Creative Lighting: Digital Photography Tips and Techniques Reviews

January 25, 2012 by  
Filed under Digital Photography Product

Creative Lighting: Digital Photography Tips and Techniques

How to make digital photography lighting more creative—and less challenging!How do you master the art of lighting your photographs? Go beyond the basics, go beyond the “rules,” and get creative with the help of renowned photographer Harold Davis. In this book, Harold shows you how to break the boundaries of conventional wisdom and create unique, lively, and beautifully lit photographs.  Packed with tips and tricks as well as stunning examples of the author’s creativity, this book will both

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3 Responses to “Creative Lighting: Digital Photography Tips and Techniques Reviews”
  1. Hartford says:
    27 of 28 people found the following review helpful:
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Great information with excellent examples, March 21, 2011

    This review is from: Creative Lighting: Digital Photography Tips and Techniques (Paperback)

    Creative Lighting, Digital Photography Tips & Techniques,
    By Harold Davis

    Regardless of your photographic genre, this book contains valuable ideas to help use and utilze light creatively. The author breaks down many different lighting situations a photographer may encounter. Each section stands on its own, so one does not have to read the entire book to benefit from it. That also makes it very easy to use this book for later reference and review. A quick view of the table of contents demonstrates the full depth of the book. Major sections include “Seeing the light”, Exposure and Lighting”, “Working with Ambient Light”, “Lighting in the Studio”, and “Lighting in the Digital Darkroom”. Each section is further subdivided into many topics, all providing a well-written, easy-to-read discussion of each topic.

    Have you ever looked at an image and wondered how did the photographer capture it? If so, then you’ll enjoy this book and keep it close in your library. Each section presents a wealth of information. The author identifies a given lighting situation and then explains how to handle it within the discussion. I read with a highlighter and found myself highlighting key points frequently.

    The strength of this book lies in the extensive use of Mr. Davis’ photography to illustrate specific discussion points. Each image is carefully captioned. The author explains why the photo demonstrates the topic at hand, where the image was taken, and what lighting situation he encountered. Mr. Davis also shares with the reader his camera settings for each image (focal distance, shutter, aperture and ISO setting, tripod or handheld). Additionally, he readily tells the reader if he the final image is a result of one shot or many shots stacked in Photoshop. In the `Lighting in the Digital Darkroom” section, Mr. Davis shares with the reader his specific techniques with Photoshop, further explaining why he chose to stack some images and not others.

    I always feel that if I get one good idea from a book, then the investment in the book has paid off. This book easily surpasses this threshold. Although I am a landscape photographer shooting mostly with ambient light, I found all sections most informative and came away with many new ideas I plan on employing.

    If you are looking for a book that can provide many ideas for creative lighting, this book should be in your library. While it may not be the only book you have on lighting, it may be the one you reach for most often. (‘Full disclosure’ statement. I was selected to review this book following publication and was provided a copy to review).

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  2. D. Watson "Don" says:
    11 of 11 people found the following review helpful:
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Creative, Practical and Smart, March 21, 2011
    D. Watson “Don” (Gloucester, MA United States) –

    This review is from: Creative Lighting: Digital Photography Tips and Techniques (Paperback)

    Harold Davis has written a great “Creative…” series of books (Black & White; Night; Close-Ups; Artistry; Composition; Landscapes). I started reading “Creative Lighting” after a perfect segue in completing his “Creative Portraits: Digital Tips & Techniques.” This library of books are a must have from beginning photographers looking to stretch their skills to experienced photographers looking to enhance their expertise.

    “Creative Lighting” is not just about flash, softboxes and the like. It is about understanding light in all its permeations, the complete spectrum from natural available light to sophisticated illumination set-ups. For a photographer, it is critical that you understand the quality of light. Photography’s prime ingredient is light. Quality of light is influence by brightness, temperature, distance, angle, time, duration, reflection, reflective surface behavior and size of the light source. This is a smart, practical text presented in a very approachable format. Understanding the weight of highlights and shadows in influencing the appeal of an image is critical for a photographer. As Davis points out that although it is subjective, “good lighting is the key to good images, great images.”

