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on 11 July 2013
I chose this book as I wanted to learn more about studio lighting and how to use it. Whilst its interesting to see the lighting set ups, the book doesn't have much of a practical application for me and didn't help me decide what kit I would need to get started. It would probably be a good reference tool for an experienced photographer looking to use existing studio lighting more creatively.
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on 1 January 2015
Technically this book delivers in that it describes and illustrates some studio set-ups with the work-flow to get a very polished artificial-looking result. Much of this is achieved using a huge studio, very expensive equipment and oodles of Photoshop.

Scott states at the beginning that he didn't spend too much on the equipment but in the UK if you add up the cost all his Elinchrom gear, not to mention modifiers, it comes to thousands of pounds. Of course it would be possible to get much cheaper equipment (and he does have a chapter on how to convert each set-up for using hot-shoe flash) but the variety of octaboxes, softboxes, strip grid with egg crate grid (yeah, me too!), beauty dishes, etc etc is huge and I presume the results would be different if you did not have all these modifiers. Not to mention all the stands and backdrops required. However, if you have all the gear then you presumably know how to use it but you may still learn from his lay-outs and how to obtain the effects he is after.

And that brings us to another topic. He only uses two varieties of model. Very skinny young women who look totally disempowered in ridiculous poses tottering on extremely high heels, and three examples of men who are depicted as sports people, two of whom look very aggressive. Wake up, Scott, this is 2015. Enough said on that topic.

I wanted to learn about studio set-ups for families, pets, real people and still-life/product. And don't get me started on Photoshop. There is one set-up using an older man (no older women, of course) taking a golf swing whose face is fairly wrinkled. Scott recommends to totally smooth out the wrinkles in Photoshop and then judiciously put some back in. Aaaaargh! I want to photograph people and want to make them look alive.

I should probably only have given the book one star but the guy seems to know what he is doing technically. So, I'm off to buy Christopher Grey's book "Master Lighting Guide for Portrait Photographers" which seems to be an altogether more relevant and respectful book for the 21st century.
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on 13 September 2013
The book should have been named "Retouch it (quickly light it and shoot it)" due to the larger part is dedicated to retouching and just a quick glance at lighting the subject and even a quicker glance at shooting (the shooting part is only the shutter speed, ISO and aperture values he used.)
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on 8 January 2013
I have read the criticisms of this book and I just don't get it. The book does what it says on the tin. Yes it does have a lot of stuff on photoshop, but then the book title does include the term "Retouch It". And yes, you can get free tutorials on how to use Photoshop but those free tutorials don't detail how the images got into Photoshop in the first place (the camera settings, shooting angle, lighting set-ups) but this book does. As a ready reference for the less experienced, and for those experienced but wanting to fill a few gaps in their knowledge,the book is fine. And the author's lighting set-up details are the best I have ever seen (i like the way he has shot from above and used a real photographer and real equipment (or perhaps used a lighting diagram software that gives a more realistic 3D look to the diagrams)).

And no it doesn't appear, as far as I could tell, to go into other details about organising make-up artists and negotiating a contract or dealing with a model agency but then by looking at the title of the book clearly those issues are beyond the scope of this publication.

I haven't as yet read the book properly; I received the book a few hours ago and skimmed through it to make sure the book would have value and I find that it does. I am not gonna claim that the book is earth shatteringly brilliant but from my persual of the publication it doesn't deserve the criticisms it has received from some reviewers on this site.

It gets the thumbs up from me.
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on 16 February 2012
Typical Scot Kelby book,makes it all sound deceptively simple with his easy to understand guide to what went where, how it was done etc etc. Also as usual it leaves you wanting more......

As always it really does pay to read the book from beginning to end. It may make some people ( like me ) jealous of the options Scot has because of the variety of kit he has at his command. The response to this is that there are other ways of approximating the looks he produces ( especially in the U.S. where accessories and equipment for photographers seem to be more common) AND photography for the serious hobbyist has NEVER been cheap.

