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Pretty Pictures….

May 14

In Tours at 3:38am

Rare that you find someone like Anna Hammel in front of your lens….

Shot this yesterday of Austria’s reigning Miss Austria in Vienna. Doing an SB900 tour of Vienna, Amsterdam and Cologne, en route to the Nikon fest called Creative Solutions in Cologne.

Whaled away on this with 3 SB 900’s outside the window, pretty much lighting up the room.

Had hard light everywhere, including Anna, but then just interrupted the flow of that light with a Lastolite Tri-Grip. Softened it up, but then also saw the white tablecloth. Nice! Numnuts like tablecloth! Just rested an SB900 on the tablecloth, bouncing down at TTL minus 2 EV. The other lights I sent a signal to go manual, Group B at 1/1 and Group A at M 1/2. That way I had full blast of light in the back of the room, where the crowd is, and eased up on the blast hitting Anna. Further softened with Tri-Grip, and then made a little beauty fill out of the tablecloth.

Did some other stuff just with hard light, gelled warm and shifted into incandescent white balance, and also did a preset with the camera, which worked out well.

This last is just hard, gelled light coming from the window, interrupted by a Lastolite 3×6 skylight panel. Pretty simple and worked out okay. Of course, if I had somebody like Anna in front of my lens and didn’t come up with something reasonable it would be time to go back to the hotel and hit the bar really hard…. those long plane flights home when you think you didn’t do well….hate those…more tk

Rik says:

on May 14, 2009 at 3:48 am

Some guys have all the luck!

jussi says:

on May 14, 2009 at 4:39 am

How is it that unconfortable poses can look so amazing and natural. (Like in the last picture)

I’m going to twitch and turn my friends limbs off when we go to shoot. Then they will just as elenegant..

Fotofolio says:

on May 14, 2009 at 5:03 am

See you @ Cologne tomorrow!

Al Borrelli says:

on May 14, 2009 at 5:04 am

When you coming to Amsterdam!?!?!
Can I carry your kit while you’re here? 😉
Wanna come do some shots at the UN Yugoslavia War Crimes Tribunal??

Haha.. enjoy the trip,


gerhard says:

on May 14, 2009 at 7:57 am

such a pitty, that i`ve not been to the triest.

not because of miss hammel, because of the lost opportunity to meet you.
greetings from rainy vienna

ps: you did a great job, “easy” beautiful face, with a lot of lightning!

John Dutt says:

on May 14, 2009 at 8:35 am


Das ist sehr gut! Fantastik! Sorry, I had a Deutsch flashback and just drooled on my keyboard.

I always enjoy looking at your sketches. Thanks!


Colin says:

on May 14, 2009 at 8:43 am

Any idea why the light reflecting off the floor in the last one is much more blue than what the window light looks like?

Ryan says:

on May 14, 2009 at 8:51 am

really jussi? I thought the last one looked like she almost fell out of the chair

erica says:

on May 14, 2009 at 9:10 am

no kidding pretty pictures. they are gorgeous and the lighting is awesome! It was great meeting you in boston at Photoshop world 😉

Ole M says:

on May 14, 2009 at 9:43 am

Love the entire first one. And the pose on the last one, but something seems to be up with her skin. Could you perhaps have blurred it? 😛

Iden Ford says:

on May 14, 2009 at 9:52 am

Wow Joe, she is stunning. No wonder the human race keeps reinventing itself!
I see the how light from the panel is working, but there is a shadow on the window frame behind her. Did you have a second fill light inside?

bucketheadphoto says:

on May 14, 2009 at 10:04 am

You lucky bastard! :-) Gotta be rough having a job like this! And I agree: if you have something as gorgeous as this in front of your lens and cannot come up with something good (if not great), you deserve to be shot!. Again, :-).


Lindsey says:

on May 14, 2009 at 10:11 am

Yup, it’s official… I want your life! Have fun in your travels!

Tobi says:

on May 14, 2009 at 11:04 am

Thanks for mentioning cologne — I wasn’t aware of the Nikon show but will be there!

Frank says:

on May 14, 2009 at 11:14 am

….hope to see you in Cologne at saturday! 😉


Pixelpainter says:

on May 14, 2009 at 1:45 pm

Awesome lighting again…

Will join your sessions in cologne and hope to snatch a signed version of your “Hot shoe diary”… :)

till then…

Matt Hunt says:

on May 14, 2009 at 2:17 pm


Good thing I’d emptied my mouth before I read that! :)

‘Preset’?? Dumb question but what please?


Rutger Heijmerikx says:

on May 14, 2009 at 3:52 pm

Really stunning photography. A golden combo you’ve got here :)

Luke Townsend says:

on May 14, 2009 at 4:14 pm

Bravo! Bravo!

godany says:

on May 14, 2009 at 5:35 pm

@matt: preset of the white balance in the camera. was there, and learned my lessons 😉
many thanks for this great, but too short day.

Mark says:

on May 14, 2009 at 11:10 pm

Ah….I love the smell of Cologne in the morning!

Uh…get it?

Sheesh. Great images.

Mike Ignatov says:

on May 14, 2009 at 11:12 pm

Isn’t there an old saying: “If you want a pretty picture, give me a pretty face” ? How can you go wrong with this?

