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Studio Photography: Essential Skills [Paperback]

John Child
1.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Kindle Edition CDN $17.68  
Paperback CDN $27.38  
Paperback, Oct. 30 2001 --  

Book Description

Oct. 30 2001 0240516680 978-0240516684 2
John Child has updated and improved his inspirational studio photography guide to further stimulate your creative ideas. Fully illustrated with brand new student and author work, a colour section is now also included to show the photographic effects to their full advantage.

You are guided through the use of studio equipment for a wide variety of different purposes. With a strong commercial orientation, the emphasis is highly practical and focuses on technique, communication and design within the genres of still life, advertising illustration, portraiture and fashion.

This successful guide is an essential tool for those working with small, medium and large format cameras in a controlled environment where the image output is to film or digital file. You are encouraged to experiment whether you have expensive equipment, or are using natural light sources; either way you will see how it is possible to achieve acceptable results and develop your skills.

John Child lectures in photography at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Australia - the leading photography course in the southern hemisphere. He has worked for many years as a professional photographer, with clients including Ford, L'Oreal, American Express and British Airways.

Benefit from the successful, highly structured learning approach to ensure you understand the fundamental skills
Reinforce your skills with a wide variety of practical activitiesLearn all the essential principles of studio photography

Product Details

Product Description


Review of current edition:

'The book gradually introduces the reader to increasingly sophisticated arrangements, with each chapter adding a new layer of technical skill... this is a very useful and practical book.'
Amateur Photographer

'....students of photography should find the well-laid-out theoretical information, practical advice, revision exercises and detailed assignments a useful resource to guide them through their course. The structured format means you can dip into any chapter for a quick re-cap....'
Professional Printer

Review of previous edition:

'Ideal as set books for the new 2000 syllabus AS/A Level course.'
Photography A Level teacher on Studio Photography and Location Photography

Book Description

Comprehensive primer to the essential principles of studio photography --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
To develop knowledge and understanding of the history and development of the various genres of studio photography. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars BUYER BEWARE!!! Feb. 23 2003
I had to purchase this book for a university studio photography course...unfortunately, the instructor never even flipped through it. It is by far the WORST photography book, really the worst book I have ever purchased! There are typo's, the "example photos" and instruction sometime are not the same. The projects are lame and really teach nothing. I would not recommend this book under any circumstances...AVOID AT ALL COST!!! I believe the editor or copywriter or whomever read the book before final printing should be FIRED!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 2.9 out of 5 stars  15 reviews
43 of 47 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars BUYER BEWARE!!! Feb. 23 2003
By Rhonda Mankin - Published on
I had to purchase this book for a university studio photography course...unfortunately, the instructor never even flipped through it. It is by far the WORST photography book, really the worst book I have ever purchased! There are typo's, the "example photos" and instruction sometime are not the same. The projects are lame and really teach nothing. I would not recommend this book under any circumstances...AVOID AT ALL COST!!! [...]
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars DON"T WASTE YOUR TIME Oct. 19 2006
By M. Luedke - Published on
This book really is an insult. It's "lesson" and "assignments" are HORRIBLE. They ask you to research in magazines different lighting effects that you think were used in his book. In a field where doing is truly the best learning experience this book is not worth the paper it was printed on. Check it out from a library if you must but you will shortly find it is an insulting read.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars easy money maker for author!! March 17 2007
By Daniel E. Dunphy - Published on
since their are not many digital photography books for instructors,

they pick what they think will fit the bill-it's irritating when they don't even look at the book before requiring it. the book is o.k., but

should not be used for a textbook! it's insulting. to anyone interested in

photography keep this in mind-photography books, especially

the old and true, and info. on the internet will teach you the basics. because photography is mainly digital, it is very well suited for self-study. don't waste your time buying required marginal books and paying for photography classes. your money will be better spend on good glass(lenses) and a tripod, and of course learn photoshop--just my opinion

on a friday night.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Please, DO NOT Use as a Textbook for ANY Class Jan. 30 2012
By Albert Stichka - Published on
Studio Photography, John Child, Focal Press, the textbook for my Light and Lighting class, is the single worst book I have ever read on the subject of photography. It is poorly written, poorly researched, and poorly executed. Most photography books fall into or contain elements from three categories: technical information, personal experience, and creative inspiration. This book fails to deliver in any meaningful way in any of those categories.

