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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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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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Top Customer Reviews
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. For instance that you should know your equipment well and experiment with exposures, that you should create a comfortable environment for your subjects in order to evoke a natural emotion etc.
Overall, this would serve as a beautiful coffee display book - but if you're a photographer wanting to learn how she attains the quality of her images, you won't get it. Elizabeth only talks about her love for using natural light, shooting at wide apertures and exposing for shadows.
Jose Villa shoots in a similar way, but I found his book "Fine Art Weddings" (by the same publisher) to be much more pragmatic, informative and useful.
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.