Portrait Photography:  From Snapshots to Great Shots

By Erik Valind

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In Portrait Photography: From Snapshots to Great Shots, author and photographer Erik Valind shows you how to get the best shots of your subjects–whether you’re in a studio or outdoors, at a family get-together, or at a formal event.

Starting with the fundamentals of portrait photography, including how to select the right camera settings and lenses and how to compose your shots, Erik covers building a rapport with your subject, and offers suggestions for poses that flatter your subject to achieve great shots. He then addresses the problems and opportunities of both natural and indoor light, offering ways to resolve lighting challenges of both, showing when and how to use a flash and how to add and modify light to improve the quality of your images. Finally, he walks through several portrait scenarios, including creating single-person shots such as headshots and environmental shots, and group shots such as family and wedding photos.

Follow along with Erik and you will: 

  • Learn the basics of capturing great portraits, such as focusing on the eyes, stepping back and zooming in, and turning your subject into the light
  • Evaluate focal length, compression, and working distance to select the best lens for any given shoot
  • Establish trust with your subject and provide helpful direction and feedback so they feel at ease and look their best
  • Address challenges associated with natural light such as shade and direct light–and tame or redirect the light for improved photographs
  • Improve the light with modifiers and other helpful tools such as strobes, umbrellas, and reflectors
  • Go “behind the scenes” and walk through the process of creating great portraits with two chapters of start-to-finish examples

Beautifully illustrated with large, vibrant photos, this book teaches you how to take control of your photography to get the portraits you want every time you pick up your camera.

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Shooting in Sh*tty Light: The Top Ten Worst Photography Lighting Situations and How to Conquer Them

By Erik Valind & Lindsay Adler

Shooting in Shitty Light

Sometimes photographers have to shoot in less than ideal lighting situations. Maybe the wedding is mid-day in the middle of a field, or perhaps the event is in a florescent-lit room. These scenarios can be particularly intimidating for beginning photographers who don't know how to handle the many undesirable lighting situations they may encounter.

In Shooting in Sh*tty Light, professional photographers Lindsay Adler and Erik Valind cover the top ten worst lighting situations and provide a variety of solutions for each. They explain which solutions are most practical and why one option might be preferable over another, examining such problems as extremely low lighting when no flash is allowed, strong backlight, and the light on an overcast day.

Unlike other books that focus on natural light or lighting in general, this book addresses a very real need of beginning photographers, answering the question, “What do I do when the lighting is terrible?” Lindsay and Erik candidly show you the tools at your disposal, demonstrating the techniques essential to getting the job done with minimal fuss. 

  • Shows how to deal with ten of the worst lighting situations, such as harsh midday light, extremely low light, and mixed light.
  • Offers real-life examples and practical solutions for handling poor light, such as identifying natural reflectors, bouncing light off a wall, or utilizing flash gels. 
  • Features a fun, conversational style to help you conquer the fear of poor lighting and approach any lighting situation with confidence!

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