Friday, September 2, 2011

Books about lighting interiors........?

I have a list of recommended books here on this blog that glaringly is lacking in "how to" titles. To me the weakness of most books about interior lighting is that they make lighting interiors look simpler and more formulaic than it ever is. Lighting interiors is NEVER formulaic. Each interior requires a different solution and it is hard to convey a method of "creative problem solving in the field" in a book. IMO Norman McGrath's books comes closest, but I know from trying to use it a s a textbook for students that it is frustrating to newcomers who want and expect clear formulas rather than general approaches and aesthetic suggestions. In any given shoot I will shoot some interiors with natural light, some with some light strobe fill, some heavily lit with strobe, some lit with halogens, some done with exposure blending and many with combinations of the above. How do I know what to do each time. Well 30+ years of experience helps but.......the key is learning to creatively solve lighting problems in the field. But how do you convey that especially in the face of changing technology? I have been contracted twice to write such books and have given up both times.

Anyone have books that do the job?


  1. Kirk,

    Your post answers your own question: as their is no one way to light an interior, an AP's best asset is the ability to think creatively on one's feet, to improvise as the situation warrants.

    What you've written would make a fine introduction to the book that I hope you will one day write. And you've got may year's worth of samples to make your point.

    I'll be buying a copy of your book...whenever you do write it.


  2. I've thought about writing such a book, even to the point of talking to publishers and contracting for it. But I have always bailed for lack of time and being flummoxed by the issue I mention above

  3. There's an eBook that covers this quite well:

  4. That has been suggested to me before. I could be wrong but I'm not going to spend $50 to find out. Two things have put me off from buying it. The cover photo is frankly not well lit IMO. It is over lit (no mood) and there seems to be an off color cyan/blue cast. Also the "real estate" moniker suggests to me a much lower end of the market than I am trying to talk to. The rest of his portfolio looks much better. Maybe he should update it?

  5. I have bought Scott Hargis's book. In my opinion it is very well written book. Scott explains how he lights the interior but more importantly why he does what he does.
    The book is in fact aimed on Real Estate photographers. So the target is to make a photograph as good as possible in reasonable time, using small hotshue flashes. (and in fact usualy very bright photo).
    I am just surprised that somebody aiming much higher then real estate photography has problem to spend 50$ on an ebook.... And if you read the page, you will find out that Scott offers 30 day money back guarantee....

  6. Michal, Its not for me. I've been doing it for 30+ years already. I want it to review for my students and readers. And for that I am always given a review copy.

  7. How about just providing descriptions of all of the available equipment options that might get used for lighting control for architectural photography, and then some examples of kits that prominent APs bring for different purposes? I am not just talking about the lights themselves, but a complete description of the available tools of the trade and their uses.

  8. I wish I had that broad of experience. But I have been using basically the same kit for 30 years-except I added Pocket Wizards a few years ago. I'm simply not qualified nor do I have the time to put together such a list.

    I use:
    2 Norman 800w Power-packs
    4 Norman 2000w Power-packs
    8 heads
    maybe 8 light stands from floor to about 12" in height
    numerous Light Disks for bouncing light
    Numerous umbrellas for "throwing" the light
    4 Lowell Tota Lights
    2 Lowell Omni Lights
    Gels to convert them to daylight
    Black sheets for killing reflections and ambient light.
    White sheets for filtering daylight
    Full set of Pocket Wizards for slaving strobes
    Traditional slaves and sync cord for back up

    If I think of more I will add it.


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