Scott Kelby – Light it, Shoot it, Retouch it

As I said before in an earlier post – I don’t really want to do book reviews – so am going to focus really on what I got from the book. I have read a few technical books, but they are always read with a shot in mind – I tend not read technical books just for the sake of it. I do read theory books, and general photography books – just for the sake of it – but thats a separate sad little issue.

People probably know Scott Kelby – I do now, but its a rather recent occurrence. He seems to be the go-to-guy for Photoshop and these type of software meets photography guides and training.

According to the back of the book – you will learn…..

  • The step-by-step layouts for creating the most-requested and sought-after lighting looks
  • How to get more out of one light than you ever thought you could (this is worth it alone!)
  • How to control and shape your light without breaking the bank
  • The camera settings, gear, and power settings for every shot
  • The retouching techniques the pros really use to make their subjects look their very best
  • How to retouch hair, eyes, lips, skin, and lots of other little retouching tricks that make a really big difference
  • How to create high-contrast portrait effects without buying expensive plug-ins
  • A host of insider tricks, invaluable shortcuts, and kick-butt special effects to give you a real advantage over the competition

I didn’t write this – I copied it from the web.

I bought the book for two reasons. The first was based on Lighting. I had borrowed a book on lighting from the library and it explained how light worked, the oscillating electric and magnetic fields that make up light, the hertz rates – yep….

I binned that reading. I don’t really care how light works – maybe I should, I don’t know, but I don’t. I want to know how it effects things and and how I can effect it. And so I changed tack. Kelby’s book was more focused on using the light, and how to shop it. I had a specific image in mind that I was working on and therefore this book was good. By having everything organised as projects, I was able to take the shot from set-up, through shoots (I had 3 shoots, Kelby must have got his first time), then into post-production. I had to go off piste to get the finished shot I wanted – so Kelby wasn’t totally the answer – but he was helpful.

I didn’t have all his lighting set-up – and he does say specific names etc – so it is possible to set it up as he does – he doesn’t blow you out of the water budget-wise. Plus you see him actually working. Not just where the lights go – but reflectors etc, space he has, models used – it is practical.

Like I said I don’t read too many technical books – but I would read more if they were like this. Its a technical book that shows you what to do with the technology, how to get to where you want to go, rather than just telling you what each button does.

He has a real keen eye for detail – a couple of his shots (whether you like them or not, and they are a bit shiny for me) looked good to me, but not to him, back he went to clean up some detail he had spotted. So whether you like them or not, you have to admit he has put that little bit more effort in to make them the way he wants. I might have settled for the way it was before. So he made me go back and re-check my images. So that was a plus. His dedication like that could be why he is successful and I am writing about his book!!


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