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Shoot: Bar Owner

Lesson 7 from: Lighting, Logistics, and Strategies for a Life in Photography

Joe McNally

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Lesson Info

7. Shoot: Bar Owner


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


Location Assessment


Gear Overview


Direction and Wardrobe


Exploring Location and Available Light


Bar Owner: Setting the Scene


Shoot: Bar Owner


Shoot: Bar Owner, Evolving the Look


Lesson Info

Shoot: Bar Owner

So, okay, looking good? Now, maybe just take that left shoulder towards me. Could you come a tiny bit closer to camera, please? Nice. Good, good. Ryan is taller, as a subject. Now I'm trying to keep, there's, is it Mike? You do architectural work? Yeah. Yeah, so you're going to be horrified for the next three days, I'm sorry. You know, cause I tip my camera, I do stuff, my lines, you know I haven't got a tilt-shift lens. So I'm trying to keep my lines to this bar relatively, you know, in there. Okay. Looking good. Way to go, Ryan. Fantastic. That's great. Nice. Alright. So you see how the subject kind of like, picks up the game a little bit? Cause the light really is designed more for him. You know, it's definitely designed more for him. Now, I still think the light is maybe tiny bit bright. Let's take, I can talk to that light. I can take, I don't know, minus .7 out of it. Alright. Come on in again. Way to go Ryan. Fantastic. That's great. Nice. Okay. A little too close. Dropping ...

