As I believe I said to Jason, who was sitting in the crowd for the Moment It Clicks tour stop, Nashville edition, “You didn’t think you could leave here without me photographing you, did you?”
The how of lighting is very much in evidence during this seminar, but actually more prominent is the question of the why of lighting. “Hey, I got high ISO. Why light anything anymore?” That’s a question that is asked a bit, now that we have all collectively gone to high ISO heaven. But, as I mention from the stage, ISO, high or low, is generally determined by quantity of light. How much or how little? It has nothing to do with the quality of light. And quality of light is where it’s at, generally speaking.
We work quickly during these days. The first hour is a show and tell about the nature and quality of light, and how certain kinds of light–backlight, hard light, soft light, soupy light might work to evoke a thought or a feeling. We talk about how light drapes itself on a scene, infusing it with charm, poetry, and perhaps, even, the power of memory. Under discussion is the simple fact that despite all we chatter on about the craft of light, meaning the light shapers, the distances, the f-stops and the relationship between the light you apply and the light that is simply there, the real question is about how the light limns the emotional core of the photo. Does the light speak to the viewer of the photo? Is it evocative, or appropriate? Is it right for the face or the situation at hand?
During the day, I show examples, such as FDNY firefighter Mike Morrissey, seen below, who lost his cousin, also a firefighter, on 9/11. The cross he holds honors his cousin’s memory, and is made of WTC steel. It is the emotional core of the photo, hence there is a small bit of additional light on that cross. It makes picture sense, as you want to gently, subtly, move the eye of the viewer to an area of the photo you want them to encounter. It shouldn’t be screaming, abrupt or exclamatory. The light should be effortless, like a languid current that ferries a a leaf afloat along its way. You want them to think it was their idea all along to spend some time with your picture.
With Jason, up top, it was about a five minute photo session. Two Speedlights, each through a tri-grip diffuser, on either side of him. D4S, 70-200mm lens, f8 @ 1/250th of a second. TTL. You have to find the picture, or in this case, the face, first. Then comes the light. More tk….
Next week, the Canada leg of the tour! Three dates in Ottawa, Calgary and Toronto. Hit this link for locations and details.
Jonathan Barnes says
Beautiful photos and inspiring as always.
Looking forward to seeing you next week Joe in Ottawa. Always enjoy your insights and tutorials.
Peter Jost says
Hi Joe, must have been quite an interesting seminar for the students. The photograph of Jason is absolutely fantastic. How the light surrounds him, is nothing but perfect. I wonder though, if you sometimes use the 105mm 2.8. It is good for portraits too, isn´t it? Best wishes, Peter
Howard Tanner says
Excited that you are coming to Calgary…but also sad that I’m not able to attend. Hope you have a great time.
Looking forward to the Canada leg of the tour. I’ll be in Toronto. One question though, on this posting, I noticed you’ve used a D4S with a 70-200mm lens and a couple of speedlights. Would you be able to achieve similar results let’s say you used a D70 with an 18-70mm kit lens and a couple of speedlights ? I know there are some people who’d swear that it’s not the camera but the photographer that creates the amazing images. That I understand but doesn’t having better tools count so that said photographer can create the amazing images ? Anyway, looking forward to hearing your insights and hoping to get inspired going forward with the hobby.
Joe McNally says
Sure, a D70 and a 18-70 will get you fine results. No worries there. I pound my gear. I lug it through hundreds of thousands of air miles a year. Hence part of what I pay for and look for in a camera is durability. Sure there are more bells and whistles on a D4S, but I am also happy that it is a rugged machine. But the D70 and a kit lens work well. Lots of technology in these cameras, even if they aren’t the top of the line. best, Joe
Vanilla Gorilla says
A real cool thing about this wonderful photo is..and I am willing to bet lunch at your favorite restaurant, that it is straight from the camera. NO retouching.
Mr. Joe you are really good at what you do!!!
Thanks for taking the time to reply Joe. Looking forward to hear more of your insights when you stop by here in Toronto.
It’s always a treat when you come to Calgary, Joe. You always manage to miss Stampede though! True, that’s when all the crazies are out but I know there’s a few interesting faces to be shot too 🙂
Looking forward to be educated and more importantly inspired once again.
Merwan Kalyaniwalla says
Looking forward to seeing you in Toronto on Friday. Quick question. Is there a hands on shooting portion of the day. I was told there was not but watching the promotional video on the Moment it Clicks website on KelbyOne, it appears that you are actually photographing a model with participants of seminar also snapping images. Just wanted to know if I should be bringing some camera gear with me and if so what? Is one lens, one body and one speedlight sufficient? Very excited to meet you and learn from a master.
Thank you for an eye opening lesson in lighting in Ottawa yesterday. The two ‘ceo’ portrait sessions were inspiring.
Joe McNally says
Hi Merwan…no gear needed, unless you just like to have a camera with you. It’s all demo, and no audience shooting is on the schedule. See you on Friday! joe
One other question, I noticed on the schedule there’s an Open Critique session, I’m curious what form of media can be submitted from the audience. And if possible, can we submit and how do we submit the photo(s) for the session.
Merwan Kalyaniwalla says
Thanks for the reply Joe. I do like having my camera with me but will forego the pleasure to avoid the extra weight if I don’t need it. 🙂
Really looking forward to the seminar. See you tomorrow.
Joe McNally says
Hi Raymond…I believe when you register, they give you a path to submit. If you have questions, they also give you the email to ask them on the website for registration. We generally have over 20 PFs to look at and it’s generally fun and informative. best, Joe
Lorne Martin says
Thanks again for a the Moment it Clicks Toronto date. Always a pleasure to spend a day with “The Most Decent Photographer on the Planet.” If only the rest of us could learn to dish out the critiques in such an un-hurtful and productive manner. If only I could master that sardonic chuckle….
Luis Urena says
Joe, it was great seeing you in Toronto. Quick question, what was the software you used to display your galleries during the tour?
Joe McNally says
Using Mylio (mylio.com) and loving it…..best, Joe
T Lewis says
I am so disappointed that I will have to miss your seminar so that I can be with my kids getting them off to their first day of school in Broward county. Please have the event schedulers check for this conflict next year because it happens EVERY year……..
I always regret that there is no place in Internet or press for such photos like that one with firefigter.
Mayby only in Poland.
But that one is “loud speaking” photograph. Good work Joe!
Nice picture of the fireman.