Strobist Photo Trade Secrets Vol. 1 & 2 – Book Review

The Strobist Photo Trade Secrets books are quick-hit lighting books, featuring stunning flash photography from a variety of individual photographers.  Both volumes are edited by Zeke Kamm and published by Peachpit Press.

Essentially, the books each contain a collection of a couple dozen great images.  Each image covers a full page with a diagram and description of how the image was made on the back of the page.  Consequently, the photos suck you in to try to reverse-engineer the lighting setup in your head before you turn the page.

The other great thing about the images in the books is that you are holding them in your hands.  We (as least “I”) spend so much time looking at photos on a computer monitor that we sometimes forget how great prints look.  The pages are thick cardstock with a glossy finish on the photos, which really helps them to “pop” off the page.

If you dig flash photography, inspiration oozes from these images and the stories behind them.  In some cases, we see a bit of the “why” behind the image and not just the how (which is very cool).

The only real downside for me is that I wished there was more to go around.  Either more photos or more behind the scenes would have really topped things off for me.  That said, you get a little mini-lesson with each image for less than $1.  Not a bad deal at all.

The only other thing that some may not like is that the photo pages are perforated so that they can be easily removed.  However, if you don’t want to remove them, excessive use of the books could eventually lead to pages loosening from the spine on there own.

In the future, I would love to see Kamm put together a coffee table Strobist Photo Trade Secrets book with more images and perhaps some essays from the photographers on both the “how” and the “why” behind the images.

In any event, the Photo Trade Secrets books will fit well on any Strobist’s book shelf.  The books retail for $24.95; however, you can find them for under $15 on Amazon at the time of this review via the links below.



  1. Vivek Bansal says

    You could spend bucket loads of money on a fancy lens & camera but if your lighting is not up to scratch then all that money seems pointless. Im hoping that this book will point me in the right direction with my lighting woes.

  2. didaskalos says

    Like Tammy Lee, I need help with lighting. These books seem to be fitting the bill

  3. says

    With wide choice of lighting equipment , a good lighting guide is always useful , this will save a lot time effort and money, good investment before taking plunge and buying equipment blindly, especially when it comes from knowledgeable and experienced pros

  4. JER-Austin says

    Wow! Just the topic I was hoping to find! Lighting techniques are often difficult to master and takes years of experience. Looks like a great resource.

  5. Dan says

    I love flash photography and really enjoy experimenting with taking the flash off the camera. These books look great.