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Shoot: Editorial/Fashion

Lesson 11 from: Lighting, Logistics, and Strategies for a Life in Photography

Joe McNally

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Lesson Info

11. Shoot: Editorial/Fashion


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: Editorial/Fashion

Can we actually bring a chair with her? And gentleman, let's help her get up in this neighborhood on the bar, and she doesn't need any help. Okay. All right, maybe put your feet up on that, and kind of, yeah, sort of do the kind of, yeah, beautiful kind of. Do you want this tucked in? Yeah, yeah. Okay. Well no, no, it's fine where it is, it's okay, it's all right. Yeah, that's nice, that's nice. It's a really wonderful thing working with a professional model, because they make your job easier. That's what they're supposed to do. There's been times I've been at a loss, and I just look at a wonderful model, and say, "Do something interesting," or he or she just starts moving, and it's lovely, it's nice. All right, so that's pretty. Now, big problem. Hi, I'm in the mirror, okay. That's an issue. One of the reasons I do use a tripod, even if I'm using a fasten of shutter speed, to be confident is repetition of frame, right. If I've got lines I'm trying to keep straight, if I just w...

ant a reference point, if the art director wants me to be very exacting about where the edges of the picture are, tripod comes into play. This is a Gitzo, it's a pretty heavy-duty Gitzo. They basically are lifetime tripods, and this is a monoball style head. Who was asking? Cliff, you were asking about tripods, and I keep a little brake on it, and I'm able to move the frame just incrementally. I don't really kind of crank it down unless I'm really just absolutely certain of my frame. Okay, so sweet, you don't need to do much of anything. Can we lose these light stands here? I got you. Thanks man. Yeah, no worries. Let's lose this guy too. And that's pinned underneath there. Here, I'll get that one Andrew. I'll come back around for that one. There we go, got it. Nice, thank you. Now, one of the reasons we travel fairly heavy, I mean, you're seeing a bunch of stuff here, I travel fairly heavy 'cause last year, I don't even know what it was at this point, it was a 250, 300 thousand miles in the air, and I throw all this stuff onto the belly of the airplane. It gets just stomped on, so sometimes things show up, and they're not working as well as they did back in the studio. So, you bring redundancy with you. All right. So Corina, you used to be in a band, you were saying. I did, yeah. Awesome. What kind of band? So my band was called The Tempers, and it was me, my brother and sister, actually. Oh nice. And I fronted it, so we wrote all the songs together. You can still find us on iTunes and Spotify. All right, very cool. Yeah. So, live here locally? Mm-hm. Cool. That's very pretty, very pretty. This is not anywhere near framed properly, but it's good enough to just kind of take a look at. What do you guys think, frame wise? Reasonable? Got a couple of design elements, hot light in the background, all that sort of stuff. Now, I have, let's see, oh, that's you and me. Okay, back in here. Corina's there. Let's bring that, that's what I'm picking up. Let's put it on a mini boom, C stand over here, let's come from camera right, please guys. Corina, you look lovely, absolutely lovely. Thank you. So now, you're no longer in the band. I'm assuming it's no longer ongoing, so you do some modeling, do some-- Yeah, so I got back into modeling, because I really missed performing, so I enjoy doing this. Cool. And I'm still, in my free time, messing around with music. I noticed you doing homework. Are you in school? Yeah, I just went back to Seattle Central Community College to get my A.A., which I never finished. Nice. Yeah. Cool. Just doing the music thing from out of high school. Awesome. So I'm back at it. All right, all right, so let's see how we do here. Still, we're a ways away here Corina, but are you comfortable there? Yeah. Cool. So, I'm backing off a little bit here. I'm backing off further than I really need to. I can always come in. Cool, cool. All right, nice. Cool. Now, those damn televisions, I swear to god, they've been a problem all day long. Two big, black rectangles in the back of my pictures all day long. It really sucks, but there's not a heck of a lot I can do about it without causing some damage, and so we're not gonna do anything at all about it. We're just gonna accept the fact that they're there and kind of work around them. So, all right, so now I've got two flashes in this. This is a large Lastolite Octa. It accepts smaller bigger flashes, but it accepts, what does it accept? Profoto, Quadra, but it also accepts two speedlights. That's kind of what I'm trying to articulate here. So, I've got them on group A, I am hot, I am connected, it looks a little side lit to me, so this is still aperture priority. Did I get a flash on that? No flash. Are you on 15 or five? Group A. You guys, can you