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A Fond Farewell from Brad

Oct 12

In Uncategorized at 11:59pm

I began working with Joe a little over two years ago. As you can imagine, the knowledge I’ve gained in that time has been both invaluable and almost made my head explode. But to truly understand just how much I’ve learned from Joe, you have to know what my starting point was.

Assisting Joe was my first job right out of college. I took some photo classes in school (at Union University), and interned at the local daily paper (The Jackson Sun) during my senior year. I was competent enough to use a digital SLR (started out with B&W film in a Nikon FM2, then migrated to D70/D100 territory a year or so later), could throw a flash on the camera and dial it up and down, and knew how to use levels, color balance, and hue/saturation in Photoshop. That was about the extent of my “expertise.”

When I first showed up at Joe’s house/studio, his then-assistant Scott Holstein showed me the garage of gear. He started pulling out case after case of lights and stands and softboxes and you-name-it. I didn’t even know what a freakin’ c-stand was, so I was slightly overwhelmed. Scott assured me that, over time, I would get to know the gear inside and out and find “my way” of packing everything. I kind of scoffed at that statement, but was kind of re-assured by it at the same time.

Over the next couple of months, I was at the studio a lot while Joe was gone teaching at various workshops. I began learning the vast archive of images from Joe’s 30+ year career, both film and digital, and attempting to hone my Photoshop skills and just figure out how things in general worked around the studio.

A month or two into the job, I finally went on my first shoot with Joe. Talk about literally being thrown into the deep end…

(Photo by Kyle Niemi)

We went down to Jersey and shot the U.S. Coast Guard rescue swimmers off the coast of Atlantic City. That’s me hanging off the side of the boat with an SB-800 on the end of a boom arm trying to shed a little light on the scene without falling overboard (wasn’t too worried about it, though, thanks to our subjects). Before this, I had never used an SB-800 beyond basic on-camera fill flash. Imagine trying to communicate with your boss, who is bouncing around in the water, while a helicopter hovers just above your head, spraying water everywhere, and not knowing what the heck you’re doing… That was me on this shoot. Luckily, we had Coast Guard photographer Tom Sperduto on our boat as well, and he helped with everything and made the shoot a success. At the end of the day, Tom told me that next time we saw each other, I would know the flashes inside and out. He was right. Next time we saw each other, we had a laugh about the job, how clueless I was at the time, and how far I had come in just a few short months.

Before working with Joe, I had flown a total of two times, roundtrip. Now, on Delta alone I have almost 90,000 miles under my belt, including unforgettable trips to Mexico, Istanbul, Berlin, Rome, Vancouver, Spain, and some of the most beautiful places in the United States. I’ve worked on shoots for National Geographic, Sports Illustrated, Golf Digest, Nikon, and FedEx. Heck, I’ve even played paparazzi and shot Bruce Willis, Justin Long, and Maggie Q at the Berlin premiere of Die Hard 4!

(It’s a bit out of focus, yes… But it’s Bruce Willis! Yippeeki-yay!!)

I met some of the top basketball players in the country, as well as some of the most well-known and respected photographers of our time (such as John Dominis, Jay Maisel, and many others). I’ve been on sets with snakes, toads, birds, toy rat-dogs, and even an elephant named Suzie (and that was just one one shoot, which also included a helicopter ride around Manhattan)!

Suffice it to say, I’ve had a great and eventful two years. But, I’ve decided that it’s now time for me to allow someone else the opportunity to work with and learn from Joe.

Drew Gurian will now be filling my shoes as Joe’s assistant. If you’ve visited the blog, you may have seen him in this header image.

That’s his band, Far From Westfall, and he’s the one in the middle. He plays the drums, which should be fun for Joe when Drew’s downstairs practicing at 2 a.m.! Anyway, Drew’s a good guy, and I have every confidence that he’ll do a great job working with Joe. At least he already knows what a c-stand is:-)

As you may’ve noticed in Joe’s post the other day, Drew was with us this week in Vermont at DLWS. Sadly, this was also my last DLWS event as a staffer.

It’s been a great two years with this crazy bunch of people, and I’ll miss them a whole bunch. I can’t recommend signing up for one of these workshops enough!

But, I have a feeling that this will not be the last you hear of me. Actually, you may start seeing a lot more of me. I’m heading down to Florida to work with Scott Kelby and the rest of the gang at NAPP! To be perfectly honest, I’m not 100% certain what Scott has planned for me, but I do know that he’s going to keep me busy.

Thanks to Joe and Lynn for everything they’ve taught me and allowed me to be a part of during my time with them. You guys will be missed…

So, that’s it from me. It’s been an amazing two years, and I’ll always look back on this time with fond memories. Now it’s time for me to load my car and head home to Tennessee for a little while before heading to sunny Tampa!


Mike Jandavs says:

on October 13, 2008 at 2:14 am

No! Say it isn’t so Brad. From all the videos and shoots we’ve seen you helping Joe on, you’ve handled being thrown into the deep end very well and I wish you the best of the luck in the future.

