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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on January 12, 2013
I had a hard time deciding how to rate this book. While I'm not sure who the book's target audience was, it is fitting for all photographers who want expand their horizons or pros to relook at how they shoot. The more experienced will probably underrate the book while beginners might overate the book. Overall, the book is a good source for learning and provides a lot of insight.

Joey L.'s book is a concise documentary of some of his work. The best of the book is the many photos you get of Joey L.'s work (5 stars). His description of styles and techniques (2 stars) are reminiscent of many photographers learning to light and photograph people. But he does get into some advanced lighting. His understanding of building rapport with his subjects is unusual for young photographers - he gets it! And the book could almost be a marketing tool for Profoto Pro 7b battery pack , Profoto flash heads, and Elinchrome's Rotalux Softbox Octa but does demonstrate the flexibly of this equipment.

The book is not the type of book that is a compelling read but one you can read and come back to later. I had to take a second look at much of the book before I really deciphered that there was really large amount information is in the book.
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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on December 30, 2012
Well, years after the Kindle came out (used the iPad version in this case to have color). You would think publishers have figured out that just pushing a digital file with text and photos through some piece of software doesn't create a quality experience.

- text breaks and picture alignment - horrible
- photos seem to have gone completely missing from the 2nd half of the book. The last photo is at 39% - after that. Nothing

I'm happy to try the paper version - but stay away from the Kindle one. Useless, unless fixed.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on December 10, 2012
3 1/2 stars

I have been following JoeyL for a long time now. The book was good but I was a little upset by all the recycled material. A lot of the information can be found on his DVDs and even in his blog.

If you haven't seen any of his DVDs then this book will be great for you!
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27 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on December 11, 2012
"Photographing Shadow and Light" is a difficult book to like. It's filled with expertly lit, well-directed commercial and fine art pictures, with the photographer's commentary on equipment used, camera settings, and his recollections of interacting with the subject during the shoot. However, I can't get past my perception of the author's arrogance and self-centered attitude that his writing style brings across. So many "I", "Me", and "My" words makes it seem like the author is more interested in celebrating his own greatness than in communicating useful information. For example, on page 35, there are 15 occurrences of "I" and "My" in one paragraph! No "I" in "team", ring a bell?

Anyway, the book covers a number of the author's shoots, many of which use surprisingly simple lighting involving an assistant holding a giant octobox, underexposing the ambient light, and using the sun as a rim light. Most of the photos are quite nice, ranging from celebrities to aboriginal people to unknown musical groups. There is even a small cosplay section, although from my point of view the cosplay shots were some of the weaker ones in the book.

The author is firmly in the "Make the shot" school of photography (as opposed to just taking a shot), and his work shows it with clean frames and appealing compositions. I'm all for that in most cases, but there is a line that can be crossed there, and I didn't care for the dust jacket shot of the two native tribesmen in traditional dress acting as the author's lightstands, it just seems like a sad caricature of how the people being photographed so lovingly don't really exist anymore.

I still give the book 4 stars based on the sheer quality of the work done, very nice pictures indeed.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on October 2, 2013
Any follower of the Strobist blog will have a hard time not picking up this book after reading the stunning endorsement from David Hobby in the foreword. There's no question that Joey L's images are masterfully crafted, and the print quality of this book really brings the pictures to life. Many images consume an entire page, which makes this a nice coffee table book despite the amount of text. Any fan of Joey's will certainly appreciate that.

When it comes to the text, it's important to realize that this isn't really an instructional book. Sure, there are lighting setups described (with diagrams), as well as EXIF data revealed for many shots, but it's presented pretty casually--more in the style of "here's how it happened" than "if you want to do X, here's what you need to do". You won't find technical information about lighting (like flash vs ambient exposure, metering, etc), so those unfamiliar with these topics should look elsewhere.

A lot of what is instructional is fairly basic and even repetitive. Many images in the book are simple, short-lit portraits from an octabox to one side and aimed down at 45-degrees (a setup described over and over again in the book), and an underexposed background. There's clearly a lot more subtlety in these images that make it successful than the fairly mundane details of where the lights are.

I'd say for anyone that's familiar with lighting techniques, you'll learn nothing new, except perhaps to be reminded how great portraits can be created with simple lighting setups, done well.

Each image comes with a story behind the shot, detailed some of these technical aspects as well as tidbits about the location or subject, so you get a feel for what was going on. In many ways, it kind of feels like a diary/blog more than an instructional tool. The beginning of the book might even feel like a bit of a kind of autobiography of the photographic aspects of Joey's career to date.

