Steelevisions Blog Rotating Header Image

Book Review: ON CAMERA FLASH: Techniques for Digital Wedding and Portrait Photography, by Neil van Niekerk

On Camera Flash - Book CoverI have a serious impulse-buying problem at my local camera store.

The other day I went in for a $5 lens cap and came out with $75 worth of stuff, including the book ON CAMERA FLASH: Techniques for Digital Wedding and Portrait Photography by Neil van Niekerk.  I should know better than to even peek at the book rack.

But in this case I’m really glad I did.  Because this book kicks ass.

Now, I consider myself a fairly advanced flash photographer.  After all, I sell a course on off-camera flash photography on my own website.  I know a thing or two.  But of course, the more you learn about photography, the more you discover there is to learn.

That’s why I’m always thrilled to find a book like this one.

This is a serious book for serious photographers.  But unlike many serious books, it’s written in friendly, concise, easy-to-understand language, with plenty of photos to illustrate the points, and with an intuitive feel for areas that may be confusing to beginning or intermediate shooters, and may therefore need extra explanation. Neil van Niekerk turns out to be that rarest of things: a great teacher.

The book is divided into four sections:

1. Where Do We Start?
2. The Technical Stuff
3. The Techniques
4. Taking it Beyond On-Camera Flash

The bulk of the book lies in Sections 2 and 3, with 1 being essentially an introduction, and 4 being a pointer to the vast world of off-camera flash that can be explored elsewhere.

I consider Section 2, The Technical Stuff, to be well worth the price of the book alone.

If you want to thoroughly understand the interplay of Aperture, Shutter Speed, ISO, and Flash Exposure Compensation, you can’t find a much better or briefer explanation than this.

I actually found myself pulling a white shirt out of my closet and taking test photos while reading his explanation of how to use the histogram to set your exposure.  How often does a photography book actually inspire you to take camera in hand and try to recreate the author’s examples?  For me, all too rarely.  But I found myself doing it several times in Section 2.

Section 3, The Techniques, is also jam-packed with useful information.  From simple flash modifiers, to bounce flash, to outdoor techniques van Niekerk provides case study after case study using his own wedding and portrait photos to drive the points home.

When I pick up a book like this, on a subject that I’m reasonably familiar with, I’m usually happy if I get one or two “Aha!” moments out of it.  I probably got five “Aha!” moments in Section 2 alone.  I’ll be reading, and re-reading, and re-reading this book for a long time.

Highly recommended.

Buy it on Amazon

As always, if you buy using my Amazon links a wee bit of the proceeds goes toward helping me produce more free content for you.

Be Sociable, Share!


  1. Veronica says:

    Thanks for the book review! It’s now on my list to buy =)

  2. glad to know about this. Might need to get added to my all new and rapidly expanding photography related wish list! First up 2 classes 😉

  3. Neva says:

    Hi, I can’t realize how to add your site in my rss reader. Can you Help me, please? I certainly want to read your future posts.

  4. Phil Steele says:

    Hi Neva, There is a Subscribe by RSS link near the top right of the blog. It should work automatically if you click that. If that is failing for you, perhaps you can use the adjacent link to subscribe by email. I just tested and both seem to be working for me. Best wishes, Phil

  5. James says:

    have you read the first book “OFF-camera” Flash by the same author? Also recommended?
    (Am beginner with Nikon DLSR & Flash)

  6. Phil Steele says:

    James, yes, I reviewed that one also. Another great book:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Google Profile