Photographic lighting is a topic that will never go out of style, no matter how sophisticated cameras and other technology get. Even with the most high-tech gear, photographers still need to put a lot of thought and vision into lighting their photographs in order to get great results. This key skill has the power to dramatically and quickly improve photographs.
Light Science and Magic provides you with a comprehensive theory of the nature and principles of light, with examples and instructions for practical application. Featuring photographs, diagrams, and step-by-step instructions, this book speaks to photographers of varying levels. It provides invaluable information on how to light the most difficult subjects, such as surfaces, metal, glass, liquids, extremes (black-on-black and white-on-white), and portraits.
This new edition includes:
- All new chapter titled "Setting Up Your New Studio"
- A re-vamped and expanded chapter 8 now titled "Making Portraits"
- New appendix of reliable photo gear sources
- Over 100 new photographs and informational sidebars
- Updated information about advances in flash equipment, LED panels and fluorescent lights
Styles of lighting continue to change, but the nature of light will always remain the same. Once photographers understand the basic physics of lighting, they can apply that knowledge to a broad range of photographic styles.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 – How to Learn lighting
Lighting Is the Language of Photography
What Are the "Principles?" Why Are the Principles Important?
How Did We Choose the Examples For This Book?
To Do or Not to Do?What Kind of Camera Do I Need?A Word of Caution
What Lighting Equipment Do I Need?What Else Do I Need to Know to Use This Book?
What Is the Magic Part of This Book?
Chapter 2 – Light: the Raw Material of Photography
What is light?
How Photographers Describe Light
"Light" Versus "Lighting"
How the Subject Affects Lighting
"Direct" Versus "Diffuse" Transmission
Chapter 3 – The Management of Reflection and the Family of Angles
Types of Reflections
The Inverse Square LawDirect Reflections
Breaking the Inverse Square Law
The Family of AnglesPolarized Direct Reflection
Is It Polarized Reflection or Ordinary Direct Reflection?Turning Ordinary Direct Reflection into Polarized Reflection
Applying the Theory
Chapter 4 – Surface Appearances
The Photographer As an Editor
Capitalizing on Diffuse ReflectionsThe Angle of Light
The Success and Failure of the General RuleThe Distance of LightDoing the Impossible
Using Diffuse Reflection and Shadow to Reveal Texture
Capitalizing on Direct ReflectionComplex Surfaces
Chapter 5 – Revealing Shape and Contour
Distortion as a Clue to Depth
The Size of the Light
Large Lights versus Small Lights
Distance From the Subject
The Direction of the Light
Light on the Side
Light Above the Subject
Adding Depth to the Background
How Much Total Variation is Ideal
Photographing Cylinders: Increasing Total Variation
The Glossy Box
Use a Dark to Medium Toned Background
Eliminate Direct Reflection from the Box Top
Eliminate Direct Reflection From the Box Top
Move the Light Source Toward the Camera
Raise or Lower the Camera
Eliminate Direct Reflection From the Box’s Sides
Put a Black Card on the Table Top Tip the Box
Use a Longer Lens
Try a Polarizer
Used Dulling Spray
Use Direct Reflection
Chapter 6 – Metal
Bright or Dark
Finding the Family of Angles
Position a White Target Where You Think the Family of Angles Will Be
Place a Test Light at the Camera lens
Aim the Test Light
Lighting the MetalKeeping the Metal BrightWhat is a Normal Exposure for Metal?Keeping the Metal Dark
The Elegant Compromise
Controlling the Effective Size of the Light
Keeping the Metal Square
Use a View Camera or Perspective Control LensAim the Camera Through a Hole in the Light Source
Photograph the Metal at an AngleRetouch the Reflection
A Light BackgroundA Transparent BackgroundA Glossy Background
Keeping the Light Off the CameraUsing a Tent
Polarizing FiltersBlack MagicDulling Spray
Where Else Do These Techniques Apply?
