The Natural Light Portrait Book

The step-by-step techniques you need to capture amazing photographs like the pros

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What would your life be like if you could shoot absolutely amazing portraits? If you could be in any natural lighting situation, indoors or out, and know that you’d be able to create an amazing image every time? If you’ve ever dreamed of making such incredible portraits that your friends...
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  • Print and eBook Bundle: $39.99
  • Print Book: $29.95
  • eBook: $23.99



Scott Kelby


208 pages


6 x 9in


Soft Cover- without flaps





  • Chapter 1: Portrait Lenses
  • Chapter 2: Camera Settings
  • Chapter 3: Window Light Portraits
  • Chapter 4: Shooting Outside
  • Chapter 5: Shooting in Direct Light
  • Chapter 6: Composition
  • Chapter 7: Posing
  • Chapter 8: Post-Processing
  • Chapter 9: Portrait Recipes

8 reviews for The Natural Light Portrait Book

  1. I looked forward to the publication of this book because I never fail to find Kelby’s books quite readable and more useful than most. This book is proving to be no exception 🙂 Kelby begins this book with a section on portrait lenses more succinct and thoughtful then I have seen elsewhere. As a bonus, he includes discussions of value for money spent.

    His section on various settings such as aperture, shutter speed, white balance, etc. not only explains the options but is very forthright about suggesting what the author considers optimal settings. And he tells us why. This is the section I can see referring back to repeatedly before the family shoot. He has a good-sized section on focusing for portraits and gives us some tips that are new to this reader. I appreciate that Kelby takes the time to give a complete and thoughtful discussion of the topics he raises. No short shrift here.

    I was happily reading Kelby’s chapter on using window light, because I’m not much of one for flash, when I noticed his admonition to turn all the lights in the room off. Can’t say that I’ve had another author tell me that. Like I said, Kelby is thorough – he’s writing to teach us all he knows and I appreciate it.

    And when we switch to talking about shooting portraits with outside light, he again covers the gamut of what we want and need to know. One thing different I noticed is that he not only covers the use of gold and white reflectors but tells us that on cloudy days we should use the black reflector. If I’ve seen that before I don’t remember it. Thank you, Kelby.

    The author is full of original ideas it seems: he suggest sent when we’re shooting outside and the light is behind our subject that we overexpose by a stop and a half or so. Doing so fixes the inevitable shadows. I really can’t wait to try this except that today is a rainy dark day so hang onto that thought for later:) I always appreciate advice on posing because I often have very few recommendations for my subjects; I’m happy for the chance to learn more. Kelby tells us that probably the most important thing is to spend a time getting to know your subject if you don’t already know her. In that way, the photographer can perhaps better reflect who person is, not just what they look like. I appreciate this insight and need to practice it!

    Best of all, as far as I’m concerned, the author explains to us what to do if somebody’s face is round, or thin, in order to maximize attractiveness. That information I consider brilliant; it will allow me to please the people I photograph.

    Thankfully, Kelby also covers several post processing things we should know. Again, something unique among portrait manuals: Kelby suggest that we desaturate the skin of our subjects. I’m eager to go back to older portraits and see how that works. His portrait recipes at the conclusion of the book are brilliant. He tells us the backstory, the settings he used in that particular recipe, and of course post processing is laid out for us, too. Really helpful to see his advice in action.

    Well, Scott Kelby hit it out of the park yet again. I was excited when I learned that he had a new portrait book coming out and my anticipation was spot on. Even if you knew almost nothing about taking pictures of people, reading this book and practicing his “recipes” will yield you great results.
    Again, I appreciate the work Kelby puts into his writing. It’s clear he cares about his subject matter and about relating that to us, his readers.

  2. (verified owner)

    I found this book to have a very clear layout with practical examples of each concept. It provides a natural progression from simple principles to more complex ones. For someone that is just starting to develop an interest in portraits I find it very helpful.

  3. (verified owner)

    I bought this book on sale so I could have some tips before a photo mission with a model. Basic tips like how to deal with overcast skies – perceive them as a light box – and working the light plus watching out for long appendices (e.g. legs, arms) overtaking the subject all are helpful.

    I also appreciate having a book I can read on the Kindle very much. Much easier to go thru, bookmark and highlight.

