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The Luminous Portrait: Capture the Beauty of Natural Light for Glowing, Flattering Photographs Paperback – April 24, 2012


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Frequently Bought Together

The Luminous Portrait: Capture the Beauty of Natural Light for Glowing, Flattering Photographs + Fine Art Wedding Photography: How to Capture Images with Style for the Modern Bride + Picture Perfect Practice: A Self-Training Guide to Mastering the Challenges of Taking World-Class Photographs (Voices That Matter)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Amphoto Books; Original edition (April 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0817400125
  • ISBN-13: 978-0817400125
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 7.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (101 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #109,204 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

ELIZABETH MESSINA was named one of the top ten wedding photographers of 2010 by Adorama, one of the top ten wedding photographers of 2008 by Pop Photo and American PHOTO, and one of the twenty-five trendsetters of 2008 by Modern Bride. Her images have graced the covers of Us Weekly, OK, Grace Ormonde Wedding Style, and Professional Photographer magazines. For more about Elizabeth, visit her award-winning blog, kissthegroom.com.
 
JACQUELINE TOBIN is the executive editor of Rangefinder magazine and the former deputy editor of Photo District News. She is also the author of Wedding Photography Unveiled: Inspiration and Insight from 20 Top Photographers.
 
ULRICA WIHLBORG (Foreword) is the West Coast weddings editor at People magazine.

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Customer Reviews

I'd recommend this book to photographers of all levels.
Sarah Prikryl
This book is not only amazingly beautiful but also packed with useful information...for the professional or amateur photographer.
Zia O'Hara
This book is about Elizabeth Messina, the artist, the photographer, the visionary who creates luminous portraits.
Ling Wang

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Zuri on July 16, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a big fan of Elizabeth Messina and I absolutely LOVE the quality of all her images. I bought this book in hopes of learning a lot more detail and technical information about her process, but I was very disappointed.

Her process and philosophy can be summed up in one paragraph. In order to create the soft and luminous look of her images, she basically shoots with film and always uses the natural light available. Nearly ALL of her images are generally shot at the same settings, a wide aperture of f2.0 and 1/60 sec and sometimes f/4 at 1/125 sec...or some variation of this. When working with the light, she always puts the light behind her subject or to the side and exposes for the shadows.

This is pretty much all the technical information you will get from this book. She repeats this same information over and over and over and over again in the subsequent chapters. The rest of the book's content is general and emotional rather than pragmatic, practical and informative. She rarely talks about "HOW" she achieves the look of her images.

For example, nearly every single image in this book will only tell you the camera, film type, and exposure settings used but she leaves out some of the most vital information about how she is metering and exposing each image. The reader can only ASSUME that she is exposing the shadow side of her subject's face every single time. But what is she using to get the meter reading? A handheld spot meter or her camera's center weighted meter? In addition, there is absolutely no mention of how or who is processing her film.

The rest of the book is common sense principles that you don't need to pay for.
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66 of 76 people found the following review helpful By AuntNina on May 19, 2012
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The author's images are lovely, but I felt this straddled the line between a display book showcasing images, and a book aimed at instruction, and satisfied neither category. The verbiage was general and lightweight, with plenty of fluffy bits about being honored to photograph certain celebrities or how a mother's glow enhances the image. There was virtually no instruction or direction of any kind. Very disappointed and will be re-selling my copy.
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36 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 8, 2012
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I read an article in a photographer's magazine about this book, including an excerpt from the book. The information provided in the article was really good, so I ordered the book. I really didn't need to. The most valuable information was provided in the article. While the book covers many subject areas, the information provided is very rudimentory (beginner level) and extremely vague. Each subject only has a handful of paragraphs with extremely basic information.

Also, this author only shoots with film. While the author was kind enough to provide the aperture, film speed (ISO), shutter speed and lens info for each photo in the book, she doesn't indicate how she processed the film which makes a HUGE difference. Not all her photos have the same light or effect, and yet for the majority, the settings are f/2, 400 ISO, 1/60 with a 80mm lens. Plus, film cameras and digital cameras don't always use the same settings for similar effects. And, of course, digital cannot imitate film. With post-processing you can get close, but it's just not the same.

Additionally, if you want to follow the few directions she does provide, be prepared to tote a reflector AND assistant with you for nearly every shot.

This could have been a great book, but instead, it was a disappointment if your are looking for anything but the most basic of instructions.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By photog on May 20, 2012
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Beautiful examples, but if you are looking to actually learn HOW to shoot with natural light you had better look elsewhere.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Uptown foodie on May 9, 2012
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I've admired and been inspired by Elizabeth's gorgeous work for years, and been lucky enough to hear her speak at a number of conferences, so when I heard she was writing her first book I pre-ordered as soon as the link was up. I've loved every single page, every image, but the really amazing part is her voice throughout. Elizabeth shares with heart every step she takes each day she creates her beautiful images, and does it in a way that is really intuitive, easy to understand and apply. As a fellow professional photographer, it's so special to be able to really be inside the mind of such an especially gifted artist. When I got started in photography everyone shot film and waited for their film to be processed at the pub down the street from the lab; you could ask fellow photographers exactly how they would approach a situation and learn from your colleagues. In the age of mostly digital, we're all stuck in front of a laptop much of the time, but reading Elizabeth's book has made me feel like I'm able to pick her brain in person. She shares her approach and each step, down to the exposure, and in her own unique thoughtful voice. So much of her heart and soul comes through in the reading of this I could imagine being in her studio really talking with her. A must-read for pro or enthusiast (which will also take up residence on your coffee table it's so beautiful), this book will excite, educate and inspire you to make more beautiful images every day.
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