With so much information in the world, sometimes it can be hard for newcomers to sift through the noise when they want to learn how to use Photoshop. For me, I started by purchasing the software. I tried to work out what each tool did, then realised I was getting nowhere…although I did manage to somehow to put together this monstrosity of an image. This is one of the first manipulated images I created, beautiful isn’t it? A work of art that should be hung in the louvre (sniggers).
I posed a question to the DIY writing staff last week. I was wondering how many of them still read hard-copy photography magazines, and if so, I wanted to know if they subscribe or just purchase the occasional issue. It’s something I’ve been curious about for a while. After all, when you think about just how much information is out there and readily available, you almost have to wonder how traditional magazines are still making a go of it. The results of my informal survey were a bit underwhelming, but it was as I suspected– most people simply don’t subscribe to traditional magazines anymore. I still get a few, but then again, I also remember a pre-internet world where you had to put forth some effort and seek out knowledge and information.
The reality is, however, that while traditional magazines may no longer have the same widespread appeal they once had in the photography community, the same cannot be said for books on the subject. Again, I’m not talking about e-books or any other electronic conveyance. I’m talking about an actual collection of pages, all bound together in a single unit, containing all kinds of useful information and insight. It’s something I can hold in my hands. I can highlight it and bookmark it. Flip back and forth between sections. Compare and contrast different chapters without having to swipe, scroll, pinch, or flick my wrist for anything other than turning pages.
For quite some time now, Amazon‘s given people the choice to self-publish their writing onto the Kindle Store. But in what seems like a partnership that was meant to happen, Amazon is about to offer photographers the same option with photo books through Blurb. That’s not just for tablets, either; they’ll be letting us publish and sell actual books.
I guess I’ve had lighting on the mind lately. Except for a select few, I don’t think anyone ever truly “masters” photographic lighting. As I said in another post on the topic recently, mastering light — or even just taming it– is one of the biggest and most difficult challenges facing any photographer. For me, I find that my lighting technique continues to evolve as I continue to grow as a photographer. Lighting for portraits is different than lighting for food. Lighting for products is different than lighting for fashion. And don’t even get me started on the chasm between studio and location lighting.
And yet, when it comes to lighting, all of these genres do share some very significant similarities. The bottom line when it comes to any lighting situation is that you have to get a handle on two very important things– how the light behaves, and how to make it behave for you. To that end, I’ve pulled together a sampling of 15 of some of the best lighting books available. Not e-books. Not apps, Not videos. This week we’re going old school. Photographic wisdom printed and illustrated on actual pages and bound together into a single, hand-held volume. No batteries required.
I’ve tried to include a little something for everyone, regardless of specialty or skill level. To find out more about any of the books listed, click on the title above the cover photo. This is not a ranking– just a list of suggested reading. So, in no particular order, I give you…