it down makes it feel a little too close to the ambient level of light. So, this is where you get to, right? This is that edge of control. Now I can drop the ambient down a little bit more. Maybe go to an 80th of a second. Cool. Still not completely composed properly. That's my best flash solution by far. Don't you think? Has the most character and dimension. Still retains the side-light. But what just happened? I lost some information in the bar. You know, so there's that edge, That frontier. Does your available light start to overwhelm your flash? Or do you push that flash right to the edge? I always liken my shutter speed to a set of level, or blinds. Twist that little magic wand there, that plastic wand. Creep them open, open, open and you bleed a little ambient light into your solution. Okay. Now, I'd like to keep that. Because I'm really kind of like it. What do you think, Callie? I like it. I would maybe, take his chin maybe more towards the light instead. A little bit more, cause there is that shadow there. Maybe, a little more radical turn towards me and just kind of, yeah, there you go, good. And, maybe chin just this way. There you go, good. And then I'll, Callie come on in a little tighter. I'm gonna actually sacrifice some line. Straight here, good. Come closer, Callie. Whoops, too much. There. Nice. Yeah, I like that. A little better. A little better, a little more grace to the light. Now, this little softbox is, is a brand new softbox. It's actually not on the market. Lastolite created it, and it's called a Speed-Lite 2. And, it's, I'm finding it to be very handy. What I'm doing here, is, camera bag solutions, basically. This, this thing will stuff into your camera bag. So, you'll walk in here, and you got a shoulder bag, or something like that, or a backpack. You knock this out, put it on a small stand whatever it might be. And you're kind of done. You could take this picture or the beginnings of it, and make it, you could drop that in the paper tomorrow. A little rough. You'd have to do some Photoshop on this afterwards. To bring that background up. You know, if this is where you elected to stay. But we're not going to stay there. I like to do these lights in the field because I view them as Photoshop in the field. You know, I'm compressing the dynamic range. Remember the chip is not a selective instrument. The chip can't get Dylan's white shirt and Susie's black scarf. I mean it can, but it will make a compromise in there someplace. And it will try to get both of them, and kind of blow the deal. You know, a little bit. So, it'll come down in middle and the middle is never a place that you're going to be happy with. You want to push the character of the photograph. And, to that end, the ice cubes just threw me off from where I was going to go next. (laughter) But that's okay. That's me. I'm easily distracted. I've got a pinball machine for a brain. So, it's all over the place. But, Alright, alright. So, let's say this is a camera bag sort of job. What would we do next to see if we can amp up that background? Joe, what if we, what if we maybe took over his left shoulder and kind of made that the edge of the frame, and work a little more of the bar? What do you think? Yeah, we could get rid of that. We could try the end of the bar, but then we've also got our cameras and stuff in there. Let's stick here, just, just for the sake of argument. We're going to move around a little bit and if you notice, Lynn is sitting over there and we can't see Lynn. Lynn's very happy about that, you know. Now, what you could do, if you're really working quick and dirty, you could, you see how this window here is kind of a hot zone of exposure? You can maybe break that up and if he's the owner of the bar, you know, you could, do stuff like that. Put a couple chairs up. And just kind of break up that hot area. That's not doing the greatest job in the world, because the scale is a little off. But, you get the general idea. You start to fill in the background a little bit with just stuff that might break up that white zone, that hot white zone. Okay? Now, what Callie was suggesting was we push the camera this way, Either push it this way, or, I like the, I like his look, this like looking this way. Mm-hmm. So, we could also even maybe, rotate Put him on that. See that banister right there we put the chair on? But his back against that, and then shoot maybe towards. Yeah. As a possibility. If we put him in and against, this is all good. See, I listen on location. I listen all the time. You know, and Callie suggested that maybe we push him a little deeper in the frame. But then, what do we do? We come in here, we kind of lose some of that. I'd have to kind of twist around a little bit. We'll see what happens, Okay? But let's stick here for just a couple more minutes. If I was doing a camera bag job, what could I do here? Could we get a, a gelled, a warm gelled light? In this? No, not that, not that. Let's leave that white light. Let's do a gel on a, on a one of the floor stands, one of the little floor stands. Okay. We can leave the, we can leave the dome diffuser on. So say you're working really quick and dirty. And you want to throw a little light into the bar. Are we going to put it on a real stand? Okay. Either way, we have the floor stand as well. No, no worries. We can do that. Is it, is it on there? So we'll keep that. Keep that off to the side, and we'll just use