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Minimalist Lighting: Professional Techniques for Location Photography Paperback – May 1, 2008

4.3 out of 5 stars 68 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"This is a quiet book full of information, but bubbling with the kind of energy that is created when you realize you can do what you thought you couldn't."  —Lighting Essentials.com



"Pure gold, showing real solutions to real lighting situations and along the way creating some of the most natural-looking on-location portraits."  —Shutterbug



"I wanted to do a shoot using just the sunlight outside my studio. No electronic flashes, no multiple light sources, and no large studio flashes."  —Kirk Tuck, Studio Photography



"Richly illuminated with location portraits and a few still lifes, and written in a clean down-to-earth style."  —ppmag.com



"The beauty of this book is how much information is packed into 122 pages of content. And yet the information and explanations are deep enough to give the reader an understanding of the subject in order to start experimenting with it."  —robmalgieri.com

About the Author

Kirk Tuck is a former photography professor and creative director of an advertising firm who currently works as a freelance photographer with clients such as IBM, Dell Computer, Motorola, Elle magazine, and Time Warner. He was chosen as the 2008 chapter president for the Austin/San Antonio American Society of Media Photographers. He lives in Austin, Texas.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 125 pages
  • Publisher: Amherst Media (May 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1584282304
  • ISBN-13: 978-1584282303
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 0.3 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #928,048 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I've been using the minimalist style of lighting, in one form or another, since the late 1980s, and I learned much of what I know through the painful process of trial-and-error. Austin, Texas-based photographer Kirk Tuck has taken all that basic knowledge and wrapped it up into a neat 128-page introductory handbook.

Minimalist Lighting covers both the "why" and "how" of location photographic lighting using small strobes off-camera. The first half of the book takes you through the basic gear choices you'll need to make and the fundamental techniques of off-camera small-strobe lighting. In the second part of the book, Kirk takes apart 14 of his own shoots, showing how he approached lighting them, the decisions he made, and the final results.

If you're already comfortable using small strobes off-camera, the first half of the book will be largely review material, and you'll likely skim over to the case studies, from which I gleaned several techniques I'm already putting to good use. If you're a newcomer to the world of minimalist lighting, you'll probably read the whole thing several times, learning new things on each pass through.

Either way, if you want to learn to light better with less cost, less money and less weight, this book definitely belongs on your bookshelf.
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Format: Paperback
A better name for this book might have been "integrating new flash systems". The main thrust of the book is how to use multi-light flash systems like Nikon's CLS (and Canon's comparable system, the author says) to replace the heavier studio lighting equipment that some photographers take on location shoots.

After brief discussions of the history of artificial photographic lights, and the nature of light, the author begins an explanation of four systems for triggering multiple speedlights: radio slave; built in wireless systems; optical slaves; and off-camera cords. He then describes a number of pieces of equipment useful to setting up multi-flash systems, including speedlights, triggers; light stands, adapters, and gels for altering white balance. He illustrates how to use this equipment, including umbrellas, reflectors and softboxes to take portraits. He finishes up with a series of examples, showing how and why he placed and controlled his lights.

All of this information is useful, and occasionally I learned a few tricks (for the Nikon CLS system, using the SU 800 rather than an SB 800 avoids the pre-flashes that occasionally make people squint). But more often then not, I wanted more information. Some of it I found elsewhere (what do you call that thing that holds a reflector on a light stand?-a reflector holder- duh!) But other unanswered questions were more difficult. What mode should one shoot in for best results? Why did the author use manual flash adjustments rather then TTL (through-the-lens)? How did he decide which flashes to put on which channels?

Another problem I found was that all of the pictures were portraits, and all of the portraits had the same look.
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If you ever consider shooting on location, with smallest possible gear - this is a book to have and read. Seriously. While its pushing for Nikon stuff (but not as much as "Moment it Clicks", which is another cool book on strobist shelf), it useful to anyone.

It does require some brain power to understand, so its not just cookbook full of ready recipies, but its a really good read. This takes place on my shelf and wont leave it for a while, as it will be re-read many times.

Very rarely i would give photography books thumbs up, but this is occasion were i do. It covers some really interesting bits, that you wouldnt ever find anywhere else, even in online resources, on how to place lights and WHY you may want to do that.
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Format: Paperback
When I began reading the chapter where Tuck describes the expense, the weight, and the complications of transporting heavy studio strobes on an airline, I thought that he had been watching me board last year's flight to Denver. It is a new world in photographic lighting and photographers need to learn to be smart, quick and flexible. This book provides a great introduction to lighting with battery powered strobes. Tuck generously shares his knowledge and techniques-something that many professional photographers guard jealously. If you don't come away with a new tip or technique with this book, you need to re-read it.
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I am a hobbyist photographer who started out using a darkroom in high school shooting black and white film. I have never felt comfortable using strobes. Over the years I have convinced myself that I am a "natural light" shooter who didn't need a flash. I actually used to push 3200 film a couple stops to avoid using a flash at night!

Unfortunately my D200 just doesn't cut it in low light, so I bought an SB600 and reluctantly started using it for indoor shots. My pictures have been awful... I simply did not know what I was doing.
Recently, during a family wedding, I took another stab at using the flash and the results were complete crap. I decided to buy this book on a lark before throwing in the towel. I am glad I did!

This book is concise, full of information, and it all makes sense. The pace and progression of information is right on. Everything you need to know about using a modern flash is here. It is technical without being boring or patronizing. I want to thank the author for producing such an intelligent and usable guide to using my camera as it was meant to be used.
I now have the confidence to set up a small studio to help out with a local fashion business. Instead of fearing my flash, I am now empowered to really embrace artificial light.
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