Overall, this was a decent book with great images, and if you're a fan of Joey's work, it's certainly worth a read. For those seeking instruction, this will come as a bit of a disappointment, so just know what you are and aren't getting with this book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 11, 2013
This is a nice exposition of Joey L.'s photography and I would recommend it to anyone interested in his art. It's much less useful to someone trying to learn the art of lighting himself.
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24 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on January 14, 2013
I downloaded the eBook version from Kindle largely due to the enthusiastic endorsement of the author by David Hobby in his Strobist blog. Suffice it to say that my expectations were high, given the stature of Mr. Hobby in the photography community. My expectations were not met, however by this book.

The author is a young, up and coming photographer who has made rapid inroads to a successful commercial photography career at a very young age (kudos to him). While he has garnered accolades for his work from many, the effort to impart his wisdom into a book was probably not the best of ideas.

He spends much of the beginning of the book describing how he achieves what he calls his signature style. All well and good, but the formula of how he produces this look on much of the featured personal work in the first half of the book is repetitive and somewhat lacking in imagination by how little it varies. I believe this young man has confused style with technique. There is no doubt that he is a fine photographer and most of the images he produces in the book are wonderful examples of the creative use of lighting, but most of his discussion on his technique could have been easily covered with one or two examples and not the several chapters that he devoted to it.

The second section devoted to his commercial projects was more varied and entertaining to read as the examples showed how he went about problem solving and designing lighting to achieve his photographic goals. This section was, I felt, a more honest approach to his work and did not come across in as pretentious a way as his previous section of the book did.

The final section on how he post processes his work, demonstrating his work flow was useless to me as I do not use photoshop. I resent that most photography authors assume that all of their readers use photoshop techniques and are too limited in their skills to work out how to push the buttons. A more generic approach that allows for some latitude of general processing techniques to other platforms would be more useful to a wider audience. As it was, this section was more of a "do what I do" kind of kindergarten lesson. Joey Lawrence is not alone in this authoring approach to post processing as many authors take the same path. I just think it is lazy and presumptuous that everyone would want to emulate the author's processing technique.

Over all, while well written and with plenty of examples, Joey Lawrence is a young man who has too few years to be trying to teach everyone about how to find (i.e. define) a style. He confuses style with technique and as a result, misses the opportunity to explore the depth of what true photographic style is about. He approach is a bit condescending in this regard. It would be a bit easier to stomach from a more experienced photographer who had seen or done it all. Joey does not have enough winters under his belt to be talking about defining a style.

Generally a disappointing read for such an expensive book.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 27, 2013
This book is interesting but nothing special. He walks you through his photographic adventures with primitive tribes - how he built relationships and the fact that he brought photos back to the tribes a year later (unlike, he says, other photogs who shoot and never go back). He's a shooter not a writer so the prose is a bit awkward, and he's in his twenties so he hasn't really learned how to teach yet. The result is a book with a few good nuggets of info and some nice portraits of primitive tribesman. He's obviously an immensely talented photographer with a bright future, but had I flipped through this book in the bookstore I probably would not have purchased it.
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on October 15, 2014
This is the first book I've ever returned in my life and I own hundreds of books. It was repetitive. The author, Joey L, seem to talk more about himself, than his technique and execution. The illustrations were completely missing in the Kindle version and in other instances they were not explained thoroughly enough. This book was less about instruction and information and more about the author's accomplishments. The photos included were beautiful and executed with great technicality, but it is unfortunate Mr. Joey L didn't provide adequate instructions on how to replicate it or even come close to producing a similar image. But the main reason I return it was due to the author's self- aggrandisment. To get to any of the meat in this book, you have to look passed the attention directed at his own self-importance and accolades. If you're a novice, there are better books on the market to help you understand lighting such as Kevin Kubotas Lighting Notebook: 101 Lighting Styles and Setups for Digital Photographers,Light Right: Learn How to Create Images, Set Up a Studio, and Launch Your Photography Career or Master Lighting Guide for Portrait Photographers.
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on February 26, 2013
One of Joey's secrets is revealed. I like Joey's portrait look and was happy to hear how he accomplished it. Other information is certainly available, but you may have to be in tune to absorb it. Joey makes a good discussion of how and why and IF you want to dig it all out it is there. He really lets you know what you need to create a moving studio. Joey is a profoto light product user. Obviously all of this can be created using Elinchrom or other high power battery strobe units. I recommend this as a good read. It took two days cover to cover, even taking time out for copious notes.
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