    The book is set up into five distinct sections: Seeing the Light; Exposure and Lighting; Working with Ambient Light; Lighting in the Studio; and, Lighting in the Digital Darkroom. This contributes to the utilitarian nature of the book that serves as a handy resource to return to when questions arise. In addition, each topic is illustrated by excellent images that demonstrate the technique or concept being explained.

    What I like most is that the subjects explained and demonstrated are real world situations. This is not a book extolling how extraordinary images were created with a multiple light sources enhanced by a troupe of assistants. The text gives you the tools to understand and visualize an image then move ahead to create using resources commonly available to most photographers.

    Light is the language of photography and this fine book will help you become fluent in understanding, interpreting and expressing your unique vision.

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  3. Jvstin "Paul Weimer" says:
    8 of 8 people found the following review helpful:
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    A strong entry in Davis’ Creative Series, April 16, 2011
    Jvstin “Paul Weimer” (Circle Pines, MN United States) –

    This review is from: Creative Lighting: Digital Photography Tips and Techniques (Paperback)

    Harold Davis is a well-known, award winning photographer based out of California, but with a suite and portfolio of pictures from around the world. He has a written a number of books on photography, most notably the “Creative” series.

    Creative Lighting: Digital Photography Tips and Techniques is the latest of the latter series of books. Creative Lighting’s mission and goals are to allow photographers to take better pictures by taking advantage of, and in some cases, manipulating the light available for photographs. While a small section at the end explores how to use Photoshop to work with High Dynamic Range photography and other effects, Davis keeps the bulk of the book grounded for dealing with and creating situations in the field and in the studio.

    Within each of the major sections of the book, Davis has a wide assortment of topics, usually only a couple of pages long, with one or more photographs to illustrate the technique or subtopic. The photographs are a strong point of the book. The sheer variety of the photographs in the book used to illustrate various ideas in lighting is absolutely amazing. From an underexposed model, to a high-key flower, from a simple picture of San Francisco, to a grand HDR panorama of the California mountains put together with Photoshop, Davis’ photography takes center stage.

    With these beautiful photographs, Davis provides full information on the the lens and settings, and usually explains what he was trying to do with a particular photograph. In this way, Davis allows the reader-photographer an entrée into his mind and thought patterns. He often tells us what the light is doing, and how he is trying to make best use of it.

    Those strong thought patterns I just mentioned dominate the book. Readers who have read Davis’ work before are aware of it, but new readers to his books might be surprised by Davis’ strong point of view. He has his likes, his biases and he is not shy about expressing them to readers. He is a strong believer, for instance, in photographers sticking to manual mode whenever possible. Many of the photos show his opinions and point of view as well.

    While the ambient and natural lighting portions of the book are well done and well written, the real value of the book comes when Davis brings the readers into his studio, or enhances the natural lighting of a scene with fill lighting and other techniques. The book is replete with diagrams of his set ups that correspond to a nearby picture in the book that uses that particular scenario. As someone who has never taken a photograph with anything fancier than a camera’s flash, I was fascinated to finally be able to understand how to use some additional tools and techniques to change, adapt and increase the lighting of a subject.

    There are a few minor shortcomings in the book, but not many. I was surprised, for instance, that while he discusses the classic exposure triangle of Aperture, ISO and Shutter Speed, for instance, he never actually lays out the diagram. While I am not a visual learner, I felt that the diagram is practically expected in books that cover the exposure triangle. Also, the breakneck pace of topics, rarely lingering on them for more than a couple of pages, might turn off some readers. The ordering of some of the early sections, too, could have been changed. A few times, I found that I needed to jump forward a bit to understand an aspect of a topic before returning to the main flow of the topic.

    Overall, this book seems to be targeting post-beginners to digital photography, people who have been using their DSLR for a while, and are seeking to improve their game with using light to best effect. I think the book hits its mark. True experts in the field may only find value in the considerable inspiration that Davis’ photos bring, and complete neophytes are going to trip themselves up on Davis’ assumption that readers know the basics of the craft. However, for people in between who are looking to learn more about how to use lighting in their photographs, I recommend this book unreservedly. Fans and avid readers of Mr. Davis’ other works will find much to like here, as well.

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