Photo Trade Secrets released two books late last year: Strobist Photo Trade Secrets Volume 1 – Expert Lighting Techniques and Strobist Photo Trade Secrets Volume 2 – Portrait Lighting Techniques. Being a photographer is about constant learning. Education plus inspiration: These books offer both.
Photo Trade Secrets started a few years back with a set of Strobist cards. The instructional tools featured an image on one side and a lighting diagram and information on the other. A Chase Jarvis set was issued. The books follow in the same vein, albeit a larger, more handsome format. The 7 x 4.75 inch books feature glossy photos on heavy-weight paper stock, the reverse side of each page being a lighting diagram and further information.The pages can be torn from the books and taken with you on shoot (why anyone would do this is beyond me).
You won’t learn the technical ins and outs of off camera lighting with these books. There’s no in-depth discussion of exposure, distances, modifiers or gear. What both Expert Lighting Techniques and Portrait Lighting Techniques do is give you a place to start. Starting with off camera lighting can be daunting. You buy the gear – then what? Looking at these volumes and the lighting diagrams provides inspiration, a point at which to start experimenting.
Editor Zeke Kamm elaborated:
The point of these books (something I think some people misunderstand) is that you don’t need to know the science and theory behind photography to take great photographs. Knowing what ISO someone shoots at won’t help you take better photographs. So we cut out all the science and theory and give the readers enough information to get out there and start shooting so they don’t have to sit and read a 400 page book to get better images.
I found the “cut to the chase” approach of these book very useful. The set of Strobist cards I purchased nearly three years ago gave me ideas – a point at which to start. Some of my experiments were disasters but there were none that I didn’t learn from.
I recommend both of these books. The books offer something for complete amateurs or seasoned pros. Check out the YouTube video explaining the books and their uses.
Purchase online from:
Strobist Photo Trade Secrets Volume 1 – Expert Lighting Techniques Amazon Peachpit Press
Strobist Photo Trade Secrets Volume 2 – Portrait Lighting Techniques Amazon Peachpit Press