Recommended Books for Photographers

Lighting and the use of flash

The books below has been picked by the editor of DPanswers as the best books about lighting and the use of flash.

This book is a standard reference work for the advanced student of photographic light (in particular studio lighting, but it goes beyond that). For instance, it describes in detail how various surfaces (metal, glass, liquids, and people) respond to light, how to light those surfaces for different effects, and why you should use a particular approach. It should be noted that this is not a book with standard recipes or lighting examples. Instead, it deals with lighting on a fundamental level, allowing the diligent student to gain an understanding of the subject that will allow him or her to apply this knowledge to situations which are not even mentioned in the book. Note that this book is not always an easy read. (There's even some mathematics and physics for those that are interested.) In my opinion, it is all well worth the effort. No serious photographer should be without the knowledge about photographic light disseminated in this book.
Off-camera flash
by Neil van Niekerk
This is a well-written and practical introduction to use of off-camera flash, illustrated with high quality examples. While there is a chapter about equipment, this book concentrates on teaching the student to master the techniques needed for off-camera flash. Both professional photographers and advanced amateurs will find a range of well thought out lessons, beginning with basic off-camera flash use for creative effect, and ending up width in-depth description of how the author used flash on five real assignments. This is very practical oriented book, with a lot of examples and diagrams. Often, he uses a particular photo as a starting point, and tells you in detail how it was shot, including all the equipment used and how to set up the camera and the flash units.
This book provides a solid introduction to lighting studio portraits and products using traditional studio flashes. The book starts with short segments about colour spaces, file formats, and using a flash meter. He then goes on to describing the lighting equipment used in a professional studio. However, the bulk of the book is about the practice of using studio lighting: The relationship between the physical size and relative size of a light source, and how to use distance, spread depth, and feathering to achieve certain effects. The practical oriented text, with plenty of photo examples, lighting diagrams and progression shots teach the reader how to achieve a number of lighting styles. From creating fundamental looks to the effect of fine-tuning placement and setting, Grey's clear prose enables photographers to maximize productivity on any shoot. This book is an excellent resource for both beginners and start-up professionals.
The Hot Shoe Diaries is acclaimed photo journalist Joe McNally's book about his use of Nikon Speedlights and Nikon's CLS (Creative Lighting System) and AWL (Advanced Wireless Lighting) for his creative lighting solutions. Whether he's photographing a gymnast on the Great Wall, an alligator in a swamp, or a fire truck careening through Times Square, McNally uses flash to create great light that makes his pictures unique and special. While McNally uses Nikon gear exclusively (and is presumably under Nikon contract as a poster boy for CLS), there is very little Nikon or CLS-specific material in the book, nor is the book about settings or the technical side of flash use. Instead, this is a candid, often amusing, inspirational and highly personal account about an artist's creative use of modern flash equipment.
This DVD is a very nice supplement to McNally's book (above). It contains 2.5 hours of hands-on instruction about Nikon's CLS, featuring the SB-600, SB-800, SB-900, and the macro flash kit SB-R200. It sets out with photographer Bob Krist going over just about every setting on a Nikon Speedlight you would want to know about (and some you probably don't). Then Joe McNally comes in shows how to actually use the gear in the field. The examples range from simple, one-light studio shoots to a complex 13-light outdoors setup. This DVD is suitable for all levels, from absolute beginner to long-time CLS users looking for fresh ideas. In my opinion, this is one of the best resources to date for learning CLS.
Bookmark and Share
This page is from: