best photography books

book: On-Camera Flash (2nd ed.) – flash photography demystified

If you think I’ve been quiet on the Tangents blog the past few months … here is the reason why: I’ve been hard at work on the revised edition of On-Camera Flash …  it’s just been announced for a Nov 2015 release date, and is available on pre-order with Amazon. I really am excited about this updated version of the best-selling book!

On-Camera Flash (2nd edition)  – Amazon USA

On-Camera Flash (2nd edition)  – Amazon UK

Based on the best-selling 1st edition, this is more than just a cosmetic overhaul. Combining older material which have been polished and streamlined, with lots of new material and trawling the Tangents blog for the best material.

At 35,000 words (the maximum the publisher would allow me), this is a concise introduction to on-camera flash photography, with the accent on demystifying flash. I concentrated on bounce flash photography for the latter half of the book, since I strongly believe that is where the magic lies with using on-camera flash.

One way in which this book has been radically changed from the first edition, is that it is now more of a work-book. There are several examples where you have to have your camera (and flash) in your hands, to step through the instruction. All the better to make sense of flash photography, and become confident in the use of flash photography.

For those of you who had asked for the images in the video of the review: comparing various light modifiers for on-camera flash – they are in the book!

The cover image was specifically decided on, and shot for this cover. I wanted an image that is striking. It really had to stand out. And it had to be truly illustrative of the beautiful light you can easily create with just your on-camera flash.

Here is how it came about …

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photography book: Direction & Quality of Light

When Direction and Quality of Light was released in March 2013, it felt like an even bigger achievement than my previous two books. Here I share many of the “aha!” moments which took me years to completely grasp – that at the heart of it, every aspect of photographic lighting is dependent on understanding the direction and quality of light.

I do believe this book can make a difference to your photography. I’m that confident about it.

All the more amazing to see that 2 years later, this book is still bouncing up and down at (or near) the top slot on Amazon for Best Sellers in Photography Lighting. When I took this screen capture today, it was in position #1, although this list does fluctuate daily. It really feels good to see that the book is still popular. And it feels good to see that it is up there with the best authors and photographers.

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book review: Roberto Valenzuela – Picture Perfect Posing

I’ve noticed that articles on Tangents which deal with the topic of how to pose people, gets a lot of attention. Posing is a challenging topic for most photographers except the very best who seem to have an innate gift for it.

Books on posing tend to approach the topic as a list of suggestions – the kind of “1,000 poses” type books. Another alternative offered is flow posing where you maneuver a couple through a number of poses mechanically. Both of these approaches means you have to memorize poses by rote, instead of understanding why the poses work, or how to improve a pose.

This is where Roberto Valenzuela’s book excels. He teaches a system. The Picture Posing System he has developed breaks posing technique down into 15 segments which he then carefully analyzes to show why certain poses work. Instead of recalling exact poses and trying to fit them to the person you are photographing, posing now becomes a series of conscious decisions. And that is what Roberto’s book teaches you – that series of decisions.

The book is divided into two sections. The first discusses the 15 segments to his Picture Posing System. (12 segments for individual poses; and another 3 segments for posing couples or groups.) The final section of the book deals with more advice on posing couples.

The segments discussed include topics such as:
– weight distribution and its effect on posing;
– joints and 90 degree angles;
– hands and arms – (an especially tough element of posing);
– posing with movement, feeling and expression.

 

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book review: Gregory Heisler – 50 Portraits

Gregory Heisler is an undisputed genius when it comes to photographic lighting. If ever you get the opportunity to attend a seminar by him, do yourself a favor. The story behind each portrait, and the motivation and the struggles to create those images, don’t just make for entertaining anecdotes – and Gregory Heisler is an entertaining speaker – but the stories are insightful. Educational. But not just educational in a do-this-do-that explanation of technique. It’s much more than that.

In this book he has collected 50 of his his best portraits he has taken during his career, and he discusses the thought-processs behind each image. He offers insight in how he came to take specific images, and how he decided why to set up up certain portraits in certain ways. Gregory Heisler’s humility, and the way he allows glimpses into the frustration and disappointments along the way – the struggles to get to iconic images – all this is told in entertaining and thoughtful way. There is also much to learn here.

This is a book to devour, and then dip into again and again. What truly impressed me about Gregory Heisler, is how innovative he is. He seems to want to steer clear of repeating formulas that work, and come up with portraits based on ideas that are challenging and full of risks.

Something I also found refreshing are the “Thoughts on Technique” at the end of each photograph’s description. Here he discusses technique – but not in the statement of bland numbers, but again, always with the thought-process in mind. And this is where the value lies in what he shows us – the way his mind works. The why and the how.I highly recommend this book.It needs to be on your shelf! For a mere $25 you have an amazing collection of images and words in hardcover, from a man who is endlessly inventive when it comes to photography lighting! That’s incredible value for money. This is a book to immerse yourself in, again and again, and feel inspired by.

 

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boudoir photography Baby portraiture is an unexpectedly difficult branch of portrait photography. You have to work around the baby’s schedule, and then there is the added challenge of making a baby which doesn’t move much, an interesting subject. It’s not like this little kiddo is going to hop, skip & jump around.

With that, everyone can use some advice and guidance to get an edge on the baby, and take some pressure off as the photographer.The book takes a wide approach to the topic, including maternity photography, newborn portraits and portraits of toddlers and kids. If you think about it, baby photography isn’t an isolated subject.

As a photographer and business person, it should be obvious immediately that there is a long-term relationship that can and should be developed with your client.

book review: boutique baby photography, by Mimika Cooney

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boudoir photography

Boudoir photography seems to have a surge in popularity in the past years. More and more interest by photographers – and it’s no wonder. As much as boudoir is a fascinating genre, it is also quite challenging.

The pressure is on *you* as the photographer to get the best images you can of someone who is most likely feeling quite vulnerable. So not only are your lighting skills and posing skills and your general skill as a photographer tested … your people skills really need to kick into gear too. Boudoir photography is personal photography on so many levels.

book review: boudoir photography, by Critsey Rowe

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