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Pictures Done Fast

Nov 5

In Seminars & Workshops at 9:35am

I really gotta hand it to the gang from Tampa, Scott Kelby’s NAPP organization. They really knock it back when it comes to educational stuff, offering information and putting out useful content on a regular basis. It’s pretty cool. When they came knocking a while back and asked me to do a lighting seminar, I was like, “Sure!” Then I was like–Gulp!

Okay, remember, if something scares you, go shoot it. So I said yes, and I’m super glad I did, ’cause I’ve met a ton of great folks, and just had a ball doing these big lighting classes. And now I’ve got a whole category of pix I kinda call, “Pictures Done Fast.” (Drew has another name for it. He calls it, “Wish you had worked that harder!”) It’s cool. When I’m up teaching, my job is not to push across portfolio material, it’s really to tackle as many things as I can, as quickly as I can.

In Atlanta, we had great models, one of whom, Tyrell, was just an amazing presence. He could be a recording star, an athlete, an executive, or a detective on a cop show on TV, he had so many looks. Last part of the day, we got this look in just a few frames.


The above is an Elinchrom Deep Octa, camera left, with a Quadra flash popping through it. Added a kicker light off an SB900 firing on SU-4 mode into a silvery Tri-grip reflector. Interesting the color shift in the flash temperatures, huh? The big diffuser for the Quadra imparts a certain warmth, whereas the 900 into the neutral silver comes off as decidedly on the cool side.

Here’s the very first shot of this setup, with just a Deep Octa to camera left:


…and a black and white rendition of the same…Which do you guys like more?


We stayed on and had a fun evening at Zack Arias‘ studio. Zack and his crew just threw their doors open, and once again, as I always feel, we became part of the photo community, which is a powerful and supportive group.



We drank, and talked, and drank some more. Had a great time. Then the assistant crew, Dan Depew, Erik Dixon, and Drew, gang of three that they are, went out and drank some more, evidently….at a legendary local establishment:-)

Many thanks to NAPP, Zack, and the Atlanta photo gang….more tk…..

marcus says:

on November 5, 2010 at 10:09 am

Thanks to you for hanging out with us in Atlanta!

Eric Muetterties says:

on November 5, 2010 at 11:25 am

I like the color vs the B&W. Great post Joe. Love your continual sharign of what you are doing, because it always enlightens (no pun intended ☺

Nater Perkes says:

on November 5, 2010 at 11:36 am

Hey Joe,

That black in white is by far my fav. It’s so moody and just amazing. LOVE it!

mark rodriguez says:

on November 5, 2010 at 11:41 am

that legendary local establishment wouldn’t happen to have been the Clermont Lounge would it :)

Carson Samson says:

on November 5, 2010 at 11:43 am

If something scares you, go shoot it. Awesome motto. We can’t let a subject—or a challenging set-up—scare us off.

Great read Joe!

nicole barrett says:

on November 5, 2010 at 11:44 am

your pictures are so clear and vivid. i prefer the color as opposed to black and white on that half shot one above. very inspiring work.

Dan says:

on November 5, 2010 at 11:45 am

Thanks for sharing this JOE! I read what Zack had to say on his blog after you all left and while is was saddening, it was also comforting to know that even icons have ups and downs…

I like both of these two, but the color version just a tad more, maybe if the BW had a kicker it may have proven differently for me…


Jon Uhler says:

on November 5, 2010 at 11:50 am

It was nice meeting you and you gave a great talk!

Looks like I was caught chimping….;)

RJ Stribley says:

on November 5, 2010 at 11:58 am


You are right, Kelby rocks. Kelby figured out how to make me read a book on using software (unheard of). I could peruse your photos all day but have to get on with it. I like the look you got with your first setup shot in profile… oh, and the recurring theme of ‘drinks’:)

Throwend says:

on November 5, 2010 at 12:02 pm

Colour is nice, but the BW one looks a bit flat for my taste. Could use some contrast. Has kind of a t-shirt feel 😉

Allen Ross Thomas says:

on November 5, 2010 at 12:20 pm

Big thanks to Joe Mcnally, Zack Arias, the entire Used Film studio staff and the wonderful photographic community in Atlanta. This was truly an amazing evening. Joe is one of the most sincere, humble, and transparent people you could ever meet. Pleasure to meet Drew as well.

Now, if those guys went where I think they went, ahem. ;-).


David says:

on November 5, 2010 at 12:20 pm

Put me down for the colour version of that photo.

