Merry Christmas to Me

I cannot tell you how hard it was to not just click the "Buy it Now" button and snag Michael Grecco's new book, Lighting and the Dynamic Portrait, off of Amazon tonight.

I mean, less than $20? No brainer.

Why didn't I?

Because I am a dad. And dads need things on their Christmas list that fit within very modest budgets. Besides, knowing there is a good chance that Santa will leave this under my tree will make anticipating Christmas that much nicer.

(And if I do not get it for Christmas - so help me - I will have the thing ordered before the last piece of wrapping paper hits the ground. Next day shipping, too. A man's patience only stretches so far...)

Why am I this excited?

First, and no offense to many "how-to-shoot-portraits" authors out there, but it is rare to have a book written by someone who (a) is widely respected for being among the best in his field, and (b) knows how to communicate his thought process.

Michael Grecco is one of the most dynamic and versatile guys working in the portrait genre today - and has been for a while. Don't believe me? Check out his website. And don't miss his downloadable advertising and entertainment portrait portfolios.

If he is generous enough to dish up his considerable knowledge for nearly 200 pages under $30 (under $20 at Amazon) well, I am gonna be right there with a portrait of Andrew Jackson in my grubby little hands for him.

He did another book, but it is out of print and goes for over $100 in the used market.

Don't just take my word for it. Here's one of his Amazon reviewers:

"Don't read it cover-to-cover. Just flip though this book and stop at the first picture that grabs you. Grecco is that rare photographer who can actually put into words the creative process behind his images. He is smart, honest, funny, and frank about what it takes to make the beautiful, unique, and skillfully executed portraits that lavishly illustrate this book. There is a wealth of detailed, specific information about how the photographs were created (lighting diagrams, actual cameras, lenses, and lights used, etc.), however, most valuable is his emphasis on WHY he made his various creative and technical decisions.

This volume would be worthwhile for the pictures alone, or for the diagrams, the behind-the-scenes anecdotes, or just for the insights into the technical, practical, strategic, interpersonal, and financial components that contribute to the successful outcome of what is typically thought of as a simply artistic endeavor. Rather than regarding it as a book of recipes to be rigorously replicated, he suggests using it as a jumping-off point; as an opportunity to facilitate and fine-tune your own creative process."

And who is the reviewer?

Nobody special. Just, uh, Gregory Heisler, whose nose I am not worthy to pick. Who has more lighting knowledge in his pinky than I will ever have in my greying head. Who I really wish would follow through on his threat to do a book of his own.

(Go, right now, and check out Heisler's site, along with Grecco's. Go on. Do it now.)

I cannot wait to read Grecco's book. But I have to.

Thanks much to Strobist reader David Higginbotham for the heads-up.


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