on April 14, 2010
When I first started photography professionally twenty years ago one of the first books I found was Adventures in Location Lighting by Jon Falk. This book introduced me to scissor clamps, inverters, putty knifes, and a plethora of other lighting devices. Along with that were diagrams of basic lighting situations. It introduced me to Dynalites which I still use. It was an invaluable book to help a starting photographer. Since then I had not found a single book as useful as that one until now. Kirk's book is a worthy descendant of that book. If I had one book to suggest to young photographers starting out and looking for advice on lighting equipment it would be this one. Stop getting endless conflicting opinions on internet forums from mostly anonymous people and get this book. I found not one suggestion I disagreed with. Kirk scores again!! Every one of his books are worthy of buying!
on May 11, 2010
If you're stuck asking "what lights do I buy?" then you should read this book. Kirk does a great job covering what's available and what appeals to photographers unfamiliar with the vast choices they're inundated with. From Briese and Profoto to flashlights and CCFLS, from 20' scrims and beauty dishes to apple boxes and clothespins, everything is demystified and made approachable. And contrary to the wishes of the manufacturers and the rest of the mindless noise, Kirk is consistently pragmatic and grounded - discerning buyers will appreciate being given the type of information they need to make educated purchases rather than preached into buying it all. Thanks for keeping it real =)
on June 3, 2010
Kirk Tuck's newest book, Photographic Lighting Equipment, takes the reader through a smorgasbord of solutions for the photographer's age-old challenge of "what I see in front of me is not the light I need to make this picture happen."
Tuck was first a writer, then a photographer; this shows through in his elegant writing. Instead of squarely marching from point A to B to C, he instead weaves a gentle path, urging the reader along.
What I found best in this book was that he did not present the lighting equipment as just ingredients to a recipe. Instead, the end-goal of the actual photograph is considered - where are you, who/what are you photographing, and how do you want it to look?
The book covers all of the various types of lighting equipment, and outlines the pros and cons of each, along with modifiers, reflectors, and more.
I especially enjoyed the "war stories" that were in the book. They serve as both lessons of guidance, and as a way for the reader to get to know Tuck. With knowledge, comes trust. Instead of the "sage on the stage" feeling of a professor lecturing to his students, the tone of the book is more of a (slightly) older friend, sharing tips and stories over a light lunch at a streetside cafe. You look forward to the next meeting!
When the book was completed, I found myself disappointed - not in the content itself, but that there was no more to the story. And therein lies the true skill of the writer - enough to tell the story, but don't bore the reader.
I highly recommend this book, and ALL of his others - they hold a place of honor on my bookshelf. They are in the category of "I show these to my photographer friends, but I do NOT loan them." (Less critical and less-liked books get loaned and lost.)
For those that love the stories behind the wisdowm, and want more of Kirk's photographic and personal musings, you can get your fix over at: [...]
on June 5, 2010
Kirk Tuck's "Photographic Lighting Equipment" is his latest book on how-to photography. The book is a distillation of his considerable experience as well as a showcase of his considerable talent.
The book starts off with a short section on the history of lighting, quickly leading to the first major section (and the largest in terms of printed pages) on electronic flash. You should realize at this point that Kirk wrote two prior books on minimalist lighting for location and studio work based primarily on flash; thus, his emphasis in this book on flash equipment as well. The next section after electronic flash is on continuous lighting. While shorter than the section on flash, its coverage is adequate and emphasizes current lighting technology, such as fluorescent (CFL) and LED panels. One interesting example in continuous lighting uses the light from two Mac Powerbooks and an LED flashlight that needs to be seen for its beauty and appreciated for its inventiveness.
The next three sections cover accessories such as reflectors and other light modifiers, backgrounds, stands, and other important equipment, large and small, that helps to tie it all together. The last section covers what to include in that 'perfect' kit based on the kind of work you'll be doing. The last section isn't a hard-and-fast list so much as a set of recommendations; it's a starting point that will change with you over time.
But the most valuable feature in this book are the many equipment placement charts scattered throughout the book. Kirk shows you what he used and how he used it, followed by one or more example photographs he took with a given setup. If you've ever wondered how a similar photograph was taken and/or what it was taken with, then this book will give valuable insight into the setup before the shot.