PS if that new guy dosen’t work out where can I send my resume? LOL

Take Care Brad!

steve kalman says:

on October 13, 2008 at 2:33 am

Hi Brad,

I was pleased to have met you in San Juan Island’s DLWS and to have learned much about flash from you. You are clearly already able to pass on Joe’s knowledge.

When I buy your “perspective on my career” book in 20 years I’ll be able to say, proudly, that “I knew him when he was [just] Joe’s assistant.”

All the best in all you do,


Dennis says:

on October 13, 2008 at 2:40 am


I wish you the best, bro. God bless.

Dennis Kielhorn says:

on October 13, 2008 at 3:52 am

Dear Brad!

I wish you the very best for your future. I enjoy your grimaces on many of Joe’s pics with you as a light-double.
Perhaps I’ll see you on Kelby’s blog.

Take care of yourself.

Many Greetings from Germany.


PS: On the last Video you and Erin (Erin “who”?) put on “black flocking paper” to a wall. I’ve googled several times, but I’ve found only small sheets of it. Can you give us a hint, where we’ll find it?

Kasper says:

on October 13, 2008 at 3:57 am

Brad and Joe,

It’s been an amazing journey with you two! All the best to you in Tampa Brad!
So Joe, looking for a new assistant huh? :-) I’m ready to pack my backs and leave Europe behind for a couple of years, just send word and I’ll be there. Yes seriously! Thanks for inspiration!

Nostromoo says:

on October 13, 2008 at 4:36 am

Keep blogging Brad, be fun to read what you get up to. I so envy your experiences.

Joe says:

on October 13, 2008 at 6:41 am

From a fellow Tennesseean (Memphis), good luck to you, Sir.

Brad Moore says:

on October 13, 2008 at 7:11 am

Dennis – What you’re looking for is actually called “velvetine” and can be found here. And Erin is an assistant in the Tampa/Clearwater area that has been very helpful when we’re down that way.

Bob DeChiara says:

on October 13, 2008 at 7:36 am

Good luck Brad! See ya at PSW in Boston!


Carrie Jordan says:

on October 13, 2008 at 7:48 am

Wishing you the best, Brad. And keep in touch!

Tom Aellis says:

on October 13, 2008 at 8:19 am

And my son and I had the great privalige of having you in our home and spending time with you!

You are a fine young man, a good, hard worker with a good common sense behind you. You are going to have once heck of a ride no matter where or with whom. Bottom line is while this is a fun career please remember two things, keep it fun but most of all, LOVE LIFE every day.

Best to you brother.
Tom and Jared

Ally Brasko says:

on October 13, 2008 at 9:01 am

Awe! Good luck Brad! I’m so going to try to claim the job when I graduate, which will be a while. You’ll still blog on your blog right?

Sean Sullivan says:

on October 13, 2008 at 9:34 am

Brad, was great to meet you and the gang in VT. I had a ball…time of my life. I’m sure you’ll do well. I was sort of envious…you got to work with Joe so closely..many of us there would have given our left arm (yes, left..hard to shoot without the to work so closely with someone like Joe. Good luck on your career.

Carsten says:

on October 13, 2008 at 9:56 am

Hi Brad! We met at the Redwoods DLWS this year. It was a pleasure to meet you, I wish you a good time in your new job!

Richard Cave says:

on October 13, 2008 at 10:22 am

Brad I didnt know you long, but I enjoyed your posts, good luck and dont forget the guys on here. You had a awesome mentor, now its your turn to become a jedi .


PS Joe, Now Brads gone do you want a new glamourous assistant, i am cheap, live off mountain dew, and share my airline armrest… LOL

Jeffrey Snyder says:

on October 13, 2008 at 10:45 am

Even though you were a little “green” when we first met a few years ago at a lighting workshop in VA, you have always been a true professional to work with. It was great to meet Drew in VT last week at DLWS, and to see you again before you begin your next journey. I wish you all the luck in the world, and you know that if I can help out at all, just say the word.

Jeff Snyder
Adorama Camera – Pro Markets

Mark K_NJ says:

on October 13, 2008 at 10:53 am

From The Man In The Fedora…

Brad, much luck to you. It was fun meeting you on the Meat Packing District shoot this past summer. Looking forward to reading about your new adventures on your blog.

Stay well and travel safe! Vios Con Dios.

Jason says:

on October 13, 2008 at 11:38 am

Best of luck Brad. Keep bloggin’!

marcus says:

on October 13, 2008 at 12:09 pm

How does one get to be Joe McNally’s assistant? Damn, that would be awesome.

Justin Rosenberg says:

on October 13, 2008 at 1:05 pm


Good luck @ the Kelby Compound . . . can’t wait to see what he has in store for you :)


Keep up the great work . . love the new corporate vid. on Kelby Training.