WIsh I could have been in Atlanta, but I’m looking forward to seeing you in Calgary, Alberta. If you want to go for a beer later, I’m buying. :)

Nsoedo Ndubuisi says:

on November 5, 2010 at 12:40 pm

Hi Joe,
I love the concept of lightening, expecially the one with the kicker light, and also the grayscale makes a bold statement.

TJ Guevarra says:

on November 5, 2010 at 12:50 pm

Nice subtleness on every shoot you make, your a big inspiration to the photo community no doubt! I like the coloured photo instead of the B&W.
You mentioned interesting colour shift, it is.. when you say neutral silver, is that w/filter? I just wanted to make sure I follow you. Thanks for sharing as always!

Chris Connors says:

on November 5, 2010 at 12:55 pm

Thanks for a great workshop last night at Adorama. You packed a ton of great stuff into the evening.
If anyone is consideing taking one of Joe’s classes/workshops, stop thinking about it and DO IT!

Steve Schuenke says:

on November 5, 2010 at 1:02 pm

Think I prefer the color one best — something about the tonality that creates a little more separation from the background. Great work, as always. We should all be so lucky to get a shot like that on the first click in a non-portfolio shoot.

Rashawn woodgett says:

on November 5, 2010 at 1:11 pm

Thanks for coming to atlanta. Great seminar . And appreciate the signed copy of hot shoe diaries. Book is great too!

Erik Bergan says:

on November 5, 2010 at 1:15 pm

“If something scares you, go shoot it!” is a phrase that’ll stick with me =)

Personally, I prefer the color version. Something about the warmth and complexity that seems to be lost in the B/W image :)

Great read, mr. McNally!

Tim says:

on November 5, 2010 at 1:25 pm

What size Deep Octa did you use? Like the color version best.

Charles says:

on November 5, 2010 at 1:49 pm

Hi Joe,

I really like the color version versus the black and white; excellent portraits as always. Your work (and work ethic) is inspiring & your blog is possibly the most interesting photography site on the internet. Cheers! CT

Tanya Rist says:

on November 5, 2010 at 3:04 pm

Great pics, as usual! I prefer the color version – there is just something that really pops for me vs the b/w.

John Swarce says:

on November 5, 2010 at 3:38 pm


Great post, as usual. I prefer the B&W shot myself. I’ll have to check out Zack’s blog to see his side of the shoot!


ardean says:

on November 5, 2010 at 4:15 pm

I prefer the colour image of Tyrell.
btw: Feel free to come to Toronto and do a workshop one of these days!:)

Matt Hunt says:

on November 5, 2010 at 4:16 pm

Colour, it conveys warmth and held my eye for longer. I think the jacket ‘felt’ better too. And yes I think that the comment about pursuing the subject that scares you is an excellent mantra.

Karen Bobotas says:

on November 5, 2010 at 4:22 pm

Great look both ways! …but I would say the color version adds just a touch more for me. Always enjoy your posts and thanks for sharing your thoughts and ideas. Karen

Tim Skipper says:

on November 5, 2010 at 5:40 pm


This just goes along with what Chase Jarvis has posted on his blog about the openness of sharing. I remember when I was 19 and wanted to learn photography I got all but cussed out by photographers that didn’t want to share anything.

Today there is so much information and so much help it is amazing.

Jack Mueller says:

on November 5, 2010 at 5:48 pm

Color! :)

IllOgical42 says:

on November 5, 2010 at 6:38 pm

Normally I’d go for a B&W image. In this case however I prefer the added value of colour. It seems to give the image more depth. Plus the colour image suggest Tyrell waxes his chest. It might be a brown t-shirt, but the suggestion is there. And that is harder to spot in the B&W image.

Sarah Kavanaugh says:

on November 5, 2010 at 7:27 pm

The color version is kinda monochrome anyway, it doesn’t really need to go bw. Does that make any sense?! The bw is maybe a little dark for my taste. (Picky, picky….)

Biel says:

on November 6, 2010 at 5:19 am

Prefer color also…

Mike Neale says:

on November 6, 2010 at 8:35 am

Neither Better,…just different,…excellent assertive comp on all. Agree with Tim,…thanks for sharing!

