OK... The more I delay this review the more it's gonna look dated. I'm already seeing many reviews of this excellent book pop up, including Neil van Niekerk's take on it ( http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/032171105X?ie=UTF8&tag=planeneilphot-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=032171105X ).
It's easy enough for me to give a strong recommendation for this book as other reviewers have. To add value though, I'm going to do my best to come up with legitimate criticisms. Note: this review is based on the Kindle version.
First, the praise:
- Uses both manual flash and TTL flash.
- Photos are doable/realistic, and don't appear to have been subjected to extensive postprocessing.
- Systematic approach in examples. Well explained.
- Good solutions to lighting problems.
- Good variety of examples showing different techniques.
- Some interesting techniques. Stroboscopic flash, "gang lighting" (what I would call a light array).
- Very comprehensive discussion of lighting equipment. Realistic recommendations that don't assume we all have pro-level budgets (for novice, get this; for seasoned amateur get this; for pro, get this).
- Clearly written, not boring or puffy/professorial.
- Well organized.
Now for the harder part - [constructive] criticisms:
- Critical distinction between ambient exposure and flash exposure not well explained.
- Advises that shutter controls ambient, while aperture controls flash exposure, which advice can be misunderstood. See last week's post (on this blog) on that issue.
- Advises high speed sync to dim sunlight. Actually, HSS aggravates the issue. If your goal is to overpower the sun, you're better off with a neutral density filter in terms of efficiency.
- Only a short discussion of bouncing flash. Neil's book is way ahead on that technique.
- Fill flash technique (different types of fill) not covered.
- Photos are not cutting edge (but like I said above - they're practical examples).
- Kindle version: some of the photos appear on separate pages from the captions. The resolution of the photos in the Kindle version is not very high.
My take? A must-have for Canon family photographers who would like to know more about using their flash properly. It explains Canon's lighting system thoroughly. For other shooters, I still think Neil's On-Camera Flash book is the best book (to date) on flash techniques that are most relevant to family photographers. Nonetheless, this is an excellent resource with a lot of details that I have not seen elsewhere, and with a good variety of lighting scenarios that provide useful case studies.