that. Or you want a gel? Can you just give it to me? Here we go, thanks. I don't know, experiment. This is going to be my background light. I might have a kicker light, so I try to progress group A is up front there, okay? Group B will be my middle zone. So I'll throw this into maybe group C. So, let's throw this up maybe at the ceiling. See if there's any effect at all. More than likely, it's going to get swallowed up. But let's experiment. This is what I do. I never kind of like stay in one spot. I keep moving, keep moving, keep moving. So, this is a group C light. So again, this is a real quick solution. If I'm working for the paper and I've got 15 minutes, I throw this back in here TTL zero zero. Cool, thank you. Nice. Good look, way to go, Ryan. (shutter click) Alright. So, can we go back one, Callie? Just so I can see if there's any pick-up back there. In terms of, where are we? That's the last one, go back. Go back. You see a little Tiny bit. Tiny bit, you see that in there? Go forward again. Tiniest bit, you see that back in there? Little bit. So, I don't know, I think that light will give up it's ghost. It's a four battery operated unit. I'm asking a lot of it. I gonna go plus two on it, and see what it does. (shutter click) Is that going? It's probably just, Sorry? is it going off? Or was that just a, a? Want me to say? What? It was on D. Ahhh. Where, which way was it face, it was going against the banister? It was heading that way. Head back. You're good now. Just a quick test fire. (shutter click) Yeah, we're good. Now it's going. Now it's going. Alright. That's a lot of light. Let's start at zero zero again. Here we go. (shutter click) Alright. So, the price we're paying for putting that back there, see the wash that's going against the bar? It's kind of drawing, destroying a bit of the charisma of the place. Let's take it down a little bit more. Let's take it down, I don't know, minus 1.3. Here we go. (shutter click) That's got a little bit of an incremental, I swear there was a different, I saw it too, yeah. It was like, Wanna just, Are you still in aperture or did you go manual? No. That's weird. That was a little on the odd side. Okay. Let's do this, let's bring it back up just a tiny bit. Now, that dome diffuser is spraying that light everywhere. Okay? So, if you're doing like, something for a newspaper, and you need some detail on the background, it's not a half bad solution. It's okay. You know, it doesn't have a lot of like selective, kind of, input. It's blasting. I mean, you could do this. And it might look good, it might look awful. If I take the dome diffuser off. Zoom this puppy, say, let's call it 200. So, let's go all the way. That's the max zoom on this. Let's throw it up there. So now, it'll kind of (laughter) We're a crack team, Callie, I tell you what. Nothing gets past us. (shutter click) Alright. Harsher shadows. You see the, can we go back one please? See that? I like that better, than the hard input of the, can we go forward then? That's too, that's like a flood light that I've just thrown up there. So you see the difference? The dome diffuser, zoom 200. Again, very quick and very, very simple kind of executions here. And now, we're actually seeing Lynn. You know. (laughter) She slowly disappears. Yep, alright. So. Okay, so, for a one or two light portrait, speedlites, you could do this with a small bag on your shoulder, couple of lens, maybe a couple of small stands, couple clamps. Now, if you wanted to get more control over this, I don't think this is going to look so good either, but, you know, let's just continue in. Can I get a Justin clamp, please? Thanks, man. Cool. You good? You need like a water or something? Or a beer, anything. How's it going? (laughter) It's a little weird, isn't it? You know, you look around and alright, so, that C group light, let me get it back. I made a lighting change, so I'll go back to zero zero. Here we go. (shutter click) Let me go this way now. Now, that under reported. Anybody speculate as to why? It was in my frame. Which I didn't pick up until I actually made the photograph. Now, hmm, is that doing anything at all? I don't see too, too much influence. You kind of see, maybe is this it? Can you go back one? Yeah, it's going. Yeah. Moved over that way, it's picking up those chairs just a little bit. Let's try and, could, would you mind going over and directionalizing it? Put a, put a 200 zoom on it. And, Ryan, do me a favor. Actually, Callie, can you push that chair just a little bit this way for me, please? Cool. How's that? That's better. See, what happens there. (shutter click) Nice. Go back one, please. Yeah, see, the table seems to pick up a little bit. But, you know, what I'm doing here is, and definitely, definitely I think there's a little bit of more emphasis kind of coming from behind him there. Kind of defining him a little bit more. Not doing a heck of a lot. Certainly not helping our wall, back in there. If that is, something that you'd want to put a little bit of detail into. The other thing you can do, let's do this. And this is going to seem a little odd, perhaps. Joe, can I ask a question? Of course. For either you or Callie, when shooting tethered, so I'm shooting on D4, when I shoot tethered it only shows up on the computer and I know that's pretty much every Nikon I've shot on, does a D5 show up on the LCD as well? Or is that a, Yes. Well, what program are you