Chapter 7 – The Case of the Disappearing Glass
Two Attractive Opposites
Bright – Field Lighting
Choose the Background
Position the Light
Position the Camera
Shoot the Picture
Dark – Field Lighting
Set Up a Large Light Source
Position the Camera
Position the Subject and Focus the Camera
Shoot the Picture
The Best of Both Worlds
Some Finishing Touches
Defining the Surface of Glassware
Illuminating the Background
Minimizing the Horizon
Eliminating Extraneous Reflections
Complications From Non-Glass Subjects
Liquids in Glass
Liquids As a Lens
Keeping True Color
Secondary Opaque Subjects
Recognizing the Principal Subject
Chapter 8 – An Arsenal of Lights
The Single light Portrait Setup
The Basic Setup
Where to Put the Main Light
The Key Triangle
Key Triangle Too Large: Main Light Too Near the Camera
Key Triangle Too Low: Main Light Too High
Key Triangle Too Narrow: Main Light Too Far to Side
Left Side? Right Side?
Broad Lighting or Short Lighting?
Reflector Cards as Fill Lights
Mood and Key
Staying in Key
The Unfocused Spot
Using Colored Gels
Chapter 9 – The Extremes
The Characteristic Curve
The Perfect "Curve"
A "Bad" Camera
Using Every Resource
White on White
Exposing White-On-White Scenes
Lighting White-On-White Scenes
Subject and Background
Using an Opaque White Background
Light the Subject From Above
Use a Gobo Above the Subject
Using a Translucent White Background
Using a Mirror Background
In Any Case, Keep the Background Small
Exposing Black-On-Black Scenes
Lighting Black-On-Black Scenes
Subject and Background
Using an Opaque Black Background
Using a Glossy Black Surface
Keeping the Subject Away from the Background
Chapter 10 – Traveling Light
The Lights We Use
Heavy-Duty Portable Strobes
"Hot Shoe" Flashes
Getting the Exposure Right
Letting Your Flash Do the Figuring
Using a Meter
Meters and LEDs
Getting More Light
Multiple, or "Ganged" Flashes
Getting Better Quality Light
Take It Off
Bouncing From Hard to Soft
The Omni-Bounce – a Big Help for a Little Money
Feathering Your Light
Forcing the Shadow
Lights of Different Colors
Why Is the Color of the Light Important?
Nonstandard Light Sources
Do the Colors Mix?
Correcting Mixed Colors
Correcting Unmixed Colors
Correcting Errors in Reproduction
Lights of Different Duration
Other Useful Gear
Chapter 11 – Setting Up Your First Studio
Lights: An Early Issue
Getting Your Lights Right
What Kind of Lights?
How Many Lights?
Light Modifiers – Which Do I Need?
Snoots and Grids
Gobos and Flags
Computers and Associated Gear
What About Space?
Fil Hunter was a highly respected commercial photographer specializing in still life and special effects photographs for advertising and editorial illustration. During a career spanning over three decades, he worked for such clients as America Online, US News, Time-Life Books, Life Magazine (27 covers), the National Science Foundation, and National Geographic. He taught photography at the university level and served as technical consultant on a number of photographic publications. Mr. Hunter won the Virginia Professional Photographer's Grand Photographic Award three times.
Steven Biver has over twenty years of experience as a commercial photographer specializing in portraits, still life, photomontage, and digital manipulation. His client list includes Johnson & Johnson, USDA, William & Mary College, Conde Nast, and IBM. He has been honored with awards from Communication Arts, Graphis, HOW Magazine, and Adobe, who have also included his work on a Photoshop 'extras' disc to inspire other photographers. He is also the co-author of FACES: Photography and The Art of Portraiture, another Focal Press publication.
Paul Fuqua has worked as an editorial and wildlife photographer for more than thirty-five years. He started his own production company in 1970 and is dedicated to teaching through the use of visuals. Paul has written and produced educational and training material in a variety of fields including law, public safety, history, science, and the environment. For the last ten years he has produced educational material dealing with the natural sciences and the need for global habitat stewardship. Paul is also a co-author of FACES: Photography and The Art of Portraiture for Focal Press.
"This book offers a set of tools that a photographer can use to promote their own sense of art and beauty. While your photographs reflect your individual taste and vision, the tools in this book give you options to highlight or diminish the elements in the photograph and as a result, lift those images to something more, something even better. The authors have done an amazing job by writing about a difficult subject in an easy style that allows the reader to fully understand the concepts of lighting and how it will shape your images." - Apogee Photo Magazine