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Direction & Quality of Light: Your Key to Better Portrait Photography Anywhere

Direction & Quality of Light: Your Key to Better Portrait Photography Anywhere [Kindle Edition]

Neil van Niekerk
4.5 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (2 Kundenrezensionen)

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"This should be a textbook in every beginning photo course and a permanent addition to every shooter’s library." —Jim Cornfield, Rangefinder


Providing readers with a study of learning how to turn poorly lit images into finely crafted, masterfully lit photographs, this guidebook instills photographers with the self-confidence to think on their feet and photograph any portrait subject anywhere. Acclaimed photographer Neil van Niekirk presents seven distinctly different lighting scenarios—available light, exposure metering, a touch of flash, bounced on-camera flash, off-camera flash, video light, and hard sunlight—to show readers how to manipulate the direction and quality of light, the subject’s and photographer’s position, and numerous other variables so as to turn a bad image into a stunning, professional-level portrait. Packed with dozens of instructional, full-color photos, this work also features 10 sample photo sessions, allowing readers the opportunity to see the seven lighting scenarios put to practice.


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1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Wirklich empfehlenswertes Lehrbuch 23. Februar 2014
Von Peter
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
Alles in allem ein erfrischend anderes Buch über Menschenfotografie. Unter dem Stichwort "Qualität und Richtung von Licht" werden anschaulich häufig vernachlässigte Grundlagen zum Umgang mit Licht vermittelt. Der Stil ist locker, die Gliederung sinnvoll. Zwei Kritikpunkte habe ich dennoch: die Bildbeispiele sind alles in Allem ok, aber einige Beispiele sind zu amerikanisch und einige fallen in der Qualität deutlich ab. Zweiter Kritikpunkt, der aber für die Mehrzahl der Leser nicht relevant sein dürfte: der Umgang mit Diffusoren und Reflektoren sowie leistungsstarken portablen Blitzgeneratoren kommt leider deutlich zu kurz. Man kann sich das alles aus den vorhandenen Kapiteln ableiten, aber eine explizite Behandlung der Themen wäre schön gewesen. Daher vier statt fünf Sterne.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Can learn a lot 4. Februar 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
This i a book for advanced amateur of photography. You can learn a lot from the author about light and how to handle it. I recommend this book.
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 4.6 von 5 Sternen  86 Rezensionen
54 von 61 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Two big thumbs up! 26. Februar 2013
Von Michael Corsentino - Veröffentlicht auf
As a pro photographer, workshop leader, educator, author and all around lighting geek I consume photography lighting books the way other people eat breakfast cereal. Therefore I'm a pretty tough customer when it comes to content. I hold the bar very high and expect details, details, and more details. I look for thorough, clear explanations, behind the scenes images, diagrams, the how's, the why's, and most important - compelling images that leave me wishing I'd created them.

Neil Van Niekerk's book delivers on all counts! "Direction & Quality of Light: Your Key to Better Portrait Photography Anywhere" is filled with page after page of inspiring images and detailed information. Neil delves not only into how images were created technically but the thought process and reasons behind his choices. The book builds on a solid foundation of important lighting theory and technique and moves quickly into a plethora of real world applications.

This is a book by a working professional photographer for other aspiring and working photographers. No fluff, no BS, only solid, practical, real world information; just the kind of essential skills readers need in today's competitive marketplace. For these reasons I give Neil Van Niekerk's "Direction & Quality of Light" two big thumbs up and recommend it without reservation.
18 von 19 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen THE PHOTOGRAPHER'S DESK REFERENCE ON LIGHT 28. Februar 2013
Von Cate Scaglione, Photographer, Writer, Creative Consultant - Veröffentlicht auf
When I was growing up, I recall how my father, a medical professional relied heavily on his 'Physician's Desk Reference' as a quintessential tome to diagnose, prescribe and demystify ailments. Van Niekerk's book is a glorious analogy here. What ails you about light?

Just as in any profession, there is a quintessential bible for the craft, Neil Van Niekerk's "Direction and Quality of Light" could easily become the desk reference for photographers!

Based on the popularity of his last two bestselling books on wedding lighting, on- and off- camera flash techniques and a widely popular blog Tangents, I was intrigued to read his latest work, "Direction & Quality of Light". Defining light as the most vital element to mastering photography, Van Niekerk demonstrates interplay between the essentials like depth of field, shutter speed, composition, timing and more ...using directional light as one's starting point. After all, that is what photography IS supposed to be! This book teaches one to recognize, diagnose, modify and prescribe solutions to lighting challenges. I found the Rx to my lighting ailments. YES!... it is that good.

As a portrait photographer, I am always on a journey to improve my technical and artistic mastery. However, I do not embrace my inner tech geek by any means. It's true that Direction & Quality of Light truly focuses on the technical elements. However, it is as delightfully eloquent and elegant as Van Niekerk himself, a renowned workshop leader known to demystify flash and studio photography. He evades the exasperating "ivory tower" lingo, making it an easy, enjoyable read. In each lighting setup, Van Niekerk not only explains the challenges he faced in each of the lighting situations, but the practical solutions, meta data, equipment, and he shows visual "pull backs" to demonstrate the full scene to reveal how he accomplished the end result. He maintains a voice throughout the book that is product-agnostic, so I did not feel like I was reading an endorsement for any single brand, or feel the pressure to "make the switch", as often the case in today's instructional guides.

