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Best portrait posing & lighting photography books

Portrait photography is an art form that requires a perfect blend of technical expertise and creative vision. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or just starting on your journey as a portrait photographer, continuous learning is crucial to refining your skills. One of the best ways to enhance your portrait photography abilities is by immersing yourself in well-written and informative books on the subject. In this blog, we will explore five of the best portrait posing and lighting photography books that offer valuable insights, tips, and techniques to capture stunning portraits.

Mastering Lighting & Flash Photography: A Definitive Guide For Photographers by Richard Bradbury

Mastering Lighting & Flash Photography

The ultimate cheat sheet for crushing the photography game: nailing lighting and flash like a pro

Aimed at the serious amateur, this is a practical guide to achieving professional results in digital photography. Light is at the very heart of photography and plays a fundamental role in creating successful images. Not only does light affect brightness, it also determines tone, mood, atmosphere, texture, colour and luminosity. Mastering Lighting & Flash Photography contains everything you need to know about controlling and manipulating light to capture the beauty of the world around you in your own signature style. Written and photographed by a multi award-winning photographer, the book describes and demonstrates all the key topics.

Mastering Lighting & Flash Photography: A Definitive Guide For Photographers by Richard Bradbury on Amazon UK

Mastering Portrait Photography by Paul Wilkinson and Sarah Plater


Sarah Plater and Paul Wilkinson present a modern, fresh and vibrant approach to portraiture that aims to capture a moment in the lifestyle of the person or persons in the picture. This authoritative guide contains clear, concise and jargon-busting text that discusses the essential technical aspects of photography from choosing a camera and equipment to an appreciation of exposure, aperture, metering, shutter speed, depth of field and white balance settings, in addition to how natural light, colour and movement affect a photograph.

Mastering Portrait Photography by Paul Wilkinson and Sarah Plater on Amazon UK

The Photographer’s Guide to Posing: Techniques to Flatter Everyone by Lindsay Adler

The Photographer's Guide to Posing

When photographing people, you can have a great composition, perfect light, and the right camera settings, but if your subject doesn’t look right–if the pose is off–the shot will not be a keeper. Posing is truly a crucial skill that photographers need to have in order to create great photographs. If you’re looking to improve your ability to pose your subjects–whether they’re men, women, couples, or groups–best-selling author and photographer Lindsay Adler’s The Photographer’s Guide to Posing: Techniques to Flatter Everyone is the perfect resource for you.

In the first half of The Photographer’s Guide to Posing, Lindsay discusses how the camera sees, and thus how camera angle, lens choice, and perspective all affect the appearance of your subject. Lindsay then covers the five most important things that ruin a pose–such as placement of the hands, and your subject’s expression and posture. If you can look out for and avoid these five things, your skills (and your images) will quickly improve. Next, Lindsay dives into “posing essentials,” outlining her approach to start with a “base pose,” then build on that to create endless posing opportunities. She also discusses posing the face–with specific sections dedicated to the chin, jaw, eyes, and forehead–as well as posing hands.

In the second half of the book, Lindsay dedicates entire chapters to posing specific subject matter: women, men, couples, curvy women, families and small groups, and large groups. In each chapter, Lindsay addresses that subject matter’s specific challenges, provides five “go-to poses” you can always use, and covers how to train the eye to determine the best pose for your subject(s). In the final chapter of the book, Lindsay brings it all together as she teaches you how to analyze a pose so that you can create endless posing opportunities and continuously improve your work

The Photographer’s Guide to Posing: Techniques to Flatter Everyone by Lindsay Adler on Amazon UK

Dramatic Portrait: The Art of Crafting Light and Shadow by Chris Knight

Dramatic Portrait

Without light, there is no photograph. As almost every photographer knows, the word photograph has its roots in two Greek words that, together, mean drawing with light. But what is less commonly acknowledged and understood is the role that shadow plays in creating striking, expressive imagery, especially in portraiture. It is through deft, nuanced use of both light and shadow that photographers can move beyond shooting simply ordinary, competent headshots into the realm of creating dramatic portraiture that can so powerfully convey a subject s inner essence. In The Dramatic Portrait: The Art of Crafting Light and Shadow, photographer and educator Chris Knight provides everything you need to know so that you can improve and elevate your portraiture. Beginning with a discussion of the significance of contrast (i.e., the relationship between light and dark) and how it pertains to a sense of drama in your imagery, Chris discusses the history of portraiture and light, from the early work of Egyptians and Greeks to the sublime treatment of light and subject by artists such as Caravaggio, Rembrandt, and Vermeer.Chris then dives into a deep, hands-on exploration of light and portraiture, offering numerous lessons and takeaways that will have you quickly improving your work. Chris covers: The qualities of light: hard vs. soft, as well as the spectrum in between The relationships between light, subject, and background, and how to control them Lighting ratios and how they effect contrast in your image Equipment: from big and small modifiers to grids, snoots, barndoors, flags, modifiers, and gels Multiple setups for one-light, two-light, and three-light shoots How color contributes to drama and mood, eliciting an emotional response from the viewer How to approach styling your portrait, from wardrobe to background A complete post-processing workflow, including developing the RAW file, maximizing contrast, color grading, retouching, and dodging and burning for heightened drama and effect”

Dramatic Portrait: The Art of Crafting Light and Shadow by Chris Knight on Amazon UK

Picture Perfect Posing: Practicing the Art of Posing for Photographers and Models by Valenzuela Roberto

Picture Perfect Posing

Photographer, author, and educator Roberto Valenzuela has a proven track record for teaching and explaining difficult concepts to photographers of all skill levels. His remarkable ability to break down complicated ideas into understandable, approachable elements that photographers can truly grasp–and then use their newfound knowledge to improve their photography–made his first book, Picture Perfect Practice, a breakout success.

In Picture Perfect Posing, Roberto takes on the art of posing. For many photographers, after learning to compose an image and even light it properly, a portrait can still easily be a failure if the pose is not natural, elegant, and serving the needs of both the subject and the photographer. Instead of just showing page after page of poses–like most posing books on the market–Roberto actually breaks down the concept of posing by examining the anatomy, starting with the core foundation: the spinal chord and neck. Building from there, Roberto discusses every component of what makes poses work, as well as fail. How should the model hold her hands? Bend her elbows? Position her fingers? Should the model look toward or away from the camera, and why? It all depends on what the photographer wants for the shot, and Roberto discusses the entire process, from the intent of the photographer through the execution of the pose. For those who have been discouraged by an inability to pose their subjects, or who have simply not known where to start in order to “figure it out,” Picture Perfect Posing is the essential resource they need to learn how posing truly works, and how they can learn to direct the exact pose they need for the shot they want.

Picture Perfect Posing: Practicing the Art of Posing for Photographers and Models by Valenzuela Roberto on Amazon UK

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