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Light Science & Magic, 5th Edition

Book Description

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

  1. Cover
  2. Half Title
  3. Title Page
  4. Copyright Page
  5. Table of Contents
  6. Dedication
  7. Special Thanks
  8. Introduction
  9. Chapter 1 Light: the Beginning
    1. Lighting Is the Language of Photography
    2. What Are the “Principles”?
    3. Why Are the Principles Important?
    4. How Did We Choose the Examples for This Book?
    5. To Do or Not to Do?
    6. What Kind of Camera Do I Need?
    7. A Word of Caution
    8. What Lighting Equipment Do I Need?
    9. What Else Do I Need to Know to Use This Book?
    10. What Is the “Magic” Part of This Book?
  10. Chapter 2 Light: the Raw Material of Photography
    1. What is Light?
    2. How Photographers Describe Light
    3. Brightness
    4. Color
    5. Contrast
    6. “Light” Versus “Lighting”
    7. How the Subject Affects Lighting
    8. Transmission
    9. “Direct” Versus “Diffuse” Transmission
    10. Absorption
    11. Reflection
  11. Chapter 3 The Management of Reflection and the Family of Angles
    1. Types of Reflections
    2. Diffuse Reflections
    3. The Inverse Square Law
    4. Direct Reflections
    5. The Family of Angles
    6. Polarized Direct Reflection
    7. Is It Polarized Reflection or Ordinary Direct Reflection?
    8. Turning Ordinary Direct Reflection into Polarized Reflection
    9. Applying the Theory
  12. Chapter 4 Surface Appearances
    1. Photographer as an Editor
    2. Capitalizing on Diffuse Reflections
    3. The Angle of Light
    4. The Success and Failure of the General Rule
    5. The Distance of Light
    6. Doing the Impossible
    7. Using Diffuse Reflection and Shadow to Reveal Texture
    8. Capitalizing on Direct Reflections
    9. Complex Surfaces
  13. Chapter 5 Revealing Shape and Contour
    1. Depth Clues
    2. Perspective Distortion
    3. Distortion as a Clue to Depth
    4. Manipulating Distortion
    5. Tonal Variation
    6. The Size of the Light
    7. Large Lights Versus Small Lights
    8. Distance from the Subject
    9. The Direction of the Light
    10. Light on the Side
    11. Light above the Subject
    12. Fill Light
    13. Adding Depth to the Background
    14. How Much Tonal Variation is Ideal?
    15. Photographing Cylinders: Increasing Tonal Variation
    16. The Glossy Box
    17. Use a Dark- to Medium-toned Background
    18. Eliminate Direct Reflection from the Box Top
    19. Move the Light Source toward the Camera
    20. Raise or Lower the Camera
    21. Use Falloff
    22. Eliminate Direct Reflection from the Box’s Sides
    23. Put a Black Card on the Tabletop
    24. Tip the Box
    25. Use a Longer Lens
    26. Finish with Other Resources
    27. Try a Polarizer
    28. Use Dulling Spray
    29. Use Direct Reflection
  14. Chapter 6 Metal Flat Metal
    1. Bright or Dark?
    2. Finding the Family of Angles
    3. Position a White Target Where You Think the Family of Angles Will Be
    4. Place a Test Light at the Camera Lens
    5. Aim the Test Light
    6. Study the Position and Shape of the Area Marked on the Test Surface
    7. Lighting the Metal
    8. Keeping the Metal Bright
    9. What Is a “Normal” Exposure for Metal?
    10. Keeping the Metal Dark
    11. The Elegant Compromise
    12. Controlling the Effective Size of the Light
    13. Keeping the Metal Square
    14. Use a View Camera or Perspective Control Lens
    15. Aim the Camera through a Hole in the Light Source
    16. Photograph the Metal at an Angle
    17. Retouch the Reflection
    18. Metal Boxes
    19. A Light Background
    20. A Transparent Background
    21. A Glossy Background
    22. Round Metal
    23. Camouflage
    24. Keeping the Light Off the Camera
    25. Using a Tent
    26. Other Resources
    27. Polarizing Filters
    28. Black Magic
    29. Dulling Spray
    30. Where Else Do These Techniques Apply?
  15. Chapter 7 The Case of the Disappearing Glass
    1. Principles
    2. Problems
    3. Solutions
    4. Two Attractive Opposites
    5. Bright-field Lighting
