Painting with Light: Lighting & Photoshop Techniques for Photographers

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Exploring techniques that will work with the materials that photographers already have on hand, the author designs images through thorough planning and creativity that depict his subjects in breathtaking and unexpected ways that would be impossible without the approach detailed in this photography guide. In addition to the inspiration of the artistry itself, photographers will learn how to push digital imaging to its extremes, taking full advantage of a potential that is largely underutilized. The ...

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Painting with Light: Lighting & Photoshop Techniques for Photographers

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Overview

Exploring techniques that will work with the materials that photographers already have on hand, the author designs images through thorough planning and creativity that depict his subjects in breathtaking and unexpected ways that would be impossible without the approach detailed in this photography guide. In addition to the inspiration of the artistry itself, photographers will learn how to push digital imaging to its extremes, taking full advantage of a potential that is largely underutilized. The book covers all the materials photographers should be familiar with and have on hand for their shoot and helps construct sessions that will often involve a full night of photography to create a single final image, and then explores the actual camera and lighting techniques used to produce images. Painting with light is a technique that allows photographers to work in areas with no, or very low, light and then either selectively apply “pops” of light to their subject and setting using a variety of different light sources and modifiers, orchestrate a sequence of light pops during a single long exposure, or—most commonly—create a lengthy sequence of digital captures with a single pop of light illuminating a specific feature of the scene in each. Because they are made without moving the camera, these images can then be combined in postproduction to provide the ultimate in creative control. The composites for several final images are included, showing how the individual captures are treated in Photoshop layers and seamlessly blended to create one highly refined final image.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"His way of painting with light is an artistic approach to photographing a variety of scenes and subjects that readers will find illuminate their imaginations."  —Lou Jacobs Jr., author, Professional Portrait Photography and Studio Lighting

"Eric Curry took the simple idea of 'painting a subject with the light of flashlight' and took it past a new level to a height I could not even imagine. In addition to tremendous photographic and post production skills, he tells a story in one photograph that would take most people a book! His sense of space and composition are second to none."  —Doug Box, director, Texas Professional Photographers Association

"The step-by-step & richly illustrated techniques show you how to master the skill of painting a subject(s) with light. The cover image will give you a very good idea of exactly what can be done with ANY subject matter." —www.NaturePhotographers.net

"An innovative and unique book." —www.ephotozine.com

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781608955046
  • Publisher: Amherst Media, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/1/2012
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 7.40 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Eric Curry specializes in industrial photography and was trained in studio still life and special effects photography. He is the former owner of an advertising photography studio and now working on location for select clients and his personal work. He lives in Los Angeles.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 26, 2012

    I recently picked up a copy of Eric Curry's "Painting with

    I recently picked up a copy of Eric Curry's "Painting with Light" and I have to say I'm really impressed. The information the photographer "gives away" regarding his technique is almost unheard of in the photo world. Mr. Curry has refined the technique of photographically painting with light to a new level and he clearly and concisely spells out how he does it in this book. The writing is refreshingly easy to digest for a how-to book and often inspirational. The author discusses how we can all create such images with a minimum amount of equipment. This book is full of photographs that show not only the end result but each step along the way to creating such striking images. I have a rather extensive library of photo books and I must say that this one re-defines what an instructional photo book can and should be. I highly recommend this book not only if you want to learn to paint with light but also if you want to expand your ability to light. I certainly did.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 19, 2012

    Eric Curry's "Painting With Light' shows how to turn photog

    Eric Curry's "Painting With Light' shows how to turn photography
    into works or art. With his well written step by step directions that
    makes it sound easy. Beware, a lot of work and fun will be involved.
    But a masterpiece can be created. Bravo Eric, well done. This book
    is a must for people who seriously like to play with photography.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 15, 2012

    What a wonderful book filled with exciting new techniques for pa

    What a wonderful book filled with exciting new techniques for painting with light. I have seen the author's work and, I was just fascinated in how he achieved his awesome results. This book covers it all including examples. Very well written and organized and easy to follow along. This book was well worth the purchase. I am anxious to get out and explore painting with light. Thank you, Eric for sharing your talents with photographers everywhere. I highly recommend this book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 13, 2012

    Simply the best book on Painting with Light ever made! This vast

    Simply the best book on Painting with Light ever made! This vast subject is made totally understandable by Eric's precise techniques and his approach of sharing it with others. Every detail about this complex subject is documented including his expertise in Photoshop. Being the best of the best with Light Painting has made Eric the premier teacher on this subject and we are all lucky he likes to share his knowledge. Without a doubt, this is the best book ever on the subject!