The use of technical language is sloppy and at times misleading.

The lessons presented are meant to be followed precisely, but the example photographs are imprecise creative interpretations - giving no technical, accurate means to compare one's work to what is expected.

The content of the book is artificially padded by frequent repetition of definitions and descriptions used in previous chapters.

The suggested exercises tend to resemble busy work and leave the task of actually interpreting concepts and results to the student with little guidance or reference.

The text claims to be presenting general concepts which the student photographer can use to apply to a variety of equipment and situations. What it actually does is describe the specific use of specific equipment in specific ways to reproduce an example scenario.

This book, which claims to be a textbook for studio lighting, fails to ever define, describe, mention the importance of, or even provide practical information for the handling of the following CRITICAL principles of studio photography:

The distinction between direct, diffused, and specular highlights.

The principle of the family of angles of reflectance.

The principle of how surface material and color impact the nature of reflection.

The principle of how reflector material impacts its efficiency, color, and the nature of its reflected light.

Grids. Seriously. Grids are never mentioned even once in this book. Neither are snoots. No means of increasing directionality of a light is covered in this book other than casual mention of barn doors (and presumption that the student has access to the use of barn doors) and the use of a spotlight with an adjustable lens.



The nature of metal, glass, and plastic. There is one practical example of managing specular reflection in metal but it is never explained - the student is simply directed to follow particular steps and is never told why. Managing the process of photographing glass is never covered in any meaningful way, despite it being a hugely popular subject.

Bloom. The student is frequently encouraged to "overexpose" surfaces to achieve the color white, but the subject of bloom and flare are never mentioned as a concern in this technique.

Gobos/Flags. A few assignments describe the use of these tools as part of following the specific instructions for that lesson, but throughout the book the student is simply told to "check for flare" or "move the light".

Negative fill is never mentioned and never utilized.

These are all just the things I found missing from the book off the top of my head. An exhaustive, critical analysis of what is wrong with this book would have to be nearly as long as the book itself. There is something either incorrect, misleading, poorly executed, or missing on nearly every page. The small section devoted to the concept of high key portraiture may as well have suggested the student shine a flashlight into the camera just to get more overexposed regions.

The actual, useful technical information in this book - the actual impact this book would have on improving a student photographer's grasp of light or studio techniques - would probably be equivalent to tearing five pages at random out of the book Light, Science & Magic, and telling the student photographer to just figure the rest out through practice.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lighting skills for the thinking photographer July 20 2009
By Abjet - Published on
A key fact that separates this book from others is the fact that it requires you to *think* (gasp!!). If you're looking for quick-fix lighting solutions, for the kettle you want to sell on eBay, with some lighting diagrams and sketchy descriptions, this book may not be ideal for you.

On the other hand, if you're looking for insights into how to problem solve in a lighting situation (whether for product shots or portraits) and skills you can carry with you, this is the book you've been searching for.

John breaks down complex lighting problems into a set of tractable challenges, then proceeds to share the core skills that go into creating the mind-blowing imagery we see in product campaigns.

This book is the required text in the BA Commercial Photography program at RMIT University (Melbourne, Australia). The students from this course have gone on to be some of Australia's (and the World's) best commercial photographers. And guess what? They've all been learning from this book. All the "show-case" images used throughout the book (including the cover) are created by students studying this course and following this book.

John is an award winning photographer and advertising film maker. His approach to teaching is simple yet engaging and encourages the reader to think.

In summary, there are no quick-fix-ready-mix approaches to lighting. This book equips the intrepid photographer with the skills to set their creativity free. It builds on skills step-by-step to help the photographer develop a repertoire of skills that will prove invaluable in any shoot-situation.

I am a final year student of this program and have learnt everything I know about lighting from this book. My work can be viewed at: [..]
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