Book Review – Light It, Shoot It, Retouch It

Book Review by John Krill, NOCCC #3160

Light It, Shoot It, Retouch It
Learn Step by Step How to Go from Empty Studio to Finished Image
by Scott Kelby

Publisher: New Riders
Pages: 238
Chapters: 13
Price: $46.99 (Amazon: $27.68, Kindle: $19.79)

In 50 years of using a camera I’ve owned only 2 electronic flashes. I won’t even go into flash bulb era. So to say I’m ignorant in my knowledge of artificial lighting is an understatement. In my 4 years as a Marine Corps photographer I would go anywhere, do any assignment, but I would do anything to stay out of the studio. So when I was asked to review this book my first though was: Not in a thousand years!

I changed my mind. Why? Because I have two projects that are entirely portrait based and artificial lighting will be necessary. So here goes.

About The Author Scott Kelby

Scott Kelby has written so many books on photography and Adobe Photoshop that I gave up counting all of them at Amazon. He knows Photoshop. He is one of the most experienced experts on Photoshop. Scott Kelby just knows.

I mention all this because he knows how to write and how to present information in a way we can all understand.

His website is:

What It Is?

This book is a how-to for setting up a small studio lighting system. It details what equipment to purchase, how to shoot with one, two, and three lights, and the steps the author used to process the images in Adobe Photoshop.

That’s it in a nutshell.

How Each Example’s Lighting Setup Is Presented

There are 11 different setups using one, two, and three lights and one setup using four lights, where he demonstrates the arrangement of the lights and their power settings and what settings he uses on his camera. He then goes through a step-by-step process of editing the image.

There are also several illustrated photos of each shooting showing the entire studio setup and the posing of the model. One nice thing he does is illustrate each lighting system with an overhead photo and he also removes all the extra clutter, cables mostly, that helps in showing the each layout clearly.

Since the lighting and shooting steps are fairly straight forward they tend to take up the least time. The major discussion is on using Photoshop. This is usually a long explanation for each step in creating the perfect image in Photoshop.

Even though most of the book involves using Photoshop that doesn’t take anything away from the lighting and shooting of each shot. All the information you need is presented in a very clear manner.

A Big Bonus

A really great bonus is at the end of the book. He goes through all the lighting setup over again BUT he uses hot shoe flashes. For me this is a big plus. Now I can get started on building a portable studio. This is much less expensive way of starting out in artificial lighting.

And Then There Is That Gear Guide

Lastly is a complete guide to all the equipment used in the book.

Don’t Forget The Extras Online

You can go online and download all the images that they use in the book. Note: The book uses RAW images but they only provide high res JPGs online. You can still load the JPGs into the Photoshop RAW editor.

If you have never setup multiple lights and controlled them by one unit (That’s me!) then take a look at the video provided.

The link to the photos and the video is:

Just Get Started

Now I need to get online and use the book as a guide and start building my own studio.