    6. Choose the Background
    7. Position the Light
    8. Position the Camera
    9. Position the Subject and Focus the Camera
    10. Shoot the Picture
    11. Dark-field Lighting
    12. Set Up a Large Light Source
    13. Set Up a Dark Background Smaller Than the Light Source
    14. Position the Camera
    15. Position the Subject and Focus the Camera
    16. Shoot the Picture
    17. The Best of Both Worlds
    18. Some Finishing Touches
    19. Defining the Surface of Glassware
    20. Illuminating the Background
    21. Minimizing the Horizon
    22. Stopping Flare
    23. Eliminating Extraneous Reflections
    24. Complications from Nonglass Subjects
    25. Liquids in Glass
    26. Liquid as a Lens
    27. Keeping True Color
    28. Secondary Opaque Subjects
    29. Recognizing the Principal Subject
  16. Chapter 8 Making Portraits
    1. The Single-light Portrait Set-up
    2. The Basic Set-up
    3. Light Size
    4. Skin Texture
    5. Where to Put the Main Light
    6. The Key Triangle
    7. Key Triangle Too Large: Main Light Too Near the Camera
    8. Key Triangle Too Low: Main Light Too High
    9. Key Triangle Too Narrow: Main Light Too Far to Side
    10. Left Side? Right Side?
    11. Broad Lighting or Short Lighting?
    12. Eyeglasses
    13. Additional Lights
    14. Fill Lights
    15. Reflector Cards as Fill Lights
    16. Background Lights
    17. Hair Lights
    18. Kickers
    19. Rim Lights
    20. Mood and Key
    21. Low-key Lighting
    22. High-key Lighting
    23. Staying in Key
    24. Dark Skin
    25. The Unfocused Spot
    26. Using Colored Gels
  17. Chapter 9 The Extremes
    1. The Characteristic Curve
    2. The Perfect “Curve”
    3. A “Bad” Camera
    4. Overexposure
    5. Underexposure
    6. Using Every Resource
    7. White-on-White
    8. Exposing White-on-White Scenes
    9. Lighting White-on-White Scenes
    10. Subject and Background
    11. Using an Opaque White Background
    12. Light the Subject from Above
    13. Use a Gobo Above the Subject
    14. Add Dimension
    15. Using a Translucent White Background
    16. Using a Mirror Background
    17. In Any Case, Keep the Background Small
    18. Black-on-Black
    19. Exposing Black-on-Black Scenes
    20. Lighting Black-on-Black Scenes
    21. Subject and Background
    22. Using an Opaque Black Background
    23. Using a Glossy Black Surface
    24. Keeping the Subject Away from the Background
    25. Histograms
    26. Preventing Problems
    27. Overmanipulation
    28. Curves
    29. New Principles
  18. Chapter 10 Traveling Light
    1. The Lights We Use
    2. Heavy-duty Portable Strobes
    3. “Hot-shoe” Flashes
    4. LED Panels
    5. Getting the Exposure Right
    6. Letting Your Flash Do the Figuring
    7. Using a Meter
    8. Meters and LEDs
    9. Getting More Light
    10. Multiple, or “Ganged”, Flashes
    11. Battery Packs
    12. Flash Extenders
    13. Getting Better-quality Light
    14. The Problems
    15. Take It Off
    16. Bouncing From Hard To Soft
    17. The Omni-Bounce—A Big Help For a Little Money
    18. “Raccoon Eyes”
    19. Feathering Your Light
    20. Forcing the Shadow
    21. Lights of Different Colors
    22. Why Is the Color of the Light Important?
    23. Tungsten
    24. Daylight
    25. Nonstandard Light Sources
    26. Do the Colors Mix?
    27. The Remedies
    28. Correcting Mixed Colors
    29. Correcting Unmixed Colors
    30. Filtering Daylight
    31. Correcting Errors in Reproduction
    32. Lights of Different Duration
    33. Different Approaches
    34. Other Useful Gear
  19. Chapter 11 Setting Up Your First Studio
    1. Lights: An Early Issue
    2. Getting Your Lights Right
    3. What Kind of Lights?
    4. Flash
    5. Continuous Lights
    6. How Many Lights?
    7. Light Stands
    8. Booms
    9. Light Modifiers—Which Do I Need?
    10. Diffusers
    11. Reflectors
    12. Snoots and Grids
    13. Gobos and Flags
    14. Backgrounds
    15. Computers and Associated Gear
    16. Miscellaneous Equipment
    17. What Sort of Space?
  20. Appendix: Reliable Suppliers
  21. Index