Monday, April 14, 2008

Tip: 12 Must Read Books (Part 1)

Recommended BooksIt's always difficult to talk about books or make reviews about them.

First because there are so many books out there about photography and techniques that makes it difficult know where the good ones are and second because you have a particular taste for them.

These are actually books I own so I did have read them from start to end a couple of times and some of them are my religious "Bible" to consult prior a shooting or an idea.

I will give you a few words on each one of them so you get an idea of what's inside ,but do not think of it as a full review on these books since you can find those on several other pages over the internet.

I wanted to make a small approach to each one with some of my ideas about them.

This reminds me a particular time, in Portugal, where almost everyone would write a book even if they do not have any ideas on what to write.
Sportsman, Comedians, Actors you name it all of them would release a book or biography... talking about their lives or about their none senseless lives. Oh well it sucks I know!!

So what I wanted to bring on this 2 part Tip series are 12 of the books I think would help you to improve some of your skills and also put you on a grip with some of the finest photographers out there.

This would be a 2 Part Tip just because of the fact that 12 books on a single blog post would be too much to read and digest so I will be posting 6 this week and the other 6 next week.

Meanwhile and in case you haven't notice before I made available an Amazon shop for the Lighting Mods blog where you can get all these finest books and several others.

You can find it on the right side panel and it has everything you need to improve your photographic skills.
Here is the Link to "Lighting Mods Amazon Official Store".

"Light Science and Magic"

I start my books small approach with one of the most important book to have, read, consult, scratch, write well I think this is the ultimate Lighting book that you should already have in your self.

"Light Science & Magic" Third Edition by Fil Hunter, Steven Biver and Paul Fuqua (Focal Press)
ISBN-13: 978-0-240-80819-2
ISBN-10: 0-240-80819-3

This book is all about light this third edition is complemented with color photos and some more light schemes than previous version that was all in Black and White.

It's divided in 10 Lighting Chapters:
Chapter 1: How to Learn Light
Chapter 2: Light: The Raw Material of Photography
Chapter 3: The Management of Reflection and the Family of Angles
Chapter 4: Surface Appearances
Chapter 5: Revealing Shape and Contour
Chapter 6: Metal
Chapter 7: The Case of the Disappearing Glass
Chapter 8: An Arsenal of Lights
Chapter 9: The Extremes
Chapter 10: Traveling Light

Do not see this book as a How To Book but more like an understanding the light book so that you could really understand what is going on with the light. How it travels through the surfaces, it's shapes and sizes this would make you think and see "LIGHT" before shooting.

This book will help you master to shoot metals, glass and portraits. You will clearly have a better judgment about where to maintain detail or hide it.

And you will get to know deeply what is the size of the light, the 3 types of reflections and the family of angles.

With lot's of examples to follow through I'm pretty sure you will need this one if you want to master the light.

"Painting With Light"

"Painting with Light" by John Alton (University of California Press)
ISBN: 0-520-08949-9

This is one of a kind book.

It's target to cinematographers with lots of schematics for famous old movie scenes from 1932 to 1960.

What I like in this book is the fact that you can use any kind of light, described there, to create better photographs.

From Fog Illumination, Summer Moonlight, Criminal Lighting, Lighting for a Campfire to Hollywood close-up.

You got it all and you can get that on your photos too.

What's in the book:
1. Hollywood Photography
2. Motion Picture Illumination
3. Mystery Lighting
4. Special Illumination
5. The Hollywood Close-Up
6. Outdoor Photography
7. Symphony in the Snow
8. Ocean Voyage
9. Visual Music
10. The Portrait Studio
11. The Laboratory
12. Day and Night, Ladies, Watch Your Light
13. Motion Picture Theatres
14. The World is a Huge Television Studio
and We Are All Photographers

It's all in Black and White with lots of pictures of some lighting sets to help you figure out the illumination used at that time.

I liked this book because I also make some set photography and would like to know how I could use the available lighting to improve my work.

Must have if you want to try some different approach to your work.

Books "Matters of Light and Depth"

"Matters of Light and Depth" by Ross Lowell (Lowel-Light Manufacturing, Inc.)
ISBN: 0-9662504-0-0

This is a simple book explaining the steps of the Light.

Basic Theory, Tools and Tactics, Techniques and Exercises for the Eye.

You will get to know Hard Light and Soft Light, cast shadows, Composing and Framing, One Light and Two Light Techniques as well as how to use daylight to shoot interiors.

One approach to how you light your light it depends upon whether it's transparent, translucent or opaque.

What you will find inside:
1. Lights of Passage
- The Best Ways to Achieve the Worst Lighting
- Lighting Planes
- Hard & Soft Light
- On Face Value
- Finessing
- Method Lighting
- Composing, Framing, Zooming, Dollying & Booming
- Video, Film & Still Lighting
2. Lighting by Numbers
- The One-Light Approach
- Two-Light Techniques
- Magic Numbers
- Multi-Light Logistics
3. In Broad Daylight
- Superior Exterior Lighting
- A Difference of Night & Day
- Outside In
4. Dynamic Lighting of Static Subjects
- Formula Follows Function
- The Art & Craft of Lighting Craft & Art
- Bringing Copy Art to Light
5. Shedding Light
- A Thousand Points of Light
- Meter Matters
- Color Temperature Matters
- Choosing & Loosing Light Kits
- Halogen Lamp, Socket & Finger Matter
- How to Avoid a Large Headache Setting up
a Small Studio
6. Hearing the Light
7. Lights-On Lessons & Resources
8. Terms of Enlightenment

A complete approach to lighting almost anything you need to create better pictures.

