Wednesday, June 19, 2013

REVIEW: Shooting in Sh*tty Light

Shooting in Sh*tty Light: The Top Ten Worst Photography Lighting Situations and How to Conquer Them has to be one of the best book titles ever, because how many times do we find ourselves shooting in sh*tty light right? Wouldn’t it be great for a book to actually talk about shooting in direct sunlight, fluorescent & mixed light, at night with and without a flash, in dappled light and with strong backlight? If this is what you really want to know then you’ll probably love this book as that’s pretty much the titles of most of the chapters of this book!

Now I’ll be honest in saying that most of these situations call for the same solution – the use of a diffusion panel and/or reflector and sometimes fill light. This book goes in depth on these topics, so if you are looking for the magic bullet that allows you to shoot your kids running around in these conditions – this isn’t it. What it does teach quite well is how you can get nice shots of people who can take simple instructions – especially when you have someone who can act as your assistant and hold some common components of a typical reflector kit.

This is a subject that is near and dear to my heart as it’s one thing I like to teach during workshops. It’s a very simple and low cost series of techniques that can make a huge difference in your photography (both indoors and outdoors). The concepts discussed also help you to better understand light so you can apply them to other random challenges you’ll inevitably face during your photography journey.

It’s well written, simple and to the point. What’s more, most of the photos look like they are the out of the camera result with little to know post-processing, so if you like my “real world samples” style then this book will be a welcome relief over what you’d typically find.


I didn’t include a walkthrough section for this review because you can easily understand what’s included by taking a peek inside of the table of contents on the Amazon page for this book. In fact, this is probably a good version to have on your Kindle Fire HD (or equivalent reader) because it’s nice to have a reference handy to solve these common problems when you are out shooting.

If you haven’t mastered using a reflector and diffuser, and the ins and outs of when and why to use them then I highly recommend this book. If you feel comfortable with those tools, yet you still are disappointed with the results you get when photographing people or pets outdoors, then give this book a look – it’s worth your time.

I highly recommend this book – it was much better than I expected!

Where to order

Click here to order this book from Amazon.

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bgood said...

Thanks for the review including limitations for shooting kids. With my 3 year old grandaughter, I don't have someone who wants to pose, hold still, or take directions and I don't have assistants. BUT, I do have CERTAIN PLACES WHERE THE NATURAL LIGHT IS GOOD and where she will be at certain times during the day (at the counter playing or eating, etc.) and I can work those spots perhaps with different props.

Michael Scehen said...

Agreed, quick easy read. Great book for common lighting issues. My wife gave it to me as a Christmas gift. Now she just needs to buy me some reflectors and screens!