Book review: Making Light 1 & 2

As one of my goals for this year I decided to read at least one photo book per month. I started out light since a significant portion of my reading time this month has been taken up by the Fire & Ice series. And in fact in this review I’m cheating just a bit ;). My first selection was Making Light 2 by Piet Van den Eynde but I’ll be covering Making Light 1 as well which I read in December.

Both books cover the use of small flashes – mainly speedlights – off-camera to assist or fully light the photograph you are making. I’ll admit to not being a stranger to the Strobist movement since I’ve been following it from sometime during the early ages of the blog and the initial Lighting 101. Admittedly though, although I’ve dabbled here and there and tried to understand what has been written I’ve spent too little time actually practicing my strobist skills.

I’ve liked the Craft & Vision books I’ve read so far so I grabbed both as they came out and finally started reading them now. Admittedly since I’ve been following a lot of the gear discussions on the Internet for so long, the general parts of the books didn’t really offer me anything new. But they were written extremely well and concisely enough to not bore a reader. What I liked most about both books were the case studies of individual photographs and how they were lit. The text and final image were also – in places – supported by photographs taken without the addition of light giving the reader an even better picture on what the effect of the lighting was.

As a bonus the second book has interviews of several Belgian photographers who use strobes in their work. The interviews offer an even deeper insight on how strobes can be utilized in personal and commercial work. And of course the pictures shown are absolutely beautiful and wonderfully simple gear-wise in their execution. It is so refreshing to see so many photographs that have only been lit with a few lights instead of the often convoluted lighting setups seen in many commercial situations.

After reading both books I feel like I have an even better understanding of what and how to achieve what I want. Now I just have to start really practicing my skills before submitting some poor souls to sit in front of my camera. If you haven’t already, I strongly recommend picking both e-books up. The total price of $10 most likely won’t break your bank.

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