Last week was quite a week. My thanks go out to the production team @creativelive for putting up with my highly caffeinated syntax, my unplanned wanders outside with camera operators chasing me, my authority issues with being told to stop (HA!) making frames, and the like. They tolerated my antics and produced a thoroughly complete three day primer on the life and light of a photographer.
It was kind of wild, being on video for three straight days. I just tried to approach each day as a location shoot type of problem to solve, and put aside the whole camera-recording-me deal. It was very gratifying, in many ways, because as a studio, we went all in on this. Annie was doing the social media from back at the studio, and out there on location was Cali, with me on set, as he usually is, but also Lynn, who prefers to be in the background of any equation. Lynn was wonderful and lucid, as I knew she would be, in explaining the role of producer and studio manager to the group. Bids, estimates, cautionary tales, client relationships all got addressed. She is such a wealth of knowledge, she could probably still be going.
We started at a bar. Sounded good to me. We lit the place with small flash and big flash, working a group of SB-5000 Speedlights at first and then mixing in Profoto B-1 units, along with the Speedlights, working both systems simultaneously via Air Remote for the B-1 and the ten pin transceiver, the Nikon WR-10. They work together seamlessly. We were blessed with wonderful subjects. Corina, above, became a lady at the bar as the late sun sets outside. A plastic-bagged B-1 stood out there in the rain, doing an admirable imitation of the sun. It was Seattle, after all. Ryan was portrayed as our bartender/owner, lit in distinctively different fashion, via small flash.
That bar was a tough nut to crack, especially on a dreary day, with nothing but boredom coming through the windows in the way of light. I struggled. I often light places like this selectively, as most bars, for character and atmosphere, creating tiny pools of accent illumination that are decidedly on the warm side. I followed suit, and as often is the case, I tried to make my light look like it could potentially just already be there. The first setup with Ryan met with middling success. It wasn’t till I moved away from a cool palette outside and warmed up the light all around that we started to approach something that could be called a picture. The above is lit with an Ezybox HotShoe Softbox, the 24′ white interior box. There are a number of other accent lights all around, picking up the dark areas of the bar. The bottles on the bar are lit warm by three gelled Speedlights, outside the bar, on a ratcheting tri-flash.
Corina was principally lit with the Ezybox Octa, powered by two SB-5000s, with the backlight being provided mostly by the outdoor B-1. Additionally, there was a 5000 unit skating along the upside down bar chairs, filling the background with warm tones. All were working remotely, responding to my commands at the camera, which was a D5.
All in all, pretty good day in the field. I managed to keep my sanity despite a rainy day, a smallish space, four video cameras, a class of about 18 wonderfully patient and forgiving photogs, and my least favorite lunch of just about all time. It worked out in the end, as they say. Check in on the class!
Howard Tanner says
Ok, I’ll bite. What is Joe McNally’s least favorite lunch of all time? Sounds like you had another great day in the field. As you have said before any day in the field is a great day.
Cooper Neill says
Love the lighting and tones at the bar – great work, Joe
Kevin H. Stecyk says
Thank you, Joe, for you and your team’s presentation on CreativeLive. I thoroughly enjoyed your session.
I watched most of your performance live and am rewatching it an hour or two per day.
Aside from the photography strategies and techniques, I enjoyed watching how you and Cali worked seamlessly together. I liked how Cali checked and double checked everything, helping to eliminate errors and surprises. I also liked how your team used humor to create a collegial and fun atmosphere.
You and your team gave outstanding photography and, more importantly, life lessons.
Todd Mizomi says
That was one of the best CreativeLive classes I’ve seen in a long time. Thanks to you and your team for finally making it happen. Learned a lot in those three days! Mahalo from Maui, Hawaii !
(still hoping you’ll come back here to teach someday Joe) 😉
Thanks Joe, everything worked out well today. Coupon was worth waiting some more days.
Joe McNally says
Hey Howard….It was some sort of veggie noodles, mixed in with carrots and there was some sort of beef of an overcooked nature and indiscriminate origins sprinkled on it. Sigh. I was dying for a turkey, lettuce, mayo on a soft roll with a regular Coke and a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie. :-))))
Wow, delicious! Veggie noodles with overcooked beef (tofu?) ;-)) That makes a photog really happy 😉
Great article and nice to hear some honesty about the difficulties being faced and the thought processes involved in overcoming them. Thanks for sharing.
Extremely succinct article there Joe. Nice and concise and a wealth of knowledge in your lighting set up. Beautiful warm tones in the portraits too, really make the shots stand out.
Irene Abdou, Family Photographer Maryland says
Love the glow of sunlight on the woman’s hair…
Harry Jackson says
With what i can see in this post i must say this is a nice camera setup and lighting options. Wonderful photo and post. very helpful. Thanks on sharing this.
Nice post and awesome captures. Really enjoyed this article!
I have a question for you Joe..
What part of running a photography business gives you the major headache and what do you do to overcome it?