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Showing 1-10 of 37 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 68 reviews
on March 26, 2010
The first 60% or so of the book gives you an overview about modern, portable, speedlight based lighting systems. The author also touches on larger studio lights and big softboxes. This excellent overview can save you many hours of online research to understand what options are out there and to get an idea what they cost. If you read it before you put your first step into the lighting field, it may also save you hundreds of bucks. This first part of the book is really outstanding and it alone makes the book worth reading for anyone new to the field.

The rest of the book is a lighting guide in form of selected case studies. First of all, this part is badly edited. The text of the case studies is accompanied by lighting diagrams and the actual photos with legends. In about half of the cases the information in picture legends, diagrams, and text is incongruent. The text might say a Fuji camera and umbrella from the right was used while the diagram says a Nikon with softbox from the left. Most of the time you can extract the relevant information - still, mistakes in this quantity are unprofessional, and a publisher should get this under control before he prints a book and asks money for it.
This said, the photos are all very well lit. The pictures were mostly taken for corporate clients, and as a result the lighting style is rather "safe" with lots of 45° soft light, and very similar in most pictures. I think it would have been nice to see a little bit what else can be done with all that equipment. On the other hand the author probably focussed on what he does best and he's really good at it.

The title has been considered misleading by other reviews and people have argued against that, but I have to agree. If a minimalist is somebody who uses "the bare minimum of what is necessary", large softboxes and up to five or six flashes aimed at selected background details just don't qualify, no matter how good the final image looks. The book's philosphoy is "smaller than heavy duty" which does not necessarily mean minimalism to me. It contains a couple of good one light shots, but if you are looking for something like "the range of possibilities with one or two flashes, an umbrella, and a cereal snoot" you are wrong here.

Overall, I expected something different and was a bit disappointed with the spectrum of artistic techniques offered. Instead I got a lesson about equipment options that was way better then what I would have expected. If you are new to off-camera speedlights and trying to figure out were to go in terms of equipment, this book is a valuable resource.
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on September 6, 2008
The best way to learn how to become an accomplished photographer is to get hired as an assistant to a pro. The second best way is to read the best photo books and practice, practice. Here's the best photo book I've come across in a very long time. Kirk Tuck is a pro who has been there and done that, and he not only shows why location photography needs to change, but, more importantly, how to change it. This clearly written book tells you what equipment you need, how to use it, and gives numerous case histories of how actual assignments were shot. If you are new to portrait photography, or serious flash photography, or if you want to dip your feet into the pro world, you need to read this book. This is the breakthrough book, the one that is starting a lighting revolution. Others are under way (Bill Hurter's book, "Simple Lighting Techniques" just released, and Joe McNally's book due late this year). You also need to check Kirk's website. Kirk's next book will focus on minimalist studio lighting.
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on March 22, 2012
First of, I purchased this book because I handle marketing at an industrial company. We really need product photos, but lack the time and big budget to ship our product to a massive fancy photography studio...or purchase a large fancy inhouse studio on the factory floor. Setting up a large expensive photo studio on the factory floor isn't an option for us.

This book is exactly what I needed to firm up my photography concepts for setting up an affodable and light weight portable studio on our factory floor. The book is easy to follow, provides great exampls, diagrams, and isn't too indepth or too shallow to alienate most audiances. This book is great for all kinds of photgraphy, from commrecial to family.

I needed a cheap setup, that can be quickly moved, and this book helped me build just that setup. I recommend this book to anyone.
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on February 28, 2009
This author is very specific in his descriptions of how he executes particular location lighting challenges. His approach in this sense reminds me of Scott Kelby, who writes Photoshop books and always gives you every step in the process.
As other reviewers have said, the author uses Nikon flashes, as I do, and most detailed advice relates to them, so it would be less helpful to a reader who uses other equipment. However there's a good deal of advice on other equipment- light stands, filters, clamps, umbrellas- that anyone could use.
Lastly, the book is specifically about location portrait photography with multiple flashes and lightstands. It is therefore not targeted for wedding or event photography that requires mobility and generally on-camera flash.
This is not a criticism, just a comment on the content.
I would definitely recommend the book for users who want to use multiple flashes on location, while still retaining an "environmental portrait" look.
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on December 16, 2008
If you are interested in Minimalist Lighting, you probably are already a fan of Strobist.com