I feel that his techniques are sophisticated enough to keep the experienced photographer incredibly enthused, while practical enough to educate a novice/emerging light master. In either case, it could easily become the desk reference for a photographer of any level. It's a timeless education from a foremost authority whose passion education on "all things light".... and is simply wonderful.
14 von 15 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen The artistry of light 28. Februar 2013
Von chris.dg - Veröffentlicht auf
Neil van Niekerk is master of the bounce flash - but as made evident by this book, he is also a master of light in any form. Let's face it, available light is not always sufficient nor ideal, but there is always a solution - and Neil will help you find it. He starts by looking for the best available light in any given location, determines via test shots if that light is main or ambient, then walks you through positioning both the subject and yourself, the photographer, to find the most pleasing angle or direction of light. All the while paying close attention to (a) how the background elements will enhance the image, (b) adjusting shutter speed for the desired ambient levels, and (c) setting the most appropriate aperture for depth of field and/or flash volume.

When circumstances require, we determine if a scene or image can be improved or totally re-imagined by way of flash - whether it be off-camera, on-camera with bounce, modified with flags, softboxes, etc.

This book is more about the artistry of light and not the mathematics of light - it's all about developing a sense of how light can be manipulated to achieve beautiful results in-camera. It contains gorgeous portraiture throughout, really inspiring stuff, with pull-back shots, ambient light test shots, flawed examples that lead to adjustments, and the final image. You feel like you are participating in a well-run workshop, where you are learning from a friend in an intuitive, casual, engaging, and easy-to-understand manner.

I highly recommend this book for photographers who are looking to maximize their understanding of light and how to use it. And isn't that everyone?
7 von 7 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen An Easy-to-Read Book About How To Think About Your Light 20. November 2013
Von S. Tang - Veröffentlicht auf
1) I read a draft manuscript of this book and provided some proofreading assistance. I received a finished copy, but I was under no obligation to write a review.
2) I do read the author's blog semi-regularly, and I have attended his workshops.

In some ways, I think people learning about photography should read this book first before the author's other earlier books, primarily because this book spends some time describing the thought process the author uses to determine how he would light a given scene. This thought process is important regardless of the lighting tools you have.

Is the ambient light adequate or good?
If the ambient light is insufficient or bad, can I do something to change it without adding artificial lighting?
If I need artificial lighting, how can I use my artificial lighting?
Is the light source falling on my subject in a pleasing way?

The first chapters go through the author's thought process on how he analyzes his lighting needs and later chapters tackle this topic in these areas.
a) Ambient light only
b) Single flash unit with and without a softbox (The 'revelation' that once you bounce flash off a surface, that becomes the 'softbox' is something beginners miss initially.)
c) Powerful studio light unit or multiple flash units, both with and without softboxes
d) Video light / Videographer light

The book is easy to read and well-written. The passages are not long-winded nor are they filled with jargon. The content is to the point, without any joking around that some other authors use. The writing is "just right" as if you were watching a presentation done by the author.

The only minor nitpick I have is with the Guide Number tutorial near the end of the book. The guide number can be used to calculate correct manual flash exposure, but it is a little esoteric for me. It definitely works, but it's probably not the first thing I would do. The shortcut at the end of that section is actually more practical, and I think easier to grasp for more people. It might have been better just to leave the guide number discussion out.

One reviewer commented that the book didn't offer anything new, and the content can be found on his blog. Being a reader of the author's blog, that reviewer is correct, but it needs qualification. Each chapter's content is derived from several of the author's blog entries. The author wrote content for his blog at different points in time. While the author sometimes refers to older blog articles in more recent blog entries, the older entries are generally *not* updated. In addition, the blog entries are numerous; you can search the author's blog or use the site navigation, but you may not find what you seek. Lastly, even if the author refers to his past articles, the author doesn't always connect the pieces into a new cohesive whole.

In my opinion, this book is better than his blog in this particular application. The book contains definitive, connected -- all the related, but separate blog entries are finally rewritten as one --, and updated content (including a few new photos) from his blog, so that a reader can find the most important topics the author wants to impart. Of course, the book's contents may become "outdated," but the book is currently handier to read the "good stuff" than searching for it through the blog. Once someone reads this book, it should be easier to follow the author's blog or find other related blog content.

Another reviewer criticized that the photos used in the book require professional-grade equipment that no average reader can hope to achieve. Unfortunately, certain situations do require good equipment to get a usable exposure, but for other scenarios (i.e. general vacation photos, daylight scenes, typical indoors of a house), people with modest equipment can still apply the lighting thought process in the book to improve photos that they currently take. (i.e. if you take vacation photos of the family, don't make them face the sun directly.)
24 von 31 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
1.0 von 5 Sternen Content is great, e-book production is not good. 1. Mai 2013
Von Amazon Customer - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
This is the second photography related Amherst Publishing e-book I've purchased and in both cases the embedded photographs are fair to poor quality. I know the photographs themselves aren't the issue as I've also looked at the hardcopy at my local bookstore and they look fine there. It has something to do with the method the publishing company or Amazon is creating the electronic versions of the books. It's a book about photography, the image quality should be stellar and they are not. I also noticed lack of attention to detail in the text where some passages are in one font size then it jumps to something 2-3x the size. I've written to the publisher and they are looking into the matter with the company that produces the e-book versions. Amherst Publishing was nice enough to send me a print version instead which I'll post a followup review but so far it's been good stuff except for the images part. I wouldn't recommend the ebook version of this book until electronic production issues are recified.

If I could get my money back I would and turn around and buy the print version instead as the content from Neil is pretty good as always.

Go look at the publications from Popular Photography's digital subscription - they do it right with high resolution, crisp images.
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