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The Dramatic Portrait: The Art of Crafting Light and Shadow

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Without light, there is no photograph. As almost every photographer knows, the word -photograph- has its roots in two Greek words that, together, mean -drawing with light.- But what is less commonly acknowledged and understood is the role that shadow plays in creating striking, expressive imagery, especially in portraiture. It is through deft, nuanced use of both light and Without light, there is no photograph. As almost every photographer knows, the word -photograph- has its roots in two Greek words that, together, mean -drawing with light.- But what is less commonly acknowledged and understood is the role that shadow plays in creating striking, expressive imagery, especially in portraiture. It is through deft, nuanced use of both light and shadow that you can move beyond shooting simply ordinary, competent headshots into the realm of creating dramatic portraiture that can so powerfully convey a subject's inner essence, communicate a personal narrative, and express your photographic vision. In The Dramatic Portrait: The Art of Crafting Light and Shadow, Chris Knight addresses portraiture with a unique approach to both light and shadow that allows you to improve and elevate your own portraiture. He begins with the history of portraiture, from the early work of Egyptians and Greeks to the sublime treatment of light and subject by artists such as Caravaggio, Rembrandt, and Vermeer. Chris then dives into a deep, hands-on exploration of light, shadow, and portraiture, offering numerous lessons and takeaways. He covers: - The qualities of light: hard, soft, and the spectrum in between- The relationships between light, subject, and background, and how to control them- Lighting patterns such as Paramount, Rembrandt, loop, and split- Lighting ratios and how they affect contrast in your image- Equipment: from big and small modifiers to grids, snoots, barn doors, flags, and gels- Multiple setups for portrait shoots, including those that utilize one, two, and three lights- How color contributes to drama and mood, eliciting an emotional response from the viewer- How to approach styling your portrait, from wardrobe to background- The post-processing workflow, including developing the RAW file, maximizing contrast, color grading, retouching, and dodging and burning for heightened drama and effect- How all of these elements culminate to help you define your personal style and create your own narrative


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Without light, there is no photograph. As almost every photographer knows, the word -photograph- has its roots in two Greek words that, together, mean -drawing with light.- But what is less commonly acknowledged and understood is the role that shadow plays in creating striking, expressive imagery, especially in portraiture. It is through deft, nuanced use of both light and Without light, there is no photograph. As almost every photographer knows, the word -photograph- has its roots in two Greek words that, together, mean -drawing with light.- But what is less commonly acknowledged and understood is the role that shadow plays in creating striking, expressive imagery, especially in portraiture. It is through deft, nuanced use of both light and shadow that you can move beyond shooting simply ordinary, competent headshots into the realm of creating dramatic portraiture that can so powerfully convey a subject's inner essence, communicate a personal narrative, and express your photographic vision. In The Dramatic Portrait: The Art of Crafting Light and Shadow, Chris Knight addresses portraiture with a unique approach to both light and shadow that allows you to improve and elevate your own portraiture. He begins with the history of portraiture, from the early work of Egyptians and Greeks to the sublime treatment of light and subject by artists such as Caravaggio, Rembrandt, and Vermeer. Chris then dives into a deep, hands-on exploration of light, shadow, and portraiture, offering numerous lessons and takeaways. He covers: - The qualities of light: hard, soft, and the spectrum in between- The relationships between light, subject, and background, and how to control them- Lighting patterns such as Paramount, Rembrandt, loop, and split- Lighting ratios and how they affect contrast in your image- Equipment: from big and small modifiers to grids, snoots, barn doors, flags, and gels- Multiple setups for portrait shoots, including those that utilize one, two, and three lights- How color contributes to drama and mood, eliciting an emotional response from the viewer- How to approach styling your portrait, from wardrobe to background- The post-processing workflow, including developing the RAW file, maximizing contrast, color grading, retouching, and dodging and burning for heightened drama and effect- How all of these elements culminate to help you define your personal style and create your own narrative

30 review for The Dramatic Portrait: The Art of Crafting Light and Shadow

  1. 5 out of 5

    Rajiv Chopra

    If you take this book as a companion volume to his video lessons, which I have just started, then this is a very good book indeed. If you take this as just a book on portrait photography, then I think that he could have done better. I say this, because he is a very good photographer, and having seen some of his videos, he is a very good educator as well. There is too much emphasis on the history of portraiture and, if he had to go so deep into that, he should have included Asian (Indian/Oriental If you take this book as a companion volume to his video lessons, which I have just started, then this is a very good book indeed. If you take this as just a book on portrait photography, then I think that he could have done better. I say this, because he is a very good photographer, and having seen some of his videos, he is a very good educator as well. There is too much emphasis on the history of portraiture and, if he had to go so deep into that, he should have included Asian (Indian/Oriental) portraiture as well. Gone are the days when you wrote such books only for Western audiences! I like the breakdown of the book, however. I like his three case studies, that he presents at the end. What I also like, is how he shows the gradual build up of the dramatic portrait, with pictures and drawings. The section on post processing seems to have been written in a hurry, and this is a pity.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Max Karmazin

    Using it as a guidebook! History of art at the beginning of the book is a great addition. All important aspects are covered: light quality and quantity and how they affect picture, types of light, setups, post production etc. Loved every page.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Joe Garcia

