on January 2, 2011
I admit, I had pretty high expectations for this book after hearing Syl Arena speak about it and about various topics of his expertise in the year or so prior to the release of this book.
I wasn't disappointed!
I've been dabbling in [...] work for some time, and a dedicated Canon photographer who'd already dabbled in Speedlites with 2 of my own. Backing all this up I have a Bachelors degree in Theatre Lighting and 12 years working as a entertainment lighting technician. I know a couple things about using light :)
This book is excellently broken up into well thought out chapters and sub headings that don't bury the lead and let readers of any level jump right to what they need to get started with, as well as move through the book in the way that suits them best.
Syl Arena knows lighting, and as importantly, is a master of the Canon flash system. This book is all I could have asked for in him passing on that knowledge to the reader.
on January 6, 2011
I've been using Canon Speedlite's as an avid amateur for a few years now and I really must say that this book is amazing. It's great for anyone who uses the Canon system (or any other flash system for that matter), from those who just got their first DSLR over the holidays to those who've been shooting for years.
Syl Arena's vast knowledge and easy writing style make this book incredibly easy to read, understand and absorb; all of which helped me apply the content quickly and easily. While reading the book I found that new ideas started taking shape and I suddenly realized that my love of photography had been focused (no pun intended) and intensified. This is not simply a book about the Canon Speedlite system but a book about photography. And a great one at that.
I saw the quality of my lighting improve almost right away. Better understanding and control of light makes better images. Buy this book now.
on March 1, 2013
Well done! It has been a long time since I've read a book that I have enjoyed more.
Very complete, well organized, easy to read, no self-promotion, full of examples and how-to info. I'm 3 chapters away from finishing and I'm going to be sorry when I am finished.
I'm am an experienced amateur, with lots of ambient light experience. I always hated the flash, because I could never get it to look right. Now I understand why. I am looking forward to applying what I have learned. Thanks for writing such an excellent book.
on January 6, 2013
In the last year I have purchased quite a few photography books. This is without a doubt one of the very best. If you are a Canon user and have a Canon Speedlite of the 430 EX 11 or 530 EX 11 variety, this book is for you. Author Syl Arena is not only a great photographer, he is a great teacher. His book is extremely well organized. Every concept he teaches is accompanied by a photograph or diagram. And you never have to turn the page you are reading to look at those photographs or diagrams. They are right there. Also, he provides the camera and flash settings he used. Great diagrams show his lighting setups. The book covers virtually every topic needed to start taking better flash pictures both indoors and out. The book is very current. For any gear that he suggests a person might want to purchase, a photograph is provided. You never have to guess or imagine what he is talking about. Quite honestly, I think I would have had a hard time learning how to use my Speedlite effectively without this book. The manual for the flash unit leaves a lot to be desired.
I know that I will be referring to Mr. Arena's book over and over again. If you are serious about wanting to take better flash pictures, I can highly recommend it to you. It is so comprehensive in its coverage that there is likely no need to purchase any other book on the same topic. This book does it all in a down to earth, easy to understand fashion. And with the exception of some very specialized lighting setups (detailed near the end of the book) which are really fun and interesting, this book talks to those of use who do NOT have professional studios. It is directed mainly at those who have one or two Speedlites and probably won't ever have more than this. Mr. Arena is also very practical when he suggests additional equipment such as stands and light modifiers that we amateurs might like to acquire. Great book. I wish all books were this good.
on February 14, 2011
This is a great reference book with tons of practical information. I'm a beginner and this book will come in very useful for a long time.
The one thing they probably could have left out is the techique that involves the way the cover was shot. Using multiple speedlights Syl is able to capture this great image but really, how many of us are going to have access to a dozen speedlights in order to achieve this kind of shot? That's like $6k in speedlights!! Again, i'm no expert, but I think there are probably better ways to achieve this shot with a lot less.
All in all, totally worth the money. Gives you all you need to get started and get creative.
on March 3, 2014
Overall, this is a great book. Well written and well organized. However, because it is a photography book there are references to images throughout. I've purchased a couple of Kindle versions (for iPad) of photography books and they all seem to suffer from the challenge of how to have the image next to the text that is describing it.
It's frustrating to scroll back and forth all the time and, as a result, I will not be buying the e-versions of photography books in the future. The material simply loses a lot of its impact when the reader is annoyed by the medium.
on February 19, 2011
This is a superb book!. It covered all the topics I was wanting covered regarding flash photography. Without a doubt, I will be using the thought process, tips and equipment suggestions for the rest of my life. I have Nikon flashes (SB900 + SB600) and the info stream is seamless for them. Let's keep the review clean and simple - superb book - if you are even remotely considering buying it then stop procrastinating and do yourself a big favour - buy it!
on August 20, 2011
Do you own a Canon EOS DSLR camera? Do you have (or plan to buy) a Canon 430 or 580EX flash? If you answered yes to these questions you want to own this book! I don't mean consider buying this book or put it on your short list I mean buy it - now. You'll thank me later. (If you can't learn enough new things from this book to justify the price then you are probably a very experienced flash photographer and not reading this review anyway.)
I consider myself an amateur photographer that has past beginner status but still has a long way to go to consistently achieve semi-pro level results.
I give this book two big thumbs up. It covers everything you could possible want to know about flash photography (on camera, off camera, single flash, multi flash, manual control, E-TTL control, batteries, light modifiers, etc. etc.). Syl does a great job of explaining numerous lighting concepts and when to consider using them. For each lighting scenario he provides a set of photos and a lighting diagram that clearly shows how he produced the final result.
You don't need to use the Canon system to benefit from reading this book. If you do use Canon its pretty much a "no brainer" to buy it. In my opinion Canon should offer this book at reduced cost with every 430EX or 580EX purchase. Its that good - really.
on January 21, 2011
I happened to come across Syl's website one day while researching the basics of off-camera flash and was immediately intrigued by his tutorials which also use great pictures to demo his technique. And when I saw he was putting this book out, I was sold. I've always been a believer of the thought that the manual that came with the product was your best teacher, however if you've ever gone through the woefully pathetic manual Canon provides with their flashes, you'll know why a book like this was needed.
Being new not only in the flash game, but also to DSLRs in general, this book also provides some well explained and laid out theory on topics such as aperature, shutter speed, ISO, and how they'll modify and change your flash output. It's really great stuff that the author makes easy to comprehend. All the info is complimented by great pictures that visually explain the point Syl is trying to get across.
If I had one complaint about the book, it is that it makes me want to go out and spend lots of money on lighting gear! I'd already began looking at buying a second flash, light stands, and modifiers after reading through the first few chapters.
In conclusion, buy this book. Highly recommended.
on January 14, 2011
I actually bought this on the US site, but thought I would review it on the CA site. I was debating about buying "The Hot Shoe Diaries" or this book, and this one won. So far I have covered about 100 pages and I understand my flash and manual much better than floundering around on my own. The Canon manual needs a Rosetta Stone to decipher.
I think Syl really wants us all to be "Speedlighter's", and his passion and enthusiasm really shine through in this book. It guides you step by step, and gives great instruction on how to learn through stages; using a flash cord, with manual flash, then advancing to remote control like Pocket Wizards, Elinchrome transmitters etc... and then on from there.
Unlike other books which plaster pics of the author, and what they have done, and how great they are, no such pages are found front or back cover. I get the feeling that Syl really wants us to "get" flash, and shares his knowledge unselfishly. Would highly recommend this book.