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on October 20, 2012
There are countless books written on the subject of photographic lighting providing varying degrees of useful and practical advice. What makes this book stand out is that it is a true tutorial, by which I mean it provides a complete learning journey from foundational concepts to detailed step by step instruction and explanations of how each image was accomplished. It is apparent that the author has a mastery of the subject matter (which many others possess as well).

What differentiates Syl is his ability to transfer that knowledge to his readers. He goes to great length and in great detail to provide specific examples and explanations on each topic that he covers in this book in a manner that will be clear to any reader regardless of their skill/knowledge level at the time of reading. Those readers who are newer to lighting will appreciate that Syl leaves no detail unexplained. If he is talking about using specific lighting modifiers or accessories, he takes the time to explain the use and often includes photos and even alternatives.

In addition to being a great tutorial, it also serves the function of being a great reference resource for photographers as they progress along the learning curve with their lighting skills. If you purchase the paperback, I have no doubt that it become dog eared over time as it is one of those books that you will come back to time and again. If you buy the Kindle edition, you will have a large number of notations and bookmarks.

If you are looking to learn lighting or to build on your existing skills, this is a book that you will never regret owning.
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on December 2, 2012
I'm a big fan of Syl Arena and his teaching style, his first book has helped to teach me almost every basic there is to know about shooting with off camera flash and lighting in general.

For the price that Amazon has this book for you really can't go wrong - however if you're a fan and you've read Speedliter's Handbook: Learning to Craft Light with Canon Speedlites then you're probably going to be disappointed since a lot of the information is repeated. It's GOOD information that bears repeating - but still, it falls short in teaching the existing fans new things.

The book shares all the good traits of Handbook however - down to earth teaching style, very specific call outs to equipment and settings that make it so much easier to get context.

Overall - an excellent addition to your learning arsenal - but consider it a refresher with slight tweaks. If you're new to the lighting game - then by all means grab this and enjoy.
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VINE VOICEon November 10, 2012
There are thousands of photo technique books, many written by well-known photographers, but few of them are also great educators -- and this is what separates Syl Arena from the pack. This is the most accessible, most practical and generous book you'll read on modern lighting techniques. Syl gets the reader thinking about light right away, provides a memorable framework for thinking and talking about it (Direction, Intensity, Color, Contrast and Hardness -- DICCH), and then takes you on a thoroughly practical tour of how to capture and shape it.

The book is generously illustrated throughout. In each chapter, Syl simply shows you exactly what he's talking about. Copious photographs illustrate different light: What happens if we turn off the hair light in this portrait? How about we move the portrait lights to be opposite each other? If we turn off all the strobes, what role is ambient light playing in this photo? What difference can 10 minutes make between golden hour and blue hour light?

The book is also intensely practical because it shows you lighting approaches for many common situations: basic portraits, group portraits, tabletop product photography, macro shots, dramatic portraits, white seamless and so on. Because Syl illustrates different options as he builds up to the final "hero" shot, you get to learn not just the recipe, but also the confidence to adapt the recipe when you use it yourself. Assignments at the end of each chapter help you practice and hone your skills.

There is an appendix on gear, which I found useful, but you don't need to buy any particular brand of camera or lights. Along the way, Syl covers low cost options for students or those just getting started. If you want hands-on experience, Syl teaches courses where you can try just about any gear he owns or has access to.