  4. There are many negatives when it comes to natural light portraiture- by utilizing only the light existing a scene, light quality, direction and color require the photographer to adapt and often make corrections in post. But at times when it’s the only option one requires creativity and imagination to make a great existing light portrait- and author Scott Kelby is the perfect instructor. Not only is Kelby a superb photographer, but he has literally “written the book” (see The Flash Book, also published by Rocky Nook) on the use of flash. So this isn’t a book by an inexperienced photographer, nor one who does not know how to use flash; rather, this book reflects the expertise of a professional who knows the pitfalls of existing light- and how to overcome them.

    The book beings with an honest assessment of cameras, lenses and shooting techniques. The fact is that while you can shoot a portrait with virtually any lens, there a lens properties and qualities that can deliver the look all portrait photographers are seeking. Kelby provides advice on lenses as well excellent shooting techniques.

    The center section of the book examines various location shooting challenges and how to best manipulate existing light. Window light, harsh sunlight, lighting that lacks contrast (such as overcast light, which seems ideal but can give a washed-out look)- each type of light can provide excellent portrait light if the model is correctly positioned and if light manipulation tools (such as reflectors) are correctly utilized.

    Composition and posing are considered next- Kelby provides tips that are simple to implement and make all the difference in making the highest quality images. Most importantly for posing, facial structure is addressed with lighting and posing tips to attain the most flattering image of the model.

    Finally, Kelby turns to software to finish off the images, describing simple techniques in both Lightroom and Photoshop to smooth skin, brighten eyes, reduce wrinkles and more. A Photoshop professional, Kelby’s careful not to overwhelm when it comes to image manipulation- he proves there’s much that can done without dozens of layers and advanced tools.

    In the last chapter, Nine Portrait Recipes, Kelby presents case studies in portraiture, analyzing a scene and its lighting, manipulation of the light as required, choosing the best lens and camera settings, and finally applying post-processing to complete the image. This chapter integrates everything that’s been presented in the book with a glimpse at nine complete photo shoots, from arrival on scene to delivery of product.

    This is a perfect book for portrait photographers- novices will learn the art of existing light portraiture from scratch and experienced photographers will pick up pro tips from a master of photography.

  5. (verified owner)

    Scott Kelby is my go-to author when it comes to anything photography. This book is another fine example of his incredible teaching style. The book is well organized, there are plenty of reference photos, and his one page per topic is one of the best ideas for his style. I always buy both the hard cover and digital editions. Using PDF Expert i can easily highlight sections of the book for reference, while also using the hard cover edition for reference when needed, as I am old school too – I love to hold a book and read it.

    Scott does a great job in exploring all of the issues and opportunities that a photographer has when shooting natural light portraits. His explanations and descriptions are very helpful – he’s made me a better photographer!

    The book itself is really nicely produced – Rocky Nook is top notch when it comes to this – every one of their books that I have are of the highest quality printing and paper. The company itself is quick to respond – when buying the digital edition, once payment is made you receive links to download immediately. It can’t be any better than that. The hard cover editions are sent shortly thereafter and are packaged properly for shipment to eliminate any damage to the book.

  6. This is typical Scott Kelby, and I have read dozens of the. This book is concise, well written, well designed and illustrated and is pack full of fantastic details, techniques and examples. This book is perfect for any Portrait photographer, beginner or advanced. The only thing slightly lacking is that there is not as much humor as Scott usually adds to his writing…..and that is not a big negative.
    I actually used a couple of his hints the past couple of days, Window Light Portraits, for images of my dogs and his hints were spot on.
    This is a must read for any photographer, even if you don’t specialize in portraits.

  7. (verified owner)

    excellent book – very clear and simple with some interesting tips not read elsewhere. As ever, Rocky Nook have excelled. Thank you

  8. (verified owner)

    This book, like all of Scott Kelby’s books, is fun to read. I don’t know where he gets his sense of humour from, but it’s fun and zany!

    The book is an easy read, and very approachable. It is something that a newcomer will appreciate, and so will a portrait photographer who has been doing this for some time.

    There is nothing complicated in the book, and this helps. Too many books give too many technical details, which make them difficult to read, and read many readers scratching their heads.

    However, in this book, he has broken down each lesson into sub sections, as it were. Each ‘tip’ or lesson, is accompanied by an excellent portrait, which illustrated the point well. It is thus very easy to refer back to any section in case a reader wants a refresher.

    The language is simple and easy to understand. This makes the lessons practical and implementable.

    This is a very good book.

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