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Books on digital photography/setting up home studio?

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#1 of 2 OFFLINE   Kevin Goodwin

Kevin Goodwin

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Posted April 05 2003 - 07:41 AM

OK, I'm a fairly new dad, and I like to take a TON of pictures of my 10-month daughter. My wife & I signed her up for the photo club at the local Picture People store. After about a year of going there & seeing the crappy pictures that they're charging me for, I've decided that with a few lights & some sheets for backdrops, I could do AT LEAST as well taking the pictures myself at home.

Here's my question -- can anybody recommend a good book for setting up a home digital photo studio? Something that gives some lighting/backdrop basics is really what I'm looking for. Right now I've got a Canon S30, which doesn't have an external flash capability, so I'm looking at getting hot lights, which will be easier, given that I'm sort of new at this.

Eventually, if this works very well, I can invest in a better camera & equipment, 'cause at $150/per visit to the photo studio, it's going to pay off rather quickly. Posted Image Plus, it's a lot easier to get the kid in a happy mood & take pictures on HER schedule, as opposed to scheduling appointments at the mall, ya know?


#2 of 2 OFFLINE   Max Leung

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Posted April 05 2003 - 10:08 PM

Have a look at www.dpreview.com . There should be a FAQ around somewhere. There are a LOT of books on digital photography.

Lighting for photography is one of the most difficult tasks imaginable. You'll drive yourself nuts learning color theory and struggling with your camera to get proper color balance (don't use Daylight mode with tungsten lighting!). And then you'll be wondering why the photo lab always screws up your color photos because they did not bother to calibrate their photolab printers, so you decide to buy yourself an inkjet printer only to discover that you need to hire someone to color-correct it for you!

And then you'll realize that not all lights are created equal, and you run all over the city trying to find the perfect light with a CRI (measure of color spectrum) of 92 or higher. Then balk at the price when you finally find one.

You will need multiple lights/flashes to properly light up your subject. You need to get the angles just right, otherwise you will make him/her look evil/ghastly/sick/psychotic. It will definitely require a lot of trial and error. I suggest basic photography books like the National Geographic Field Photographer's Guide to get a feel of what you're getting into. It has advice like: bounce the flash off a wall at an angle to get a more natural and more flattering look if you only have one light source. Shooting a light straight on will give the deer-in-headlights look, and is very unflattering. Holding the flash above your head and to the side works well too, adding a shadow to one side of the face that isn't bad.

It's not as easy as you think. Posted Image

Posted Image

With that said, check out Amazon.com on studio lighting books for beginners and read the reviews.

Good luck!
Mahatma Gandhi, as you know, walked barefoot most of the time, which produced an impressive set of calluses on his feet. He also ate very little, which made him rather frail and with his odd diet, he suffered from bad breath. This made him...a super-callused fragile mystic hexed by halitosis.


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