Lights, Camera, Capture – Book Review

Lights, Camera, Capture is a book by Bob Davis that discusses creative lighting techniques. While Davis discusses many lighting equipment options, his primary focus is on Canon Speedlites using TTL metering.  And, while the techniques that apply to Canon Speedlites are prevalent throughout the book, the info will easily translate to Nikon shooters using the Nikon Creative Lighting System as well.

For an idea of the overall contents of the book, here’s a list of the included chapters:

  1. Introduction
  2. Understanding Light
  3. Getting the Basics Right
  4. Lighting Equipment
  5. Getting the Most From Your Lighting Kit
  6. Controlling the Light
  7. Creative Lighting
  8. Traveling Light

There is not much in the book on the lighting theory, as most of Davis’ topics are related to practical applications.  The topics are tied together throughout each chapter by use of example photos and diagrams, along with shot and setup descriptions.

Photographers who have significant experience with off-camera lighting will find the book a little on the basic side.  Lights, Camera, Capture could easily be sub-titled as “An Introduction to the Canon Speedlite System.”  Not that that’s a bad thing though. Anyone who has never really understood how to use their Canon Speedlites, particularly off-camera or with high-speed sync will appreciate much of the information in the the book.

Probably the biggest advantage of the book is to see how images are lit via the sample photos and diagrams.  We can talk instructions on how to adjust certain settings all day long; however, as they say, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” While I would have preferred a more technical and theoretical approach to many of the topics, Davis’ practical teaching style will strike a chord with many photographers.

Lights, Camera, Capture also includes an hour-long DVD that is made up of portions from one of his 3-day workshop.  While it can sometimes drag into a bit of a commercial for his workshops, the DVD helps tie together some of the concepts within the book by showing some of his lecture sessions, as well as on-location instruction during live shoots.

All in all, the book and DVD combo is worth the $30 street price if you are looking for something to help you get off the ground in the lighting world.  You can find Lights, Camera, Capture on for around $30 at the time of this review.

Another Speedlight-centric book worth considering Joe McNally’s The Hot Shoe Diaries, which is geared more toward the Nikon Creative Lighting System.



  1. says

    Thank you for the detailed review. I agree this book is geared towards the beginner and those wishing to learn more about off camera flash.

    All y best,