October 24, 2014, 10:57:25 AM

Author Topic: Which Syl Arena Lighting/Flash book would be best to start with?  (Read 2247 times)

cayenne

  • 1D X
  • *******
  • Posts: 1213
    • View Profile
Which Syl Arena Lighting/Flash book would be best to start with?
« on: December 10, 2012, 02:02:15 PM »
Hi Folks,

I've seen some threads here recommending books on Flash/Lighting by Syl Arena.

I see two of them on Amazon:
Speedliter's Handbook: Learning to Craft Light with Canon Speedlites
http://www.amazon.com/Speedliters-Handbook-Learning-Craft-Speedlites/dp/032171105X/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pdT1_nS_nC?ie=UTF8&colid=3V9PVCC4ABLEP&coliid=I17E21C6P3BT9O

and

Lighting for Digital Photography: From Snapshots to Great Shots (Using Flash and Natural Light for Portrait, Still Life, Action, and Product Photography)
http://www.amazon.com/Lighting-Digital-Photography-Snapshots-Portrait/dp/0321832752/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_nC?ie=UTF8&colid=3V9PVCC4ABLEP&coliid=I5H7D2FEKICZ7

Which of these would be best to read starting off?  I'm thinking before the Canon incentives go away, before EOY...I might get one of the 600EX-RT's.....so, thought I'd read up on flash and general lighting (wanting to do a family portrait while home for xmas)....I'd do a little readin up on this subject before heading home, and even while at home during the down times...

Any other books/resources you think might be better? Especially if specific to Canon equipment?

Thanks in advance,

cayenne

canon rumors FORUM

Which Syl Arena Lighting/Flash book would be best to start with?
« on: December 10, 2012, 02:02:15 PM »

RC

  • Canon 7D MK II
  • *****
  • Posts: 608
    • View Profile
Re: Which Syl Arena Lighting/Flash book would be best to start with?
« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2012, 02:38:16 PM »
"Speedliter's Handbook: Learning to Craft Light with Canon Speedlites" is the one you want.  You will soon discover why it is a 5 star book on Amazon.  The other book is fairly new and I have not read it...yet.

The book is heavily geared towards using IR with the 580s and 430 units.  I was amazed at how creative you can get with flash photography especially optically triggering multiple units.  Even with the 600EX RT flash units I think the book is still highly relevant since he cover numerous techniques and lighting methods.  Syl also shares many of his recommended accessories, modifiers, stands, and so on.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2012, 02:50:36 PM by RC »

pdirestajr

  • 1D Mark IV
  • ******
  • Posts: 761
    • View Profile
    • flickr
Re: Which Syl Arena Lighting/Flash book would be best to start with?
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2012, 02:45:33 PM »
The Speedliter's handbook is definitely the most informative book about Canon's system. But it is a little bit of a boring read, as it feels more like an advanced manual/ cookbook.

I'd also recommend Joe McNally's books. His books, "The Hot Shoe Diaries", and "Sketching Light", are more about the art and philosophy of lighting. He uses all Nikon, but he talks more about lighting concepts than gear. His books are also really enjoyable reads as he is a bit of a nut!
7D | 5DII | EOS-3 | Nikon F3 | Mamiya 645 Pro-TL

unfocused

  • Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II
  • *******
  • Posts: 2185
    • View Profile
    • Unfocused: A photo website
Re: Which Syl Arena Lighting/Flash book would be best to start with?
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2012, 02:47:39 PM »
Just curious: do you have other strobes or a way to remotely fire the 600EX-RT? You'll need the ST-E3-RT if you want to fire the 600 off-camera with radio control. You can fire it using IR if you have a 7D, 60D or one of the new Rebels, otherwise you'll need an ST-E2 for IR control.

Not familiar with either of these books. I'm sure they are great. But, honestly, today's strobes are so foolproof they don't require a lot of reading to do the basics. Maybe it's just me, but I have to try out different setups myself and see what the light does in order to learn. I've picked up Joe McNally's book, some Strobist guides and another basic lighting book -- all handy for some ideas, but lighting, IMO is something you have to just try. Fortunately, with today's digital, you can get instant feedback and adjust on the fly.
pictures sharp. life not so much. www.unfocusedmg.com

cayenne

  • 1D X
  • *******
  • Posts: 1213
    • View Profile
Re: Which Syl Arena Lighting/Flash book would be best to start with?
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2012, 03:25:02 PM »
Just curious: do you have other strobes or a way to remotely fire the 600EX-RT? You'll need the ST-E3-RT if you want to fire the 600 off-camera with radio control. You can fire it using IR if you have a 7D, 60D or one of the new Rebels, otherwise you'll need an ST-E2 for IR control.

