Strobist Photo Trade Secrets — Sample front

Strobist Favorites Gallery – Trade Secret trading cards for lighting

by planetMitchLeave a Comment

If you've ever wondered how a still image was lit but didn't know much about lighting, then these Strobist Favorites Gallery – Trade Secret trading cards for lighting might just be one thing you want to have in your pocket. They also have a set called “Chase Jarvis: The Portrait Sessions.” I've had a set of the “Strobist Favorites Gallery” for a while and I'll give you my feedback down below – but first it would help if you know more about them.

Redrock Micro

What are they?

Like a book but better, these baseball card sized decks offer instant access to the information you need to become a better photographer. Printed on thick card stock with high end UV coatings, each photograph has been carefully reproduced at the highest image quality. There is one gallery worthy image on each card with tips and lighting diagrams on the back revealing the secret of how each image was taken.

No more sifting through hundreds of pages of text to learn inventive, professional lighting setups. It's all right here in a simple format aimed specifically at how to learn lighting for photography. Edited by Nice Photography Magazine's notorious Zeke Kamm, you can be sure the cards entertain while they educate. Produced in an easy access baseball card-like format this pocket friendly collection of 24 new Strobist lighting diagrams and photography tips need never be more than an arm's length away.

The front of a sample card

Strobist Photo Trade Secrets — Sample front

Strobist Photo Trade Secrets — Sample front

The back of a sample card

Strobist Photo Trade Secrets — Sample Back

Strobist Photo Trade Secrets — Sample Back

My review

I met Zeke quite a while ago and he gave me the “Strobist” set and I brought it home. I wondered if I'd ever really use them – mainly because I consider myself a “natural light” kind of photographer, but now that I'm learning more and more about lighting, this is a very handy reference. I think they're designed for stills photographers, but I don't really see any reason why someone who is learning movie lighting wouldn't learn something from them as well (tho obviously they'd have to substitute continuous light where the diagrams indicate flash – I am a master of stating the obvious LOL).

Pros and Cons!


  • Great resource for learning specific lighting situations
  • Very handy form factor – you can spend time just learning lighting without a whole book
  • Good variety of objects, people, indoors and outdoors and plenty of unique setups
  • Beautiful images to explore and learn how they were lit


  • My set seems a little dark – would like to see more bright setups
  • Would be good to have a couple of the popular “white” background setups
  • Not meant to be a total learning experience for lighting like a book (but that's not really a negative – just something you need to be aware of)


These cards are a very handy quick reference tool for not only learning specific lighting setups, but they can be very helpful to quickly go back thru maybe even on set or as your preparing the day's shooting. The form factor makes it much easier than a book to go thru and find a specific lighting setup you want to go back and study or copy. But that also means you have to have been thru them a couple of times to know what you're looking at and be able to find your specific situation.

While not aimed at beginners (you won't learn lighting and flash basics), the beginner will have a great resource once they know more. I see this as being aimed at the intermediate to expert (tho some experts might think they're above needing such a resource).

I love the portability and the compact/concise reference – concise is the key here and that's what makes them great… “Great things come in small packages.” And not too expensive – currently priced at $19.95. I think the next step would be to have an iPhone/Android version, one that wasn't something extra to carry-now that would be perfect!

TradeSecret Chase Jarvis set

TradeSecret Chase Jarvis set

Blogger's Disclaimer: planet5D has become an affiliate – clicking on the links will leave a cookie on your computer that would give planet5D a commission if you were to purchase anything from their site. We were also given a set of the “Strobist” cards at no charge.

(cover photo credit: snap from the samples on the site)

Zeiss Cinema Lenses

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