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Thread: Suggestions for good book on lighting and strobes

  1. #1
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    Suggestions for good book on lighting and strobes

    Folks,

    I have no external flashes but I'd like to learn something about the topic before I invest in anything. Essentially all of my experience so far has been sports photography (football and ice hockey) or candids of my toddler. So I'm not sure that I'd use lighting for but I certainly won't be setting up an entire studio or macro work. Perhaps some outdoor portraiture is the most likely candidate.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Administrator Sean Setters's Avatar
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    There are certainly good books on the subject; however, I'd suggest reading the Lighting 101 section of the strobist blog. It's a bit dated (many cheaper, relatively reliable radio triggers have been developed and released since he made his singular recommendation for the investment in Pocketwizards), but 90% of it is still highly relevant.

    If you have specific questions, try searching the Strobist Flickr Discussion threads. Using these free and informative resources, I've been able to learn quite a bit.


    It's Always a Production by budrowilson, on Flickr
    Last edited by Sean Setters; 01-24-2012 at 03:07 PM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member iND's Avatar
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    Without a doubt the best text I have on off camera speedlights assuming you are going Canon
    is
    Speedliter's Handbook: Learning to Craft Light with Canon Speedlites [Paperback]


    Syl Arena (Author)

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    Quote Originally Posted by iND View Post
    Without a doubt the best text I have on off camera speedlights assuming you are going Canon
    is Speedliter's Handbook: Learning to Craft Light with Canon Speedlites [Paperback]
    Syl Arena (Author)
    Agreed, I keep going back to this book.

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    @Sean,

    Thanks for the heads-up on the tutorial. It certainly covered a lot of ground but doesn't seem to address TTL-related stuff at all. I'm guessing Arena's book will cover that.

    What's everyone experience with the LumoPro flash he recommends? IF I didn't want to do any TTL shooting I could buy 3 of these for the cost of a 580 or most of a 10-22 or half a 17-55 or almost half a 7D. So many tough choices so little funding...

  6. #6
    Senior Member bob williams's Avatar
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    @ ChadS. I am fairly new to strobism myself, But one one thing I have learned is that the more you do, the more you want. If you buy a Canon 430 or 580 flash first, you will have enough flexibility to figure out what type of work your going to do or want to do in the future. Then, once you get comfortable with the one light, you will know what you want/need to build your system. The flipside is if you go to a purely manual flash first, you will really learn alot about light and how it effects your subject and shooting style. The thing with manual flash is that your subject (and you) have to be patient enough for you to get it right---lots of trial and error. I know this probably isn't much help but is something to think about.

    I don't have any experience with the lumopro flash units, but I can highly recommend the Vivitar 285hv--it has decent power, works well, and is very inexpensive. The Vivitar 385 also has built in slave function.

    @InD and Bigblue---Thanks for the reminder, I am going to ad Syl's book to my collection---I have really enjoyed his video's and teaching style.
    Bob

  7. #7
    Administrator Sean Setters's Avatar
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    I recently purchased a LumoPro LP120 (the current version is the LP160). It's a very reliable flash with about the same output as the Vivitar. The nice thing about it is that it is simple to use and can be triggered via the hotshoe, the built-in 1/8" miniphone jack (which requires an adapter with my other flashes), or the built-in optical slave (which works quite well). It's a very good all-around flash.

    I bought it just so I could test it out--I always wanted to get my hands on one. Truth is, I have several shoe mount flashes and don't really need it. If you're interested, I could be persuaded to let go of it for a (reasonable for you) price...

  8. #8
    Senior Member neuroanatomist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob williams View Post
    But one one thing I have learned is that the more you do, the more you want. If you buy a Canon 430 or 580 flash first, you will have enough flexibility to figure out what type of work your going to do or want to do in the future.
    I'll second that. I started with a single 430EX II. Later, I got an MT-24EX to go on the MP-E 65mm I picked up, and started using the twin lite as a master to trigger the 430 to light the background.

    A second 430EX II, Einstein 640 monolight, a PocketWizard MiniTT1, two FlexTT5s, a PowerMC2 and AC3, and a whole bunch of modifiers later, and I'm wondering what's next...

  9. #9
    Administrator Sean Setters's Avatar
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    And then paying insurance on 20k worth of stuff sitting in your computer room...

  10. #10
    Neil van Niekerk has a pair of flash photography books that I read last year and thought were well suited for intermediate photographers with minimal equipment:
    - On-Camera Flash Techniques for Digital Wedding and Portrait Photography
    - Off-Camera Flash Techniques for Digital Photographers

    You don't need to be a wedding photographer to benefit from the first book as the information is transferable to any situation for which you could use an on-camera flash. The second book primarily deals with using a single off-camera strobe, usually a speedlite, with and without light modifiers. Both books are written for both Nikon and Canon equipment.

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