pull those down real quick Andrew? We're all the way on 15. Let me just double check. Green, green. While they're doing that, I'm not gonna stay in aperture priority. So, my rough readout here is a 20th of a second in F4, so let's do this. Let's get out of aperture priority. Skate the whole thing. Just wrap it. And I don't know, I'm gonna throw a dart at the wall, and go to a 60th of a second. All right, so we're cool guys? And then turn it. Nice, good look, Corina. All right, so that's kind of pretty light. I mean, if you were really hard pressed for time, you could almost sort of kind stop right there, if you wanted to. You already know I'm not going to do that. I have a well established track record of beating this to death, so I'm gonna come in a little tighter. Could we, we'll I'm gonna be tighter, so we might not have that glass in the picture anyway. Would you like me to move around at all, or just kind of stick to this for now? Stick to that for now. I'm basically just sorting all this out, so let's save the really good posing and the energy, just kind of relax. You're basically just kind of there right now, and I'm trying to figure out the light. Okay? All right, very sweet, that's very beautiful. Nice job. So, now I've kind of lost the television, which is a good thing. Okay. So, all right. Kind of beautiful light. Yeah, soft, it's nice. Okay. Now, all sorts of stuff going on here, that's mildly, it's okay, it is what it is, I have to kind of deal with it. I have to be careful to not get too close to her, because that mirror up there in that side of that wall is kicked at 45 degrees. If I go too close, I'm gonna get picked up in that mirror. It's kind of one of those dances you're doing. Now. It's pretty light. Do you think I need anything else in terms of a portrait light for her? I think I'm gonna stay right there for now. I think I'll stay right there. Can I see... It's gonna be too much lens, but could I see a 105? Sweetie, you look absolutely beautiful. Why don't you go handheld for this? Go back a little bit? Yeah. Oh, watch yourself. Oh, thank you man. I got you. All right, Andrew, would you mind getting rid of that for now? Thanks. All right. Well, I just lost the design element to the chairs, so it's too tight a lens. It's a nice portrait lens, but I got nothing going on in the background. There's no indication of where we are or who we are. Could I try a 24 please? Yeah. Here you go. Thanks man. Yep. All right, that's really nice. Very pretty. Okay. Try this. Let's have you sit down on a chair. Okay. You okay? Nice. Perfect. Sorry, can I get past you? What do you need Joe? Are you gonna shoot from up there? I'm just gonna see. I'll go back to 105 from up here. 105 right now? Right. Nice, that's super pretty, super pretty. That's awesome. Okay guys, pain in the butt thing to do, let's reverse the Octa, let's put the C stand behind the bar and project the mini boom out. Corina, I'd like you to stay pretty much, kind of, or remember that pose, 'cause it looks very nice. A bit of a crew move right here, right? So, we're kind of, the bigger the light source, the more of a pain in the butt it is to move, let's face it, right? The little lights are great. Hold them in your hand, move them around, gang busters. This is a beautiful light source, but it's also, it's got it's issues in the sense that you have to position it properly. What we're using here is not the extension arm on the C stand, and we can go over more gear as we go forward. It's called a mini boom. The mini boom goes onto the C stand, and it gives you more reach. It's a heavier duty extension than the C stand actual extension arm. So, it gives you more projection, and that can be very handy when you want to take a light from a distance like behind the bar and still get it close to your model. All right, now we gotta get it close, close, close. That's a bucket right there. It's a hole. All right, and look back this way. Corina, that's nice, very sweet. This is not completely properly framed either. Like that, huh, I like that. It's got a nice feel to it. It's gotta a kind of a bistro in 1950's Paris feel, or she does anyway. All right, I don't know. Sometimes I just say stuff, you know what I mean. All right, let me do this. I'm gonna go to F4. I'm gonna go to 250th of a second. Of course I'm square in the mirror, but I'm gonna see if I can minimize that. Cool. I'm gonna give a little more power to that light, plus point seven. Okay, so you kind of see where I'm going with this? This is more of a portrait kind of light, and I like the design element of the chairs. Now, the problems are the windows kind of sort of killing me in the background there a little bit. Hey Joe. Yeah? Switch to RAW. I'm sorry? Make sure that RAW JPEG, switch it over from the. Oh okay, yeah. Switching to RAW JPEG. We have a 12-foot silk. We got a 12-foot silk. Let's do this. Let's go to a Profoto B1. On this? No, no that stays. This stays. Yeah, that stays. We're gonna have to change the zones of the group in that. Okay, I'll throw these on D. Yeah, throw them on