using? What program? I'm shooting into Lightroom. Isn't there a way to program Lightroom so that it picks up both PC and card? I have not found that. There's that, like with Camera Control Pro 2 that we're using, which is like a Nikon specific software, there's the capability of us on our tether screen to do PC only, card only, or PC and card. Which is what we generally use. I don't use Lightroom. And I haven't used it in a long time. So I don't know what to say about that. But, if you do have a Nikon, and you, I believe the camera systems come with the software, the Camera Control Pro. Otherwise you should just be able to download off the Internet. That gives you the capabilities to work like that. There is an option for storage. You go into the Tab called Storage, and then you can opt to go into both PC and card, which you have to. Any program that you're tethered into, has to have that option. I was shooting the chairman of the board of a major, major research and pharmaceutical company, back in the day, when that was prior to a technology evolution. So, you could, when you tethered, and the art director wanted to be tethered cause they wanted to see, he posed for me for 17 frames, and we were done. At that point, we had been up since 3 o'clock in the morning, shot the whole board, he was the last person to get in front of the camera. And all the frames were piping into the camera. Bypassing the card. It was the only option. My assistant at the time, just was like, "Okay, we're done." Started to think about turning off the lights. Went by the camera, shut the camera off. The pictures became vaporware. Because they were stuck in the middle of the you know, the wire. You know, they were someplace in there. And they just died. Okay. And I think out of the 17 frames, I ended up eight frames had reported into the computer. So, I had to give back $2,000 of my fee. And, I never worked for that client again. So, you know. Those are the hard knocks that you take. And Scott was really upset. I was upset, but you know, you have to hold it together and realize that, you know, there's no point in being upset, it is what it is. So, you take it in the face. You just, you know, explain what happened, and, then the client takes action or not. So, it wasn't you. It wasn't me. (laughter) Alright. So what did I just do? Oh I throw, I've thrown the light off the floor. So let me just check it's value here. Zero Zero. Here we go. Ryan, you're being very patient during all of this, I appreciate it. You're looking consistently wonderful. Alright, so now, try to imagine the floor without the video cords on it. You know. Now low-light in a bar is actually pretty handy, because the nature of the lights in a bar are sort of low, right? You know, little washy lights, this and that. Little lamps on the tables. Let's take two stops out of that. (shutter click) So that, actually, can we go back, like two? See that table over there? See that mirror? Now go forward. See the little edge on the bottom of the frame's kind of, is now defined? Just a little bit. And you can feather that back and forth. So, now we're starting to build, you know, there's any number of these things you could have stopped at, you know. There's a little bit of low lift to the bar. The rim of the bar over there, all of that. Alright, so let's try this just for laughs. Alright, here we go. Gonna change the white balance. (shutter click) Alright, so now Ryan looks like he lives north of the wall. You know. Now the bar has a blueish feel to it. The floor, is it more interesting? Little color, remember, basic color wheel theory, warm colors vibrate well with cool colors. It just does. The eye enjoys that. So there's a vibrational effect because they're complimentary in the color wheel and they kind of bang together a little bit, and are just a natural, you know sort of, vibrational, whatever you want to call it. The eye, it just feels good, you know. The counterpoint of the warmth relative to the blue. So, we could, did we put a gel in there? Yep. Alright. Okay, cool. Nice. Feel a little better? Okay. Now, now to make that light warm, Ken or Brad, can you go to that rear bounce light, please? And put two cuts of CTO in it. What happened to the highlight on his cheek? Kind of nice, right? It goes blueish. Kind of cool. Questions, while we're getting this ready. Any questions there? Kenna. Yeah, we've got questions from folks at home. One of them is, do you ever use a light meter? Do I ever use a light meter? I almost feel like I should, yeah I don't know, write a letter of apology or something, you know. Cause it feels like it's in the photographer's kind of manifesto or creed, you should have a light meter with you. I don't use a light meter anymore. Very, very rarely. I have light meters. And, there's really great light meters out there. But, it has to be a very unusual situation for me to use a light meter. Because the camera meters are so specific. And so excellent. I mean, in this camera now, I've got RGB histograms. I've got blinking highlights. I've got incremental third stop control. All that sort of stuff going on. I find that meters are not essential to our current equipment pack. That's not to say, they're not an important part still of the photographic, you know, world of a gear. Okay? Awesome. I know it's kind of early into the gear, but what informs what you bring along to a shoot? What informs what we bring along