Lighting is one of the most intimidating areas of photography for both new and often experienced shooters. Although natural light photography can be gorgeous, some photographers say they stick with this method alone because they just don’t “get” other lighting methods.

For me, the two most powerful tools for demystifying photography are knowledge and experience. Experience is gained by trial and error: shoot, evaluate, tweak, and then shoot some more. Knowledge requires study, gained from a mentor or via some form of digital or print media.

Photo Recipes Live Behind the Scenes: Your Guide to Today’s Most Popular Lighting Techniques—a DVD video/book combo featuring the “how to get this kind of shot” lighting recipes from volumes 1-3 of Scott Kelby’s Digital Photography Book series—utilizes both video and print instruction.

I’m a reader, so initially I sat down with the book and read the lighting techniques from the first four chapters. They are brief and use screen shots and timestamps from the DVD. At this point it occurred to me that I was probably using this product all wrong, so I set it aside.

The next day I popped the DVD into my laptop. It runs on your web browser, and is divided into individual chapter videos. I watched the introduction, and then the most amazing thing happened: Scott Kelby was standing in front of me in a light-filled, New York City studio, just waiting to show and tell me how to recreate lighting effects for indoor natural light portraits; clamshell lighting; shooting food or flowers; location shooting; landscapes; panos; portraits; and more.

Truly, it was a beautiful moment.

Do I have all the equipment Scott uses in the videos? No. But I see how to better use what I have and I’m not as intimidated by what I don’t. He increases my comfort level, and for me, that’s huge. Also, the videos give me a good idea of what I might or might not use, helping shape my photography wish list.

As someone who keeps the manuals to my camera, light meter, and external flash on my iPhone for quick reference wherever I am, I love the fact that the DVD contains a download link for mp4 files of the training videos, which you can sync to an iPhone or iPod.

I’m one of those people who thrives on being productive and hates down time, so I can totally imagine watching these while stuck in traffic, waiting for my kids in classes, or before baseball games. Scott on my iPhone is like my own personal classroom or even on-location cheat sheet.

The way I see it, the meat of this product is in the videos and the book is there to hit the highlights, show sample images, and offer a brief refresher of the details covered on the DVD. I like the way it’s all packaged nicely together.

If you’re interested in expanding your lighting options or getting better results with the equipment you already own, Scott Kelby’s Photo Recipes Live Behind the Scenes: Your Guide to Today’s Most Popular Lighting Techniques may be just what you need.

{Disclosure: Book/DVD combo provided by the fine folks at Peachpit Press. Opinions provided by me. Amazon links are affiliate links.}

Pin It on Pinterest