The net: if you want to learn, practice and develop your photo lighting skills, start here. Then read Brian Smith's Secrets of Great Portrait Photography or Joe McNally's The Hot Shoe Diaries: Big Light from Small Flashes for inspiration and to see the techniques you've learned applied to great shots.
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on May 4, 2015
Lighting for Digital Photography is an excellent book for those new to speedlighting. The author, Syl Arena, should receive an award for his ability to explain complex subjects so that almost anyone can learn. If you have been frustrated with flash and gave up as I had, then this book will be invaluable. The other book refered to by others (Speedlighters Guide) is similar to this one, but yet it does have quite a bit more detail especially with regard to gear or a large array of equipment. Everything about both books can be summarized as high quality in all aspects.
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on July 6, 2013
This is a book about how to improve your photography skills by learning more about light. It starts slowly with the basics, and accelerates into more advanced discussions. The book is full of very useful tips and methodologies that helps the reader in dealing with various lighting situations (e.g. how to evaluate light (Direction, Intensity, color, contrast and hardness), shooting in direct sun light, using flash in the right context with ambient light, and photographing shining objects). It also gives an overview of studio lighting equipment and their best use.

Although the book is disucussing lighting in general, it focuses on portrait lighting. Nevertheless, it includes discussions on objects and table-top lightings as well. The book omits histograms all together. The word is not even mentioned in the whole book.

Advanced photographers might find information in this book very basic, but it will definitely help beginner and intermediate photographers to make great shots rather than snapshots
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on October 20, 2012
Just when I thought I was comfortable with my knowledge of small flash, Syl writes another great book on the subject. It is so jam packed with basic and advanced info that it would be a great book for people starting out or experienced photographers who want a reminder of the small details that really improve the quality of their photos. It is jammed packed with sample photos complete with detailed and valuable camera and flash settings. He does not just tell you about the differences, he clearly shows you which makes understanding the "whys" and "hows" easier.

Syl Arena is an incredible teacher and colorful, warm personality who can dig as deep into a subject as you are willing to go. If you have not read his other excellent flash book specifically for the Canon Speedlite system, that is another fantastic source of information. Check that out here: Speedliter's Handbook: Learning to Craft Light with Canon Speedlites

Any of his books would make a fantastic Christmas, Chanukah or Kwanza gift for a photographer on your list.
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on December 10, 2016
Because my main photographic interest as a hobbyist is in the restoration of old photos first and portraiture second, I was very pleased with "Lighting for Digital Photography'' from the series "From Snapshots to Great Shots". The presentation of the information in the text is paced to make you feel as if you are in a classroom and your instructor is talking to the students. The detail given in the presentation is excellent.The book also has assignments which are presented to help and encourage the student reader to practice the material to insure a better understanding.
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on April 29, 2013
I recently stepped back into photography and am learning all things digital and this book has helped me see clearly the available options when it comes to lighting.From dawn to dusk and speedlights to Profoto studio lights and more the author covers them all in an easy to understand style. I have been shooting available light with my Nikon D800 for about a year now and the thought of learning about additional lighting possibilities seemed like a huge chore to me. But thanks to Syl's easy to understand explanations I have decided to start with the addition of a SB-910 speedlight , a light stand I can grow into and a shoot through umbrella. I will add soft boxes and strobes soon now that I have been introduced to what exactly is out there. Great book for someone who does not want to spend huge amounts of time reading and yet thorough enough for a serious portrait photographer like myself. I found the appendix that covers specific equipment to start with to be very helpful as well.
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on February 14, 2015
I love this book. I love Syl Arena's first book and I can't wait for his new one to come out! Syl really takes the time and effort to talk about the underpinnings of light and how to set up shots, in great detail. The section showing how to shoot against a white backdrop was an eye-opener as I had not realized the setup. Also there's a good section on shooting small things like garage-sale items and wine bottles ... it is important to pay attention to, and control, the reflections that will be visible on shiny objects.
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on September 4, 2013
In baseball, I feel great if I get a hit. If I knock one out of the park I am jubilant. And Syl Arena hit a “home run” with ”Lighting for Digital Photography”. His explanations are clear and forever memorable. So many of us bought top-of-the-line photo equipment with a zillion features and capabilities. It can be so intimidating that we are tempted to only use automatic program features. That is like using expensive equipment to do what can be done with a cheap point-and-shoot camera! But this book goes way beyond the operating basics and soon you will be hitting home runs in all facets of photography.
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