to a shoot? The, you know, sounds like a simplistic answer obviously, but the parameters of the actual shoot. How much time am I going to have? How much control am I going to have? It's a, is it a quick hit? Does it look like a limited environment? Should I, can I just work it with small flash? Do I need to expand to larger flash? All that sort of stuff starts to factor in to my thinking. I would say, a basic pack that we go out with, is, there's basically three lenses that always go with us, 14-24, 24-70, 70 to 200. At least two cameras, for the possibility that one might fail. And then we go from there into, we almost always bring a C-stand, a single C-stand. That gives us a base of operations. That is a strong powerful light that we can, or light stand, light support, that we can put in and we know that that's the anchor for theoretically, my main light. Also, gives us height and reach, and a boom capability. Okay, in fact you know Callie, we don't we drop that onto Okay. On to a, a C-stand. And let's bring one out. Yeah. Can you also hand me a Justin clamp? Beyond that, how much, you know, how much budget is involved? Can I get, do I have enough budget for a second assistant? Am I gonna, I just went and I shot last week in Kentucky. I was by myself. And I shipped five cases, you know, well four cases of photo gear plus my personal bag. By myself, to Kentucky, threw it in the back of a truck and went down. Set up a speed-lite studio on my own. And, just worked by myself. Which was fine. You know, I'm used to that. I'm a bit of a pack horse. Yes. When you detailed a little bit, you said that you switched white balance. So what did you go to and what gels did you end up putting on the lights? Sure. I went to a tungsten white balance. Hence the, the daylight highlights are now blue. The light here, has one CTO. Color temperature orange or convert to orange type of gel on it. Which brings it to a white light level in response to the tungsten balance. So, it's neutral now. It, it'll be a quote unquote normal skin tone. The light back there, I double gelled, because I want that light to go warm against the blueish possibilities of the background. Alright, Ryan. Ryan, I'm having a hard time, every time I say your name I feel like doing a Sean Connery imitation. Ryan, I've read these books. You know, anyway. (laughter) Is that our friend for you? Yeah, we're good, we're good. Alright, nice look, good look. (shutter click) Alright, we getting anything out of that back, did the background light go? Did, yeah, we're getting a little bit off the floor there. Little bit off the floor. Okay, I think we do better with it now though. Let's, Ken, could we, let's see where are we here? Going back in there. Let's just take it, just as a for instance. And, let's put it kind of on the bar, over in here. And we'll see if we can light up that black cabinet, cause that's going really black. So, some place in here. You can even clamp it to this, if you wanted to, Brad. And let's take it and twist it around, and fire it up. There we go. And maybe angle it out a little bit there. Let me see if I can see that. Alright. Cool. (shutter click) Alright, so now I'm starting to see those bottles back there a little bit. I'm at minus two on that light. So, let me go back to zero zero. See what happens. (shutter click) Alright, so now I have detail back there. If you want it. Okay, this is as you see fit. That was kind of going a little bit black back there. The other thing we could do, and this is really kind of dodgy. Let's actually give it a try. Let's put a light on a floor stand. Let's put a, what do we have out there? Let's put a group B light on a floor stand. And I'll put it very weakly. Let's just put it right here. Do you want a gel? Yeah, double, double cut a tungsten, please. While he's doing that, anybody's got any questions? So, a question is, do you ever use a mono light, or just strobes as you, as we work further into the sessions? I don't, the first part of it, do I ever use a? Mono light. A mono light. Well there's mono light style of lights. I have B1's which are essentially a mono light style of light, for sure. Right now, I'm using speedlites, which don't have a mono lamp, per se. They do, but it's not particularly useful. You know, so I don't really even bother with it. Okay? So which way is this facing? You wanted it, I'm not up the rail? I don't know. I don't know exactly, let's do this. Let's see if we can bang it this way maybe. And just see if it, and that is a B group light? Yeah. Not that I ever made that mistake before. No, first time. Alright, so B group, here we go. Ready go, Ryan. (shutter click) Alright. So let's take that down a little bit. Let's take it down, I don't know, minus 1.3. (shutter click) Okay? Now if you notice, it's still too much. Let's take it down, minus 2.0. What I'm trying to imitate here, is the potential of a little table lamp glow, you know. And also just to define that column back in there. So now, that's feeling okay to me. I might take another third of a stop out of it. But you see what just happened to my upfront TTL exposure? Because it's shifting ground. So, I'm going to take my, my A group light, and bounce it back up into zero zero. It was at minus .7. (shutter click) Okay. So now, what else do we got, that's the door. Lynn, can I ask you to come out of there? And maybe kind of live over there, or grab a chair. Can somebody fix a