Jason Miraples says:

on May 14, 2009 at 11:15 pm

been subscribe to your feeds and been reading all of your post thru email and I can’t help myself to visit your site to leave a comment which I wanted to tell you that I love your takes here and been inspired from all of your works and achievements.

what more fun about your post is this one… “to go back to the hotel and put a gun in my mouth…” HaHa!


Jason Miraples says:

on May 14, 2009 at 11:17 pm

by the way, good job in flash flavor!

Eric Politzer says:

on May 14, 2009 at 11:30 pm

Sehr geheerter Herr McNally: muess sagen, diese sind ganz und gar geile, shoene, beeindrueckende Bilder!! Welcome to the land of my father — well, Vienna, the city of his birth anyways. He was a Freud and Kafka scholar, which explains why the DLWS staff probably thought I was a nut job!

Here are sh*ts and giggles pix from my last trip to Vienna, about a year ago.

Safe travels and komm gute nach Hause!

Erich Adickes says:

on May 14, 2009 at 11:37 pm


Thank you. I am always inspired by you and your work. Not to mention laughing my head off,

But, please, don’t joke about putting a gun in your mouth. That’s what my nephew did not quite a year ago…

Anyway, thanks for sharing how you made these images.

Erich Adickes

Rogier Bos says:

on May 15, 2009 at 2:33 am

When are you in Amsterdam? Are you doing something I can visit or attend? Is there a place I can find more info? ]I appreciate your blog and the way you share your ‘how-to’s’; it would be great to see you work sometime!
Lovely pictures again!

btm in dc says:

on May 15, 2009 at 8:38 am

what a dish…

Tyler Vance says:

on May 15, 2009 at 9:36 am

Hi Joe,

How come all your models look great–some of wedding photography brides
top out at 300 pounds–how many lights would that require…?

thanks–had a great time with you in Ireland

Tony Pettis says:

on May 15, 2009 at 9:43 am

Wow. Better you than me, pal, because if I had been in the presence of a creature as beautiful as that, I would have dropped into full Cro-magnon mode. (Mongo like pretty girl. Mongo take pretty girl’s picture. Mongo wipe away drool.)

Vienna in May. The Caribbean in July. You definitely da man and I bow to your greatness. :^)

Richard Lee says:

on May 15, 2009 at 9:48 am

Is it acceptable that the dress is rendered gold in one pic and white in another? How can the photographer work the lights not to have this type of result? Sorry this is not an ass licking comment like the previous 25 comments but I would like to actually learn something from your work.

Georg Simmerstatter says:

on May 15, 2009 at 10:01 am

Oh my….Joe, if you someday come to Salzburg to photograph Mozarts dead body, let me know :-O

drew says:

on May 15, 2009 at 12:21 pm

Hey Richard,

The color shift was probably just a result of Auto WB, and yes, in post, we probably would correct that (at least, if we were showing both side-by-side).

However, Joe tends to post a lot of stuff on here right out of camera so it’s easier to understand exactly how it was done :)

Hope that helps!

Tim says:

on May 15, 2009 at 1:12 pm

priceless =o)
really looking forward to see you at the show tomorrow.

Tom (fotofolio) says:

on May 15, 2009 at 6:57 pm

Thank you for the meet & chat @ Cologne!

travis says:

on May 15, 2009 at 7:32 pm

Nice photo, num nuts.

Trude says:

on May 15, 2009 at 7:35 pm

Seeing those legs, I could understand why numnuts didn’t come up with anything… 😉

nfljersey says:

on May 15, 2009 at 11:57 pm

Pretty pictures.the model also great.good

Mike Le Gray says:

on May 16, 2009 at 6:37 am

Just wanted to say thanks for both your great sessions in Cologne yesterday. Absolute privilege to see you at work and very enjoyable too!

Ben Madden says:

on May 16, 2009 at 1:07 pm

Joe –
Don’t know you to do it – i’ve seen a good chuck of your publicly shared images, and you throw something ‘simple’ like this up and I have to sit here and admire the exposure,colors, the…picture.

Ben Madden says:

on May 16, 2009 at 1:09 pm

Editors: previous comment type: ‘chuck’ should be ‘chunk’ – thanks

Cristiaan Raab says:

on May 16, 2009 at 3:56 pm

It was verry nice to see your NIKON pro session in Utrecht (holland) the 14th of may 2009
Your speedy performance was a learning and inspired happening.
I learned and refreshed a lot THANKS

Tzalmaves says:

on May 17, 2009 at 12:25 am

Hi Joe,

You set the exterior groups to manual, and the table flash to TTL. Does the Nikon wireless system allow some groups to be manual and others to be TTL? As far as I know, Canon’s wireless system is either in TTL mode or manual mode, so to shoot this scenario, I would have to set the exterior groups to optically trigger. Is this how you did this?

Jorge says:

on May 18, 2009 at 9:10 am

You lucky bastard… Not so much for the women — though that doesn’t hurt but the travel. I’d love to do that…


Nike Kobe IV says:

on June 9, 2009 at 1:28 pm

Anyway, Joe it was nice meeting you and i hope you liked it here too..

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