What book would I start with if I wanted to learn how to light?

The one book I always recommend for people who want to really learn about lighting.

I know you might have thought I'd be pushing one of my lighting books in today's column but I'm writing this because I've been hearing from a lot of people lately who want to move beyond the noble savage stage (available light only) of photography and really learn how the nuts and bolts of lighting work. I'm old fashion, I think you should learn the theory first and then build the practice framework on top of that.

I've written five books on photography and I know how hard it is to do it right. Fil Hunter, Steven Biver and Paul Fuqua have done it right with their book, Light, Science, Magic..., so much so that it is now in its fourth edition and it never leaves the top ten tier of lighting books on Amazon.com
It is one of the best books about the nature and control of light I have ever read and I keep replacing copies that are (permanently) "borrowed" from the studio bookshelves because I find myself returning to the book time and again as a primary reference for both my writing about lighting and my practice of photography.

Disclaimer: I have no financial interest in this book. Mr. Hunter and I exchanged e-mails several years ago about the possibility of doing a joint project but we were both too busy to follow up and nothing came of the communication. I just really like this book and think VSL readers will be happy to have it at hand as a resource.

Buying a copy from the link below will help to support the blog with no additional cost to the purchaser: 



cidereye said...

Many thanks for the recommendation Kirk!

Any chance of you also putting up an Amazon UK link for this and any further Amazon links you post? I would rather offer some support to the funding of VSL if I can, if this is simply not possible then fair enough.

Peter F. said...

Is it written for "pros only". I'm interested but have little background, to date. Thanks.

Peter F.

Steve said...

Great book, I bought a copy about 18 months ago after a workshop organised by Ghene Snowdon. I think it was bought from Amazon UK, but I'd agree that if possible it would be nice to be able to support you via Amazon for those of us here in the UK.

Kirk Tuck said...

It's a book that's more theory than exact light placements. As a theory book it starts out at "A" and heads to "Z". It's a great read even if you never want to pick up a light or handle a softbox.

Kirk Tuck said...

Steve and Cidereye, I'll do some research and see what I can do to add UK links. Much appreciated.

Steve said...

Thanks - please keep up the good work, much appreciated.

cidereye said...

Thanks Kirk!

Frank Grygier said...

You will certainly get to know your family of angles.

Paul said...

I've just finished reading this on Kirk's recommendation. Fantastic book - it makes me feel like buying some lighting gear

Noons said...

Just got it and it is indeed a superb reference.
Ah yes, and also got one of yours!
Thanks heaps, Kirk.