Posted by: David Vernon | January 27, 2009

Lighting Resources

Pekin NarrowsThe “Photography with Small Flashes” class has kicked off at the Art Guild (okay – who are we kidding – it’ll be the halfway point after this week). One of the electronic handouts that goes with the territory for this class is a resource list of decent lighting resources on the InterTubes. So without further adieu – I give you the list

There are plenty of good lighting resources available to you, but probably the very best right off the bat is David Hobby’s website Strobist. This site is as comprehensive a site on small flash lighting as exists, yet the material is patiently and clearly explained in a sequence that just works and is never dense. Check out “Lighting 101” for everything introductary and “On Assignment” for an extensive repotoire of shoots and how they were done.

Another site that is very useful is the gang at Lighting Essentials. This is another website that will walk you through set-up after set-up and give you lots of examples and technical worksheets on how to do it yourself. These guys are also a little more at ease with various states of undress – so be aware of that going in – but they’re top notch lighting technicians. Just last year they started adding “Tech Sheets“, which specifically walk you through a single set-up and how to get the most mileage out of it.

The Lighting Forums at Paul C. Buff are a good forum to get a lot of background on how this stuff works. I’m always pleasantly surprised by what I find there – these guys know of which they speak. It’s also a good jumping in point to inexpensive strobes – the AlienBees.

Photographer David Honl often muses on lighting and sells some of the best small flash add-on products on the planet.

One of my favorite shooters is the amazing Joe McNally. I can’t say enough good things about Joe. His book “The Moment It Clicks” is both lighting instruction wisdom and coffeetable beautiful. A wonderful practical lighting read. He’s got a new book coming out in February called “The Hot Shoe Diaries” that promises to further extend his small flash teaching into the wonderfully creative domain. Joe shoots Nikon and has done a number of videos for Nikon’s Creative Lighting System (Nikon TTL). You can find them on his site too. Joe! Joe! Joe!

The folks at Flash Zebra will sell you almost any unique cable on the planet when it comes to finding clever ways to sync your flashes.

All things Scott Kelby. Scott is the President of the North American Photoshop Professionals (NAPP) and an excellent teacher. His “other” website – Kelby Training is full of videos on photographic training. And while it may look Photoshop-family oriented, you’ll find a number of lighting videos there. It’s not free – but it’s top notch teaching from good people – like Joe McNally.

I won’t hold it against him for being a wedding shooter, but David Ziser knows his way around both lighting and teaching. Lots of solid examples and short videos are featured, including the one where you can use that too high sync speed to mask off part of your flash. The guy is also scary when it comes to quantity (and quality) of content. A prolific writer.

Syl Arena is a California-based shooter who also loves to play with lights. His post on high-speed sync explains it about as well as it can be explained. Overall good photography blog too. He also loves Radio Poppers which let you do wireless TTL flash photography.

And if we’re mentioning Radio Poppers – you might as well check out a few of the pricier things on the internet: Pocket Wizards and ProFoto strobes – which has an excellent lighting blog. And I’m sure a couple thousand dollars for some Profoto 7a, 7b, or 8a strobes is all it takes to get up and going in the pro lighting world.

There’s always “Digitial Photography School“. A good site in general for all things photographic, but the good lighting article frequently shows up.

And just for fun: Jill Greenberg and Dave Hill (of the famous Dave Hill look.)

II. Local Photography Resources
Locally, of course, is the Peoria Camera Club and the Peoria Flickr Group. Both groups are full of helpful members who will patiently answer your questions when they arise. You can check out lighting dude and local commercial photographer Kevin May’s site. The guy loves his blue – but he’s okay. And he pretty much just does everything well. Check out his studio work to see how he really works the color angle of lighting. And if you think he’s hurting for studio space – well he’s not.

Most folks locally know about Peoria Camera and the attached Peoria Color Lab. They’re located in the Metro Center in Peoria. Just down the street from there is Rex Camera (in the little plaza at the corner of Sheridan and Lake). No web presence that I’m aware of. The one most folks aren’t aware of is Tallyn’s. They do a lot of their business on the web, but they have a storefront just north of Pioneer Parkway on Altorfer. And they have a blog .


  1. Thanks for the mention of Lighting Essentials. We are working pretty hard to bring new and fresh content that teaches and entertains.

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