Craft & Vision has just released a new eBook: Making Light 2. Advanced Use of Off-Camera Flash written by photographer and author Piet Van den Eynde. The eBook contains 77 pages and not only covers advanced off-camera flash (Strobist) techniques, but also lighting gear and accessories. This new release is the successor to his previous title Making Light. An Introduction to Off-Camera Flash which was released two months ago.
Being a documentary and humanitarian photographer myself, I often use natural light only. However, I do own a Nikon SB900 speedlight, SC-28 TTL flash syncro cable, California SunMover, flash umbrella and Lastolite Ezybox. I covered my gear in a previous blog post: What’s In My Bag? Traveling With Photo Gear. Although I do understand the purists claiming that natural light should be the only light source used in my domain of photography, I firmly believe that you should add additional light when necessary. Don’t forget it depends on the client’s needs and demands. During an assignment in Africa I was lucky I could use the California SunMover and the SB900 to add a little fill-in light for my environmental portraits. I do follow some well-known humanitarian photographers who very often use off-camera flash, and their results are stunning.
“Why post-process when you can get it right in camera?” (Piet Van den Eynde)
Contents of the eBook
- 0. Introduction
- 1. More Advanced Techniques
- 1.1: Going Beyond Sync Speed
- 1.2: Working With Multiple Flashes
- 2. Gear
- 2.1: Advanced Triggering Systems
- 2.2: More Modifiers
- 2.3: Thinking Outside the Softbox
- 2.4: More Useful Stuff
- 2.5: Outgrowing Your Small Flashes
- 3. Ten Case Studies
- 4. Four Interviews
- 5. Conclusion
In this eBook the author discusses several techniques like High-Speed Sync, HyperSync, and the use of multiple flashes in order to gain more control and power. To support the technicalities, he illustrates these different techniques using before and after images. Piet mainly works with the PocketWizard MiniTT1 transmitter and FlexTT5 transceiver to trigger his off-camera flashes. Obviously, there are other solutions and options which are also mentioned in this eBook. Next, he talks about a range of modifiers for your speedlight like the Westcott Apollo softbox, Lastolite EzyBox, beauty dishes, portable background kits, colour gels, clamps, etc. To finish the technical part, he briefly mentions the advantages and disadvantages of portable studio strobes. Photographer Jürgen Doom, who is featured in the interview section in this eBook, has written a short review recently about the Elinchrom Ranger Quadra, a portable lighting kit.
Like in his previous Craft&Vision eBooks, Piet discusses several case studies in which the different techniques from the eBook are being used. The three last screenshots in this article show an example of these case studies.
The eBook ends with interviews with four Belgian photographers using off-camera flash. These interviews are very insightful and offer lots of useful information regarding technique and creativity.
Besides talking about the more famous brands, Piet also gives advice on alternative, more affordable products. For those with a limited budget this is really helpful information. Don’t buy the most expensive speedlight, modifier or triggering system available when you’re just starting to discover off-camera flash. Worldwide Strobist meetings amongst photographers are organized all the time and you can certainly borrow and test most of the gear discussed in this eBook. Be sure to try different kinds of gear and accessories before purchasing. You also need to determine what kind of light pleases you most and what kind of situations you like to shoot in. Gradually, you can add new gear to your off-camera flash kit according to your real needs.
Since the popularity of off-camera flash increases every year, lots of new educational sources became available. It seems like everyone has something to tell about off-camera flash. Not all of these offer the same level of quality though. I have tried several over the past few years and only a handful of them are really worth recommending, among them both eBooks from Piet’s Making Light series. His writing style is very understandable and he adds some subtle humour as well. Also, he shares his experiences how he solved real-life problems when on assignment.
If you haven’t already bought his previous eBook, I really advice you to buy Making Light. An Introduction to Off-Camera Flash as well as both eBooks offer you a very solid and fundamental knowledge on off-camera flash. Your next step will be to go out, shoot and experiment with different setups and lighting conditions. And above all, be creative with the gear you have at your disposal.
Making Light 2. Advanced Use of Off-Camera Flash is available as PDF and costs $5 (€3,6).
For the first five days only, if you use the promotional code MAKINGLIGHT4 when you checkout, you can have the PDF version of Making Light 2 for only $4 (€2,9) or you can use the code MAKINGLIGHT20 to get 20% off when you buy 5 or more PDF eBooks from the Craft & Vision collection. These codes expire at 11:59pm PST October 24th, 2011.
Piet Van den Eynde has also written another eBook for Craft&Vision: The Power of Black and White in Adobe Lightroom and Beyond (click the link to read a short review). The eBook contains 100 pages and covers the conversion of a digital color image to black and white using (mainly) Adobe Lightroom and some plugins like NIK Silver Efex Pro.