This book presents that same type of information but with the benefit of a logical, sequential presentation that begins with a history of lighting gear and and rapidly brings you to the present-day use of lightweight, powerful and sophisticated flash units to creatively illuminate your shots. Tuck doesn't shy away from making product recommendations- he assists you in analyzing your needs, openly discusses options, manages your expenses with alternate solutions. Well illustrated and clearly written, this is a perfect how-to guide. You'll look forward to hitting the street with your wheeled studio-in-a case, creating shots that you never thought possible with inexpensive, lightweight gear and the know-how to solve the challenges that await you on each shoot.
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on July 10, 2008
I have been shooting photos for the past many years. Recently I have become much more serious about my photography and wanted to learn about lighting.

Minimalist Lighting takes a very organized look at what equipment and techniques produce professional quality photos yet incorporate only the bare essentials (a few strobes, a reflector and maybe an umbrella).

The author, Kirk Tuck, takes the reader through an equipment primer where he explains the fundamentals of strobes, light stands, radio slaves, soft boxes, umbrellas etc.

From there he explains how to use this equipment with fundamental lighting techniques for a classic portrait.

He then moves through a dozen or so Case Studies where there are schematics of the shot along with a detailed explanation of why and how the shot was set up.

I found the book to be very informative and an absolute pleasure to read and study from cover to cover.
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on March 30, 2009
While I have owned a DSLR for almost two years now, I spent over a year just taking snap shots, and not getting into the real potential of my camera. I found David Hobby's blog online, I started with the strobist approach to using my camera, Kirk's book was a nice addition to learning that approach.

Kirk lays out the information in a way that is easy to understand and includes very nice examples. I really thought the stories of his real life experiences, in relation to what he was covering in each chapter, helped put the whole thing together for me.

Great Book for someone new to the field, easy to read, and for the price it will not break the wallet.

I highly recommend this for students and people who are just getting into photography.
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on June 5, 2010
This book does have quite a bit of information, but not a whole lot more than what is available online from websites like Strobist. It could have been organized better and seems to jump from one topic to another on the same page. There were also a lot of discrepancies between the text and the descriptions for the photos/diagrams. For instance the author talks about using a CTO gel for the shot in the text, then the lighting diagram shows green gels on all the lights. Since he was balancing to fluorescent lights, I figured he meant to say green gels. This was the case on more than one occasion leading to a bit of confusion.
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on August 27, 2012
After reading this edition, I ordered the rest of Kirk's books. He is straight forward, delivers useful information, and writes clearly. I recommend anything he has published to date (2012) as I have them all.
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on November 4, 2008
I am a hobbyist photographer who started out using a darkroom in high school shooting black and white film. I have never felt comfortable using strobes. Over the years I have convinced myself that I am a "natural light" shooter who didn't need a flash. I actually used to push 3200 film a couple stops to avoid using a flash at night!

Unfortunately my D200 just doesn't cut it in low light, so I bought an SB600 and reluctantly started using it for indoor shots. My pictures have been awful... I simply did not know what I was doing.
Recently, during a family wedding, I took another stab at using the flash and the results were complete crap. I decided to buy this book on a lark before throwing in the towel. I am glad I did!

This book is concise, full of information, and it all makes sense. The pace and progression of information is right on. Everything you need to know about using a modern flash is here. It is technical without being boring or patronizing. I want to thank the author for producing such an intelligent and usable guide to using my camera as it was meant to be used.
I now have the confidence to set up a small studio to help out with a local fashion business. Instead of fearing my flash, I am now empowered to really embrace artificial light.
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