Top positive review
47 people found this helpful
Much better than the first book, but why not just revise the first book?
on December 19, 2009
NOTE: I wrote this review from the perspective of someone who read the first book and then bought this book to learn new things. If you have never read the first book you might find this book more useful than I did. Depending on your level of expertise, however, you might want to buy the first book over this one. Complete beginners will find the first book easier to follow. That being said I find the quality of content and presentation in this book to exceed the first. Therefore, if you are more comfortable with lighting and or would like to take a deep plunge into lighting go with this one. Now for the review
This book is much better than the first book by the same author titled Master Lighting Guide. It offers a more in depth higher quality presentation of studio lighting. Hence, the author attempts to provide the reader with a solid understanding of studio lighting principles. The first section focuses on explaining, with plenty of pictures, the relationship between light physical size and relative size, distance, spread depth, and feathering.
The second section consists of 20 topics or so that put the principles stated above into practice. Some are very unique and new like the inverse relation between specularity and size of softbox or the nature of umbrellas and how they differ from softboxes. That last topic is a full departure from the previous book in which the author leaves the impression that both modifiers -softboxes and umbrellas- are very similar when in reality they are not. Another great topic is about how to position a light meter for proper reading. That topic can eliminate much frustration with aiming light meters.
There are other section that seem to have been pretty much lifted from the previous book like the simulated sunlight topic which offers nothing more than one new but minor technique. A couple other topics don't add much like the topic about Why Strip Lights are so Cool which sounds very cool until you read it and realize that it pretty much adds nothing more than few extra pages to the book.
I think the book is very good, but very short and in a sense comes across as an incomplete work. I can't say the same about the first book which I felt was the opposite, complete in the range of topics but poor in quality of material. I still bought the first book anyway because it was the only available reference at the time. Given this book is short and covers many similar topics, but in a better way, I wonder why the author did not consider adding the new content of this book to the first book in a revised and expanded edition instead of a new book. That would have created a complete and excellent quality book that has no match on the market today.
I recommend the book to advanced amateurs and new professionals but I also recommended checking it in a bookstore first because some might not find it very valuable. It's just not one of those books that you can give full 5 stars and a blind buy it right away recommendation.
One last note: the author refers to softboxes sizes as 4x6 large, 3x4 medium, and 2x3 small. This designation might be confusing for people when they go to buy softboxes based on his recommendation. Many major softboxes manufacturers including Creative Light and Photoflex label 4x6 extra large, 3x4 large, and 2x3 medium. Chimera on the other hand goes by the same designations the author is using.