    While I really enjoyed this book, truth is only about 30% of it is actually about light and shadow. So the book can seem a bit misleading, as many chapters talk about other subjects such a clothing style, color, and the history of art. It's an interesting read, but not really what I was hoping for. Also some of the subject matter is confusing, since I only came to this book for the lighting aspect; the photoshop chapter came off confusing to me, as I don't use photoshop, and the author wrote the While I really enjoyed this book, truth is only about 30% of it is actually about light and shadow. So the book can seem a bit misleading, as many chapters talk about other subjects such a clothing style, color, and the history of art. It's an interesting read, but not really what I was hoping for. Also some of the subject matter is confusing, since I only came to this book for the lighting aspect; the photoshop chapter came off confusing to me, as I don't use photoshop, and the author wrote the chapter as if the reader was an expert on the subject. Overall it's still a good book, with some amazing images. However, the lack of subject matter that mattered made it feel like the author just ran out of material and winged it.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Austin Wheeler

    A great book on the how's and the why's of Portraiture. Chris Knight is one of my favorite portrait photographers so when I found out he was releasing a book on portraiture, I had to have it. Chris packed this book with so much valuable information, not only the techniques of good lighting, but also a history of portraiture and most importantly, the WHYs of portraiture. Any photographer that's passionate about portraiture should have this book in their arsenal of photography books. A great book on the how's and the why's of Portraiture. Chris Knight is one of my favorite portrait photographers so when I found out he was releasing a book on portraiture, I had to have it. Chris packed this book with so much valuable information, not only the techniques of good lighting, but also a history of portraiture and most importantly, the WHYs of portraiture. Any photographer that's passionate about portraiture should have this book in their arsenal of photography books.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    Sometimes I watch videos on YouTube and I feel like the person is just going on and on trying to pad out the video in order to reach a certain length. This book kind of feels like one of those YouTube videos. When the author gets on with talking about portraiture and lighting it is really good, but he pads it out with some much unnecessary information. From the history of art at the beginning of the book to talking about where to rent costumes and props in the later chapters.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen Messmer

    This is one of the best photography books I’ve read...EVER! Besides the fact that Chris is a Pentax shooter (there are so few of us!) I love reading about his process. He makes it so simple to understand and implement. Every photographer should read this book. Even if you don’t do portrait photography.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Pearse Anderson

    First half of this book was incredibly slow! Last third felt incredibly fast, rushed! The middle third taught me a great deal about lighting! Thanks ProQuest Safari for offering these books to Oberlin students! Haha, we're terribly in debt. Reading another Rocky Nook now, about posing, this was interesting. Knight is a good writer. First half of this book was incredibly slow! Last third felt incredibly fast, rushed! The middle third taught me a great deal about lighting! Thanks ProQuest Safari for offering these books to Oberlin students! Haha, we're terribly in debt. Reading another Rocky Nook now, about posing, this was interesting. Knight is a good writer.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Anjella

    Very inspiring. Clearly written. One of the better lighting books I've read. He clearly demonstrates different types of lighting and different sources as well as going into further things such as props and costumes. Very inspiring. Clearly written. One of the better lighting books I've read. He clearly demonstrates different types of lighting and different sources as well as going into further things such as props and costumes.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Envela

    I don't usually select five stars. I felt like I was learning things all over again, but mostly it kept me inspired. I wasn't sure about the jokey bits at first but I ended up loving it. I wish there was more or this book though. I don't usually select five stars. I felt like I was learning things all over again, but mostly it kept me inspired. I wasn't sure about the jokey bits at first but I ended up loving it. I wish there was more or this book though.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Alvaro Marquez

    A good starting point As a summary, the book is great; however, I expected more in-depth treatment of some subjects or at least some reference material to investigate more.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sebastian Gil

    Very good book, with detailed explanation how certain look was achieved.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Lori B. Hill

    Excellent Knight's style is straightforward and precise. The reader should have a basic working knowledge of lighting and modifiers in order to get the most from this book. Excellent Knight's style is straightforward and precise. The reader should have a basic working knowledge of lighting and modifiers in order to get the most from this book.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Pablo Giménez

    Un libro ideal para plantearse el retrato desde una perspectiva más impactante y cautivadora

  14. 5 out of 5

    Tina Panik

    For photographers at the intermediate level and above, as the technical work and tips require increased attention. The shot set ups and examples of variations on light are outstanding.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Silvia

    3,5 Forse rischia di essere una ripetizione per i più esperti, ma l'ho trovato comunque un manuale molto interessante. Contentissima di aver trovato paragrafi che si occupassero di un tema spesso trascurato quale il colore. 3,5 Forse rischia di essere una ripetizione per i più esperti, ma l'ho trovato comunque un manuale molto interessante. Contentissima di aver trovato paragrafi che si occupassero di un tema spesso trascurato quale il colore.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Gabriel Caro

  17. 4 out of 5

    Robert Mealing

  18. 4 out of 5

    Marc

  19. 4 out of 5

    Dranau Gabriel

  20. 4 out of 5

    John Barnard

  21. 4 out of 5

    Mathu Neeraj

  22. 4 out of 5

    Johnny

  23. 5 out of 5

    Alexis McKeown

  24. 4 out of 5

    Rigo Ortiz

  25. 5 out of 5

    Вес Янкова

  26. 4 out of 5

    Hugo Ahlberg

  27. 5 out of 5

    James

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jean Jimenez

  29. 4 out of 5

    Cliff

  30. 5 out of 5

    Salvador

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