2.27.2013

Finally, a book about portrait lighting that I can recommend.


It's rare that I see a "how to" book that's done by someone whose work I really like. And continue to like over time. I first became aware of Neil Van Niekerk's work nearly three years ago. I was researching for my LED book and looking for good, innovative photographers who had already discovered the flexibility and creative power of LED lights on their own.

A link led me to his website and I was very impressed by his portraiture and even his wedding images. (A confession: I don't generally like wedding photography). His lighting is very, very modern and most of the time you can barely tell from the images he presents that he's lit them at all. It's almost as if his models just happen to stumble into spontaneously beautiful light just as he's ready to click the shutter on his camera. I was so impressed that I got in touch with him and asked him to contribute photographs and a bit of writing about his use of LED lights for my book, which he graciously did.

His first book for our mutual publisher was On Camera Flash Techniques. It quickly became a bestseller because he writes well and shoots even better. He followed it up a year later with a book called, Off Camera Flash Techniques which was as good as his first. I recommend both of those books if you are looking for lots of tips and techniques for using small flashes to create portraits and to cover events and wedding. Especially if you are interested in doing those things in a thoroughly modern idiom.

I am interested in this book, Direction and Quality of Light,  because I feel that Neil is working to re-invent our concepts of good portraiture and he's pushing away from the time weathered "rules and conventions" that main street studios and legions of mid-brow photographers have been repeating and recycling for decades.

He uses bright, fresh and very lovely models. He also uses a variety of lighting. His camera gear is state of the art but the real state of the art is his approach to lighting portraits. This is a book I wish I had done. It's that good. It is currently the #1 ranked book on lighting at Amazon.com...enjoy.

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