D. Throw them on D. Could I have the Air Remote for Profoto, please? Grab that, make sure it's purple and pink. Yeah. Okay, and let's take, let's put a full CTO on the Profoto list, put a reflector pan on the Profoto, and let's put the Profoto outside again. You can go home with a picture like that. That would be okay. I'm a little disturbed by the, this. I mean, if I was gonna continue to work this, I'd probably work it tighter, and I probably still will. What I'm hoping to do now, is just to throw a little inflection of light through the windows and rattle it around in here with a Profoto B1. What some folks might not be aware of is that Profoto B1's are driven by their Air Remote system, but what we have found over time working with these, is I could run the Profoto Air Remotes off of my hot shoe, and still run groups D, E and F off of my Nikon radio flashes. So, I can operate the two systems simultaneously, which is sort of way cool, and we just kind of stumbled on that when I was actually saying to a class, "I don't think we can do that," and Cali said, "No, I think you can," and he kind of switched it around, and then we started experimenting, and it turns out that the thing about that happens with that system, and I don't want to get system specific here, but you just downshift to three radio control groups D, E and F, when you hot shoe, a line of side flash or another controller, you lose A, B and C. We can talk about that more tomorrow. Let's see how we do. Detail 009. No, I was plus point seven, I think. Okay. Did you understand that? Yes. (laughs) Let me look at this for a second, please. Okay. Anyway, you could take that. Andrew? Yeah? See these big windows here? But there is a little wiggle room at the other end of them. Yeah, but go to 10 on that and rack it up, and see if you can get it back in there, and angle it this way. Okay, instead of going through these (mumbles). Yeah, not that one. Just grab that one and angle it that way. Now, there could be a couple of things that I have no idea what's gonna happen. This could completely suck, but the nice thing about possibly trying this is it might give her a little amplified backlight, and I might be able to pull in one of the signature aspects of this bar, but I also think that if I bring the light from that direction, and I switch over to here, because I kind of like where that picture was going, I might just get a little warmth coming this way onto her hair or something. So, I'm willing to experiment. Yep, pretty high, Andrew, and see if you can angle it this way, all right? You can't get it too close, 'cause there's this monster trash compacter out there. All right? (laughs) All right, so while they're doing that, let's take a look here. Just tell them to watch their eyes out there. Watch your eyes. Are you good, you want help? Yeah. Wow Joe, that's awesome. (laughs) Smoking. I don't even think they have the light positioned properly. I wouldn't even light it. Yeah, I'm not gonna-- I don't think you're done, honestly. And I think it's kind of nice, right? So, who knew? I didn't know what would happen. I felt like I sort of knew what could happen. A little bit of warmth coming through the window, all that sort of stuff. I can maybe pick up on that. I might be able to now, take a little power out of it, might be able to do that. Okay? Now, here's the thing, if I try to dumb down the exposure with less power or more F-style, this stuff here, like this is okay here, because it's so out of focus. If I start to pick up more focus, that becomes not okay. So, see what I said at the very beginning of the day? You gain one thing, you lose three others. I have a question. You have a question. Nick. 'Cause it's warm, so. What kind of stuff are you shooting at for that image? I believe I'm at F4 right now. F4, okay. Yep. All right, I was just wondering, because it was out of focus, and I mean, I know the 105 goes down to 1.4, and I'd be curious to see what that would look like with that kind of back lighting. Yeah, yeah. (laughs) I think it is the light. It's a little bit warm, so it has to be. Oh yeah, yeah, it definitely is, it definitely is. I would just shoot off a bunch like that. Maybe try and clear back here, 'cause you can still get the, getting the camera and all that stuff. Yeah. But yeah, that's a nice shot. All right. So maybe. Can you hand him the low cord, just to make sure. Maybe I, instead of having her directly in the backlit window, maybe I try to put her head in the scene between the two windows. Can we lose that Tabasco thing right there, whatever it is? This? The Worcestershire sauce. Bitters. Bitters. All right. Very pretty. Okay, do me a favor on that light. Andrew, pan it that way, please. I must say Joe, I think I prefer the head in the window. You like the head in the window? Yeah, it was-- Give that a try. All righty. Yeah, that's really, really nice. That's a pretty nice picture. It doesn't say much about this bar, but it's certainly a kind of a sweet portrait of her. Can I just check sharpness? Yeah, yeah, please. Maybe have her key