Piet Van den Eynde has just launched the second edition his wonderful flash book ‘Light It Up’. But surely light doesn’t change and only one edition is required? Well yes and no. Light doesn’t change, but the march of technology in relation to flash, and especially portable flash, has made massive changes in the lighting landscape in just a few short years. On top of that the original edition was published by Craft and Vision, who have since stopped publishing books by 3rd party authors (myself included). So this combination meant it was high time for a new edition.
Now obviously as we both wrote for Craft and Vision, I know Piet. And as I’ve been reading I’ve chatting to him as well. And part of the reason we’re chatting is because we really get on so well. I’m also Irish and.. Well… Irish people tend to rip the mickey out of their friends for mistakes, so rest assured, I’d be the first to point out any glaring errors. I’d expect him to do the same for me. But unfortunately for me, he’s done a good job on this. Though I have pointed out a few typos that he’s since fixed… but I digress.
Of the first edition, I remarked that it was the book about speedlights that I wish I’d written, and this second edition goes a few steps further. Not that I might not actually write such a book (Shhh, don’t tell Piet).
I’m not going to give you a in depth blow by blow of the 185 pages that are in this book. It’s a sumptuous read filled with a mix of both the ordinary and the exotic in terms of sitters and should appeal to a broad spectrum of photographer. The book kicks off the same way that I kick off lighting classes; By talking about the properties of light and explaining them in easy language. From there Piet moves onto the physics of flash. This is a dense topic, but Piet does a great job of explaining it in a way that makes it quite relatable. There are plenty of diagrams here, but it never hurts to have too many with this topic.
I’d swear Piet’s been to one of my classes because his next chapter is about on camera flash, and getting the most out of the flash before you start to take control of it off camera. Again it covers everything you need to know about making the most of your flash to get the best possible light via bouncing off walls and ceilings. Not just that, but modifiers that can help in tougher situations.
From there he moves the flash off camera. This covers all the tools you need to get the flash away from the camera including triggers/cables, stands and modifiers.
Chapter 5 is dedicated to Canon and Nikon’s built in trigger setup for their flash systems.
You know what you really need now? An Infallible 10 step plan. Because every good plan needs at least 10 steps. And that’s what chapter 6 is. In it, Piet goes through the checklist of things you need to do to get the shot. Reading it seems common sense, but there have been plenty of times I’ve missed some of these steps to my great regret later, so heed them carefully.
Case Studies 1 follows. Using all the information we’ve gathered so far (and a few still to come), Piet takes use through a series of one light photos he’s shot, going into great detail on the hows and whys of the techniques used. They’re utterly valuable to anyone looking to expand their light arsenal and include things like using coloured gels and neutral density filters.
Now that you’ve mastered your one light (and of course, using the Sun as well!), it’s on to ‘More Advanced Techniques’. These techniques include High Speed Sync. If you’ve been watching my videos, you know I love this. The chapter includes great diagrams that explain the principle in a simple way.
As well as HSS Piet talks about adding a second light. This begins with adding a separation or background light and applying gels or gobos for interesting options and effects. The chapter rounds out with using more flashes along with combining flashes for more power, as well as some higher powered options that have become available since the first edition.
Wallet busting is the theme of chapter 9- be warned. This covers a huge amount of ground and includes up to date options for better light on location. From triggers to modifiers to the top end of location lights. It’s over 30 pages of pure gear acquisition syndrome.
Now that we’re bang up to date with gear and techniques, it’s time to get to the ‘with added meat’ Case Studies II. This sections brings it all together and shows a whole range of options that you can now use while shooting. Again the photos ideas are terrific and well executed.
The final teaching part is post processing. It’s a great inclusion in a flash book. As Piet has written numerous books on Lightroom, as well as video classes on Photoshop, you know it’s going to be good. And it is. As well as correcting images, Piet shows how to use layers and layer masks in photoshop, filling in with content aware fill, and even doing composites using HDR backgrounds.
As well at the ebook, Piet has created three lighting videos that are a $10 add on. And as if that isn’t enough, he’s including 5 Lightroom Presets in that add on as well. Now Piet’s Presets are really good. Not like the 2000 preset bundles you see that contain 3 usable ones.
All in all it’s a great package, and commercial book companies would be selling this at twice the price. Nevertheless, I’ve secured the code ‘sean10’ to get you 10% off the $24.95 cover price now that the initial Launch offer is over. It’s genuinely jam packed with information, and covers pretty much everything you need to know to get the most out of location lights-as well as tips on other accessories to create even more drama in your shots. Now what I want to know is.. Why the hell does Piet keep flour in his car?