An interesting day!

Today marked the release of my second book – this one on Flash Photography.

In many ways this is an opus magnum: it is my main area of special expertise, and I spent years thinking about how to teach this most effectively. And how to compress a world of knowledge into 123 pages. I think I succeeded. Sales have been good, which I am delighted about, because so many more people will learn how to use their flash.

Here’s the link. And there’s a discount if you get both books. Let me know what you think.

Why flash? Because it is a way to control light. There is no such thing as “flash photography”, really: there is just “photography including flash”.

A picture like the one below looks like it is all Photoshop. In fact, the post editing was minimal: desaturation, and a little clarity. The rest is simply this: the use of an off-camera flash on our right into an umbrella. That allowed me to make the background darker and hence, saturated, so the model looks three-dimensional and “real”.

The technique is really rather simple, once you know it. Here’s your checklist:

  • Camera set to Manual mode.
  • 100 ISO.
  • 1/250th second.
  • Aperture as needed to get an exposure of “minus 1 – minus 2 stops” on the meter (f/8-f/13 depending on how bright it is outside).
  • Use an off-camera flash – your on-camera flash, if present, should do nothing except tell the off-camera flash what to do.

That’s all, and now you get wonderful light, and plenty of modeling – meaning, objects take on a three-dimensional shape. Without flash, this would simply not be possible.

And that is just one lesson from the book. Learning flash, however you do it, makes sense: if you prefer available light, I suggest you try techniques like this, and then you tell me which light you prefer. Saying “I don’t use flash” is like saying “I like to a priori restrict my light opportunities”.


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