chair up, okay. I'm thinking. That is something in the mirror there. That is, the light at the bar. So, Ken can you go back in there? Let's actually kill that light for now. Cause it's lighting those bottles, but I think the bottles, eh, you know. Do you want me in this chair, anywhere? Let's see. Let's do this. Yeah, no, let's put it here. See if it's out, and where's the light, please? The one that you just pulled. Actually, here let's take that this way. Let's get that off the set. And, Callie can you get your eye on camera tell me if you see this? Yeah, I will see it. I will see it, I will see it, I will see it. Right there. Yep. (laughter) Funny how we came to that conclusion at the same time. You know, if you can see Put a banister in the middle of the room. Alright. So, A, B, C. Let's see if we can scoot a little light back towards that, that far, underneath that window. C is zero zero. (shutter click) Okay. Did that light go off back there guys? No, it did not. Check and see if I didn't, if I thunder thumbed it. Actually kind of preferred the bottles. Sorry? It was actually kind of nice when you had some detail. A little bit, we'll get back to that. We working back there, Ken? Give it a test. Yeah, you're fine. Okay. Alright, so now I've probably a little too much back there. So, that is my C group light. Let's take it down, say one stop. (shutter click) Now I just have the hint of a little, the wall, you know. Depends on what you feel you need. I mean, this is, I'm taking it kind of slow here. We'll accelerate as we start out. One thing you can do, one thing that is a strategy, is you can throw a couple lights in to the ceiling. What does that do? It lifts the overall ambiance level of the room. It's not really lighting, it just kind of lifts the room out of kind of the basement that it's in. But, honestly with this ceiling and the hight and speedlites, I think we're tilting at a windmill there that's gonna not, not work so well. So I think what we have to do is more of a directional light. Now, alright, so let's just take a flyer here. This light is going to get bigger, as we go. And then, what we're also going to do is we'll see if we can light this in something of a natural way, or a little bit more defined. Let's just give this a try. Could you take a raw light outside, no gel, please? And, let's go, that's going to be a group D. Okay. Alright. And I'm going to put you in manual one over one. That's the most power I can get out of one of these lights. Diffuser off? Diffuser off, yeah. Let's try 200, and see if you can just locate yourself and this will just be an experiment to see if it informs a potential for this afternoon. Maybe, Callie, right outside underneath this tent. Right in here, or Ken. What's, actually let's make that a D. That is D. Okay, just make sure. Ken, is that D on there? Yeah. Okay, cool, just want to double check. I thought so. I mean I, You know, just want to make sure. (shutter click) Okay. Can you just see what happened there to the bar stools? It's blue light, cause there's no gel on it. So, it might be a little too much. We could feather it, we could taper it, we could do certain things with it. But that is the, the influence of that light. Now, that's all the way up, that a manual light. So let me take, let's call it two stops out of there, okay. (shutter click) That looks pretty natural. It's kind of a wash from light. From the blue source of the window just picking up a little detail. If you so choose to leave them there. Now, we're doing an after hours portrait of the bar owner, the, the chairs are upside down. You know, that could be plausible. That could work. Let's put a double cut of CTO and let's put another, can we take a, one of the big, or one of the medium size tri-grip reflectors, use a gold side. Throw it down behind the bar. Let's use a, a junior stand, a tiny stand and a Justin clamp, and we'll just bang it down onto the floor behind the bar. Is that cool with you guys? Yeah. Did you say diffuser on it, or none? Yeah, let's leave a diffuser on it. Double cut CTO, Justin clamp, small stand, gold reflector. I think. (laughter) Joe? Give me one second, Mike. For people who not be familiar what is the double cut CTO? Oh, yeah, the double cut CTO. That's (laughter), no. When I say a double cut, we refer to gels as cuts, you know. That's just photo slang, you know. So, a full cut of CTO is a full conversion. Then there's half cut, quarter cut, eighth cut. And then when I put a double cut on there, it means I'm doubling up the maximum power of the gel, so I effectively have two full CTO gels, one of which brings me back to match the tungsten white balance, and then the other one pushes it back into the warm level. Alright, yeah, no, I'm sorry. Cause I just get so used to it sometimes to like, old time photo slangs. Everybody familiar with the term dragging your shutter? You know, just like a shutter drag. That kind of thing. You know, it's just photo slang that you trade in the you know, in the pits. Like, what are you dragging your shutter at? You know, kind of, you know. Makes us think we're cooler then we actually are. (laughter) Alright, Joe, can you give that a try? Just, right here. Alright, so, what is that light now? Is that group E? Yeah. So if you notice what we've done here, we're at five lights. Alright, five lights, trying to be. And none of it's completely perfect yet. I think my upfront light is