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Light Right – Lavine, Bartholomew

Light Right
  • Editor Rating

  • Might be OK for some Togs
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  • Light Right
  • Reviewed by:
  • Published on: August 29, 2013
  • Last modified: August 30, 2013

  • Review Summary:

  • A very broad and rudimentary introduction into studio lighting and establishing a photography career.

This is a very basic, entry-level instruction book – photography 101, if you will. As the authors state, “This book isn’t a collection of lighting recipes. It’s not a strictly technical how-to book…It will be your guide to fully immerse yourself in the ways you can get light to do what you want.” Fully immerse is an overstatement, but the book does do a good job of getting someone with zero photography knowledge a basic start.

Covering a wide swath of information, from “Philosophy of Lighting” to “Reading a Histogram ” the authors have all the essentials beginners need to know. There are images comparing effects of different light modifiers and illustrations of how light and shadow change as camera and light source positions change. They explain the building blocks of proper exposure, provide a quick run down of basic studio equipment and devote a few pages to discussing camera and lens features. Don’t expect a lot of detail here, though. If you’re looking for help choosing the right gear, look elsewhere.

You’ll find references to several photographic techniques, such as light painting, but, again, you’ll find more detailed instruction for free online. The authors also included several interviews with established photographers, but they lack much helpful information. The few good Q&As in there (i.e., Martin Wannacot’s excellent answer to “What advice would you give to someone starting out?”) are scarce.

If you’ve been learning about photography already, you may find the most value from this work begins at Chapter 9: Getting Started with $500. Lavine and Bartholomew offer some sound advice to graduating photography students or people trying to enter the profession, like where to cut corners and where not to scrimp. Also, presenting yourself as a business and a professional. These later chapters are almost like a separate book where they offer pointers for more established shooters on branding and marketing, continually experimenting/producing new work, and keeping expenses low.

Overall, this book is covers a lot of territory, but none of it is particularly detailed. There are entire books and hours of instructional videos available that cover what Lavine and Bartholomew address in a chapter or a few paragraphs. That’s not a bad thing if you need a broad introduction and understand what you are buying.

The TOGreview final opinion: there is only a very small segment of people who will get their money’s worth from this book.

And a side note, TOGreview downloaded the Kindle version and saved a few dollars, but we were disappointed with the screen adaptation. Of course, with adjustable type size, layout orientation options, etc. it might be hard to get books on an iPad to look perfect for everyone. But, constantly having to flip between pages when illustrations/photos didn’t appear with the corresponding details, or when sidebars were oddly broken between pages, was a little frustrating. If you’re interested in this book, you might find the print version is worth the extra cost.

Have you read this book? Please rate and add your comments. Help other Togs decide if this is a good fit for them.



Addresses a wide variety of topics beginning photographers need to know. Does provide some good advice for those who are just getting started.


Covers tons of topics but none of them extremely well.

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