Photo lighting manual

In photography, as in any discipline that you try to master, you have to read reference books to improve your knowledge and progress. Today, a book of a relatively advanced level, but a must have in your library.The Photo Lighting Manual is originally an English book written by 6 hands: Fil Hunter, Steven Biver, and Paul Fuqua. It was adapted from English by René Bouillot and published by Eyrolles (second edition). You have understood it now, when I speak of a book, it is because I liked it. And for good reason: this book is literally full of precious information on light and its characteristics on the one hand, and on how to use it in practice to illuminate objects. You might as well tell you straight away, it's still very studio- oriented, or even very " packshot " oriented."(Photos of objects what), and besides the title does not lie, we are talking about lighting, and not just light.

500+ Lighting Pictures [HD] | Download Free Images on Unsplash

I admit that at first, being more concert and portrait oriented, when I received the book which features photos of glass objects on the cover, I wondered if I was going to read it, or at least if I was going to read first. But in front of the enthusiastic opinions of colleagues from Nikonpassion, Trigger and proudly displayed on the cover, I said to myself that I had to read this. And I was not disappointed!

A deep understanding of light

This is the stated objective of the book: "to explain to the reader the way in which light behaves when it illuminates people and things ". An entire program ! The idea of ​​this book is to make you understand in depth the principles that govern the action of light, so that you can deduce how to illuminate a subject. And not to give you ready-made lighting plans without too much explanation, which would serve absolutely nothing. I might as well say that I like this approach which is excellent from a pedagogical point of view. Not to mention that the authors endeavor to give examples to reproduce, so that you understand how it works. In short, the best of theory and practice combined. The beginning of the book therefore endeavors to make you understand light, "the basic material of photography". Unfortunately, it starts off badly by talking about waves and photons a little too much, which is useless to you, let's be honest. But once we have gone through these first 2 or 3 pages, we directly address the 3 most important characteristics of light in photography:

  • the luminance of the scene
  • the color of the light (the famous "hot" or "cold" lights)
  • the degree of concentration of the beam (hard or soft light)

We then approach the second important element: how the subject takes the light. Obviously, the same light source on a glass plate or on a face will not give the same effect. We therefore learn that objects can react in 3 ways to light:

  • the transmit ( directly such as glass, or by diffusion as a sheet of tracing paper)
  • the absorbing (like black velvet)
  • the thinking (like a mirror)

Obviously, all the subjects are in general the 3 (otherwise it would not be funny: P), but in different proportions. This chapter alone is already gold. When you figured that out about light, you came halfway. Yes, you have already learned something very important from page 25 of the book. Not bad huh? And all the rest of the book will be based on these 2 complementary notions, to show you how to illuminate an object:

the nature of the light (hard / soft, hot / cold, etc.)
the nature of the subject (direct or diffuse transmission, absorption, reflection)
The only example of the bottles lit in a different way on page 20 will be enough for you to buy the book, just to know how they did it concretely.

How the different surfaces react

After this essential and instructive introduction, we will see things in depth and in a more practical way. First of all, by better understanding how reflections work. If you did some optics in high school, you should remember as much as possible that " the angle of reflection is equal to the angle of incidence ." Which means as much to you as a sentence in Hebrew. There, you will tackle a notion that will change your life (I'm barely exaggerating): the family of angles. You might have already understood it instinctively like I did, but putting a name on it and reading a detailed explanation of it with diagrams and examples is going to seriously help you in photos. Without giving you the full details of the rest of the program, the following chapters will teach you:

  • what polarized light is, and how to use it to your advantage (you'll love that too)
  • how to use lighting to shape the shape and volume of objects
  • how to photograph metal, glass, and a portrait


An excellent book, reference in photography, useful whether you are in the studio or not. I insist on this: light is to the photographer what painting is to the painter, and it is very important to understand how it works, even if you are only working in natural light.

Read more:

Created: 25/11/2021 04:21:19
Page views: 43