working pretty well. I think I could do Ryan a bit of a favor by perhaps going to a larger light source, which we'll do, Okay. But right now, let's just see if that, I get any lift at all. Cause Callie was right, I'm, I don't want to light the bottles, light the bottles, But I am kind of like, not happy, with that black hole back there. Now, there's a couple of things I could do. I can move Ryan over, and he can occupy that black hole. But then I lose those chairs. So, I kind of like where he's living because then if he moves this way then I got to lose my little table lamp that's behind him. So, everything's a knock on effect. So, I'll see if I can light those bottles in, in a more pleasing way than I did before. Alright Ryan, oh, ahhh. Hang on. Group E. Gonna go manual on that light too, full power, so we'll see what happens. (shutter click) Okay, so I got the bottles back now. And it looks, I think it looks a little less brassy a little more natural. In, back in that area. So now we got the far wall lit, we got the pillar lit, we got Ryan lit, we got the bottles lit, and then, oh poor Ken is still outside. (laughter) Well at least, to my credit, I didn't ask him to stand in the rain. Okay? He's under, he under cover. You alright there Ken? Alright. Alright, If I lift upfront, I don't know, it's calming it down? Yes, it is calming down a little bit. So let's push that upfront light, let's go, let's go plus one on our upfront light. Which may be too much. Cool. (shutter click) Yeah. Yeah. Reproducibility, yeah, that's probably pretty reasonable. Okay. Nick. Yeah, this is going back to earlier when you mentioned that you use B1's as well. And that is, what to you dictates whether to use speedlites or a mono light, or something of that nature? What factors into that decision? Good question. I'm using speedlites here because I want to teach them, basically. Speedlites though, in a way, I probably in, you know, outside of this, I probably would use speedlites to a great degree in a situation like this. Is this the situation, you're going to come in and put up a 60 inch octa? Probably not. Cause you're gonna, it's gonna be nice looking light, but it's going to be blowing light all over the bar. And Ryan's going to end up looking like he's in a Hollywood studio and not so much the barkeeper owner at a local pub. So, I'm gonna try and keep my light somewhere roughly in the nature and character of what already exists. And the control of speedlites gives me a good opportunity to do that, because they are defacto smaller. Okay. The scenario is the bar owner and there's a bar. Right. When you think of a bar, you think of a bar at night. You're shooting this at midday. Would you consider taking your shutter speed way up, and removing this outside light, and creating a night atmosphere here? That's where we're sort of going. That's why I put all these little bits and pieces of light out. I do have some F-stop leeway, not a lot. You know, cause the limits of these, of the power of these units, is the limits of the power of the units. And if I go to, like, I am currently, let's leave off with this, as a potential. Let's just leave off with this. We're at 80th. What's the ceiling of normal synchronization? 250, right? So, let's try that. So, even 250 though, is going to give me from an 80th, not quite two stops. Let's try that one more time please. Here we go. (shutter click) Starting to look a little more gloomy outside. Will we get to nighttime? I don't want to get to full blown nighttime, because then I got black holes for windows. You know? Okay. And also too, this could be morning at the bar. One of the tell-tale informational signs of that, are what? The upside-down chairs. The fact that it's empty, there's no patrons. All that sort of stuff. Okay? Alright.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Joe McNally Gear List
McNally Lighting Diagrams

Ratings and Reviews


What is there to say, this is a master at work. I feel like I owe Joe a hundred lunches for the information I’ve learned from him and used in jobs through the years. Personally I relate to his slightly self-deprecating style quite well. Joe’s a confident, supremely knowledgeable and incredibly experienced photographer who doesn’t need to wear that on his sleeve to get the point across. He is also clearly a great leader who has built a terrific team. I snap up everything of Joe’s I can find and use it as a library, where every time you watch you take away something new. Thanks Joe, you’re a legend and good on Creative Live for offering this wonderful and beautifully curated course.

ileana gonzales photography

When I saw the chance to learn from the great Joe McNally I jumped through the screen at the chance to be in the audience. It's one thing to see how a fantastic photographer works, thinks, composes and styles, but to get a behind the curtain view at the way his entire shop operates was truly amazing. By allowing us to see Lynn's processes and Cali's workflow it encouraged me to diversify before taking the plunge into the business side of photography. Truly an amazing team and an unforgettable learning experience.


Joe is fantastic! The wealth of information, experience and extraordinary talent he shares is invaluable! He's also a very engaging, humorous instructor who keeps an audience a part of the "discussion." Don't miss a Joe McNally class, seminar or workshop opportunity!

Student Work