Light Reading…


Three new books worth your attention if you want to bone up on lighting techniques.

Newbies will jump into the wading pool with Digital Photography Lighting for Dummies by Dirk Fletcher (Wiley Publishing). The ubiquitous series established itself with breezy, easy, irreverent guides to computers & software, but is now a virtual industry covering every imaginable subject in flaming full-color. Digital Lighting seems a bit more sophisticated than the early dummies, yet still friendly enough to make a beginner feel at home. And, of course, Rich Tennant’s cartoons are always good for a chuckle. My favorite shows a model lost in a sea of giant studio lights, reflectors and soft boxes, while a photographer orders his assistant to “Get me three tungsten halogen lights and a 5,000K strobe, I’m trying to do something real natural here.”


Brian McLernon (obviously born to instruct) offers plenty of helpful tips in Lighting Digital Field Guide (Wiley). This is one of those books you’ll stick in your backpack and refer to often. The author doesn’t just touch on the use of speedlights, but inspires the strobist within.


An indispensable guide to shooting interiors and bringing them to life is  The Essential Guide to: Lighting Interiors: techniques for lighting with small flash by Scott Hargis (PFRE Media). David Hobby gave this eBook a thumbs up on his blog, so I knew I had to check it out. My only disappointment is not being able to hold a physical copy and scribble notes in the margins. (Note to New Riders:  buy the rights and release it in print.) Hargis is not only a master at photographing architecture and interiors but a damn good writer as well.  It’s the best of both worlds. In the wrong hands lighting techniques can be deadly dull. Instead, Hargis makes the technicalities a pleasure to learn.

The book covers the following areas:

  • Fundamentals if Interior Flash Photography
  • What gear to use and why
  • How control window exposure
  • How to setup lighting in all the different types of rooms you’ll encounter: Bedrooms, Bathrooms, Kitchens and large spaces
  • How to deal with reflections and special situations
  • Post processing

At a time when markets for photography are shrinking, there is  plenty of demand for real estate photography. This book teaches you how to show a room in the very best light.