In the past few years, many photographers have plunged into the world of off-camera flash, with folks like Joe McNally and David Hobby doing a lot so spread the off-camera flash word to a wide audience. I’ve had the chance to review1 a copy of a new Craft and Vision ebook by Piet Van den Eynde titled Making Light 2 and it’s a great read for those wanting to move beyond the basics. Although this is a sequel to his first book (Making Light), anyone with basic off-camera flash knowledge should find the material interesting.
After talking about how to move past the limitations of a flash’s sync speed, Van den Eynde looks at the various uses for multiple flash units with a discussion of using multiple strobes both for creative effects as well as for times when the amount of light needed is beyond that of a single unit.
A good chunk of the book looks at gear (beyond the flash units themselves). Space is devoted to softboxes, grids, snoots, flags, umbrellas, backdrops, clamps, and other gear that can help position and modify flashes to better help a photographer generate the effect that’s wanted or needed. I was pleased to see that rather than just listing a bunch of potentially useful gear, the author offered up a bit of the why as well as noting options that range from “budget” to “if you’re rich.” The gear portion of the book wraps up with a quick look at options for moving beyond small flash and into the realm of studio strobes.
Everything I’ve discussed thus far comprises the first half of the book. The next quarter is devoted to ten case studies in which the author shows a photo and then dives into detail about how he used off-camera flash to create the image. Attention is paid to gear, configuration, placement, and post-processing needed to create the powerful resulting images. I was pleased to see that the case studies covered a variety of scenarios and a variety of techniques.
The book wraps up with four interviews with excellent photographers who make liberal use of off-camera flash, providing their insights into both the technical and artistic aspects of their work.
I found the book interesting; one recurring theme is that off-camera flash isn’t discussed inside of a vacuum but as part of the overall photography process. Time and attention is given to complementary gear as well as related subjects such as camera settings, planning, and post-processing. It’s a refreshing approach not always taken by some who write only on one subject rather than the holistic view of making an image.
I was provided a review copy of the book; links within this post are affiliate links. ↩