Justin R.
Deerfield Beach, FL

Deb says:

on October 13, 2008 at 1:06 pm

Hi Brad! I’ve just started reading this blog so I’ll be honest and say I’m not familiar with you. I came to this blog after recently reading Joe’s book, “The Moment It Clicks.” However, I just wanted to say good luck to you and I’m sure I’ll learn more about you and from you over at NAPP. More importantly though I wanted to make sure you realize how invaluable it is to know what you want to do in life, to be able to pursue it especially at such a young age and to have had the opportunity to work with someone like Joe right out of college. Can you tell I’m envious? 😀 Good luck and best wishes!

Moose Peterson says:

on October 13, 2008 at 3:50 pm

Brad, if I didn’t know I would be seeing you again, probably within a month, I’d be mighty teary eyed right now. It’s been a sincere pleasure to work with you these past years and thank you from the bottom of my heart for your help and friendship! It’s been a real joy to see you grow in your photography and can’t wait to see what you have instore for us all in the future!
Keep that iPhone close by, I’ll still be calling you for Mac help :)


Jessica M. says:

on October 13, 2008 at 5:24 pm

See you soon, Brad!

Ryan Crouch says:

on October 13, 2008 at 5:44 pm

dude! How did someone from Jackson get to intern for the world’s greatest photog? I’ve lived in Jackson my whole life and never realized while reading Joe’s blog you were from here. Let Joe know if he needs another Jacksonian, (I also have about 100 hours from Union) for an intern I’ll volunteer! I have to finish my associate’s in nursing in May but after that I’m good to go! I know that God will continue to bring you amazing things in life and that you prosper beyond your wildest dreams!

ron hiner says:

on October 13, 2008 at 8:34 pm

Hey Joe… you probably don’t make many mistakes… Letting Brad go to work with scott whatshisname might be your first. I know a lot about mistakes – the list of mine fills an entire warehouse in New Jersey.

Ya know Brad… I told you when we met last May that you had the best job in the world, you replied simply ‘yes, I know’

Best of luck to both of you.

Ben Willmore says:

on October 13, 2008 at 10:04 pm


I wish I could be Joe’s next assistant.

And now you’re heading on to Scott! You’re getting the ultimate education… hold on to your seat and be prepared to make another leap. Your career is on turbo. Just wait until you walk about of the shadow of your teachers… give it a few years and then you’ll be unstoppable.

I’m sure our paths will cross many times in the future.


ilovephotoblogs says:

on October 13, 2008 at 10:39 pm

Very cool blog! I’ve included your blog in a recent posting “20 Awesome Photoblogs – San Francisco”. Check it out when you have a moment. Best of luck and keep up the great work!

Pat says:

on October 14, 2008 at 12:01 am

I was a participant in Moose’s Redwoods DLWS this year and have to say you were such a wonderful assistant/right-hand-man for Joe. Nothing seemed to rattle you and you were always willing to help and answer questions. I’m sure Joe (especially) and the rest of the DLWS gang will miss you greatly!

Wishing you all the best and great success in your new endeavor!


Thomas says:

on October 14, 2008 at 7:47 am

WOW…envy your experience..wish you the very best for your future

Martin says:

on October 14, 2008 at 8:42 am

I enjoyed meeting you and Joe at DLWS Moab this year. Good luck to you both!

Jeff Tamagini says:

on October 14, 2008 at 9:19 am

Wow, Brad, working for two of the top guys in the industry back to back, very cool. It should be great, except for that having to move to florida part! 😉 We’ve met once or twice at various PSW’s. Maybe we will run into each other again at PSW in Boston, its my hometown I know where all the good beer is!!!


Tamara says:

on October 14, 2008 at 10:09 am

Brad – we are going to miss you so much! I loved getting to know you AND stalking celebrities with you. Please stay in touch and good luck – you’ll be great wherever you go! T

Billy Mitchell says:

on October 14, 2008 at 11:03 am

Good luck.

Stephen J. Zeller says:

on October 15, 2008 at 1:55 am


Good luck on your new adventure and hopefully I’ll be seeing you at the next Photoshop World.

Take care,


Geoff Scott says:

on October 15, 2008 at 1:53 pm

Hey Brad–

After PSWorld, Tai told me you’d be joining the crew in Florida! I think you’ll have a lot of fun. It was always a pleasure hanging out with you whenever we bumped into each other. Thanks for all the help and support and laughs. No doubt we’ll meet again. best of luck and have fun!


Crash says:

on October 17, 2008 at 5:29 pm

Those water images are AWESOME!

krista lee says:

on December 7, 2008 at 2:48 am

Brad it was great meeting you! Thanks for coming to visit me in TN! Keep in touch :)

Philipp says:

on May 24, 2010 at 2:11 pm

Great Work – like most of yours!

i like your hot shoe diaries too!!

greetings from Austria,

Massimiliano Palumbo says:

on July 8, 2011 at 3:43 pm

Hi Joe!!
Could you tell me how did you protect your camera taking this picture (Photo by Kyle Niemi)?

Thank you!

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