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

Direction & Quality of Light: Your Key to Better Portrait Photography Anywhere
Name: Direction & Quality of Light: Your Key to Better Portrait Photography Anywhere
Author: neil van niekerk
Pages: 160
Year: 2013
Language: English
File Size: 15.64 MB
Downloads: 0
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Copyright 2013 by Neil van Niekerk.All rights reserved.All photographs by the author unless otherwise noted.Published by:Amherst Media, Inc.P.O. Box 586Buffalo, N.Y. 14226Fax: 716 874 4508www.AmherstMedia.comPublisher: Craig AlesseSenior Editor/Production Manager: Michelle PerkinsAssistant Editor: Barbara A. Lynch JohntEditorial Assistance from: Carey A. Miller, Sally Jarzab, John S. LoderBusiness Manager: Adam RichardsMarketing, Sales, and Promotion Manager: Kate NeaverthWarehouse and Fulflllment Manager: Roger SingoISBN 13: 978 1 60895 570 1Library of Congress Control Number: 2012920986Printed in The United States of America.10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored, or transmitted in any form or by any means, elec tronic, mechanical, photocopied, recorded or otherwise, without prior written consent from the publisher.Notice of Disclaimer: The information contained in this book is based on the authors' experience and opin ions. The authors and publisher will not be held liable for the use or misuse of the information in this book. http://portrait photographer.blogspot.com/ http://weddingphotographer amherstmedia.blogspot.com/ About the Author Neil van Niekerk is a photographer, based in New Jersey, who specializes in portrait, wedding, and boudoir photography. He also maintains Tangents (www.neilvn.com/ tangents), an active web site for photographers. He teaches workshops and seminars on photography, and has written two other popular books on flash photography, which have been translated into Polish, Portuguese, and Chinese. Originally from South Africa, Neil worked as a television broadcast engineer there until 2000, when he emigrated with his family to the United States. He has pursued photography as a full time career ever since. To see more of Neil van Niekerk"s work, visit www.neilvn.com/tangents, www. oneperfectmoment.com, or www.facebook.com/neilvn.photography. Author photo by Blonnie Brooks (www.blonnie.com).


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4 direction and quality of light ..................36 Your Camera"s Built In Exposure Meter ................36 Selective Exposure Metering with the Histogram..............38 Control the Background ............39 ................43 Two Scenarios......................43 Two Exposures .....................43 Maximum Flash Sync Speed............44 High Speed Flash Sync ...............45 Manual Flash.......................46 TTL Flash .........................47 .......49 Start with the Ambient Exposure........49 On Camera TTL Fill Flash.............50 Off Camera TTL Fill Flash ............53 Keep It Steady...........54 ...........55 Why Bounce the Flash? ...............55 Softer Light......................55 More Directional Light.............55 Bounce Angle ......................56 Indoor Portraits.....................56 Direction of the Flash ..............56 Flag the Flash ....................58 Control the Background ............59 TTL Follows Your Camera Settings .......60


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foreword 7 he latest and greatest camera bodies, the highest ISOs, the widest apertures, the most megapixels none of these things amount to a hill of beans if you are not harnessing the single most important aspect of photography: light. After all, the word photography" itself literally means writing with light." Whether it"s existing light, light you generate yourself, or a combination of the two, if you don"t understand how to effectively use light to best suit your subject or creative goal, you are merely shooting in the dark! Actually, shooting in the dark is not a bad place to start. I remember taking a drawing class in art school where we laid down a dark layer of charcoal onto a white piece of paper until it was completely covered. Then we used an eraser to draw" with, pulling out the lighter areas of the subject. Sometimes I try to approach photography in this same way; I start with black, or as little light as possible, then add only the direction and quality of light I need to achieve my desired effect. Ironically, a successful result is sometimes dependent on what you don"t light. What you are holding in your hands right now is, in my opinion, much more valuable than any piece of hardware you could ever buy. Mindlessly throwing money into purchasing gear in the hopes that the next big thing" will make you a better photographer is simply frivolous. The most important piece of gear already resides inside your head; it"s your brain. Arming your mind with practical information about both the direction and quality of light will, I believe, advance your photography tenfold. I applaud you for tackling this often per plexing yet always crucial element of photog raphy. You will be rewarded with a new sense of confldence and empowerment once you are able to understand light on a deeper level. Don"t be afraid of the light. Walk toward it, shape it, embrace it, and make it do your bidding not the other way around! the most important piece of gear already resides inside your head; it"s your brain.


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8 direction and quality of light was asked the following question in an interview: Is there one simple thing you can tell us that would improve our fiash photography instantly if we were to do it?" My answer came from a simple realization that took me years to really grasp: it is all about the direction and the quality of the light. Whether you use natural light, on camera fiash, off camera fiash, multiple light setups, or video light, it all comes down to exactly that: the direction and the quality of the light. Once you recognize this aspect of photography and lighting, then the door is wide open for you to be able to comfortably use any light source. This book was originally intended to be about multiple off camera fiash. It just seemed like the natural progression from my previous two books, which flrst covered on camera fiash, then off camera fiash. However, when I started collecting material, I paused on a question: why do we need multiple off camera fiashguns? It"s not just to show off how cool we are at juggling the light from multiple sources (although it is quite something to set up a bunch of lights). The real reason we use multiple lights is to solve some kind of lighting problem that we couldn"t flx with only a single light or simply by moving the subject into different light. The extension of that idea led to the theme of this book: problem solving when we have a difflcult lighting scenario, or improving a scenario that is perhaps a touch too bland. However, the problem solving technique doesn"t necessarily rely on multiple fiashguns. The technique may be as simple as reflning the subject"s pose or guiding the subject toward more fiattering light. Alternately, we could add on camera fiash, or use off camera fiash, or progress to using mul tiple light sources. This brings us right back to my opening comment. Lighting in photography is all about the direction and the quality of the light. As creative and inquisitive photographers, we should not stop at just one speciflc approach. It"s more fun and more of a challenge to try various ways of using light. This journey we are on as photographers becomes an engaging adventure if we"re constantly learning and mastering new techniques. So here we are. Let"s have fun! lighting in photography is all about the direction and the quality of the light.


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