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When it comes to photography, it’s all about the light.
After spending more than thirty years behind the lens—working for National Geographic, Time, Life, and Sports Illustrated—Joe McNally knows about light. He knows how to talk about it, shape it, color it, control it, and direct it. Most importantly, he knows how to create it...using small hot shoe flashes.
In The Hot Shoe Diaries, Joe brings you behind the scenes to candidly share his lighting solutions for a ton of great images. Using Nikon Speedlights, Joe lets you in on his uncensored thought process—often funny, sometimes serious, always fascinating—to demonstrate how he makes his pictures with these small flashes. Whether he’s photographing a gymnast on the Great Wall, an alligator in a swamp, or a fire truck careening through Times Square, Joe uses these flashes to create great light that makes his pictures sing.
Share photos on our Hot Shoe Diaries flickr group.
Photography Q&A with Joe McNally
Do you have a question for Joe McNally? Maybe you'd like to know how he captured that one great shot? Or maybe you’d like to share one of your own photos and get his expert feedback? This is your chance! Submit your question to Joe, and each week he will select a question to answer via his Peachpit.com blog. You can also post a photo or two on our flickr group.
Part I Nuts ’n’ Bolts
What I Use…and Why and When I Use It
A Little Bit of Dis and a Little Bit of Dat
Part II One Light!
A Place to Put the Light
Up to Your Ass in Alligators
Good Bad Light
A Light in the Doorway
The Swamp, Revisited
Tune in to Station “i-TT L”
Up on the Roof
How to Light a Fence
Cheap Arena Lighting
Make the Sunrise
Light as a Feather
The “Killer Flick of Light”
How to Light an Elf
Make the Available Light Unavailable
Put Stuff in Front of Your Lights
80 Plus 20 Equals Good Light
Smoke and Windows
Hakeem the Dream
FP Means Good DOF
Flash in Real Life
Light ‘Em Dano!
It Don’t Gotta Be Human to Light It
The Lady with the Light in the Lake
One Light in the Parking Lot
One Light in the Window
One Light in the Garden
Part III Two or More
Show the Tattoo! Or, The Remarkable Rehabilitation
of the Notorious Bubbles
Quick Rigs for 30-Second Portraiture
Do You Have a Bedsheet?
Window Light Is a Beautiful Thing
When in Venice
Dancer in the Ruins
It’s Right There on Paper
Faces in the Forest
This One Goes to Eleven
Some Light Conversation
Lighting Kit for the Creepy-Guy-in-the-Alley Shot
Let There Be Light!
Part IV Lotsa Lights
How to Give Birth to a Speedlight
A Great Wall of Light
The Tree of Woe
How to Build a Backyard Studio
Don’t Light It, Light Around It
Goin’ Glam and Throwin’ Sparks
And Now for Something Completely Different
Plane, But Not Simple
Rollin’ with Pride of Midtown
Appendix: What’s This Button Do?