Trade Secret Cards by Nice Industries – a Review

What’s the Most Important Part of Photography?

The Chase Jarvis Portraits set takes you behind the scenes on the lighting solutions for several national and international campaigns.

Trade Secret flash cards by Nice Industries – lighting tips on the go! 

If you talk to five different photographers, you’ll get five different answers to the question, “What’s the most important part of photography?” One might tell you proper exposure, while another might insist that it’s composition. Numbers three and four might debate the need to connect with the subject, but as the self-appointed fifth photographer in this roundtable, I’ll have to insist on lighting.

Obviously, there is no right answer. The truth is, they all play a vital role in successful photography. We can debate the meaning of “successful” another time, but for me it really does come down to knowing how to see the light and make it work for you.

Lighting is Key

As both photographer and photography teacher, I’ve reviewed a lot of books on lighting over the last several years. Some have been amazing and truly elevated my photography, becoming well-worn friends on the shelf. Others have been epic disappointments. Regardless of success or failure, though, I applaud them all for the effort. They all tried to bring something new to the conversation.

An unfortunate reality that all of these books share, however, is that you really can’t take them with you on a shoot. Think about it. The very last thing you need is to be standing there in front of a client, basically saying, “I’ll be with you in a minute. I just have to look something up.” Secondly, even if you’re experimenting on your own for future client work, dragging a lighting book along with you out on location is just plain cumbersome and inconvenient.

That’s why I love these Trade Secret Cards from Nice Industries.

trade-secret-cards-001These books we’ve been talking about are full of helpful lighting diagrams, set side-by-side with anecdotes and instruction from the photographers about how they set up the shots. But what if you could have all that great information in a more convenient, user-friendly package?

Trade Secret Cards provide just such a package and are available in two sets:  Strobist or Chase Jarvis Portrait Sessions. Each contains 24 high-gloss “trading cards” with a photo on one side, along with the lighting diagram and a “How-They-Got-the-Shot” story on the other.

The Strobist set runs the gamut from portraits to products to landscapes to light painting, and lots of cool stuff in between. Each of the 24 photographers’ lighting diagrams and tips were carefully selected to help take your lighting to the next level. The Chase Jarvis set gives you a front-row seat, as he walks you through a collection of portrait sessions he designed and shot for both his personal work, as well as several national ad campaigns, including the Hasselblad Masters Series.


Each deck of 2.5″ x 3.5″ wallet-sized cards gives you instant access to quality tips and information aimed at a single goal– making you a better photographer. Printed on thick, semi-durable card stock, each image has been reproduced with a high-quality resolution and UV finish. With the photo on one side and all the info you need on the other, these easy-to-follow cards are also perfectly portable, making it easy to drop a card or two or ten in your bag and head out to tame the lighting beast.

If you’re a photographer who really knows your lighting, these trading card-sized refresher courses are a great way to stay sharp. If you’re still learning, these images will inspire you to experiment and see why lighting really is the most important element of photography.


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