Wednesday, June 23, 2010

"On-Camera Flash" book review...


I know, I know, the goal of most photographers is to get their flash off camera, but let's be honest, there are some fast paced, fast moving events (like weddings, Bar mitzvahs, corporate events) where this is neither practical or even possible.

"On-Camera Flash" by Neil van Niekerk is the best book I have read on the subject of shooting with you Speedlight on your hot shoe (you can get it at Amazon for as little as $19).

Several things I liked about the book:

1. There are a bazillion light modifiers out there and though Neil talks about them the results he shows us in the book are achieved using a foam card and/or the stofen diffuser that comes with your Speedlight.

2. Too often authors will give us "easy" examples, not in "On-Camera Flash", Neil takes us to some difficult to light places (like a restaurant that is essentially a black hole) to show us how to light a subject.

3. This is probably the first book I've seen that shows examples of lighting both very fair skinned to very dark skinned people.

4. You will find sample images on almost every page (sometimes up to 4 images per page) and each is thoroughly explained, what made the shot difficult and how those difficulties were overcome, and done in a writing style that is easy to understand and follow.

Don't think you'll get this book as an easy way out, it's not a lazy mans solution. Neil will make you use your brain. The first two sections are the things you need to know before you even turn on your flash. Section 1 covers the direction, intensity, and color balance of light. Section 2 is the "technical" stuff like exposure metering techniques, flash modes, sync speeds, and how to add flash to ambient light. In section 3 he shows us how to use what we learned in the first 2 sections to take the shot and "get the light right".

If you own a flash and especially if you shoot event photography, you really need to own this book.

To learn more about Neil van Niekerk be sure to check out his website, it has a ton of information on photography from metering, composition, (lots about) flash, and equipment reviews.



5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Best book I've bought myself (and I've bought alot!

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Miguel Palaviccini said...

I'm glad that you mention that the book covers both light and dark skin subjects. I feel like it's a small subtlety that usually isn't brought up but requires different thinking. Not only that, but a darker subject with a light shirt or vice versa can be another permutation that I think is beneficial to know how to work.

NJ Stevenson said...

I have the book and love it. Definately good for those occasions when getting the flash off the camera are not possible.