American music and portrait photographer Zack Arias is pretty funny. He’s really honest. And he’s incredibly generous with what he knows. The OneLight Field Guide is the first issue of Arias’ independent photography magazine, Dedpxl, that focuses on how to use off-camera lighting. Imagine sitting down with a coffee and having a pro explain flat-out exactly how he lights things. It might make a good book, don’t you think?
After a four-years of photography school, I realized I didn’t know how to light something/someone in a location scenario. I learned studio lighting setups on bulky equipment that required power packs and extension cords. If you’re shooting in a controlled studio environment, this isn’t a problem, but it’s not very practical if you have to shoot a quick portrait on location. Since then, I’ve learned a lot through necessary trial and error, but I would recommend the Field Guide to anyone looking for a crash course in basic location lighting.
The OneLight Field Guide is upfront and easy to understand. Arias describes it best as a cookbook for lighting scenarios. It shows how to assemble a hot shoe flash system (with pictures), and then shows a number of different scenarios using the setup. Each scenario features the photograph, tech specs for the shot (ISO, aperture, shutter speed), a lighting diagram, and a short explanation by Arias. It’s written in a friendly tone, and the “explanations” are often little stories about the shoot, or business and equipment tips. He talks about the logistics of why he chose a certain set-up, or the concept behind the composition, or what he would do differently. As he points out in the introduction, his subjects are usually bands, but the lighting scenarios can be applied to family portraits, weddings, business headshots, etc.
The magazine is published through MagCloud; you can find it here. It only costs $23.00, and is an affordable investment, especially if you’re someone who is just learning off-camera lighting (or someone who’s never tried.)