I spend allot of time in bookstores searching for useful, yes that's useful books on photography. Once you have long since gone beyond the ranks of amateur, newbie or intermediate and reached the shores of expert and semi pro, wanting to perhaps start making a living from this craft, you find that there is very little at all out there in the way of USEFUL works on the subject at this higher level.I own great books in the area's where I usually shoot film - (Outdoor, Landscape, Night)- , which I have reviewed elsewhere for those who wonder, but the area of still life and special effects photography is something up until now I have left alone, having always been curious about. Still Life and Special Effects Photography by the above mentioned authors is a superb choice for those looking for an entry point into the professional or fun end of this type of photography. This is not so much of an in depth step by step guide that teaches you how to shoot Still Life and Special Effects images, but rather it is a primer, explaining in brief tutorial the HOW of individual works of photography.This work is broken up into various sections which focus on various styles of Still and Special effects images. What you get is a large facing page with the image as final product and on the opposite page a detailed drawing and explanation of HOW everything was set up in black and white sketch style. You get to see exactly what lighting was used, how it was placed, what props were involved and the camera's movements.Sidebar discussions give technical details of each image, the photographers comments, the art director if there was one and various side bar discussions which give a brief but detailed enough version of HOW this kind of work is achieved.Read more ›
I think I got used to books saying "professional" just to get the attention of the public browsing books. This one, however, really means it. If you just want an introduction or some simple ideas you could do with limited resources this is not the book you're looking for.
I am by no means a professional photographer, I'm trying to learn different aspects of photography and that's why I got this book, because I seem to have developed an interest for shooting still life, but all the examples in the book require to use a LOT of lighting equipment that you most likely won't have available if you're not a pro.
To be fair, what I could understand with my limited knowledge the book seems to be pretty good, the material of the pages is also excellent and it's very well built , although I agree with another reviewer that said some of the photos seem to be quite outdated and it's a bit odd given how "modern" the books look on the outside.
In short, not for beginners at all but I'm sure it's of some use for real pros; I decided to return it given I'm not.
I found this book to be a great resource for inspirational ideas. It's a beautiful, hard-copy volume with excellent color reproductions. Each image is accompanied by a 2-D plan view of the lighting and studio setup, a 3-D illustration of the studio setup, exposure information, and two or three short paragraphs describing the set and shooting process. This books is USEFUL, even for advanced photographers, and that alone makes it a rare find.
All of the photography represented is done in-camera without digital manipulation. It's unfortunate that this method is almost destined to become a lost artform; however, at the same time my largest disappointment with the book is that it's void of digital capture examples. Some of Jody Dole's digital work would have been an excellent addition. Many of the book's images are obviously dated and produced in the early 80s. Even still, they serve as excellent learning examples.
This book is my first purchase on still life photography and has since become a treasure in my collection. This is one book that I will never part with and wish would last for a lifetime. Not only is it a collection of stunning photographs by various published photographers, it is also an easy to follow guidebook for studio setups that emphasize on professional looking shots with simple and easily available equipment/materials. Complicated setups are also available for the more advanced photographers. There is also a section that states the basics of lighting equipments etc. which is very useful for beginners in referencing what types of equipment one might upgrade/purchase in the future. It is highly inspiring and is sure to tempt any reader to try his/her hands at duplicating shots using the setups illustrated. Whether or not you would actually get the results depends on the equipments you own, but being an amateur working with just window lighting, two flood lights and a reflector board, I found that the setups easily attemptable with minor adjustments. I often return to the book for ideas on practice shoots. Only downside to the book is that since some pages are printed with black backgrounds, fingerprints can be easily spotted so be prepared to wipe them off should you treasure the book as much as I do. Highly inspirational. Even non-photographers would view the photos in awe.