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Light: Science and Magic: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting Paperback – 23 Mar 2007
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"There truly is a lot to like about Light: Science and magic. First, it is the most complete reference to lighting that I have seen. Second, the authors, while assuming that you know little about lighting, present the topic in a nondemeaning manor, and advance the topic very quickly." -BC Books (May 2007)
"'This is the first book I have seen on photographic lighting that is worth using as a text. Light-Science and Magic is about principles, not cheap tricks or the authors' portfolio. Thanks."---Pete Christman, Savannah College of Art and Design.
About the Author
Steven Biver, Virginia, USA, Commercial photographer, former clients include Adobe, Mobil, Newsweek, Black and Decker
Paul Fuqua, Virginia, USA, started his own audiovisual production company in 1970. Dedicated to teaching through visuals, he has written and produced educational and training material in a variety of fields, including law, science, and nature. His photography takes him all over the world, but he makes his home in Arlington, VA.
Fil Hunter is a highly respected commercial photographer specializing in still life and special effects photographs for advertising and editorial illustration. During a career spanning over three decades, he has worked for such clients as America Online, US News, Time-Life Books, Life Magazine (27 covers), the National Science Foundation, and National Geographic. He has taught photography at the university level and has served as technical consultant on a number of photographic publications. Mr. Hunter has won the Virginia Professional Photographer's Grand Photographic Award three times. He lives in Alexandria, VA.
Top customer reviews
First of all: the book is excellent. The paper and printing quality (full color for all photographs and diagrams) are outstanding. One can easily see essential details in images, like different textures and apperance of surfaces under various lighting setups. So this is a big plus.
The book is divided in 10 chapters as follow:
1. How to learn lighting; this chapter gives you basic information regarding general lighting principles, the way the author chose the examples and - most important - why did he chose those examples, the rationale behind all exercises and some hints for the way you should approach each exercise (procedures, goals - what you should get) and also some general information about shooting equipment that one needs in order to perform the exercises in the book.
2. Light: the raw material for photography. This chapter explains in detail, but not to boredom and in a very plain and explicit manner the properties of light that each photographer should know and understand in order to take proper images. What I most liked is the fact that the author starts from a basic principle (almost as an axiom) that the most important factor for photography is not the gear but the light and the way a photographer understands and uses light.
3. The management of reflection and the family of angles. Basic information about the way light is reflected by various materials and surfaces, discussions on the placement of the sources of light relative to the observer (camera) in order to get different results, polarization and some exercises that helps you apply the theory.
4. Surface appearances. This chapter elaborate a bit more some concepts from the previous chapters, with focus on surface appearance, textures, boundaries and some many other information about way different objects appear in different lighting setups. Many exercises included, things that you should try by yourself.
5. Revealing shape and contour. A very good read about methods of adding 3D appearance to 2D images using shadows, tonalities, surface detail etc. This is a chapter with a lot of info about "providing real life appearance" of your 2D images.
6. Metal. How to photograph metal surfaces. Detailed examples and information about reflection on metal surfaces, ways to reveal detail and avoid loss of detail in different lighting setups, information and exercises on photographing metal boxes, special challenges imposed by round metal objects (like globes) and the special issues such photos pose.
7. The case of the disappearing glass. This is one of the most interesting chapters and deals with photographing glass and glass objects. Various methods are explained and actions needed for succesful photographs are detailed in very clear steps, with plenty of rationale and concepts in behind. A special section deals with glass objects with liquid inside, that act as lenses and pose special problems to inexperienced photographer.
8. An arsenal of lights. This chapter will be the favourite for portrait shooters, people that want to learn and understand ways of lighting for portraits. The images are "disassembled" in their components by each light source in order to familiarize yourself with the effects of light characteristics, placement, intensity etc.
9. The extremes. This deals mainly with high-key, low-key and special (under or overexposed) images, situations that require such artwork and the interaction of environment (backgrounds etc) and the objects to be photographed.
10. Traveling light. This deals entirely with strobes (flash photography) and with special issues using flash. If you are new to concepts like guide number, bounce, feathering etc., this chapter will place more... light to it. Also, provided are a lot of practical examples that you should also try.
Overall this is one of the best educational books about photography - in general - and lighting - in particular - I have ever read. The language used is plain, concise and extremely to the point, the concepts are extremely well explained, reasons for different results are given and principles are well laid, just to be followed.
I would STRONGLY recommend (actually I have already ordered one for myself) this book to anyone is interested in understanding more the light, lighting, studio setups and general knowledge about light and photography, actually the most important ingredient for each image you might take.
It teaches you to understand what you see (in fact, what you have always seen, but perhaps never realised). Diffuse reflections and direct reflections and how to use each (or both) to optimally illuminate what you are photographing. How to photograph metal and glass: explaining dark- and light-field set-ups, and white-on-white and black-on-black ...
The information contained in this book should be a standard for all photographers: it teaches by helping you understand the concept of light, and not by showing you how award-winning images were made.
It's particularly good for its simple and memorable explanation of lighting portraits, and is completely indispensible for anyone who photographs "products", e.g. for selling on ebay. (Have you ever tried to take a decent picture of a coin, a metal ball, or a textured item of clothing? It can be really tricky to represent things as they really are - this book shows you how to do it.)
I can't recommend this book enough: if you are interested in improving your photography, whether you have a DSLR or a compact camera, buy this book!
I reckon if you have this book plus "The Photographer's Eye" (Freeman) and "Exposure and Lighting for Digital Photographers" (Meadhra & Lowrie), you have all the reading you need to develop your photography as far as you want. The rest is down to practice, practice, practice :)
The book is accurate, concise, and well written. I couldn't have asked for a better book.
The techniques work for whatever lighting system you're using, even if it is a window or a desklight. Don't let your lack of kit put you off - all you need is some light and a camera you can control. No regrets here, I'm really glad I have this book. I still use it whenever a new lighting puzzle comes my way.
The book is for intermediate to professional photographers; very informative; technical language is kept right to the point; good narrative language; enough information to keep you 'photo brain' busy for ever.
Thanks to authors. Well done!
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Most recent customer reviews
A very good book on lighting but i was looking for more detailed and show how on multiple flash photography.Read more
It covers items that are tricky to light such as glass and highly reflective objects but it...Read more
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