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Wed, 01 Feb 2006
Portrait Books

I've been running a backlog on portraiture books, so I'm just trying to catch up here.

"The Portrait Book: A Guide for Photographers" (Steven H. Begleiter)

This is the first book that I've read on portraits that covered the lighting and metering part (chapters 6 and 7). If you don't know much about this, it's a good introduction to the various kinds of lights and the different kinds of light meters
Basic lighting and metering. On the whole, this book is a bit thin to be covering all the topics that it does. I definitely prefer books that are more specialized.

"Posing for Portrait Photography: A Head-to-Toe Guide" (Jeff Smith)

This book derives from the author's experience training portrait photographers, who start off in his senior portrait studio. If you just want to jump right into shooting, the first chapter is "Six things you should never do":

  1. Make sure the face is never turned away from the main light
  2. Make sure the shoulders, waist, and hips are never squared off to the camera
  3. Make sure the arms are never posed in contact with the side of the body
  4. Make sure the chin is never lowered to a point where it diminishes the catchlight in the eyes from the main light
  5. Make sure the spine never forms a vertical line and the shoulders never form a horizontal line in the frame
  6. Make sure to never have an expression on your face you don't want on the client's face in the portrait.

After this he talks about types of poses and then launches into a series of chapters, each devoted to the posing of a particular part of the body. In each chapter he discusses how to make things look good or hide them when they look bad. There was a lot of really useful stuff in these chapters and lots of comparison photos to help you visualize the body positions that were being discussed. Definitely on the buy (for continual reference) list.

"Master Lighting Guide for Portrait Photographers" (Christopher Grey)

It turns out that there is a huge amount to learn about lighting, and this book (so far) is the best book I've seen on the topic. There was good understandable coverage of lighting ratios, the various lighting styles and lots of different types of portrait scenarios. I really liked the style of the book which includes a photograph, a lighting diagram of the setup used for the photograph, and numerous additional or variation photographs. This style made it much easier to visualize the impact of the techniques being discussed. Also on the buy for continual reference list.

[22:48] | [photography] | # | TB | F | G | 2 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
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