Review: Light It, Shoot It, Retouch It – Scott Kelby

‘Light It, Shoot It, Retouch It’ is another brilliant addition to the Scott Kelby book collection. Those who are familiar with the acclaimed author know that his books are always detailed, informative, and useful.

My first impression (when I looked at the caption on the cover: “Learn Step By Step How to Go from Empty Studio to Finished Image”) was: “This is going to take me forever to get through!” I was mistaken. There are plenty of pictures! After all; what use is a book if there are no pictures in it?

As with all of his other books, Scott Kelby starts off with some things to read. He explains the process and how the book is set up. I love his style of writing as it is relaxed and to the point; with dashes of humor here and there. His style puts the reader at ease from the very first word. He starts off with what you need, what you don’t need, and a link to where you can download the images in the book so that you can follow along chapter-by-chapter.

As photographers, we are expected to be proficient with lighting and shooting. On top of all this, we are expected to be graphic artists and Photoshop wizards. In reality, many of us are lacking in at least one of these areas. This book is a complete step-by-step guide to all of the above; with a few extra tips and tricks.

Each chapter comprises of a different lighting set up. The reader is taken through the exact set up required; from the lights and modifiers used, the light settings, and the camera settings, to an aerial shot of the set up. Once the shoot is done, the reader is taken through the entire editing process; from minor touch ups, to a few advanced techniques used to get the image to look special.

What I really liked about the book is the step-by-step guide. It is easy to read and to follow. What I also found is that you don’t have to follow each chapter from the beginning. For example: if you just want to go through how to do the touching up, or pick up the book to check camera settings, this can be done. Though not perhaps what the book was intended for, I don’t think that the guides in this book should be limited just to studio light set ups. The possibilities are endless. For those people who don’t have studio lighting, there is an extra chapter on how to use your Hot shoe flashes instead. Again, this includes aerial shots of the set up, as well as an extra gear section especially dedicated to hot shoe flash accessories.

What I didn’t like about the book is that it is limited to Photoshop. I know that Photoshop is most widely used in the industry, but perhaps some tips on minor touch ups in Lightroom would prove to be beneficial and may appeal to a wider audience. This is not a must, but could be a suggestion for the next best seller.

Although the book is intended for beginner-, to intermediate-skilled photographers, I would recommend this book for any photographer who is looking to improve their skills in Lighting and retouching; even those seasoned professionals who want to learn a new trick or two.