‘The Portrait’ by Glenn Rand and Tim Meyers – Book Review

The Portrait, Glenn Rand, Tim MeyersThe Portrait‘ by Rand and Meyers is a soft covered book chock full of technical information for aspiring portrait photographers.

While many subjects are covered, at 10 x 8 x 0.5 inches and with 200 pages, this book is loaded with detailed information which seems to keep drifting back to lighting portraits.

Where are lights positioned?  What is Rembrandt Lighting?

What was the arrangement of light in Rembrandt’s studio?

What is the color of light?

What happens to shadows on a face as lighting is made harder, softer, moved up/down around ….???

There is a companion workbook to “The Portrait“, which does not seem to be readily available of lighting setups, showing actual lighting diagrams and the photographs taken with the set ups.  These workbooks are seminar handouts …  If you can get one, grab it !!!

My friend had one, I could not find one, alas ….

Closed Loop, Open Loop, Butterfly, Split Lighting

Closed Loop, Open Loop, Butterfly, Split Lighting Examples on a Bust

The mix of words to images/drawings/graphics in “The Portrait” is about 50/50…

It needs more images, drawings and graphics … ( Workbook !! )

The Portrait, Rear CoverThe words are very good, and very instructional.  The images provided, many of them are very helpful, especially of the Greek Sculptured bust, shown lit in different ways.

What is very useful about a bust, when studying light, is you can make a bust stand still.    You can move the light around, and only the light and the final image changes.  With a bust, it is easy to see how changing the light changes the image.

With a live model, you move the light, and they are always moving.  There could have been a bit more said about how to keep the clients immobile.   Models and clients love to move about, they need direction, keen direction, on staying still.

Lighting Effects of Moving a Softbox

Lighting Effects of Moving a Softbox, Note: Nose shadow leading edge softening and length

All in all, a good but kind of a hard read.  The level applies from beginner to semipro.  It is not about using a camera, it is about using light.

The difficulty of the read could be reduced significantly by more graphical images, with more visual examples used to clarify concepts and details discussed.

An Old Man in Military Costume, Rembrandt, Closed Loop Lighting

'Rembrandt' aka 'Closed Loop' Lighting

For instance, Rembrandt lighting is discussed… how about a photo of a Rembrandt painting for us to see?

Note the shadow on the check, where the nose shadow intersects the check shadow …  Lighting direction is from high and to the side.  There may also be a bit of fill to open the shadows a touch.

If you like photography and portraiture, from the technical photographic side with heavy emphasis on lighting ( photography is lighting ) and can appreciate books written in an almost textbook style, then “The Portrait” might be one for you to consider.

Amazon has “The Portrait” available for a ‘LookInside!’ preview or purchase, new and used, by clicking here.



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