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Corrective Lighting and Posing Techniques for Portrait Photographers Paperback – October, 2000
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About the Author
Jeff Smith is a professional photographer and the author of Outdoor and Location Portrait Photography. He lives in Fresno, California.
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Top customer reviews
To be blunt, the book deals mostly with women with weight issues, most of whom are posing for their senior portraits. Using subtractive lighting, posing and sometimes props, the author shows you ways to shave a few pounds off a photograph. However, don't expect to be able to completely undo years of cheese-fries. The results are subtle, not earth-shattering.
Overall, its a very useful guide for anyone wishing to make their subjects look a little better. Unfortunately, the other problem areas don't get nearly as much coverage as weight did, some only get a few paragraphs without photographic examples. Also, the author was politely vague when discussing individual photographs. Perhaps hiring some models specifically for this book would have allowed the author go into more detail without fear of offending his clients.
The author has a very conversational style, and this short 120 page book is probably best appreciated as a really strong lecture or set of short seminars on topics (lighting, posing, making the client feel comfortable) with lots of useful tidbits and examples. This is not a rigorous reference with lighting diagrams, explanations of the functions of various equipment and accessories, and a glossary of terms and index...this book doesn't have any of these for the novice.
That sounds like a criticism, but the author's breezy, non-academic style really works well to get certain key basics across, and it's very useful for both inexperienced and experienced photographers as a result. I found the book an excellent read, particularly the section on corrective posing, and specifically the focus on getting the most out of the eyes in a portrait. The lighting discussion is good as well, though the author jumps all around with various techniques and accessories he favors, and some areas don't have a lot of detail. But again, this book is strongest for posing and basic lighting in the service of making an imperfect subject look their best, rather than extensive details around equipment and technical explanations of lighting. His discussion of backgrounds, props, and the general benefit of foreground elements is valuable as well.
The author is also very entertaining when he talks about how to engage the client in a comfortable and professional manner, and avoiding all the cliches and rude manners of other photographers.
As another reviewer pointed out, the focus does seem to be on younger women who are heavier and who in general have hang-ups about different aspects of their appearance. It appears this is the case because the author feels these subjects are much more sensitive about their appearance, relative to men. It would have been nice to see a few more people of both genders across age groups, simply because the author is so good with his existing subjects, and more detail and a greater variety of subjects would have been even better.
A final small note: this is not the book to go to for any discussion of black and white portraiture. Black and white is relegated to a small sidebar, and the author sticks to C-41 film because of the expense of processing and printing other B&W films.
With all this said, I recommend this book very highly. I'm about to read it for a second time cover to cover, to review the numerous useful concepts he discusses for the wider range of portraits I'm going to be taking this summer. Few authors communicate in as straightforward, educational and as entertaining a manner as Jeff Smith does.