Not familiar with either of these books. I'm sure they are great. But, honestly, today's strobes are so foolproof they don't require a lot of reading to do the basics. Maybe it's just me, but I have to try out different setups myself and see what the light does in order to learn. I've picked up Joe McNally's book, some Strobist guides and another basic lighting book -- all handy for some ideas, but lighting, IMO is something you have to just try. Fortunately, with today's digital, you can get instant feedback and adjust on the fly.

I have nothing for off camera or on camera lighting at this point.

I've started out with a 5D3...got some lenses:
canon 17-40mmL
canon 85mm f/1.8
canon 24-105L kit lens
canon 70-200mm L f/2.8 IS II
Rokinon 14mm  f.2.8

I've just been shooting stills so far with natural light...I have some clamp lights I've bought to use as DIY lighting for video, but haven't tried them with still yet....

But was going to start with the 600ex rt...figuring that would be a good place to start..I could at least bounce the light off that off walls and ceiling...

Hoping the 'new' radio controlled analog of the 480 or so will come out soon...but I believe the 600 also has optical so that it could control maybe an older 430/580 if I picked up one of those used...?

But at this point, I have really nothing but natural light and come Home Depot clamp lights I could use....hence, wanting to read and learn about doing lighting...concepts and specific use of flash....

Thanks so far for all the replies!! 

That Speedliter's Handbook was put out in 2010...wondering if there is a new version for all the RT stuff coming out soon and worth waiting on? 
Well, at very least, maybe I can find a used one somewhere or check the library for now....

Oh heck, I might just get it...I'm about to order one of those ExpoImaging ExpoDisc 77mm Digital White Balance Filters from Amazon...I'll likely throw that book on top of the order....

C


RC

  • Canon 7D MK II
  • *****
  • Posts: 608
    • View Profile
Re: Which Syl Arena Lighting/Flash book would be best to start with?
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2012, 04:03:59 PM »
That Speedliter's Handbook was put out in 2010...wondering if there is a new version for all the RT stuff coming out soon and worth waiting on? 
I subscribe to his newsletter and visit his site frequently, I have not heard any word if he is going to produce a book for Canon's RT units--I hope he does.

Here is his link http://pixsylated.com/blog/

mbiedermann

  • Guest
Re: Which Syl Arena Lighting/Flash book would be best to start with?
« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2012, 04:12:41 PM »
The book "Lighting for Digital Photography: From Snapshots to Great Shots" is very conversational and to the point.  It offers a lot of background on why you might want artificial light.  Excellent for beginners

The book "Speedliter's Handbook: Learning to Craft Light with Canon Speedlites" breezes through the beginning stuff faster and digs deeper in the advanced topics

Don't worry about an ST-E3 if you have an 600EX-RT.  Syl is a very big believer in off-camera *cable-enabled* TTL.  He really looks at doing things cheaply, if not on the cheap.  This is a very reasonable approach until you realize how much you will like this.  Why sink a lot of money in artificial light until you know what kind of light you are trying to create.

BTW - I don't think that a beginner in off camera flash will get as much from Joe's "Hot Shoe Diaries" book because there are few set-up diagrams.  There's plenty of interesting text, but not at much showing you how to set up the scene and where to put your lights and what settings to put them at. 

Another book worth mentioning is Bryan Peterson's "Understanding Flash Photography".  I like his approach because he is all about manually controlling your flash.  No ETTL involved, which is probably the best way to learn this craft.  Forget all the automation and tweak things by hand so that you understand why your pictures changes as you adjust the settings.

Cheers
« Last Edit: December 10, 2012, 04:14:27 PM by mbiedermann »

canon rumors FORUM

Re: Which Syl Arena Lighting/Flash book would be best to start with?
« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2012, 04:12:41 PM »

Halfrack

  • Canon 7D MK II
  • *****
  • Posts: 480
    • View Profile
Re: Which Syl Arena Lighting/Flash book would be best to start with?
« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2012, 04:20:57 PM »
For what it's worth, both books are on http://www.safaribooksonline.com/ plus lots of others on photography, Photoshop and such.  I use it for IT books mostly, but always keep a look out on what's available otherwise.  $20/month right now.

