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Customer Review

245 of 260 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Bryan Peterson's books are great, but......, August 30, 2011
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This review is from: Understanding Flash Photography: How to Shoot Great Photographs Using Electronic Flash (Paperback)
I own all of Bryan Petersons books and I recommend them to photographers who are just starting out, but I don't think this book will be one of them.

When I first saw that this book was coming out I was surprised because I think of all his previous books there was only one picture that had a flash in it, and that was a studio strobe. So I figured that with the growing popularity of the Strobists I figured that Mr Peterson was going to go into all the new tools that are available to make stunning photos. nope.

I'm guessing that a good number of people are going to buy this book hoping for help with a simple situation. You are at a wedding in a dark room and need to know how to make a flattering portrait of the bride and groom, but you also want the background to be exposed properly. Not to be found in the book.

here are some other items that are missing that should have been in the book

-shooting at high ISO's
-Bouncing the flash off walls not just the ceiling (which is very unflattering with the shadows it makes under the eyes)
-modifiers. very little use of anything to soften the light
-gels. while he does have a section that talks about gels, he mostly says that you don't need them. when you have rooms that are lit by CFL's, incandescent, LED's, Halogens....its' more important nowadays to know which gel to use to balance the color of the flash
-TTL. he doesn't use it

all of these omissions would be fine if the pictures were stunning, but that is also not the case. I found most of the pictures harsh and unflattering. but that is what you get when you aim a bare flash at something, even if you do hold it off camera.

I truly hate to write this review because I have always been a fan of Bryan Peterson's books. But when it comes down to it, I don't think this book will help people understand how to use flash to its fullest potential.
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Showing 1-10 of 24 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 4, 2011 2:40:59 PM PDT
You may have been disappointed, but come on! Be honest. Does it really deserve only one star? Don't you think you're going overboard? One star means something like you hate it, or it has nothing to offer. Is that really what you are saying? I doubt it. I think you're just giving it one star in order to reduce the score because you don't think it deserves all the five star ratings you expect it to get.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 4, 2011 3:00:09 PM PDT
Rob says:
yes, I absolutely believe that it only deserves one star. This is one of the worst books I have ever read on flash. I was being as kind as I could in the review considering how much I liked most of his other books. if you really want to see what can be done with flashes look for videos from David Ziser or David Hobby. but at least I'll be able to spot the photographers who have read this book, they'll be the ones walking around with tape measures measuring how far their subjects are from the camera.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 4, 2011 3:04:08 PM PDT
Alright; I stand corrected. I disagree, but everyone's entitled to their own opinion.

Posted on Sep 18, 2011 4:57:33 AM PDT
Dan says:
Thanks for saving me some money Robert. I had a feeling this book would not be what I was looking for and you confirmed it.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 4, 2011 8:59:11 PM PDT
S. M. says:
I agree with Mr. Gladys, this book honestly has nothing to offer, and the photographs Mr. Peterson has included are pretty awful too.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 29, 2011 1:06:12 PM PDT
WayneF says:
Name any better book? This book is the ONLY one that actually covers flash basics, the stuff we must know. Finally, there is a good one.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 29, 2011 1:55:27 PM PDT
Rob says:
thats easy, try the manual for the flash. it will probably have more information. and if it covers all the basics, where is the section on high ISO's? how about balancing the flash with tungsten light? what about diffusing the flash? all basic info photographers should know but is conveniently left out of the book

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 7, 2011 9:37:50 PM PST
Alex Chaney says:
The manual for the Nikon SB-800 is hardly a great instructional tool. I didn't find the Magic Lantern book on that flash to be a whole lot better.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 23, 2011 10:40:55 PM PST
G. LO says:
On-camera Flash is a good read

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 31, 2011 4:54:46 AM PST
Nature Boy 1 says:
Robert J. Gladys says: "thats easy, try the manual for the flash. it will probably have more information."
Obviously you havent read a Fujifilm manual recently. $800.00 camera and a 35 cent manual. But thanks for your honest opinion on this book.
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