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The Lighting Cookbook: Foolproof Recipes for Perfect Glamour, Portrait, Still Life and Corporate Photographs (Photography for All Levels: Advanced) Paperback – April 1, 1997


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Product Details

  • Series: Photography for All Levels: Advanced
  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Amphoto Books; First Edition edition (April 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0817441964
  • ISBN-13: 978-0817441968
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 0.4 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,081,932 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jenni Bidner is the owner of Bidner Communications, a company specializing in public relations, and was the East Coast Editor of Pearson's Photographic magazine. Before starting her own business in 1995, she held the top editorial position at the magazine. Bidner is also a former account supervisor at Bozell Worldwide and the former Editor-In-Chief of Outdoor & Travel Photography magazine.

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Customer Reviews

Great lighting setup diagrams.
Rebel POW
If people portraits are what you are interested in doing, this book will be an excellent reference.
Catherine E. Horey
Ah, too bad because it's covered in this book.
Tony Hall

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

69 of 70 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 12, 2000
Format: Paperback
I am an intermediate amateur photographer and have a different perspective than the "beginner" from Alaska who wrote a review below. About the book "cover[ing] too much material in too little detail," I disagree. All of the photographs have either a detailed verbal description of how the lighting was set up, or a verbal description and a diagram. About the book requiring a "lot of gear and equipment," the back cover says that the author "begin[s] with an inventory of ingredients found in a well-stocked commercial studio," which is fair warning for the buyer. With some imagination, as another reviewer wrote below, an amateur photographer can make do with not-too-expensive equipment (e.g., for the first "recipe" on pages 24-26 the reflector can be a shiny collapsible auto windshield sun reflector that costs $5 at Wal-Mart). I liked Bidner's describing the different styles and lighting techniques used by six professional photographers (Bean, Branman, Farkas, Lane, Thien, Wegner). I don't think I'll ever spend as much money or time (e.g., 10-11 hours photographing a small crystal sailboat, pages 117-119) on photos as the six photographers, but nevertheless this book gave me some great ideas.
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66 of 69 people found the following review helpful By John H. Henderson VINE VOICE on May 29, 2001
Format: Paperback
I bought this book while searching for a book that would help me get started in portraiture. Although this book covers portraiture, it is probably not quite what I was looking for, but is good in its own right.
The book begins with the first section, "The Well-Stocked Studio," and describes cameras, lighting, and accessories. This is valuable information for a serious photographer wanting to get more advanced, but is overwhelmed at all of the equipment and what it does. Other sections are "Basic Portraiture," "Corporate and Industrial Shots," "Product Shots and Still Lifes," and "Specialized Techniques." Each section presents about a dozen different examples of techniques in that area, detailing the equipment used. Each technique example is covered in a few pages with excellent photographs, a pretty good diagram of the lighting arragement, and an "ingredients" list. The book is also sprinkled with valuable side notes.
To duplicate every example in the book, the reader will need an extraordinarily extensive studio. However, the book starts with simple techniques involving one or two lights and reflectors, and builds upon that. Even the more extensive lighting techniques are helpful in developing your skill at visualizing how a scene should look and how you would choose lighting to achieve that look. Moreover, the less advanced photographer could duplicate the techniques with a couple of battery-powered flashes, a couple of slaves, and using an umbrella, walls, or poster board as reflectors.
I tend to judge the value of a book by how quickly I read it versus its cost.
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39 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Catherine E. Horey on March 17, 2002
Format: Paperback
If you are interested in doing mainly portrait photography, but need to learn more about how to properly and effectively do lighting setups, this book is an excellent place to start. The book has several diagrams of exactly how the lights were setup, along with actual photographs that were taken using each setup.
It talks briefly about how to deal with different types of people, and includes a short part on photographing pets as well. There are also sections on lighting still life photography, although this is not the main focus of the book. If people portraits are what you are interested in doing, this book will be an excellent reference. However if you are more interested in photographing still lifes or pets, I'd recommend that you either find another book, or use this in addition to another resource.
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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful By N. Nielsen on July 8, 1998
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
You can quickly broaden your scope on photography with this book. Yes, it is a book based on HAVING the equipment, but with a little bit of creativity, you can arrange yourself improvised equipment for doing most of the things on the book. It is not a "technocracy" book. I is *mostly* a book for showing you how do the PROS achieve a PRO look on their pictures. Buy this book if you have plenty of notion in photography, since it is not meant for beginners. Great "secrets" on the book!!!
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130 of 146 people found the following review helpful By Tony Hall on April 11, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ok, I'm sorry, but I gotta tell you this book is way out of date and doesn't have very many low-budget ideas. I made myself read this book cover to cover because I really needed to learn some lighting techniques fast. Well, when I was finished, I was impressed with the author and her friend's work, but I didn't know much more than I did before picking up the book.
It's almost as if the author has put together a personal portfolio accompanied with some bragging and some stories. The thing that bothers me is that the title "The Lighting Cookbook" seems to suggest that it's like a reference guide for the average Joe that's easy to use, like a real cookbook. Not so. I don't know how many times I've flipped through this book looking for a "recipe" to use for my lighting needs and I always end up putting it back on the shelf.
The "recipes" are too specific and based on things that most people will never do. When's the next time you plan on shooting some pictures of beakers filled with green liquid on top of a piece of plexiglass? Never you say? Ah, too bad because it's covered in this book.
The reason I said this book is out of date is because most people (that aren't stuck in the past) are moving on to digital. We're not using these insanely expensive "view cameras" that only big companies can afford. I've got a top of the line prosumer digital camera and there's not much in this book that even applies to shooting pictures with a regular camera.
The cameras that they use are not the only rediculously expensive items. The lighting equiptment that they use in all the indoor recipes are equally out of the question for most people. It would cost thousands and thousands of dollars to buy the "ingredients" to these recipes.
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