2.10.2012

The Fifth Book Has Finally, Officially Landed at Amazon.com. Finally.


LED Lighting.  Kirk's Fifth Book.


Of all the changes that technology's brought to photography one of the most interesting to me is how it's changed the way we light things.  The tools are transforming the vision of a generation.  Cameras with faster ISOs require less light but the light you do bring to the table is so much more controllable and easy to use than ever before.  While most still photographers use flash in some form I'm pretty certain that the future will call for more use of continuous light and more flexibility in choosing our tools.

I started using LEDs when Canon and Nikon and Olympus and Sony started putting really cool video capabilities in their cameras.  I wanted to see if I could open up some profitable markets for myself by adding video to the product mix I offer my clients.  While I'm not setting the world on fire with video, the simple interviews and web videos I've done put an extra $10,000+ in my accounts last year.   Not big money but if we work hard on improving every step I'm sure we can make those numbers grow, year by year.

So I got my first set of LED lights to augment available light with video but on the way to becoming the next Steven Spielberg I noticed that I was attracted to using the LEDs, more and more, for still life work where the WYSIWYG nature of continuous lighting made my shoot more efficient and productive.  Now I had a reason to jump in and learn with both feet.  So I bought more and bigger panels.  In effect, I slid into LED lighting the way you slide into a hot bath....just a toe at a time and then finally, the commitment, and the  plunge.

Now, a year and a half later, I've used the LEDs to light executive portraits, twilight portraits, complex (for me) food shoots, studio shoots with actors for Zachary Scott Theater, and some really fun and fast moving corporate reportage.  A few days ago I was asked to photograph some books in a three dimensional sort of way.  A few years back I would have been reaching for the electronic flash monolights and I'd start the "chimping" process.  I'd be setting up soft boxes and umbrellas and blah, blah, blah.  

With my bigger LED panels I just flipped the switch to "on,"  lined up the shot on the live view screen of my camera, set the aperture I knew I'd need to cover the book with sharp focus, adjusted the shutter speed until the live histogram looked correct and then tripped the shutter.  A quick, magnified look at the file and I was on to the next set up.  Color?  Perfect.  Just using AWB.  Perfect?  I finished in two hours what had taken me, in past "flash centric" shoots, perhaps four or five hours.

In the book I've written about choosing the right LEDs.  About the accessories that seem to work best for me working with the lights.  About using them for my favorite subject: Portraits.  There are over 250 images that illustrate every point.  The book is 160 pages long as is the culmination of a year and a half of research and "real world" use.  And then six long months of writing a re-writing.

I hope you'll take a chance and add this book to your library of photographic books.  I'll continue to update my knowledge base about LEDs and what's changing in the market place and share that information here.  What every writer in this day and age needs is the support of his audience.  In a way the books pay for and are the prime impetus for writing this blog.  Every book sold gives me time to explore, write and shoot more.

thank you.



17 comments:

pepeye said...

I just got an updated delivery notice from Amazon on my copy and I'm really looking forward to it. I've done very little flash photography but, for some reason, I find myself much more intersted in the WYSIWYG nature of continuous lighting of LED's. Its not likely to cut down on my chimping, though. Once a chimp, always a chimp.

Tim A. said...

I've been intrigued with the recent development with LED's for photography and am curious how I can integrate it along with my small flashes (or just replace it). But since I travel all the time for work international...what's the chances of this showing up for the Kindle? With the Kindle Fire, photography books are fantastic to read! In the meantime, I'll definitely check out the physical "dead tree" version as well :)

kirk tuck said...

If this book follows it's cousins it should be available on Kindle in a couple of months.

Libby said...

It's on my list. I've never been a fan of continuous lights, but I have augmented with LED. This will be an interesting read. Thanks! There are those who appreciate your toil and trouble.

Ken Tanaka said...

I've not seen your book, Kirk, but it's a subject worth an early flyover. Continuous, powerful, dimmable light sources with consistent color temperatures but WITHOUT THE LIZARD-COUNTRY HEAT! Woowee!

I've just begun to explore the possibilities of the new LED lighting, having a dual-bank (500 lamp) panel and several smaller sources. It's definitely putting some of my Kino and Arri lamps on the sidelines.

Congrats on doing an early reference to this gear, Kirk. I'm eager to read it.

Mike said...

Congratulations Kirk! I can't wait to get my copy. I'm really excited about this one, because no one else is writing in-depth about LEDs yet.

kirk tuck said...

Thanks Guys. We're in the early days of LEDs. They are just going to get better and better. Always fun to be an early adopter. Someone has to throw time and money at this stuff so we can all get it figured out.

Anonymous said...

Just bought my copy!! Looking forward, Kirk!

Gregg Mack said...

Just got my notice from Amazon.com telling me that my copy should be delivered by Feb. 16th. I'm really looking forward to reading this one!

cfw said...

I don't do any commercial or continuous lighting work but always wanted to try continuous lighting for portraits. I ordered your book today and hope it will prove to be a good start-up guide for getting into this kind of lighting. Thanks for taking the time and effort to write it.

cfw

Carlo Santin said...

Just ordered the book Kirk. I have no experience with off camera flash and have been wanting to get into off camera lighting, so I figure I'll start with LED's. Looking forward to learning something new.

Gerry said...

Congrats on your new book, Kirk. I just ordered a copy via your Amazon link. I can't wait to read it!

Michael Sebastian said...

Kirk, I have several of your other books, and I'm looking forward to adding this one once it's available for the Kindle.

Peter said...

Kirk, my copy arrived from Amazon Canada a few days back. I didn't think I was that interested in LEDs, but now I may just have to put my photofloods out for good. Hard to go wrong for $25 in the world of photography.
Thanks.

kirk tuck said...

They've got two reviews up on Amazon. So far we're doing well....

Anonymous said...

Amazon said it's on the way!

mikal said...

Kirk,

I am an attorney whose main practice is adoption related. I use my cameras (Leica M6 and Sony a900) to take photos of the legal proceedings and of the new parents seeing their babies for the first time. Many times flash is frowned upon, especially in the nurseries.

I was wondering if I could use the LED lights on low power to give myself just enough light instead of using a flash. Yes I can always change the "film speed" on the Sony but if all I have is 400 speed film in the Leica I need extra lighting.

Thank you.