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  • Posted August 12, 2012

    I was fortunate enough to meet Eric Curry when he spoke to the S

    I was fortunate enough to meet Eric Curry when he spoke to the Santa Clarita Valley Photographers Association in early 2012. About 50 photographers attended that meeting, and were entranced and impressed as Curry demonstrated his complex techniques for painting with light. The combination of dozens (or hundreds) of photographs and tens of hours of post-processing appealed to both the get-it-in-camera purists and the Photoshop geeks.

    Curry's richly detailed, painterly images, painstakingly created, are a joy to behold, with a realism that evokes Hockney, an American spirit that evokes Rockwell, and an attention to minutiae that Hieronymous Bosch would have been proud of. While photographers often use the term "painting with light" to describe illuminating a time-exposure subject with a handheld light, in Curry's case, the phrase could also apply to the result, as the images look like a surreal mix of painted art and photograph. Curry's technique of laying down light via multiple exposures is not unlike an oil painter's layering of pigment with a brush or knife.

    So, it was with some anticipation that I opened Curry's "Painting with Light: Lighting & Photoshop® Techniques for Photographers."

    In the true spirit of information-sharing popularized by Websites and blogs like Strobist, Curry generously gives away the family jewels, the keys to the Bentley, and the secret sauce, describing in extreme detail precisely how he goes about creating, shooting and processing his richly detailed art.

    Although Curry has attempted to write the book such that a complete photographic novice could attempt his techniques, make no mistake about it: It may be simple, but it is not easy. Only the photographically rigorous need apply! It is a demanding technique, and not for those photographers who would prefer to rely on short-cuts and gimmicks such as HDR, Photoshop plug-ins, and filters. There is no "Auto" button for this challenging, yet rewarding, method.

    Still, the approach Curry presents is very straightforward, comprehensive, and understandable. Any serious photographer (amateur or professional), with a cursory understanding of time exposure shooting and Photoshop basics should be able to experiment with, and quickly understand, Curry's techniques. Even more novice photographers may be able to at least play around with the method, though they are less likely to get good results until they have a better understanding of lighting and photographic fundamentals.

    Curry's vision is so entirely his own, and his subjects so grandiose, I doubt that we will see photographers rushing out and copying his techniques directly. Rather, I suspect (and hope) photographers will adopt bits and pieces of Curry's techniques and incorporate them into their own work. For me, personally, I can see using light painting to enhance nighttime landscapes. Others may find other uses for it, for both artistic and commercial work.

    In short, this is a well-written, beautifully illustrated and useful book, that I would recommend to the serious, passionate and dedicated photographers I know, who are seeking to broaden their vision and seek new ways of expressing their artistry. It present a whole new set of brushes with which to attack the canvas.

    On the down side: The biggest shortcoming I found with the book is lack of thorough explanation of the "B" (or "Bulb") mode that allows cameras to take the long exposures that are fundamental to Curry's work! I'm guessing Curry is so familiar with it, that he may have forgotten that in this digital age, many new photographers may have never tried it. The book mentions "manual shutter" without describing how to access the feature. Having taught photography for several years, I think this omission will stump some newer photographers completely, or at least send them scurrying to their owner's manual or Google. Although I suspect Curry may have wished to avoid describing the dozens of ways different cameras implement this feature, it would really have borne at least a brief mention. Fortunately, it is an oversight easily remedied.

    (If this is in the book and I somehow missed it, forgive me. I searched, and couldn't find it anywhere.)

    Also, Curry gave short shrift to an option that would help those photographers who have to work alone: An advanced remote release (such as Canon's TC-80N3 or Nikon's MC-36) with built-in self-timer, interval timer, and shutter adjustments, which would allow solo photographers to make many exposures without assistance. Although he does mention it in the section on cable releases, it deserves longer mention. While it could be a bit tricky to use, especially on the large-scale subjects Curry shoots, it would eliminate the running back and forth to the camera that Curry describes, and would definitely help with smaller subjects.