I must admit that the retouching section of each of the examples was the least interesting to me, as I bought this book to stimulate my lighting set ups. It did. Job done. Purchase vindicated. For retouching I would recommend Professional portrait retouching techniques.... by the same author.(Professional Portrait Retouching Techniques for Photographers Using Photoshop) By Kelby, Scott (Author) Paperback on 24-Mar-2011

If you are new to using lights on a shoot... buy this book. If you are an old hand.... seriously consider getting this book if you like others from the pen of Mr Kelby
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on 21 December 2013
The size of the words on the cover that make up the title of the book is asolutely wrong!
'LIGHT IT' should be smallest and 'RETOUCH IT' should be biggest. This is a book about Photoshop retouch with a bit of 'light it' and 'shoot it' thrown in.
Wrong expectations influenced bij the cover.
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on 3 June 2012
Really, this is the idiots-idiot guide to photography. I was disappointed because I expected from the preview pages and comments, a lot greater breadth and depth of the subject of lighting. What the book explains is great but could have been condensed into a tenth of the size and still have maintained easy to access information (and probably cheaper too!).
The problem with the book's style is that it sets out to make things easy; too easy. To explain what settings the camera is set to for each shot (Camera mode, ISO, Aperture, Shutter, lens) apparently requires half a page, which seems like a good idea but it dawns on you that in fact this is simply wasting a large number of pages and thereby padding out an otherwise slim volume of knowledge.
The same philosophy has been applied throughout, so for instance 'Why I include the power settings' takes a third of a page to explain and half a page to show the back of a strobe flash (remember that was 'Why' I include, not any actual information).
Similar treatment is carried out time and again as for instance, a full page dedicated to why a special bonus chapter has been added for hot shoe flash users - not actually the information but waffle and meaningless pictures - all looks very important and pretty but also pretty uninformative.
I have also to question why we are treated to so much Photoshop technique - basic Photoshop treatment. If you have forked out for Photoshop then you have probably spent a lot of time and money learning how to use it and if your are adventurous, also looked at the hundreds of free tutorials on how to obtain effects. The author though, drags you through some pretty basic techniques that you should probably already be either capable of or aware of, and which can be better garnered from the Web.
I have a little handbook produced by Portaflash which came with my first strobe lighting kit. This, in a few pages and some excellent simple graphics and photo examples, goes through very concisely and clearly the basics of lighting, providing you as the user the basics on which to experiment and learn through practice about what lighting works.
Overall then, I found this book terribly disappointing. I felt it was padded out and lacked depth. I liked the philosophy of the book's style but apart from one or two useful explanations this did not make up for what basically was a re-hash of material already available for free on the Web or simply through stacking up a couple of strobes yourself.
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on 21 April 2012
The title of this book says it all. The author takes you through how to set your lights and why and how to process the shots in Photoshop after.

The information around setting up your shots is not too in depth but manages to give you enough knowledge to give it a try yourself. Each chapter is dedicated to a specific lighting/flash arrangement. There are helpful views from above and from behind the photographer along with pictures showing the settings on the camera and flashes.

Really it should have the word 'Photoshop' in the title as the bulk of the book is about how to give your photos the 'pro' look once you have them on your pc. Within 15 minutes I had read the first couple of chapters and learned more about processing portraits than I had in the last few years. Every 'look' or 'feel' I had been striving to get was explained in a simple, step by step manner. The author even includes a link to download the original shots so you can follow the book and make the same tweeks.

If you haven't got Photoshop then you'd probably best give this a miss but if you have it is well worth buying.
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on 16 March 2012
I've been an amateur photographer for the last 6 years and have mostly been interested in macro, still life and general out-and-about shots. More recently I've wanted to try portrait photography to get some nice shots of the family, so I've been investing in backdrops, additional speedlites, softboxes, umbrellas and even a studio flash. All that was missing was a good book on how to setup all this equipment for different types of shot, to get the best use out of it.

This new book by Scott Kelby is just that, a perfect introduction for beginners to get started with studio lighting setups. With half a dozen different examples, Scott takes you through every step of the process; what equipment he's using, what settings are set, what to place the equipment / your model / your camera etc. through to post processing applied in Photoshop to get to the final image.

This book has been an invaluable resource for me and I will continue to use it as a reference until I'm confident I can do all this on my own. Highly recommended!
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on 29 September 2011
In one sense this is quite good but as I wanted a book on lighting setups most of it was wasted. It's all about retouching, removing blemishes, high pass sharpening etc which is all well and good but not what I wanted. There were a few useful tips I picked up but my rating is based on the fact I wish I'd bought something else. Also worth pointing out that the contact sheets are at a terrible resolution as to be almost worthless which on an iPad is criminal. Hope this review helps.
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