Author: Zeke Kamm

Publisher: Peachpit Press

Review by Conrad J. Obregon

The Strobist blog has achieved an almost legendary status amongst photographers concerned with using flash to take pictures. Now the Strobist seems to be moving into the print field with “Strobist Photo Trade Secrets Volume 1: Expert Lighting Techniques (One-Off)” by Zeke Kamm.

The book consists of twenty-four six and one-half by four and three-quarters inch photographs from individuals who have contributed to the Strobist site. On the back of each photograph is a lighting diagram to show how one or more flashes was used to illuminate the image. The pages are printed on heavy cardboard, and can be torn out of the book, supposedly to take along for quick reference.

The pictures themselves are all of high quality and most photographers would be happy to have taken any of them. Unfortunately all one gets is a great image and a lighting diagram. There is nothing to instruct you as to any of the settings involved or any of the theory behind any of the photographs. For example, there is an image of an automobile and on the back it is revealed that the image was made by shooting in low light for a long exposure and walking around the car and illuminating it with a shop light. No discussion of painting with light, or calculating how long an exposure, or any theory. All that you are getting is a bare-bones tip.

I’m reminded of the saying that if you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day; teach him to fish and you feed him for life.

I seldom consider the relationship between price and product in examining photo books. In this case however, the book just doesn’t seem worth the money. One would be better off buying, say, Joe McNally’s “The Hot Shoe Diaries: Big Light from Small Flashes” for only a little more money and learning the theory as well as seeing many more images and lighting examples.


Sponsored by PMA – It’s not too early to mark your calendar because this is big. For the first time in the USA, the PMA tradeshow and conference will be open to the general public – September 6-11, 2011 in Las Vegas. See you there –

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