, as it gives information on what equipment was used, and how the equipment, and subjects were arranged.

Personally, I would have preferred if the images did not span two pages, as parts of the image was lost.
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on 26 January 2010
This book provides a good insight into lighting of portraits, and includes a large number of examples of famous people and celebrities to illustrate the points. Who cares the people are famous? Well I for one was impressed that if the photographer is able to secure so many famous sitters, they must be at the top of their game, and the advice and insight seems to reflect that.

The thing that makes the book excellent is the diagrams which are 3D, very clear, and you can see exactly how everything configured for the shot in question, including the angles of any softboxes or flags.

The text could be a bit more verbose in my view, but having now bought a number of other lighting and portrait titles, this one has gone up in my estimation for covering all the details of the examples it provides, and providing a selection of examples and techniques to learn from which is more than most books seem to deliver.

Highly recommended for people starting out in portrait photography and lighting.
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on 26 August 2011
I got this book as I have limited experience with studio lighting and wanted to gain some overall knowledge as well as some inspiration.

There are some great pictures in this book, and the lighting setups are shown as nice diagrams.

If there is one complaint it's that this book is starting to look dated in a digital age - nearly all of the images are taken on medium format film cameras. Also, some of the diagrams don't show all the lighting elements that are referred to in the text descriptions.

All in all a great book and a handy reference guide.
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on 16 February 2008
Great tips for lighting. Great lighting diagrams. If you want to learn about portrait lighting look no further.
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