“Light, Shadow & Skin Tone: The Complete Guide to Shooting Black & White Glamour Photography Both Digitally and on Film” by Bill Lemon – Book Review

Light Shadow & Skin Tone, Bill Lemon, Book, Front CoverLight, Shadow & Skin Tone: The Complete Guide to Shooting Black & White Glamour Photography Both Digitally and on Film” by Bill Lemon is one of the best how to books in this genre I have ever seen.

Light, Shadow & Skin Tone” © 2009 is written for the advanced beginner to professional level reader. 

As a jumping off point, Bill assumes you have a basic understanding of photography, like exposure, camera usage etc.  

This book will not teach you about what a lens is or what wide-angle or F-Stop is, etc.

What Bill does do is cover the subject of shooting black and white glamour and nudes, and does it well.

While many how to books are full of information and photos, “Light, Shadow & Skin Tone” has the information on the same, or adjacent page to the photos.

Many other books talk about a photographic point, and the reader is left to wonder which photo in the book this bit of wisdom applies to?

At 11″ x 8.5″ x 0.5″ and 144 pages, this book is like 50% photos, 50% words.  (Amazon says it’s 288 pages, it is not that long nor need it be.)

The words are like right next to the relevant photo, or tell you which page the photo in question is on, and they pretty much tell you what’s going on in the photo.

This is a most welcome break through.

The words may explain for instance, how the smooth texture of a fair-skinned model works because it is plays off a dark rough rocky backdrop… or how dark hair can play off a light sky, and light hair may need something dark to separate it from the background.

And, there are the photo examples, right there, showing what Bill means… Great.

How to Black and White GlamourBill talks about and shows how to see the world in black and white.  

Black and white being a world where the tonal range is more important than color.  

For example, bright orange and bright blue separate well in color images, but may look the same shade of gray in black and white.

Contrast and textural changes, along with tonality are what black and white is all about.

Bill covers this subject with example after example, and shows how, with simple gear, and clear words how it’s possible to get outstanding results.

Bill gear are mainly middle of the road Nikon cameras … not even the top end.

Most shots seem taken with Nikon D100‘s and D200‘s and a few flim cameras and others.  Yes, an occasional shot is taken with a Hasselblad 503 or a mid level D300 … but, it’s occasional.

Lenses are also middle of the road, like the Nikon 70-300 VR, Tamron 28-75,  Nikon 24-120 VR.  This are very affordable glass …

Each shot gives information about what camera and lens was used, Shutter speed, F-Stop …

And, then there are words with details:

  • Was the lighting natural?
  • Why did the model have the bright white piece of undies just there?  Oh, to help create contrast or separation…?
  • And, what about mistakes?

Bill includes shots with ‘mistakes,’ like cropping a foot in half… and states that usually, one would not do this, but other powerful compositional elements and details in the background made this the best, or at least an acceptable choice.

If you like black and white glamour or nudes, this is a great book, buy it.

This should not be your first ever photography book, unless you are just buying for the photos, which are pretty good.

There are other photo books out there, check out the other reviews…

This is a great instructional.

To buy or see inside “Light, Shadow & Skin Tone” on Amazon (there is a preview for this volume) click here.

For a listing of Books Reviewed on GlamourPhotography.co, click here.

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