New Workshop! Lighting 3 | Advanced Off Camera Flash


Creating A Storybook Image With Speedlights & Strobes| BTS With Joe McNally

By Chris Nachtwey on November 11th 2014

When I was at PhotoPlus Expo (PPE) a few weeks ago, I noticed the image you see below, blown up and proudly displayed at the Nikon booth. I was so mesmerized by this image that I walked over to it and, like a little kid at the aquarium staring into a shark tank, just looked at it with awe for about five minutes. Knowing Joe McNally created the image, I figured there had to be a lot of lighting involved to create it and as I stared at it, my mind began to race, trying to figure out how he lit it. After about 5 minutes, I gave up and went for lunch still wondering how Joe lit the image.


When I was looking for a great video to share with you today, I was excited to find that Joe McNally did a behind the scenes video about the making of that awe-inspiring image. As I had guessed, a lot of lights and big team were involved in creating it. Check out the video below.


Though I knew Joe probably used a lot of lights to create this image, I still was surprised with all the lighting involved. Joe uses such a large mix of speed lighting and studio strobes, it’s a little mind boggling. Being one who loves creative lighting, it was the three Profoto studio strobes bouncing into a sliver reflector up high on stands outside of the window to give the images the look of moonlight coming through the window that blew me away. It’s not so much the technique, but more the dedication by Joe and his team to do whatever it takes to create the most realistic lighting when shooting as possible.




All in all, it’s a great behind the scenes video and I’m happy to finally know how the image I was so enamored with at PPE was made. I have to hand it to Joe, while there is a lot more lighting going on to create the image, it’s cool to see a photographer getting everything as close to perfect in camera vs. relying on Photoshop, but then again, that’s always seemed to be Joe McNally’s main objective.

Via: Joe McNally Youtube Page

Images captured via screen grab

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Chris Nachtwey is a full-time wedding and portrait photographer based in Connecticut. He is the founder and creator of 35to220 a website dedicated to showcasing the best film photography in the world. Chris loves to hear from readers, feel free to drop him a line via the contact page on his website! You can see his work here: Chris Nachtwey Photography

Q&A Discussions

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  2. Troy Barboza

    Its truly amazing at what comes out of Joe’s camera and mind.

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  3. Rafael Steffen

    I love to watch these great planned shootings, I love how he explores the richness of lighting.

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  4. Dre Rolle

    Awesome shoot. I got 4 out the 6 light placements right :) I feel like I’m actually getting better at breaking down image lighting from watching all these videos.

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  5. Peter Nord

    Who thinks these things up? Joe has more fun. Wonder whose house. Did they leave the mural on the wall?

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  6. Aaron Cheney

    Very beautiful!

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  7. Anthony McFarlane

    Nice shoot by Joe. I wish I had the resources!

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  8. Nick Viton

    What, no CLS? Where is Joe McNally and what have you done with him? ;)

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