Sunday, August 1, 2010

Recent Reading

During the first section of People and Place, People Aware, I have read and referred to a number of books to help me to build knowledge and skills.  First of all I wanted to ensure that my work station, camera and printer were all properly calibrated and in sync with each other.  The recommended course book, "The Essential Color Manual for Photographers", by Chris Rutter was a good if slightly basic introduction to the process, emphasizing the need for correct calibration and suggesting various techniques to modify colour.

The Essential Colour Manual for Photographers

Following the advice contained in the book I have calibrated my primary monitor, an HP LP3065 (2560x1600)  using a Spyder 3 Elite.  My printer is an HP Photosmart Pro B8190 which has its owncalibration system.  The paper I use, HP Advanced photo Paper is properly supported by this printer with colour profiles within the printer driver. I have then added camera calibration to my system with the use of an Xrite Color Checker Passport.  This is a simple target containing multiple colour panels and grey panels.  This  comes with software that integrates into Adobe Lightroom.  A the start of a shoot I take a first picture of the target to serve as a reference and then once my photos are loaded into Lightroom I export the reference shot to the Xrite plugin which then enables me to create a calibration that can be copied to the other images.  This should mean that all 3 key steps in my workflow have consistent colour calibration, from capture, through editing and eventually to output.  At present I am working in the sRGB and have yet to find a need to move to Adobe RGB.

As much of my work recently has used basic studio lighting I also needed a guide to lighting to understand proper lighting placement, especially when using 4 lights.  The recommended text book was a good start, "Light Science and Magic" by Fil Hunter, Steven Biver, and Paul Fuqua.

Light: Science and Magic: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting

This an excellent guide to lighting, but is very comprehensive, it contains solutions for virtually every lighting problem I could think of.  I view this book as an excellent reference to be used when addressing a specific problem, however, it is not light reading.

Another excellent book that I already had on my shelf is "Exposure and Lighting For Digital photographers Only" by Michael Meadhra and Charlotte Lowrie.

Exposure and Lighting for Digital Photographers Only (For Only)

This covers all forms of lighting from natural to artificial.  It has an excellent section on lighting the human face and was my introduction to lighting.  It also has a very good explanation of different lighting equipment.

Finally I found "The Portrait" by Glenn Rand and Tim Meyer, really useful for understanding portraiture in general.

This book contains a well thought out history of the genre and gradually builds an understanding of the techniques of lighting and especially posing.  The other books look at creating a photographic portrait from the perspective of the photographer, this book also provides the view from the perspective of the subject.

Each of these books has valuable information in them and together form a good reference set, if I had to choose one of them it would be "The Portrait" as it brings the whole subject together, but at the expense of only considering the challenge of creating a persons image.

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