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Creative Lighting: Digital Photography Tips and Techniques [Paperback]

by Harold Davis
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 15, 2011 0470878231 978-0470878231 1
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 inform and inspire you to create your own lighting style.

  • Teaches you when and how to control the light in your photographs
  • Reviews the basic “rules” of digital photography lighting and shows you how to break the rules to create your own uniquely lit images
  • Helps you start building a lighting style of your own
  • Includes stunning examples of the author’s photography and lighting techniques

Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned digital photographer, you'll find ideas and techniques to spark your creativity.

Amazon.com Exlusive: Introduction Letter from the Author

Dear Amazon Readers,

Light is crucial to photography, and without lighting you cannot have a photo. But books about light and lighting come in a number of varieties. So if you are considering my book, I wanted to let you know why I wrote Creative Lighting: Digital Photography Tips & Techniques, where I am coming from in this book, and what you’ll find in it.

If there is one skill a photographer needs, it is the ability to see and understand light. Learning about the directionality, intensity, quality, and color of light is partly intuitive--but can largely be taught. Creative use of lighting makes or breaks a photo, whether the photo is shot outdoors or in the studio. Furthermore, you can’t even begin to understand how to create effective lighting until you learn to “read” light itself. Becoming familiar with light and lighting in all its infinite varieties is the first step along the way to mastering the craft of photography.

Creative Lighting covers both natural light and studio lighting. However, it is not a cookbook covering studio lighting setups; nor is it a book that emphasizes the pixels over the overall visual impact that a photograph can make. Each of the photos in this book can be used as idea generation for your own work--how you can use existing light, alter light, or create lighting to make spectacular photos of your own. I’ve included the story behind each photo in the book, as well as full technical data about the captures. The emphasis of my book is the creative use of lighting. Like other books in my Creative series, Creative Lighting is intended to be useful as an idea book.

Creative Lighting is conceptually divided into five parts. As you’ll see, there is a great deal of material, and it covers a lot of ground. The parts of Creative Lighting are:

Part I: Seeing the Light--Covers understanding and observing light and its characteristics (and applies to both studio and natural light); learning the material in this section is a first step towards becoming a master of light.

Part II: Exposure & Lighting--Details the responses to lighting in terms of camera settings because light and lighting is only one part of the exposure equation, the other side of the equation is how you set your camera to respond to the way the subject is lit.

Part III: Working with Ambient Light--Explains how to work with existing light, meaning sunlight and also mixed lighting environments, and also provides some tips for improving the quality of ambient and existing light.

Part IV: Lighting in the Studio--Shows you how to make creative use of continuous lights in still life compositions, and how to create stunning portraits using strobes in the studio.

Part V: Lighting in the Digital Darkroom—With digital photography, taking the photo is just the first part of the workflow. In this section, you’ll learn to use RAW processing and Photoshop to improve the creative impact of lighting in post-processing, and even change the entire lighting effect in a photo.

I hope you enjoy Creative Lighting. May the light be with you, and best wishes in photography!

Harold Davis

From the Author: Lighting Case Studies

Case Study: Light Through Clouds
Case Study: Bud in Vase
Case Study: Blossom


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Creative Lighting: Digital Photography Tips and Techniques + Creative Black and White: Digital Photography Tips and Techniques
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Harold Davis's Creative Photography series is a great way to start a photography library"---PhotoFidelity

From the Back Cover

One of a photographer's most essential skills is the ability to accurately and creatively observe light. Creative Lighting: Digital Photography Tips & Techniques explains the impact of light whether you are using natural light when photographing landscapes, or using strobes and soft boxes in the studio.

From observation comes the ability to manipulate. You'll learn how to use exposure settings that have the most impact on lighting, and the best ways to take advantage of—and enhance—existing light in the field. You'll also find out how to plan photography around natural lighting from the cycle of days and seasons, and discover the best techniques for rendering light in motion from car headlights and other moving objects.

Moving indoors, Creative Lighting shows you how to take advantage of ambient light, and use continuous lighting and strobes to make the most powerful images possible.

Richly illustrated with Harold Davis's beautiful images, Creative Lighting explores exposure and how to effectively use many kinds of lighting, as well as creating and using shadows and reflectivity. Then it takes you into the digital darkroom where you'll find out how to enhance lighting effects with Adobe Photoshop.

