Standing in front of a room packed with 360 photographers at his seminar, Scott Kelby asked for a show of hands: “How many of you own some kind of an off-camera flash? A Nikon, Canon, Yongnuo, etc.?” About 340 hands went up. “Okay, I have one more question, but before you raise your hand, I want you to really think about your answer. Let’s see a show of hands—how many of you love using your off-camera flash?” Out of those 360 people, just four people raised their hands. He was stunned.
Sadly, the results were similar in city after city, even in different countries. It’s like we all bought a flash during the “hot shoe flash revolution” of 2008–2011, but we’re not getting the results we got them for in the first place. Not even close. We don’t “love” our flashes, and worse yet, in many cases, we’ve even stopped using them altogether. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You just need somebody to help you unlock the real secrets to getting beautiful, consistent, and easily repeatable results.
That’s why The Flash Book book was created—to help you finally fall in love with your flash—and the best news is, it’s way easier than you’d think. In fact, you’ll be surprised at how simple it really can be because you’re not going to learn a bunch of geeky flash stuff, and you’re not going to have to do math, and you’re not going to need a light meter (it’s not that kind of book). Instead, you’re going to learn an amazingly simple system—one that Scott has been using for years—and the best thing about this system is that it’s so darn easy (it’s probably very different from what you might have seen “on the Internet,” but this system works, and once you try it, you’ll become a believer).
Here’s how the book works: Each idea or technique is just one page, and it starts from scratch, taking you through the flash settings (just the few simple ones you actually need to know); the camera settings (Scott gives you his own settings, and you might not even need to change them during your shoot); and which affordable accessories you really need to start using flash like a pro.
This isn’t a book of theory, full of confusing jargon and complicated concepts. This is a book on which settings to use, and exactly how and when to use them. The whole book is written in Scott’s plain-English, down-to-earth style, which makes the experience more like the two of you are out together on a shoot. It’s time to fall truly head-over-heels in love with your flash, so you can start creating the type of images with your flash that you’ve always dreamed of, and this is the book that can take you there.
6 x 9in
Soft Cover- without flaps
Gary (verified owner) December 10, 2018
This is an easy read with a very straightforward approach to optimizing flash. It is concise, yet somehow comprehensive. As usual, Scott Kelby injects a fair amount of humor throughout. I have read several books on using flash and this is the best and most practical, by far.
Peter (verified owner) June 18, 2019
To put it simply: this book made me love flash photography! Scott Kelby provides a concise and very well written introduction on how to use flash. With this book, you will be able to use flash lighting in a variety of settings. I found it much more effective (and much more fun) to learn from this book than to watch videos on youtube on this topic.
The book is divided into 10 chapters. Chapter 1 teaches you the basics on a little more than 20 pages. Other chapters treat questions like using flash on location, how to light backgrounds, and so on. Finally, Chapter 10 summarizes all that knowledge in a “Flash Workflow” for the most common tasks: indoor portraits (6 steps, 6 pages), outdoor portraits (10 steps, 10 pages) and a wedding workflow (6 steps, 6 pages). I got all my questions answered concerning flash photography.
In addition to the techniques of flash photography, you also get very helpful information on the choice of equipment. My recommendation is to first buy and read this book, then to acquire the necessary equipment for your photographic tasks, and then to go out and “flash” the world around you. I am pretty sure that you will then be as thankful as I am to Scott Kelby for having written such an excellent book!
wepsphoto July 18, 2019
I’ve taken two courses at a local photography college- in the first, Glamour Photography, the instructor taught us to build the lighting setup light-by-light, using a handheld meter throughout the process so that by the time the model was on set, you were prepared to shoot. The process took planning, some math, and a lot of previsualization to get the look that you desired.
My second class, on portraiture, was far different. The model began on set and the lighting was built around her- set the lights and the take a shot. If the lights needed more or less power, dial in the change and try another. If you needed to change a light’s position, adjust, take a shot, and evaluate. It was trial-and-error lighting and it felt less professional- but it was faster and easier.
Scott Kelby’s The Flash Book presents this second method of utilizing flash- a trial-and-error, adjust until you get what you want, method of using your flash.
It sounds, and certainly feels, less than professional and it fails to utilize all of the expensive feature sets that flash units profess (and that you have paid for), mostly the TTL exposure control. And if anyone but Scott Kelby was promoting this method, I would scoff, but this award-winning photographer, author of The Hot Shoe Diaries and prolific educator really knows his stuff, so following his logic and path should lead to success.
Kelby points something out at the start of the book that all flash users know- TTL flash is unreliable and the cryptic control panels on the back of these units are confusing and time-intensive to adjust. One other factor that he does not mention is that TTL exposure monitoring takes time- the lag between the shutter press and the actual shutter release can make you lose the moment. The solution is quite simple: put the flash on manual and guesstimate your way to the correct exposure.
The starting point is ISO 100, f/5.6, shutter speed 1/125”- shoot and adjust.
The book can truly be summed up with that single equation, but there is a myriad of tips and tricks throughout that justify a full read. Among the many flash issues covered are gels, stands, mounting flashes, modifiers, multiple flash setups, and wedding/group photography. Even more valuable is the discussion of flash purchasing- because Kelby avoids TTL and the other expensive features that retailers tout as essential, cheap flashes are actually preferred over those from camera brand-name companies. There’s no concern about compatibility and no surcharge for the brand name. But the key to success is getting a radio controller that sits in the camera hotshoe- and the savings you’ll have with the off-brand flash units will easily fund that device, and likely a second and maybe third flash.
Similar to many of his books, each chapter opens with a giddy (and often irrelevant) comedy sketch that is then followed by a topic that takes less than 2 pages to explain- Kelby’s style is to include a dozen or more 2-page sub-chapters with each topic- small bites to take and to slowly build knowledge and skills as you go. The book is not theoretical and academic- it’s pragmatic and simple, aimed to get you off and running with flash in hours, not weeks of studious effort.
The Flash Book provides a thorough hands-on course on how to expose and set up lighting with small flash units. There is plenty of discussion about how to purchase and use accessories with recommendations and critiques that will help you to design a lighting kit that satisfies your needs. Read this before you purchase a single piece of lighting gear and you’ll save time, effort and money.
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