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Light: Science and Magic: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting 3rd Edition

212 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0240808192
ISBN-10: 0240808193
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Steven Biver, Virginia, USA, Commercial photographer, former clients include Adobe, Mobil, Newsweek, Black and Decker
Paul Fuqua, Virginia, USA, started his own audiovisual production company in 1970. Dedicated to teaching through visuals, he has written and produced educational and training material in a variety of fields, including law, science, and nature. His photography takes him all over the world, but he makes his home in Arlington, VA.
Fil Hunter is a highly respected commercial photographer specializing in still life and special effects photographs for advertising and editorial illustration. During a career spanning over three decades, he has worked for such clients as America Online, US News, Time-Life Books, Life Magazine (27 covers), the National Science Foundation, and National Geographic. He has taught photography at the university level and has served as technical consultant on a number of photographic publications. Mr. Hunter has won the Virginia Professional Photographer's Grand Photographic Award three times. He lives in Alexandria, VA.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Focal Press; 3rd edition (March 21, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0240808193
  • ISBN-13: 978-0240808192
  • Product Dimensions: 9.7 x 7.4 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (212 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #68,944 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

123 of 125 people found the following review helpful By mirasreviews HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 16, 2003
Fil Hunter and Paul Fuqua have written a truly essential reference for product photographers and an outstanding educational text for all photographers. Light, Science and Magic teaches its readers the principals of lighting. It describes in detail how to light surfaces, metal, glass, liquids, extremes (black-on-black and white-on-white), and people for different effects. These subjects were chosen because they are reputed to be the most difficult subjects to light. But because the book emphasizes the principals of lighting, those lessons can be applied to all lighting situations. The examples in Light,Science and Magic are in-studio, but the principals apply out-of-doors and anywhere that there is light. You don't need to have a background in studio photography or a knowledge of lighting equipment to understand and benefit from this book. You need to have only a good understanding of exposure and camera operation. Information on basic lighting equipment is found in the appendices for those who are unfamiliar with studio equipment. Because the principals of lighting apply equally to film photography and digital image capture, most of this book's content will not go out of date. No photographer should be without the knowledge in this book. If you can absorb all of the book's content, there is nothing that you will encounter in all your photographic adventures that you won't know how to light to get the effect you want. It is well worth its price!
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70 of 70 people found the following review helpful By Gary Wise on July 11, 2001
Verified Purchase
I love the approach in this easy to read book. The authors' philosophy is to be as creative in as many ways as possible, even down to improvising equipment and overcoming lack thereof. If, say, candles will suffice, then why use strobes? I feared a huge shopping list for my foray into the world of studio lighting. This very helpful alternative to months of expensive experimentation has shown me a more structured approach, the focus being on Return on Investment while maximising results.
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93 of 97 people found the following review helpful By Lisa A. Leone on November 30, 1999
Whether you're a beginner with a point-and-shoot or a professional with a huge investment in equipment, you need to know how light works. This book can teach you everything you need to know. It has both theory and practical guidance. The authors don't tell you which lights to use in a given situation -- they teach you how to determine what lighting to use to achieve the effect _you_ want. And they help you select lighting equipment.
To be fair, it's not always an easy read (there's a lot of theory and some math/physics to wade through), but it's worth the effort. I saw the difference in the next roll I shot. I only wish I had found this book a few years ago...
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41 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Tom Iancu on October 23, 2008
Format: Paperback
I was looking for some literature regarding lighting that would cover basics for product photography. Unfortunately, most books endulge in a certain high level lingo that would confuse most of the readers. One could easily see which author has more experience based on the level of simplicity he or she uses in order to explain some concepts. A friend of mine lent me this book and I have now the chance to write a short review about it.
First of all: the book is excellent. The paper and printing quality (full color for all photographs and diagrams) are outstanding. One can easily see essential details in images, like different textures and apperance of surfaces under various lighting setups. So this is a big plus.
The book is divided in 10 chapters as follow:

1. How to learn lighting; this chapter gives you basic information regarding general lighting principles, the way the author chose the examples and - most important - why did he chose those examples, the rationale behind all exercises and some hints for the way you should approach each exercise (procedures, goals - what you should get) and also some general information about shooting equipment that one needs in order to perform the exercises in the book.

2. Light: the raw material for photography. This chapter explains in detail, but not to boredom and in a very plain and explicit manner the properties of light that each photographer should know and understand in order to take proper images. What I most liked is the fact that the author starts from a basic principle (almost as an axiom) that the most important factor for photography is not the gear but the light and the way a photographer understands and uses light.

3. The management of reflection and the family of angles.
Read more ›
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41 of 43 people found the following review helpful By D. Hobby on April 6, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Not just a bag of tricks, it teaches a way of thinking about light that promotes a better understanding and enhanced problem solving. At Strobist we are way into photographic lighting - too much so, our spouses might add - and this is the best book on the subject that I have seen yet.

This new (3rd) edition has full color all the way through, with updated photos that are simpler, to distill the lessons right down to the concepts being taught. It is about time this book got the production budget that it merited.

I cannot imagine there is a photographer out there that would not benefit from this book.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By B.T. on October 5, 2005
I am a professional photographer, and I was looking for a book on lighting technique - which this book supplied excellently.

Their step by step approach is easy to follow and understand, and all explainations have images attached so you can see what they are talking about.

They slowly build your general knowledge on how light works rather than supplying specific lighting diagrams, allowing (and suggesting that you do) you to adapt the knowledge to your own use. They then go into more detail with difficult lighting subjects such as metal, glass, and more, and how to deal with them.

My only complaint is that the book is starting to feel a little old, especially when they talk about colour. It is almost exclusively film based with virtually no reference to digital technology. If they were to do an updated version with more emphasis on lighting for digital, I would provide 5 stars.
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