No matter how good a camera, good lighting is what sells the picture


We can’t make good pictures without good lighting, no matter how good the newest cameras are. Shooting under available light gives exposure, but lacks depth, contrast, contour, atmosphere and often separation. The story could be the greatest in the world, but if the lighting is poor viewers will assume it’s amateurish and not take it seriously. Good lighting makes things look real, while real lighting often makes things look fake.  Well crafted lighting helps establish the illusion of reality that is necessary for the viewer to forget they are watching a screen and get lost in the story. So, no matter how good a script, how good a director, how good the actors – the lighting needs to be as good if not better.


Lighting for Cinematography, the first volume in the new CineTech Guides to the Film Crafts, is the indispensable guide for film and video lighting. Written by veteran gaffer and cinematographer David Landau, the book helps the reader create lighting that supports the emotional moment of the scene, contributes to the atmosphere of the story and can augment an artistic style. Structured to mimic a 14-week college semester, the chapters cover such things as  lighting for movement, working with windows, night lighting, lighting the three planes of action and non-fiction lighting. Every chapter includes stills, lighting diagrams and key advice from professionals in the field, as well as lighting exercises for the reader to put into practice. This how-to book addresses how filmmakers on a limited budget and time schedule can achieve professional looking images similar to what they see on the big screen.        


“A master class in cinematography! David Landau’s conversational tone mixed with 35 years of technical experience and aesthetic prowess results in a very accessible text that should be cherished by students and professionals alike… Landau’s multiple accounts from his work in the field give this book a much appreciated practicality and voice of authority that is invaluable for the emerging cinematographer.”

—Harlan Bosmajian, Local 600 Director of Photography, Assistant Professor of Cinematography, Emerson College, USA


“David Landau has produced an excellent text in Lighting for Cinematography which manages to cover the practicalities of production, the technical aspects of lighting and vitally the artistic importance of this work.  Lighting for Cinematography is constructed to appeal and be of value to the practitioner at all levels; it is equally full of detail for careful consideration and quick hints and images for review before filming… I would highly recommend Lighting for Cinematography to those to wish to learn more about this field and to all those interested in the technique and process of film making.”

—Robert Edgar, Senior Lecturer in Film and TV Production, York St John University, UK


" As a Cinematography teacher at the University of Southern California's Cinema Arts School I am always looking for textbooks and David Landau's "Lighting for Cinematography: A Practical Guide to the Art and Craft of Lighting for the Moving Image" is the best resource I've come across. Concise and fundamentally sound in all areas of the craft this book reflects my 30 plus years of professional experience . I especially appreciate the  lighting set-ups supported with diagrams and stills and explanations. The thorough descriptions on lighting and grip equipment and how to use them, are also a standout feature. I think this book illuminates every aspect of lighting that I want to teach and I will definitely recommend it to the Cinema faculty at USC."

- James W O'Keeffe, Local 600 cinematographer, adjunct professor of cinematography, USC


David Landau is available for lighting workshops, seminars, guest lectures and demonstrations

A Practical Guide to the Art and Craft of Lighting for the Moving Image To purchase from amazon, click here

271 pages,

96 color photos,

29 diagrams,

14 chapters,

Lighting exercises,

Interviews with professional cinematographers and gaffers,


Resource appendix,

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© David Landau