When I was young I purchased a ‘complete’ darkroom from the local buy and sell paper in Winnipeg. It came with everything. Included in the mix was a stack of ‘No-Nonsense Guides’ from Porters Camera Store.

I did a few searches and was amazed to see some of them online. You can check them out here: porters.com/no_nonsense

Back in the day I got alot of great information out of these.

Here is info from their site:

Each of the original pamphlets reproduced here in PDF form sold for 95 cents. They covered topics such as flash photography and tips for vacation photos. Though the products mentioned may be outdated we can still appreciate the enthusiasm and commitment to photo education that they represent. In fact, a few of them have been continuously recycled and updated through the years and the current versions make up Porter’s Information Station! (we Iowans tend to be frugal like that)

The guides:

Basic Flash does a great job of removing some of the mystery behind hot-shoe mounted flashes. The brochure talks about “Three Styles of Electronic Flash” and while the text ignores SLR’s with built-in flash the illustration shows just that. Obviously an updated image was added at some point. I’d like to find an original printing with the original art! Pay particular attention to the brief discussion on bounce flash. Without getting very technical the brochure nicely presents this important tool and neatly explains why it’s a good trick to learn.

Advanced Flash starts up right where Basic left off. This brochure is very useful – especially the ‘Lighting Ratio Table’. If you like to shoot with multiple light sources it would be worthwhile to print this brochure, clip the table out and tape it to the side of your flash. If photography is the art of capturing light and shadow, this is the table that is the foundation of that art.

Adventures In Close-up Photography Close-up, or more accurately Macro photography is an addictive hobby. Once you have captured the smallness that surrounds you, you will want to do it again and again. This brochure spends a lot of time talking about equipment and not much about how to use it. That’s OK, in this case the equipment is important! Besides, Porter’s has other resourcesto get you inspired about shooting Macro.

Beginner’s Guide to Wedding Photography isn’t going to change into into a pro but it will certainly outline the preparation that should be taken before shooting a wedding. In particular look at the shot list. Notice the specific poses expected in a wedding album and do your best to capture them!

Filters and Lens attachments I can hear it now “Never mind about filters, I have Photoshop!” Maybe, but this pamphlet discusses a few filters that would take half an hour to recreate on a computer!

Wildlife Photography For Beninners. Stalking and shooting your prey using only a camera. Real Grizzly Adams stuff… especially brought home when the guest author signs off with “Happy Trails to You” (I thought Dale Evans owned that one). Kidding aside, this is a glimpse into what it takes to become a really good wildlife photographer. The overriding message is patience. If you get impatient waiting for microwave popcorn, maybe this isn’t your best choice of photographic subject…

Introduction to Lighting is a brochure that has remained relevant year after year. This publication is another “keeper”! Suggestions on umbrellas, diffusers, lighting patterns – they are all in here. Plus that handy lighting ratio table makes another appearance too.

Introduction to Color Film. From today’s point of view it’s hard to imagine that anyone needed an introduction to color film. But there was a time when color print film ruled the world. In the early 90’s my store stocked film from four different manufacturers: Kodak, Agfa, Fuji and Konica. Each brand offered perhaps two different lines of color film, times five ASA speeds (what we call ISO today), all multiplied by three roll sizes of 12, 24 and 36 exposures. That’s 120 different rolls of film without getting into the color slide, specialty or professional films! Yeah, a guide was definitely in order.

Dictionary of Common Photo Terms. This gem is very useful. Photography uses a lot of terms, some easily understood others not so much. Even though there are a lot of film and darkroom related definitions in this brochure there are more that still apply to today’s digital world. We’ll be updating this golden oldie, so look for the newer version soon.

Choosing an Enlarger. Even though digital photography is the norm, Porter’s continues to sell enlargers at high volume. An enlarger is a deceptively simple device, it would seem to be no more than a light and a baseboard. However after reading through this brochure you will find that there are decisions to make when purchasing that can either limit or liberate your future print making.