Jonathan Thompson says:

on November 6, 2010 at 9:15 am

Hi Joe, I liked the contrast in the two lighting sources, I’d never have thought the light temp would have been so pronounced between the Octa and the speedlight. I’d have to say I go with the colour image but perhaps the sweet spot for me would be a colour saturation somewhere in between, to give greater mood than the colour image has and I’d like to keep some of the skin tone and there is a very subtle brown/red/gold hint to the jacket, on the shoulder and on the zip.
Thanks for keeping up the inspiration. I hope one day you’ll come to the UK for a couple of 5 day workshops…



Shelly says:

on November 6, 2010 at 10:03 am

Wow, a real sausage fest at Zack’s place, huh? No lady fans?

Ofir Abe says:

on November 6, 2010 at 10:14 am

I really envy the amount of Fun that you, Zack, Scott, David and even joey are doing as the “gang of the new Future”.
love that support you give each other.

Do life!

Brenda Richterkessing says:

on November 6, 2010 at 12:17 pm

Thanks for the post. I attended the lighting seminar and thought it was awesome. And must admit that Terell was some nice eye candy to look at too! Thanks for all your inspiration and sharing. I have read all of your books, watched your videos on Kelby Training and have learned so much from you. So there was noway i was going to miss seeing you when you came to my town of Atlanta. I am not one that usually posts to blogs but just wanted you to know how much I appreciate all you have shared and taught me. Just ordered your new Life Guide book the other day. Can’t wait to read it! I’m grateful for your inspiration. You make me want to be a better photographer!

Phil G says:

on November 6, 2010 at 1:38 pm

Great looks for fast photos. Have you ever used a gold reflector on dark skin? We used it in video (TV News) and it made the skin tones a little warmer for a different look.

Juan Jose Gonzalez Cruz says:

on November 6, 2010 at 1:41 pm

Like the color version because it has the sinthesis of the reduced color gama (as the B&W) but introduces a real life skin tone. Besides of that, I like the separation from the background thanks to the back light. Thanks for sharing.

Dawn N says:

on November 6, 2010 at 1:44 pm

Gosh – wish I was in ATL for that! Saw it on Twitter – Zack and Joe – MY HEROS!!!!

Love you both for the amazing teaching, attitude (lack thereof shall I say;), and the amazingness of the people that surround you both. Joe, between your books and Zack’s One Light DVD and his online tutorials on his blog any photographer can be made even better no matter their level of understanding of light.

Thank you to both of you! (And Drew too :-), D

James Conkle says:

on November 6, 2010 at 10:42 pm

I love the color of the kicker light! And I like the color version.

Jay Mann says:

on November 7, 2010 at 12:26 am

Like the Black and White, can’t say why exactly, but have been doing more and more B&W. As you know, I started out shooting Tri-X, dark room in Dad’s basement, red lights, Deep Purple Machine Head volume at 11 and the aroma of fixer…. 😉

Mo says:

on November 7, 2010 at 9:23 am

colored one is better. Although the b&w would be good if it had more contrast and highlights to it.

Gary Miller says:

on November 7, 2010 at 2:05 pm

These workshops look great. I am hoping that I can get to one when you are back in the Houston area. On the shots of Tyrell, I go with the black and white. It could use a little more contrast and a little lighter. That one is much more simple, graphic, and effective. Thanks for all of your hard work and effort. You rock Joe!

Brian Morgan says:

on November 7, 2010 at 8:03 pm

Thanks Joe! I brought a friend who is relatively new to the photography world. She kept saying, “I hope you’re not bored”. Are you kidding? I always pick up a new tip or two and I appreciate you stopping by my home town!

Take care,

JayB says:

on November 8, 2010 at 2:44 am

I like the color photo more. The color tension between the warm brown skin and black jacket do it for me.

Paul says:

on November 8, 2010 at 4:58 am

I like both the shots, Joe. Each has its own unique qualities. The constant out of each image is that the look and feel of the jacket hardly changes; there are differences but they are very subtle.

The colour pic, to me, projects a warm personality: great shot for fashion, I think. The B&W, well, wow! that’s so different it could be another person; that pic to me would be a great movie poster.

As ever though, your work is magic. The lesson I’m taking from the two pics question is that don’t assume that there’s only ever one image in the can… A brilliant question and lesson, o master.

Yours in grasshopper pose,


karl bratby says:

on November 10, 2010 at 5:27 pm

wish i could of been there, Octa deep throat is a mega box, and to answer one of the questions it only comes in one size 100cm, other octas available but not deep throat.

thanks for sharing

Marc Commandeur says:

on November 12, 2010 at 6:06 am

Because of Tyrell’s skin tone in the colour photo better I like that one better than the B&W one. But my favourite is the first photo with the two diffeent light sources.

Best wishes,

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