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.
Images captured via screen grab