    All-in-all, a fine book, groundbreaking in some ways, and admirable for the depth to which Curry goes to simplify his technique and make it understandable. Curry finishes on a strong note, with "A Quick and Dirty Review" that breaks his entire technique down to 10 steps. Read the book, copy this page, and you have a checklist to take into the field as you start creating your own painting with light images.

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  • Posted August 12, 2012

    I just read Eric Currys Painting with Light, and found it inform

    I just read Eric Currys Painting with Light, and found it informative and inspiring. In the book he covers how he re-discovered the technique, and how he uses the technique and his passion to make hyper-realistic, storytelling photographs.
    The book is written in the style of a friend sharing how he does his speciality. He covers the critical elements of what make his photos different, and why he does things the way he does, without being pedantic on details. He covers everything from the camera type he uses, to the f-stop he recommends, and gives the reason why. I like that he is not just prescriptive, but he treats the reader like a reasoning person. The book is filled with great pictures showing the process of lighting and assembling the images. He does spend some time telling the philosophy behind his series, "American Pride and Passion", and I found that uplifting.
    The book is a "How-to" book, and the chapter breakdown looks like this: 1. Logistics. 2. Preparing for the Shoot. 3. The Shoot. 4. Adding Human Subjects. 5. Postproduction. 6. Practical Examples.
    Very little fluff, all the writing is purposed to motivate and show you how to use this technique to make your own photographs in this style. If you are at all interested in painting with light, I recommend this book.

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  • Posted August 11, 2012

    When I first saw Eric’s work, I incorrectly assumed that


    When I first saw Eric’s work, I incorrectly assumed that he just took some nice photos and then used Photoshop to add color to the shot. I was surprised to learn that these amazing photographs were all composed by carefully lighting each part of the picture, then layering the results to achieve a high definition, almost three-dimensional look to the final composition.

    In “Painting with Light,” Eric explains the process he uses to achieve his phenomenally impressive work. As an aspiring novice photographer, I found the book interesting and easy to understand. The material is presented in a manner that will benefit amateur and professional photographers alike. Eric takes the reader through the entire process, from planning the shot, to setting it up, to photographing the subject, and finally explaining the postproduction involved to create the final composition.

    Eric’s unselfish willingness to share his artistic brilliance is to be commended. After seeing many of his finished photographs, I would have to compare this to Michelangelo teaching us how to paint ceilings in your local chapel! Eric makes it clear that he is presenting this material not so that someone can mimic his work, but so that they can approach photographic lighting techniques in new and creative ways. I highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in photography.

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  • Posted August 10, 2012

    Love this book,and it contents

    Love this book,and it contents

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  • Posted August 10, 2012

    Eric Curry’s new book “Painting with Light” pr

    Eric Curry’s new book “Painting with Light” provides a fascinating look into the lighting and photographic techniques he uses in the process of developing wonderfully rich, detailed, “painting-like” photographs that are truly works of art! I really enjoyed discovering all the technical aspects of the process of painting with light, as well as learning about Eric’s creative vision and passion behind his work. The book is presented and written in such a way to inspire both the amateur and professional photographer. It contains many excellent photos and illustrations in support of each chapter, and that help demonstrate the steps taken to arrive at the final image.

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  • Posted August 10, 2012

    I can't recommend this book highly enough! Every photographer, w

    I can't recommend this book highly enough! Every photographer, whether they use light painting or not, should own a copy of this book. Eric is the premier photo light painting partitioner. As it turns out, he is also quite talented as a teacher, and this book details his craft with step-by-step instructions and glorious example images. He goes beyond mere technique, emphasizing concepts and emotional content that is invaluable in any photograph. Buy this book now!

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  • Posted August 5, 2012

    This book is nicely put together with the excellent step by step

    This book is nicely put together with the excellent step by step process of working towards Eric's masterful results. What I like about Painting with LIght, is that Eric articulates his passion for his craft and his subject matter in his writing, as he did when I was lucky enough to see him in person. His suggestion to the reader to think in terms of "ideas" is an invaluable suggestion. There are no illusions; a lot of planning and experimentation is necessary. But what fun to have this book as a guide and inspiration to see what can be done with the right tools and creative concepts!

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