Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Minimalist Lighting

Long time flickr group member and commercial photographer Kirk Tuck penned this book on Professional Techniques for Location Photography. It took me a while to get around to having a look at it, but I was eventually persuaded by the fact that it had been so widely praised. If you go by the feedback on Amazon, this is undoubtedly a very good book for many people.

Kirk starts the book with a pretty convincing argument for why small is beautiful, with a case study of a complex shoot gone wrong. He explains how recent advances in techology have made this style of shooting possible.

There's a fairly comprehensive section on quality of light, hard light, soft light, position and so on. It introduces different types of light modifiers, some shop bought and others DIY

The gear section is too large for my liking, some of the photos and captions are duplicated and there are some inaccuracies, for instance the SB28 can go down to 1/64 not 1/16. The section could easily have been relegated to very general discussion with perhaps a web link for more details and updates. Its a shame this section is so big, because just about anyone can tell you what flashgun to buy, but only Kirk can tell you how he lit a CEO on one of his shoots.

There is also section on the Nikon wireless flash system which will no doubt be very useful to some people, but less so for people who don't use Nikon flash with Nikon cameras. I'll confess that I pretty much skipped this section because it wasn't any use to me.

The case studies are good, but would have liked to have seen more variety and more quantity. None of the photos would have been out of place in a brouchure or corporate magazine and the images have a really crisp clean look, but it would have been nice to have seen some of the more faddy techniques that will no doubt go out of style more quickly than the images Kirk shows in his book.

If like me you have read back to front and already have the gear, you might think the book isn't great value for money because the gear section is so large. But if you are a beginner or a pro looking to make the switch, this book could very well be the Strobist 101 book that you wanted.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Paulo,
    I agree with you on most of your points. In retrospect I would probably (and will probably) edit down the gear section while adding to the case studies. I April my second book will come out and, learning from the first book, there are more demos and case studies, and a complete absence of "Nikon Only" subject matter.

    The second book covers studio lighting and my readers have given it high marks. It is already doing well in pre-sale at Amazon.

    The first book, for all of its faults, still gets high marks from readers and, surprisingly, the most vocal proponents are not "Strobists" or beginners but working pros who've been at it for twenty years or more. Seems like they needed a prod to change the way they did things along with a clear road map.

    Thanks for the review Paulo. I also appreciated the invitation to come and give my two cents worth!

    Kirk Tuck