The Natural Light Portrait Book by Scott Kelby was my main source of education last week. Here’s a quick review and my biggest takeaways!
First off, I would not recommend this book for a new photographer. Whereas this book is clearly written to include beginners, I think it has far more use for Intermediate photographers. Not because of the advanced topics discussed, but because I do not believe the methods described in this book are the best way to start.
It is because of the foundation I already have approaching this book, that I believe I was able to gather the most from it.
When you’re brand new, you take everything for fact. With a firmer foundation, it’s easier to understand why the author does things a certain way and be able to decipher if that’s something you want to implement or not.
There is not a single discussion in this book that I could not directly understand or relate to. This left me free to pick up my favorite takeaways in a quick read!
The Natural Light Portrait Book is very well written. Scott Kelby does an excellent job keeping the reader engaged! This can be difficult for educational reading. I very much so appreciated his humorous chapter intros.
My biggest takeaways were:
Editing doesn’t have to be fancy or difficult. Scott describes his portrait editing process in great detail in the last section of the book. The last chapter inspired me to go back to basics. Going back to basics is something every photographer and artist needs reminded of every so often.
Lightroom feels so simple after a few years of using it but there are always features and sliders forgotten. I love when my education pursuits call attention to areas in Lightroom I have neglected.
I’ve been so wrapped up in studio work lately, I’ve forgotten the advantage of my giant beautiful windows! Across the street from my studio, is ALLOT of green this time of year. The light spilling in is filled with green color cast but I’m determined to make it beautiful this summer with a few fresh ideas inspired by this book.
Scott puts up a good argument for lens choice. He discusses selecting your lens for what type of portrait you’re trying to take. It’s easy to get caught up in a go-to lens as a wedding photographer. A go-to lens that often won’t flatter your subject the way you’re hoping to. You can have all the posing and lighting knowledge in the world and still be sabotaged by lens choice. I have seen this personally during live judging at WPPI.
Beginner photographers often end their lens knowledge with how much fits in the frame and available fstop. There are many more attributes to consider in a lenses strengths, and weakness. I know I still have so much to experience on this topic but I soaked up every detail on lens choice and settings in this book.
I am a better photographer for having read this book. Thanks, Scott! If you consider yourself Intermediate or have been shooting in Aperture Priority or Manual Mode for a year or more, I definitely recommend it for a quick read!
Natural Light Portrait