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What a wonderful book. Just having read through it the first time I'm overwhelmed with the amount of fantastic info in here. And the photography in this book is beautiful. He breaks down how each photo was shot in incredible detail, talking about the equipment and camera settings. There are many before-and-after shots that show the shot with and without flash or with different types of flash that really exemplify how important proper lighting really is. This is surely a must-have lighting book for any serious photographer and I can guarantee I'll be coming back to it time and time again.
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Disclaimers: 1. I do know Neil van Niekerk 2. I use very little flash
I've known Mr. Niekerk for more than a few years and there are few photographers for whom I have as much respect, personally or professionally.
While I am known for my "available light" work I do consider a mastery of light, be it available or supplemental, to be crucial for the production of great images.
Mr. Williams states, eloquently, in his foreword that we live in the age of the "quick-fix" during which period it really does seem to be de rigueur to eschew knowledge and learning. If you recognize that "flash" is your weak point, or if you desire to improve your lighting skills & knowledge then I suggest that this book should not only be on your purchase list, at the top :), but also that you do spend the time reading, practicing and understanding the techniques and concepts presented in it, paying particular attention to Mr. van Niekerk's statement regarding manual exposure; "You decide. Not the camera." This is of key importance and is often overlooked or neglected
The book itself is very well written, using precise, unambiguous language leaving little, if any, room for misunderstanding. The chapter subjects are comprehensive. The diagrams are clear and concise and each and every photograph in the book illustrates its point very clearly.
My only issue with the foreword is that Mr. William's statement this "is a fantastic book" is that it is not in bold print! It is indeed a fantastic book. It's not a quick fix, I don't believe it was ever intended to be one. It does require reading and practice, after all practice does make perfect!
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I was very skeptic on well I would like a book about non-studio flash Photography. I have read a lot of Joe McNally books and he certainly has mastered the off and on camera flash! I wasn't quite sure what to expect of this book....
IT ROCKS! I got it today and I am done with it already. I couldn't put it down. Thank goodness I had the time to read it. Here is what I love about it.....Neil shows you the shot would be typically be shot. Then, he tweaks the lighting with a flash.....shows you the difference, then makes another change and shows the different yet again. The examples in this book are AMAZING! The author knows how to teach and he does it extremely well.
Trust me when I tell you to buy this book and memorize it. It's actually going in my camera bag as a reference manual now that I marked it all up.
This might be my favorite photography book to date! Buy it.....you'll love it!
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I used to be an "existing light" guy. I really hated the look of direct flash on a subject. I was having a nice chat with my brother-in-law when he told me about this website called planet neil. I read through it and I was amazed by this guy who talked about using flash in such a way that viewers wouldn't know that you used flash! I bookmarked it and told myself that I would throughly read it when I finally bought my flash.
That moment came a few weeks ago. I bought a 430EXII and went through the website again. It had a ad about the site's author also writing a book. I bought the book as soon as Amazon released it and poured through its pages.
I was just amazed at the amount of helpful information the book had. The author, Niel van Niekerk, was really obsessed about making sure that the subject didn't look like a flash was used on her. He showed a lot of examples of how a picture would look like if only existing light was used and how the lighting was greatly enhanced by using flash.
I don't know but he made a believer out of me.
He never suggested this but I went to a hobby store and bought a life-sized styrofoam head so I can practice bouncing the flash while creating a flattering kind of lighting. Sorry if this sounds weird but it is so hard for me to convince my wife to practice using the flash on her.
I think this book would be very helpful for people new to using flash and also to people who already has some flash experience. He uses a lot of examples from his wedding shoots but his techniques can be applied to most situations. He talks about using flash in different types of lighting situations. He does so in a manner that is not very technical. In fact, he only used 1 chart in his entire book.Read more ›
I was amazed to see this author bouncing flash off a building 30 feet away, but his techniques truly work. A lot of authors tell you to bounce the flash directly above you or slightly in front of you to get the most flattering light, but he tells you how to do it right. Definitely get this book if you take any indoor photos where flash is essential. He makes the light look natural. And he gives one specific tip that will drastically increase your odds of good lighting.
I'm a wedding and portrait photographer based in northern New Jersey, and I also maintain a website for photographers which contains numerous articles on flash photography and various aspects of digital photography. http://neilvn.com/tangents/
My interest in this wonderful medium started when I was still in high school. That would be in the late 70's, if you're trying to gauge the longevity of my interest in photography.
I am originally from Johannesburg, South Africa, but I emigrated to the USA in 2000. I am now a resident of New Jersey, USA, where I live with my wife and daughter.
I love photography for a variety of reasons. The stimulation and excitement of responding to new situations satisfies both my analytical and creative sides, and I also truly love working with people. I get real pleasure from sharing the happiness with the people that I photograph, and knowing that I'm creating images that will evoke wonderful memories for a lifetime.