a little bit more towards the lights here. Yeah, yeah. So, what I'm gonna do now, is I'm gonna just talk to that light outside. That's my A group light. I'm gonna take, just to experiment, I'm gonna take four stops out of it. I'm at 250 at F4. These are TTL. I'm gonna go 250 at 5.6. Let's see what happens. That's nice, sweet. All right, I lose my backlight. So, go back up three stops. Very pretty, sweet, very pretty. Nice. Okay, here we go. Now, the camera is not liking this so well on a focus wise. We're doing okay, but it's really backlit, really seriously backlit. Let me try this. You wanna light? Yeah, we're gonna do a little focus assist light. It's really nice when you key your chin towards the light. It makes a really good angle. I'm gonna come in here with a light though. Sorry about that. Ready Joe? Good and hold. Nice. Now Andrew, would you mind closing that door? Thank you man. All right, let's see what happens. Cool, good. Yeah, that's really. Now, I have you guys as patrons, but you're so out of focus, it doesn't really matter. Now, to Nick's point, if I went to let's call it F2, let's call it a thousand. Okay. Let's go back up power wise. Hey Andrew? Yeah? Would you mind feathering that light even a bit more to pushing the head, the orientation of the head towards camera right, just a little bit if you don't mind. One of the things that I'm experiencing, and I cannot control this, you see how the windows are darker on the lower right? That's the dumpster. I can't get light in there. I just can't. Unless we move the dumpster. We're not gonna do that. Thanks Joe. Yeah. We could throw a speedlight in there. Cool, good look. Nice. So Nick, what do you think? That's 1.4. Now, my problems with the background are almost nonexistent. The color's really nice. I've had to go back up on the Profoto power, because of the high speed sync, but the nice thing is, both systems work in high speed sync. All right, so let me do this. Let me do a little vertical kind of a deal here. Okay, Cali, come on in. Good. All right, good. Nice, very pretty. But you know what I've lost? I've lost that golden glow in her hair. So, I'm gonna get out of, go back down to and be at F4. Very pretty, sweet, very pretty. Okay, here we go. Nice. That has a better feel to me. The light in here hair is definitely helpful, okay. Andrew, sorry to keep doing this to you. Can you feather now back towards me, please? Thank you. I think for a couple, maybe see if we can clear some of those guys out of the background. Yeah. Can we lose some folks in the corner there? Danny, Josh, Mike, Illy, just for a couple of minutes. And would you guys mind grabbing your water bottles, too? Thanks y'all. Can we replace the water bottles with discarded Dom Perignon bottles please? Let's prop this in accordance to the mood and the feel. Thanks man. Thank you gang, thank you. All right, here we go. Beautiful, sweet, beautiful. Nice. Okay, kill it. Nice, stay with me, stay with me. Now come back in really quick. Okay, good, good, nice look, nice look. Very pretty. Again, Cali. Good, good, nice. Very pretty. All right. So, what do you guys think of that? I mean, it alters the mood of the place. And that's what the setting sun would do through a window like that. It would blow out. It would definitely blow out. I don't know, feels okay to me. Joe, can you fire off a couple more? Yeah, sure. We'll do just a couple more, 'cause Corina's been so patient with us all day long, and I want her to make sure that she goes home with some photographs. Then, maybe we'll just try it. I'll do a wide shot, just to see what that light is doing to the bar. I know what it's doing to her hair, but let's see what it does to the bar, okay. I'll just come back in, like every shot. Yeah, yeah, we'll just get on a pace for that. Cool. All right, beautiful, beautiful. Right there, good, nice. Good, nice. Good. Nice. Good, sweet, good. Gotta keep chin up a bit, there you go. Beautiful. Nice. Good, good, good, nice. Oh, getting a little cheeky, are we not, uh? Flashing the okay sign. I love it. Beautiful, beautiful, stay with me now. Cool. And good. Nice. Nice. Lynn, any thoughts? Good. That was a ringing endorsement. (laughing) I don't wanna fuss too much now. When you get a little closer, I'll probably tweak something. Get a little closer? Closer to your end, happy picture place. Oh okay, all right, okay. Do you think she needs more fluff to her hair, or are we good? No, I think right now it's okay. Okay, yeah, that's nice, cool. All right, here we go. Beautiful. Nice. Nice. Lovely. Lovely. Okay, cool, cool. Good, nice. Very pretty, very pretty, very pretty. Nice. Nice, nice, nice. You might of got me in a couple. Sorry? You might have got me in a couple of those. What, I'm sorry? You might have got me in a couple of those. I think I did. Pretty, pretty. All right. Okay. Now let's switch up to a 24, if I may. You can stay right where are, Corina. Do you see how that's a distinctly different style of photograph from what we did with Ryan.

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