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An Eye Popping Photoshop World!

Sep 2

In Friends, Lighting at 6:53pm


I get notions, and they stay with me. One has been, for a while now, to come up with a decent portrait of Russell Brown, the wonderfully mad genius of Photoshop. Dr. Brown, as he is sometimes called, is a visual guru who combines the madcap energy of The Absent Minded Professor with an extraordinary ability to explain and teach the wilder, denser paths of that wonderfully woolly thicket known as Photoshop. The Senior Creative Director at Adobe Systems, he is also an Emmy winner for his instructional shows that explain Photoshop to the masses. When he’s in full cry, his knowledge of Photoshop and what it can do is so vast, to me, he might as well be speaking rapid fire Korean, so little of it do I understand.


Russell, whirling dervish that he is, could only hold still for a few portraits, but we managed to pull together a couple frames during my small flash seminar here at PSW in Vegas. I just really enjoy interesting faces, and the prospect of bringing appropriate light to them. This combo is a 24″ EzyBox Hot shoe soft box, with a silver Tri-grip reflector for a background rim. Two SB 900 units. 70-200mm lens. Worked the second one with a tiny bit of desaturation.

Great face, lots of fun. Having a blast at PSW. Great crowds, great people, and a wonderfully talented group of instructors. I wish that just by sitting in the instructors lounge I could somehow soak some of this stuff up by osmosis.

More tk….

jacqueline says:

on September 2, 2010 at 7:47 pm

Great portraits of the mad man of photoshop. Your description of him is right on.
Glad you are having a great time at PSW, wished I had been able to make it this year.

Pat Delany says:

on September 2, 2010 at 7:50 pm

You know Joe, there are many of us out here that have the same sentiments about you and your skills with light and camera. At your workshops we hope to absorb just a fraction of the knowledge you dispense. Thanks again for sharing.

Tim Skipper says:

on September 2, 2010 at 7:51 pm

Every time I learn something more about Photoshop, I discover a person who makes me look like a total moron.

Portraits look good BTW.

Deb Cobb says:

on September 3, 2010 at 2:38 am

JM – session was informative except for the annoying peanut gallery in front with the claxon alarm. Oh, uh…

You inspire and delight and you make it accessible. Thank you. I’ve already started experimenting hand-holding the flash.

-your favorite news gal

Steve Wylie says:

on September 3, 2010 at 2:40 am

Thanks again for a great Photo Safari in the Valley of Fire. It was great to shoot some lovely and talented dancers in a striking location. Looking forward to getting my images cleaned up and posted.

IPBrian says:

on September 3, 2010 at 8:21 am

Well said Pat…

Radu says:

on September 3, 2010 at 8:22 am

Hi Joe!

Where is the second flash located? I get the first one is in the 24″ EzyBox aimed at his face from the right, slightly above, slightly behind the subject, but I don’t see the effect of the second flash. I thought of the light on the hair on the back of the subject’s head, but you said that’s the silver Trigrip reflector (and since it’s a little cold, it looks like a reflection from a silver surface).

Best regards – wish I was in Vegas for PSW!

William Chinn says:

on September 3, 2010 at 9:00 am

Dr. Brown has finally been captured. His personna is there for all to see and, of course, be amazed. No costumes (less the glasses), no schtick, just showing the face of this gifted person. May we all be captured like this some day.

Jerry says:

on September 3, 2010 at 10:47 am

How did the PW’s preform in the far north. Or did’t they
Enjoy Osmosis ing At PSW.

Win says:

on September 3, 2010 at 11:37 am

Hi Joe,

Thank you for keeping up with the blog. I enjoyed your short seminar in Portland, Oregon few months ago. How far did you put the flash from Russell Brown? Did you put two flash units in one soft box? I’m curious why you put the blank space behind him instead of in front of him. The photos are intriguing.

Thank you for sharing.

Darren Elias says:

on September 3, 2010 at 11:54 am

Amen to that, Pat Delaney!

Tom Curtin says:

on September 3, 2010 at 1:41 pm

Hey Joe,

To get the background rim light did you use the second SB-900 and tri-grip to create a floor skip?


Ivan says:

on September 3, 2010 at 3:35 pm

Great shot. What were the camera settings to blacken out the entire scene?

Lance Levine says:

on September 3, 2010 at 6:26 pm


Great pictures. Can you publish a sketch showing the equipment and set up you used to get this lighting effect?



seks izle says:

on September 4, 2010 at 3:53 pm

How did the PW’s preform in the far north.

Cynthia Rothrock says:

on September 4, 2010 at 7:17 pm

I was so impresses with the video of your work I still am thinking about it. Hope to catch one of your workshops in the future

Jack K says:

on September 4, 2010 at 9:37 pm


My son and I sat in on your presentation at PSW. We literally were both on the edge of our seats, hanging on your every word for the entire hour. We felt like we could have listened to you for hours.

It was certainly the highlight of the show and our trip.

Thank you so much for sharing your work and your thoughts.


jack k.

Jeff Dillon says:

on September 5, 2010 at 12:47 am

And what’s more amazing was that these were around the fifth and sixth frames of this lighting setup…
At the time Joe, said he was shooting at 1/250 (Nikon’s top sync speed), f5.6, ISO 400, against a white seamless background that shows black here because it wasn’t being hit by the flashes. The Ezybox was a little bit on the far side of Brown’s face to keep the camera side dark and character-rich; an assistant was pointing the second flash into the Tri-grip about 8 feet away at shoulder height at 10 o’clock.
These are pretty much the frames out of the camera as we saw during the demo; there’s no extra space on the right because the softbox was as close to Brown’s face as possible, just out of frame in these shots, in the frame in a few others.

Ken Toney says:

on September 5, 2010 at 6:40 pm

I had a blast at this class, you guys are sick! (thanks for the Safari!)

Alan says:

on September 6, 2010 at 2:56 pm

It is a shame that Russell Brown is so serious.

Joe McNally says:

on September 6, 2010 at 9:04 pm

Hey Alan, I know……dour comes to mind, you know? :-)))))

Shane Savage says:

on September 8, 2010 at 2:52 pm

Joe (Mr. McNally),
Again, thank you for all you do for us photogs, we all truly appreciate your efforts in making us feel welcome and allow us to tag along on your various adventures. It was a pleasure meeting you at PSW and I hope our paths cross again in the future.


yaron says:

on September 9, 2010 at 12:35 am


utangac says:

on November 23, 2010 at 5:16 pm

It is a shame that Russell Brown is so serious.

antalya böcek ilaçlama says:

on August 8, 2011 at 1:23 pm

antalya ev ilaçlama

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