- Paperback: 128 pages
- Publisher: Amherst Media; Second edition edition (January 1, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1584280697
- ISBN-13: 978-1584280699
- Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.4 x 11 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 24 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,684,367 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Studio Portrait Photography of Children and Babies Second edition Edition
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About the Author
Marilyn Sholin is a professional photographer and studio owner. She lives in Miami, Florida.
Top customer reviews
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While it took me 3 months to read and master the last book that I read on photography, it only took me an afternoon to read through this book. The material was just so basic! While she did give helpful hints about conducting a pre-session interview and also about age-appropriate props, she only did so in a very brief manner. I read through that part so fast because most of the things she said were self-evident and I felt that I wasn't really learning anything new.
However, the part that I really was interested in is the studio set-up. While she did spend 2 chapters on this, I was left more confused and just wanting to either surf the web for the basics of a studio set-up or buy another book specifically for this. From the level of writing in the first part of her book (about the subjects--children), I was thinking she maybe is writing for beginners. But then she really did not explain the studio set-up as if she was writing for a beginner. For example, in Chapter 6, her first paragraph was "The simplest studio lighting setup involves only three lights: a main light, fill light, and a background light. The main light might be set at f/8.0. The background could be a full stop more than the main light, making it f/11.0. The fill light would either be f/4.0 or f/5.6, depending on how much fill you desire for your portrait." That got me totally confused. She was talking about f-stops for lighting! F-stops for lighting? But then she didn't explain what those were.
This part is probably what got me disappointed about the entire book. I was hoping to get a single book that would explain to me (1) how to do a studio set up from scratch and (2) explain all there is to know about the studio set-up. This book did not do this. Now, I will have to either scour the web for this information or buy another book specifically for this.
I feel bad for giving this book only two stars. Maybe it is just not the right book for me but maybe it is perfect for a lot of other people.
First of all, the title: STUDIO Portrait Photography of Children and Babies. This makes a very clear statement: this is a book for STUDIO photographers, or someone hoping to be one. Yet, right at the introduction we're told that "this book is for everyone who wants to learn how to photograph their clients or their own children better [...]", and that's exactly where the book starts to disappoint - by always trying to hit a wider audience than it should, it is always way too superficial to be really useful.
Chapters 1 to 3 show some promise. They are about what the title would suggest is the theme of the book: photographing clients in a studio environment. That's great - if it weren't so darn superficial. There are some "tips" on posing, but no thorough discussion on what works and (most important, and completely absent in the book) what doesn't. There are mentions of props (which seems to be one of the main features of the author's photography), but only a paragraph here and there, again there's no real discussion about it.
In chapters 4, 5 and 6, the book is simply embarassing. At one point we learn that an 80mm lens effectively becomes a 50mm on a camera with a 1.6 crop factor (it is the other way around, actually). There are long and completely useless discussions about CCD vs CMOS sensors, and microdrives vs CF cards. The lighting chapters contain basic information that any photographer interested in a specific area of studio photography already knows, specially when this information is easily found (for free) on any site about studio lighting. The equipment chapter could easily be dropped, and the lighting ones should present examples, in practice, of what works and what doesn't in the author's opinion. Definitions of, for example, what Rembrandt lighting is, with no accompanying diagram, photographs or whatever is simply not useful at all.
The rest of the book keeps on this tone: very superficial information on topics that should be explored in details mixed with very specific information on topics that probably should not be explored at all (anyone that needs step by step instructions on how to use commercial plug-in on photoshop should not buy a book about a specialty of studio photography, plain and simple).
Last but not least, the photographs are really cheesy, for lack of a better word. I know this probably has it's appeal in some niches, but for a photographer, when you consider the superficiality of the written material, at least some good, inspiring or in any way unique images could give this book some value. Alas, that's not the case.
Bill Keane was nice enough to post TWO 5 star reviews for his friend. Way to be a pal, Bill!
Take a look at the sample pages of this book and read for yourself what you're getting for your money.
The author serves up gems such as this rare secret...
"In digital cameras, images are captured on electronic sensors rather than film."
"To get the most from each portrait session, you'll want to make sure that you've purchased a few key pieces of equipment. This includes:
digital SLR camera..."
DUH! So that's what I was doing wrong!!! This is the first book that told me I needed a camera to do photography! There's a lot of secrets in here, folks.
Unless you wear a helmet, lick windows, and constantly ask if you can "pet the rabbits" you probably won't find this book very useful.