Awe s**t - Sly was in Seattle last Friday teaching - should have gone!!

Rest of his stops:
Philadelphia—Dec 11
Baltimore/DC—Dec 13
Fort Lauderdale—Dec 15
Charlotte—Dec 18
Los Angeles—Dec 19 (free Canon seminar)
Orlando—Jan 13
Tampa—Jan 14
"Me owning a lens shop is kind of like having an alcoholic bar tender." - Roger Cicala

David Hull

  • EOS M2
  • ****
  • Posts: 222
    • View Profile
Re: Which Syl Arena Lighting/Flash book would be best to start with?
« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2012, 04:42:50 PM »
I own both of these books (and have read them both).  I would consider them both as "must have" IMO.  I would read the "Speedlighters Handbook" first since it covers the basic operation of the flash system.  Keep in mind that it does not cover the 600EX-RT strobes (too new).  The "snapshots to great shots" book is a bit more basic but the last four chapters (and particularly the last three) go into good depth on flash technique (using the canon system for examples).  If you read both of these and did the exercises in the second one (snapshots...) you would have a damn good handle on using your flash.

I highly recommend the 600EX-RT as well, it is expansive, but it is still cheaper than a 580 and a ETTL compatible Pocket Wizard setup.  IMO this is a good way to go if you intend to do everything with speedlights.  If you want to incorporate other things into your lighting setup (like monolights etc.) you may want to think about it a bit.  Arena covers mixing Canon strobes with other lights (how to arrange triggering etc.) in detail in the “handbook”.

My recommendation:  Buy’em both, read the handbook first.  BTW: with these books, you may want to jot notes as you read.

digital paradise

  • Canon 70D
  • ****
  • Posts: 284
    • View Profile
    • Zenon Char Photography
Re: Which Syl Arena Lighting/Flash book would be best to start with?
« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2012, 06:35:35 PM »
The 600EX-RT flashes are basically the same as a 580's. Only difference is the RT. The 600 is still optical capable to fire slaves or to be a slave and be fired by 580 master. The menu system which is a little different than the 580 and far better as far as I'm concerned and would be very easy to use and adapt to while reading his book. Syl has a video and there are tons of them on You Tube explaining how it works. Syl is all about creating and shaping light and shadows which is universal to any flash.

Speedligthers Handbook is very good. Gives you a good foundation. I'd read it first them explore several of the other books suggested here. I myself did not read them but have heard a lot of good things.

I'll through in another source - my flash guru. This is why I have not read other authors. Got started here and decided he gave me everything I needed.

Blue column on the right. Start at 01 - natural looking flash (under flash photography techniques).

http://neilvn.com/tangents/flash-photography-techniques/ 

His book is very good as well.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1584282584/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_til?tag=tangents02-21&camp=1406&creative=6394&linkCode=as1&creativeASIN=1584282584&adid=1CKPVCK9CHA7J77Z78EV&&ref-refURL=http%3A%2F%2Fneilvn.com%2Ftangents%2Fflash-photography-techniques%2F

I did not read this one but my guess it is very good based on his other stuff.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/1608952789?tag=planeneilphot-20&camp=14573&creative=327641&linkCode=as1&creativeASIN=1608952789&adid=184XJW7YCQPYFBSWDVX3&&ref-refURL=http%3A%2F%2Fneilvn.com%2Ftangents%2Fflash-photography-techniques%2F

K3nt

  • Canon 70D
  • ****
  • Posts: 269
  • "No good photo goes unnoticed!"
    • View Profile
    • Flickr
Re: Which Syl Arena Lighting/Flash book would be best to start with?
« Reply #10 on: December 12, 2012, 04:13:48 AM »
The Speedliter's handbook is brilliant! I much enjoyed reading it and it helped me understand some of the more cryptic stuff in speedlites that the manuals rarely gives more info on than the mention that 'behind this menu you'll find this setting' - ok, but what does it actually do. Syl explains all of this very nicely I think.
That's the place to start as everyone else has also pointed out.
Flickr

Canon EOS 7D * 10-22mm EF-S * 50mm f/1.4 * 70-20mm f/2.8L IS USM MkII * Nissin 866Di MkII * 430EXII + accessories

canon rumors FORUM

Re: Which Syl Arena Lighting/Flash book would be best to start with?
« Reply #10 on: December 12, 2012, 04:13:48 AM »