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Book/Video Review: Photo Recipes: Live – Behind The Scenes By Scott Kelby

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If you are familiar with Scott Kelby’s series of books The Digital Photography Book as well as the second, and third volumes, then you know of the sections called Photo Recipes. It is in here that the author explains in some detail what you need to do to get a particular type of shot.

It works really well and as such, has became a very popular part of each of the books. Now Photo Recipes: Live – Behind The Scenes goes one better. Scott Kelby takes many of those same recipes, and now shows you live, behind the scenes just exactly how to set them up and get the type of shot. This video is two hours in length and contains 16 different recipes. There is also a 73-page booklet that highlights what you learn in the video that you can use as a refresher.

Chapter 1, “Window Light Portrait,” shows you how to recreate the portrait shot from volume 2 of the book, and in fact uses the same model. This primarily uses the light from a north-facing window and a reflector. Chapter 2, “Couples Portrait,” now adds a spiderlite softbox setup to the natural light and reflector to fill in the front of the portrait.

Chapter 3, “3-Light Setup,” is used to create a darker portrait by using a black background, one front light and two backlights one of which contains a honeycomb grid spot. This gives a dramatic look to the image

Chapter 4, “Clamshell Lighting, Part 1,” is an over and under style of lighting. It is a technique that is often used when photographing woman. Generally it is done with two lights, or one light and one reflector. Here you will do both. Chapter 5, “Clamshell Lighting Part 2,” is a variation on chapter 4. This time you will be using a solid white background with a wrapping light around the face.

Chapter 6, “Shooting Food,” is always fun to try when you are on vacation. Here you will find tips for shooting in a restaurant as well as in a studio. Chapter 7, “Shooting Flowers,” is done with natural light and using a macro lens. Here you will learn some tricks to get the best kind of shot.

Chapter 8, “Location Shooting,” under harsh lights can be helped if you bring along your diffuser which will help soften the light. Chapter 9, “One Light Overhead,” can produce a really harsh edgy lighting look. You can also add a reflector to help soften the harsh look.

Chapter 10, “Hard Lighting,” can be used to create a dark and dramatic portrait especially for bringing out a masculine look to your shot. Chapter 11, “Landscapes,” covers some tips for shooting in the great outdoors. Although you do not go on location, there are some pretty important tips given here.

Chapter 12, “Ring Flash Adapter,” is a piece of equipment that was once very expensive to purchase, but because of some new developments, the cost has come down dramatically. This gives a very bright, but very flat look. People either love the look or hate it, but in the right situation, it is a good tool to have around.

Chapter 13, “Pano Shots,” now passes on some new tips for creating panoramic landscape shots. Again, this is not done on location, but the tips are very good non-the-less. Chapter 14, “Portrait Lighting,” is really more of a detailed tip than a setup, but it can prove to be very important to getting that just right look.

Chapter 15, “Dramatic Portrait Look,” can be obtained through the use of a black background and provides a dramatic effect particularly for women. Chapter 16, “Product Shots,” are best done through spiderlites and through this chapter you will learn a tip that will give your image a professional result.

I really liked Photo Recipes: Live – Behind The Scenes. While the recipes in the books were good, it is nothing like actually seeing the setup live. Most are to 8-10 minutes in length and really too the point. While the point of the book is that it is just you and Scott Kelby out on a shoot and he is just helping you, this video is much more than that, it is like having the author in the room showing you how to accomplish the task.

If you want to see how to set up and accomplish the kind of shots you see in magazines, on the internet, and on TV, if you want to see how the different kinds of equipment needed for a professional photographic shoot are utilized, then I highly recommend Photo Recipes: Live – Behind The Scenes .

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About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.