"Best Business Practices for Photographers"

"Best Business Practices for Photographers" by John Harrington (Thomson-Course Technology)
ISBN-13: 978-1-59863-315-3
ISBN-10: 1-59863-315-5

This one is a technical one.

Ever wonder how to manage your photography business?

Well this book is for you. Although it's target are the American photographers and Industry some of the ideas presented can be applied to Europe and to your photography business.

It's a very well written book with 26 amazing chapters with lots of examples for you to improve your business.

What's inside:
Part I - Nuts and Bolts of Your Business
- You Are a Business-Now Let's Get to Work!
- Professional Equipment for Professional Photographers
- Planning and Logistics: Why a Thirty-Minute Shoot Can Take
3 Days to Plan
Part II - Financial and Personnel Considerations
- Working with Assistants, Employees and Contractors:
The Pitfall and Benefits
- Pricing Your Work to Stay in Business
- Overhead: Why What You Charge a Client Must Be
More Than You Paid For It
- Who Is Paying Your Salary and 401K?
- Insurance: Why It's Not Just Health-Related and
How You Should Protect Yourself
- Accounting: How We Do It Ourselves and What We
We Turn Over to an Accountant
Part III - Legal Issues
- Contracts for Editorial Clients
- Contracts for Corporate and Commercial Clients
- Contracts for Weddings and Rites of Passage
- Negotiations: Signing Up or Saying No
- Protecting Your Work: How and Why
- The Realities of an Infringement: Copyrights
and Federal Court
- Handling a Breach of Contract: Small Claims
and Civil Court
- Resolving Slow - and Non-Paying Clients
- Letters, Letters, Letters: Writing Like a
Professional Can Solve Many Problems
- Attorneys: When You Need Them, They're Your
Best Friend (or at Least Your Advocate)
Part IV - Storage and Archiving
- Office and On-Location Systems: Redundancy and
Security Beget Peace of Mind
- Digital and Analog Asset Management: Leveraging
Your Images to Their Maximum Potential
- Stock Solutions: Charting Your Own Course
Without the Need for a "Big Fish" Agency
Part V - The Human Aspect
- Care and Feeding of Clients (Hint: It's Not About
Starbucks and Fast-Food Burgers)
- Education, an Ongoing and Critical Practice:
Don't Rest on Your Laurels
- Striking a Balance Between Photography and Family:
How What You Love to Do Can Coexist with Your Spouse,
Children and Siblings if You Just Think a Little About It
- Charity, Community and Your Colleagues: Giving Back
Is a Good Karma

This is a perfect bedside book with lots of examples and a lot of information to keep your business running smoothly and profitable.

"Secrets of Lighting on Location: A Photographer's Guide to Professional Lighting Techniques"

"Secrets of Lighting on Location: A Photographer's Guide to Professional Lighting Techniques" by Bob Krist (AMPHOTO Books)
ISBN: 0-8174-5823-9

This is one of my On-Location lighting book.

It's a simple book with lots of examples and good explanation of different lighting for on location photographer.

Also gives a different approach to lighting subjects on location. Lot's of diagrams and photos to follow through from available light to light modifiers.

What's inside:
* Introduction
- Transforming Locations with Light
- How to Use This Book
* Available Light
- Identifying Different Kinds of Light
- What is Color Temperature?
- Modifying Natural Light
- Shooting Portraits in Natural Light
* Flash Basics
- Guide Numbers
- The Hotshoe-Mount Flash
- Increasing Your Flash's Effectiveness
- Using Your Flash Off Camera with a Cord
- Bounce Flash
- Diffusing the Flash
- Blending Flash and Natural Light
- Fill Flash
* Multiple Flash
- Determining Exposure in Multiple-Flash Setups
- Using Polaroid Tests
- Battery-Powered Flash Units
- AC-Powered Flash Units
- TTL Exposure
* Continuous Light Sources
- What Continuous Light Sources Offer
- Combining Light Sources
- HMI Lights
* Light Modifiers
- Diffusing Light Modifiers
- Concentrating Light Modifiers
- The Magic of Bare-Tube Lighting
* Supporting and Transporting Light Sources
- Lightstands
- Booms
- Alternative Light-Positioning Devices
- Lighting-Equipment Cases
- Packing Lighting Equipment
* Gallery

You got it all for lighting on location.

"The Moment It Clicks"

"The Moment It Clicks" by Joe McNally (New Riders)
ISBN-13: 978-0-321-54408-7
ISBN-10: 0-321-54408-0

Last but not least of this first part is the acclaimed book by Legendary Magazine Photographer Joe McNally.

This book will not have diagrams nor will teach you how to better take photographs.

This is the kind of book I couldn't stop reading because it gives me a different view to approach my subjects on a shoot.

It also helps you to master your quick camera portraits and assignments because it helps you to see how stuff is made through a photojournalist perspective.

Joe also gives you the tips how he lights some of the photos on the book so you get a clear idea of what is to work on journalism stress.

At the end of the book Joe contemplates you with several pages of bar talk. I was reading this chapter and it seems that Joe was there near me telling the story.

What you can find inside:
Chapter 1: Shoot What You Love
Chapter 2: Keep Your Eye in The Camera
Chapter 3: The Logic of Light
Chapter 4: There's Always Something to Bounce Light off of
Joe's Lighting Tips
Joe's Camera Bag
Joe's Grip and Lighting Gear
The Barroom The Bar is Open

One of my bed side book and the pictures are so amazing!

With this book I conclude the first part of this 12 book list please take a look at part 2 for the rest.

Tip: 12 Must Read Books (Part 1)
Tip: 12 Must Read Books (Part 2)
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