While the book stands alone as an excellent learning aid and reference, you should also consider one additional book he's written, "Minimialist Lighting Professional Techniques for Location Photography." Far too much is spent on gear, far too little on learning aids such as this book. If you're interested in photographic lighting (or expanding your understanding of lighting) then buy this book. It will be one of the best investments you'll make.
on June 14, 2013
I have long been a fan and once again, Kirk Tuck NEVER disappoints ....... if you're a newbie and want to learn all about the various photographic lighting equipment available, then this book is for you ........ if you're a seasoned photog and are in need of a bit of a refresher on lighting to get the creative juices flowing again this book is also for you....... Kirk style of writing is informal and very down to earth, one gets the feeling that he is talking to you like he would talk to a friend. He never seems to get bogged down with equipment rather he is teaching from his past experiences about the vast choices of lighting available today...... I especially love how he shows by example that one doesn't have to go out & spend allot of money on equipment...... in one section he shows how he is able to shoot portraits using portable construction lights & a shower curtain! I have always found his insight enlightening and entertaining....... This is a comprehensive book about all manner of lighting equipment with the exception the newest lighting option of LED...... fortunately, he's just released a book devoted to LED so if you want to learn about lighting equipment, buy this book & his newest on LED and you'll have a very rounded knowledge of the subject.
on June 11, 2010
I found this book to be very resourceful and would be beneficial to any photographer from amateur to professional. Not only does it cover a vast array of lighting equipment but it also asserts practical uses for each. It is this quality that differentiates this book from others on the same subject. Its nice to know all about equipment and specifications but even nicer when their use is explained in real life situations.
on February 16, 2011
I'm a photography enthusiast and read Kirk's blog regularly. He provides valuable insights into the business and art of photography in a clear, concise, frank and non patronizing style while introducing a little appropriate humor when necessary. This book does not deviate from that style and is appropriate for someone who is just beginning to explore different constant and stroboscopic photographic lighting options. Kirk reviews all of the current technologies available, their advantages and disadvantages, and how they may be used to improve your photography along with ancillary equipment such as tripods, filters, and stands. He does not push expensive products but shows you how options at different price points will align with your budget and desires. This book may be of limited value for professional photographers with years of experience but is perfect for the beginning enthusiast or those with more experience who wish to update their knowledge. Like many subjects these days, much of what Kirk discusses in the book can be found for free on the web. However, for the modest purchase price, Kirk removes the aggravation and time of having to hunt for the information all over the web and provides honest and useful advice based on years of professional experience. I have a limited budget and have found this book a key resource for deciding what type of lighting to purchase for my early experiments in light modified photography.
on May 26, 2010
There are many reasons why you should consider this book as a basic for your bookshelf. It is a full compilation of the tools that you will need to create a workable studio and location business. It could take many trips to the camera stores, and lots of bad or personally biased information to get to the point where you start to buy your gear. Kirk's book takes a look at the items you will NEED, and the ones you WANT and discusses the ways that they will work. And how that tool will work for you.
Kirk takes a casual, friendly approach with the tone of the book, and there are lots of real life examples, suggestions and photographs. The images reinforce the text and the usefulness of the gear as it applies to the jobs you do. That saves time. And it saves money. We all have boxes of gear that didn't meet our expectations... and it is a waste.
At the Amazon price above, this book is a steal. It will save you more than the cover price ten times over in your first serious gear purchase. If you are starting out, or have been getting started and need to make some professional gear choices, this is the book to get.
BTW, if you are a serious amateur, there is more than enough information here for you to consider the book. Sure there are forums, but this book comes without bias and trendy fads. It is a real look at the tools we all use.
Don Giannatti, [...].
on May 12, 2010
If you're like me, you've had the experience of wandering into your local pro lighting shop to find a few things for which you have no idea of their purpose. At risk of exposing your lack of understanding to the "pros" behind the counter, you just keep moving along, wondering if you've just passed on an option that might be worth knowing about. This book does a great job of introducing the reader to world of lighting equipment being used throughout the industry. From small strobes to HMI lighting, Tuck covers the bases with well thought opinions as to the pluses and minuses of each tool. And, as seen in his previous books, he provides details like the historical development of lighting tools, how each option is differentiated technically and a slew of photographic examples. With his characteristic wit, Tuck manages to make the text quite readable and enjoyable.
If you're weighing your options before plunking down a bunch of cash for a new system or just like to know what tools are available, this book is a great resource to have on your shelf.
on April 30, 2010
As a passionate amateur and portrait photographer, I have come to expect high quality prose and rich photographic representation of principles in Kirk's books. He has not disappointed me with this book. He has a superb command of the topic and explains the principles of lighting and equipment in a clear and concise way. Let's face it- anybody that can walk into a hardware store and leave with studio lighting gear has my vote! If you follow Kirk through the chapters, you'll learn to assess lighting quality, intensity, and effectively light a scene that matches your pre-visualization. I gave Kirk a 4 star on this as I am a hard ass and want him to try and a write another book in the hopes that I'd give that one a 5 star rating.