The technical details are here, too: for each photo in this book you'll find the focal length of the lens used, aperture, shutter speed, ISO, and the back story behind the image.

  • Learn to "see" light and its impact on photos

  • Use natural light to make spectacular images

  • Plan your photos around light and lighting

  • Use exposure controls to enhance lighting

  • Explore chiaroscuro, shadow, high-key and low-key lighting

  • Enhance lighting with multi-RAW and HDR processing


Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (March 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470878231
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470878231
  • Product Dimensions: 2.9 x 3.6 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #213,194 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

For Harold Davis, a typical day's (or night's) work might involve photographing star trails from the top of Half Dome, investigating the close-up patterns of early morning dew drops with his camera, or finding a new location for photographing the Golden Gate Bridge.

Harold Davis is an award-winning professional photographer. He is the author of more than 30 books, including Photographing Flowers: Exploring Macro Worlds with Harold Davis (Focal Press), Creative Black & White: Digital Photography Tips & Techniques (Wiley),Creative Composition: Digital Photography Tips & Techniques (Wiley), Creative Night: Digital Photography Tips & Techniques (Wiley), Creative Close-Ups: Digital Photography Tips & Techniques (Wiley), The Photoshop Darkroom: Creative Digital Post-Processing (Focal Press) and Practical Artistry: Light & Exposure for Digital Photographers (O'Reilly). Harold writes the popular Photoblog 2.0, www.photoblog2.com.

Harold is a popular presenter on digital photography topics. His workshops are often sold out.

Harold is well known for his night photography and experimental ultra-long exposure techniques, use of vibrant, saturated colors in landscape compositions, and beautiful creative floral imagery. He is inspired by the flowers in his garden, hiking in the wilderness, and the work of great artists and photographers including M.C. Escher, Monet, van Gogh and Edward Weston.

Harold lives in Berkeley, California with his wife Phyllis Davis, a graphic designer and writer who frequently collaborates with Harold on book projects. They have four children.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great information with excellent examples March 21, 2011
Format: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.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Creative, Practical and Smart March 21, 2011
Format: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.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A strong entry in Davis' Creative Series April 16, 2011
Format: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.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Book
Interesting book, good ideas. Beautiful photos inside. I have read it twice and refer to it often when I know I will be taking some fun night photos.
Published 1 month ago by Ron R
5.0 out of 5 stars Davis is a great photographer, an excellent technician, and a clear...
I had seen Davis' videos on youTube, and was very impressed by him. I bought a couple of his books initially, and then several others so that I now have 9 of them. Read more
Published 11 months ago by bearsfolks
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Photography Course
One of the best learning tools I have seen, and I have been in photography for over 60 years!
Thanks
Published 13 months ago by Steve Anthony
5.0 out of 5 stars great book.
It seems to have lots of techniques that I will need to try. Very anxious to get some time and try them out
Published 14 months ago by Ronald Winterton
5.0 out of 5 stars very cool
this was a gift to my sister-in-law. she is looking into photography and this was the perfect gift for her.
Published 16 months ago by Angela Crotty
5.0 out of 5 stars What I wanted.
This book is what I wanted. After I go through it once I will go through it again! If you think you might be wanting this book--then you do!
Published 22 months ago by Robert L. Clowers
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
Very good book for techniques in creative lighting. A good reference for the digital photographer. I enjoyed this book very much.
Published on November 8, 2011 by Greg
4.0 out of 5 stars Creative lighting
Excellent in-site into lighting and Digital Photography
What lighting works and why, how to find it

A good read for anyone wanting to shoot with Natural Lighting... Read more
Published on November 6, 2011 by don
4.0 out of 5 stars Photo Fun
I am having a great time reading this book. The author has a very casual and friendly style which is very inviting. The examples are quite beautiful. Read more
Published on November 6, 2011 by James W Emert
5.0 out of 5 stars Throws light on just about everything!
There are books that teach you how to take pictures by specifying exact camera settings and walk you through the post processing work flow from there on, and then, there is Harold... Read more
Published on September 23, 2011 by Sairam
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