Right, time to catch up on some book reviews, I have been meaning to do them for a while now, but as I have some more on the way I thought I’d better do these first. I must point out that I have read every book I review, cover to cover. I can’t get enough books, especially when really good ones come along!
This book is called “Lighting & the dramatic portrait – The art of celebrity & editorial portrait by Michael Grecco, a somewhat long winded title to write but there you go.
Here is a brief overview of the topics cover chapter by chapter:
Chapter One: Cameras – Formats and lenses, shutter + aperture = control, selective focus, plastic cameras.
Chapter Two: Illumination – Grecco’s Laws of Light of Light, Grid spots, Fresnls and Optical Spot Lights, Shadows, Strobes, Continuous Light, Lighting it!, Finding Light
Chapter Three: The Medium – From analog to digital, Your colour palette, Getting the colour you want
Chapter Four: Creativity and Conceptualisation – Collaboration, Storytelling, Locations, Studios and sets, Props, Wardrobe, Makeup and hair, Letting Go, Taking Risks
Chapter Five: The Connection – The subject / photographer relationship, Posing, Shooting egos, Shooting strangers
Chapter Five: Case Studies – Ironies and Humour, Celebrities, Music, Business and corporate, Nudes, Advertising, Sports, Drama.
Personally I got quite a lot out of this book, I think you need some experience of photographic lighting, even having just used a 2 or 3 light setup a few times, I think that without this you will miss some of the creative ideas that you can only really ‘imagine’ once you have been in that situation. I don’t think this book is aimed at people who have never thought about lighting, or even just starting, but certainly a good buy if you are serious in improving your creative approach to lighting.
For me, more than anything the best thing about this book is that the author shows you the exact lighting setup diagram for every images, which is really useful for improving your own shoots, or even just giving you creative inspiration for future shoots.
It’s not massively technical, more on the rough usage of lights to change the look and feel of a portrait, and styling it to give it a sense of emotion.
I think it is a must have for a photographer interested in portrait photography, or even just people who have a couple of off camera flashes they want to use at the next level. I got a lot out of this book. I can imagine I would have this almost as a close to coffee table book, rather than a ‘tech’ book hidden away on the bookcase somewhere.
I think it’s well worth the money, I think I paid about £13 for it off amazon (Try looking here)
Overall I would give this 4 or even 5 out of 5, a good addition to my library, and something I would certainly recommend to others.
Other book reviews I have written on this site:
1. Book review: Michael Freeman – The Photographer’s Eye
2. Book review: 500 (studio) lighting hints, tips and techniques by Rod Ashford
3. Book review: (Basics Photography 2) ‘Lighting’ by David Prakel. Studio Photography Lighting Techniques
4. Book review: Lighting & the dramatic portrait – The art of celebrity & editorial portrait : Michael Grecco
5. Book review: Black and White – Michael Freeman (Digital Photography Expert)