What are the chances? Two off-camera flash eBooks released on the same day? Yesterday Craft and Vision released the Making Light 2, the second in a series of off-camera flash titles by Belgian photographer Piet Van den Eynde.
And yes, as you’ve been reminded about 827 times on Twitter and Facebook, I released my own flash eBook, Going Fast With Light. I’ve already written enough about mine in the past few days, though, so I’ll let somebody else do a comparison between the two if they like. Actually, that would probably be a good idea. Who wants to get on that?
I’m not too proud to give some room to the competition, though, so today we’ll look at Piet’s book. Making Light 2 continues off where Making Light 1 left off, which dealt mainly with using one remote flash, one umbrella, and a small softbox. Making Light 2 covers advanced lighting techniques and some new light modifiers that go beyond the basics.
He starts by explaining High Speed Sync in more depth, and then moves on to working with multiple flashes. Piet comes at this from a classic studio approach and he outlines how to build a lighting scheme for a subject from the ground up, starting with no light and then putting together a mix of speedlights that all compliment each other in the final shot.
Going further, Piet explains using multiple flashes for more power, such as when shooting in exceptionally bright sunlight. He even goes into the realm of using bigger lights, like the Elinchrom Ranger Quadra set, which puts out the equivalent of 4 SB-900 units into a small, battery powered kit.
The next section deals with light modifiers and other gear. Small softboxes. Big softboxes. Even bigger softboxes. Grids. Snoots. Flags, gels, brackets, clamps and more. All gear that you can use to affect the quality of the light that you bring to your scene.
The meat of the book, deals with ten specific images, or case studies as Piet calls them, where he details the specific lighting scheme and approach that he took to solve problems and create each image. There’s a real variety of photography in this section, from bright, sunlit action (skateboarding at noon), conceptual high speed sync to freeze water droplets, motion, gelling for effect (India portrait), clamshell lighting (high key soft portraiture), combining flash and HDR and more.
Piet closes with interview/case studies shot by four other photographers. Each one is in a different style and so each person comes at it with a different approach. There’s a good mix of material in this section, and it’s a great way to end the book.
My overall impression? I just wrote and published an 83 page book on flash and I actually learned quite a bit of new stuff while reading through Piet’s book, Making Light 2. You will too. He’s a great photographer, a very clear writer and his book is full of great information, very good illustrations and lots of insight. Makes me want to go back and read Making Light 1 now.
My point is that no one single person has all the info you need to be a great photographer, especially when it comes to flash. Not me, not Piet, not Joe, not anybody. We all have different shooting and teaching styles and you the more sources you gather for information and inspiration, the more well rounded you’ll be as a photographer.
I’d definitely recommend Piet’s book, whether you buy mine or not. Heck, buy all of them! Together, they still cost less than a half tank of gas and will fill you with enough creative ideas and knowledge to keep you busy for quite awhile.