Lighting Photo Workshop

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Elements of Light
Understanding the Three Elements of Exposure
Dealing with Color Temperature
Setting White Balance
Using Contrast to Create Mood
Working with the Quality of Light
Chapter 2: Understanding Your Equipment’s Role in Lighting
Compact Digital Cameras
Digital SLR Cameras
In-Camera Metering
On-Camera Flash
Studio Lighting and Accessories
Chapter 3: Working with Outdoor Natural Light
Learning to Use the Meter
Sunrise and Sunset
Making Great Images with Overcast Lighting
Chapter 4: Working with Interior Light
Setting Your Exposure Inside
Seeing the Contrast Indoors
Working with Window Light
Incandescent Light
Fluorescent Light
Chapter 5: Lighting for Portraits and People
Shooting Great Outdoor Portraits
Finding the Best Light
Creating Better Light
Candids, Kids, and Environmental Photography
Working with Groups
Chapter 6: Action, Sports, Motion, Blur
It Is All About The Shutter
Stopping Motion
Slow Down to Show Motion
Long Exposures to Show Motion
Water and Nature
Using Flash to Capture the Movement
Chapter 7: Lighting Scenarios in Landscape Photography
Lighting Terminology
Timing Your Landscape Exposures
Working with Overcast Light
Using Filters to Enhance Your Shot
Shooting Landscapes in Fog
Chapter 8: Dealing with Change: Travel and Adventure Photography
Traveling Light: What to Take
Shooting Street Photography
Museums, Churches, and Other Indoor Destinations
Considering the Weather Conditions
Preparing for Extremes
Chapter 9: Still Life and Macro Lighting
Capturing Great Light in Your Everyday Life
Principles of Design
Lighting for Close-Up and Macro Photography
Taking Product Photos
Chapter 10: Mastering Night and Low Light Photography
Your Best Friend, the Tripod
Capturing Skylines
Taking Photos at Dusk
Creating Soft, Moody Light with Low Light
Capturing the Motion of Lights
Long Exposures for Celebrations

Lighting Photo Workshop

Chris Bucher

About the Author

Chris Bucher is a freelance commercial photographer who has contributed to a number of award-winning projects in the dozen-plus years he’s been creating beautiful, marketable images. Although a resident of Indiana, he began his career in Arizona and retains an affinity for the desert Southwest, where his fascination with natural light is fed by the harsh but striking landscapes. His commercial images have appeared in countless national and regional magazines. On his own time, Chris loves racing mountain bikes and serving the Humane Society as a foster parent. But his favorite pastime, bar none, is watching the interaction of light with his favorite subject, his wife, Jennifer.



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Kim Spilker

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Cricket Krengel

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Kelly Dobbs Henthorne

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J. Dennis Thomas

Editorial Manager

Robyn Siesky

Vice President & Group Executive Publisher

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Vice President & Publisher

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Business Manager

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Cover Design

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Larry Vigon

Proofreading and Indexing

Debbye Butler
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As with so many things, so much credit goes to so many people, and thanks to those who helped immeasurably to make this book happen. This book was made so much better with the contributions of these photographers: Jarod Trow, Holly Jordan, Lynne Stacey, Dave Edelstein, Marcos Dominguez, and Jonathon Juillerat. Their input and offerings were beyond helpful.

Thanks to the team of Kelly, Kelly, Laura, Cricket, and Denny for your insight and immense help in working with this hopeless writer on his first book, and I will never be able to thank Kim Spilker enough for her constant encouragement and faith in me throughout this process.

I need to acknowledge Sharlie Douglas Hall and Nikon Inc. for much help over many years and for gear that just plain works. The calls, e-mails, and support that I got from Erik, Jarod, Angie, Lisa, David, Matt, Tim, and Eric meant more than they’ll ever know.

A very special thank you goes to my parents and my siblings for their constant love and backing.

I also have the blessing to know that whenever I am in doubt or in need, that I always have the guidance of Butch Hall, Tom Casalini, and my Dad, Wes Bucher, for counsel and direction.

Finally, thank you to my wife and partner, Jennifer, for her patience and encouragement throughout this entire process.



To say that light is integral to photography is just scratching the surface. This book is just scratching the surface of all the angles and colors and direction that light can present to you in the viewfinder. As a photographer, you need light on the subject to create an image, but to create a great image, you need to get the best light you can on the subject.

Great light can come in many ways. Sometimes it just happens, and other times it takes time and patience to create or shape the light in your photographs. Take the time to wait for a few minutes to see whether the light changes, and savor the moments that you are shooting or waiting to shoot because you are not just seeing things through the camera, you are experiencing life happening before your eyes. Then you can take that slice of life home with you.

I hope that the images inspire you, if nothing more than to just take your camera with you or to keep it close to you for when the light is happening. Even more, I hope the images inspire you to try new things. Use the images here as guides and signposts so that you can recognize the things happening in your own images and better know how to capture the images that you see in your mind.

One of the goals that I had for this book was to show how it is possible to create better photographs with light that is there, no matter whether it is great light or not. This entails some testing and practice and trying new things, but that discovery is so exciting. When you begin to realize the skills that you are developing because you can better see and work with light, your photography becomes like second nature.