December 6, 2009

On-Camera Flash by Neil van Niekerk

I haven’t posted anything for quite awhile so I guess it’s about time huh? I recently ordered a book that I was really excited about and I think you'll be very pleased with also. The name of the book is On Camera Flash – Techniques for Digital Wedding and Portrait Photography, written by a fellow blogger and pro photographer from the New Jersey area, Neil van Niekerk. I have a few select blogs and websites I frequent regularly and Neil’s (Tangents) is one of those.

I’m a fan of anything to do with off camera flash and I’m always reading up on it. What I like about Neil’s work is that he teaches you that when done properly, you rarely ever know flash was involved in the shot. I consider myself an amateur at photography and really don’t get enough time to go out and take photos, so I need all the short-cuts I can get. My aim, and yours should be also, is to get the best shot your equipment is capable of getting. These days I’m using a lot more fill-flash and a good technique I’ve learned is to try to balance the ambient with my flash for more pleasing photos. A lot of people say they only shoot with natural light, but I’m a firm believer that when balanced correctly, flash is no longer your enemy.

When composing photos I usually have a pretty good idea of what I’m looking for, but most of the time, my problem is that I have to think the shot out step by step which can be time consuming. Some times the shot your trying to get has to be a quick grab-shot, and what I’m trying to do is to get it to be more intuitive. Neil’s book will definitely help.

What I like about Neil’s style is he does not get too technical. I don’t need all the mumbo-jumbo geek talk; I just want to know how to get the shot. His book is almost like classroom training. He explains some things that need explaining like flash modes (manual, auto, TTL) and when and why to use each of them. The book also has five chapters on techniques about using various flash modifiers and diffusers, using bounce flash and when to use gels to help you to get the natural look. Neil also explains using flash outdoors both as a main light and as a fill light. He goes over his idea of when to use direct flash and when to bounce and explains how to control the ambient light with flash. In the last couple chapters he goes into off camera wireless TTL flash and off camera manual flash.

The book, On-Camera Flash, is loaded with many full color photographs with detailed explanations and tips. This is one of those books I’ll definitely keep in my “must have” collection. The book lists for $35.00 and if you use Amazon links to the left you’ll save about $10.00. I know you’ll love the book, and remember to keep shooting and have some fun!
© D. Gould Photography