Making Great Photos in Bad Weather By Joe McNally

1 hr 58 min
Difficulty Difficulty Difficulty

Don’t let bad weather ruin your next photo shoot. Learn how to make great photographs with Joe McNally, internationally acclaimed photographer, as he calls upon his years of on-location experience to give you the tips and tricks you need to get the job done in a variety of locations and uncooperative weather. Joe starts by introducing the gear he takes with him on location and then walks you through his process of making the most of whatever nature has in store at each unique destination.

Video transcripts available with a subscription.

Join Joe in the studio as he outlines the goals for the class and starts to introduce some of the lighting equipment he'll take on location.
Joe continues to explain the roles of the different light shaping tools he brings on location.
The first location takes us to a pier in the Gulf of Mexico with a thunderstorm storm rolling in as Joe describes how he plans to improvise under the current conditions to get the shot.
No matter what the conditions happen to be, it all comes back down to the photograph, and your need to get it.
The sun has gone down and the location has changed to a city street outside of a bar. Joe walks us through his approach for lighting the scene outside.
With the lights set in the doorway we move outside into the rain to get the shot.
The location changes to a classic retro Florida motel. In the first part of this lesson Joe walks us through his process for understanding the available ambient light, which will act as the foundation for the off-camera light he builds into the scene.
After having moved through available light-only to a combination of ambient light and flash in the previous lesson, Joe moves to lighting the scene only using the flash.
This lesson takes us down to the pool in the rain, where Joe uses off-camera light to influence the scene to create stunning photographs despite the current weather.
Sometimes factors beyond your control, such as weather, work against your original concepts and even your backup plan, so you'd better have a backup to your backup. Joe walks us through his process for making the best of a not so great situation.
Joe laid the foundation for this shoot in the previous lesson and now it's time to get the shot.
Profile photo of Joe McNally

Meet your instructor

Joe McNally


Joe McNally is an internationally acclaimed photographer whose career has spanned 30 years and included assignments in over 50 countries. He has shot cover stories for TIME, Newsweek, Fortune, New York, Entertainment Weekly, The New York Times Sunday Magazine, and Men's Journal. He has been at various times in his career a contract photog...

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Join the Discussion
  1. Profile photo of Hughied Hughied

    Simply awesome, a master of light and a great communicator. You cant get it better than this. Thanks Joe

  2. Profile photo of madspihl madspihl

    Listen, you have to watch this course! Watching Joe McNally double as an imaginary TV weatherman is well worth a month’s subscription to Kelby Training alone. Seriously. It is SO funny! :) And on top of that this is a fantastic course with a ton of great solutions to shooting in less than optimal weather situations. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  3. Profile photo of gpauwen gpauwen

    That was a fun course! Nice equipment, and very nice photography! Joe is the man!!
    By the way, I lived in Florida for a couple of years and I know how fast the weather can change—it’s a challenge. I think it was there that I bought my very first waterproof camera. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  4. Profile photo of 930711 930711

    Just a great great course. Joe keeps you really entertained while he teaches. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  5. Profile photo of bklynphotochic bklynphotochic

    I love watching your courses on Kelby Training. It’s like a look into the mind of a mad scientist but the good kind of mad scientist. Thanks so much! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  6. Profile photo of wlaramie wlaramie

    Entertaining and informative. Great information presented in an easy to understand manner. Joe continues to be an amazing instructor. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  7. Profile photo of Florio Florio

    I met Joe at the Javits Center Expo two years ago. Told him he’s a genius. He said “I am not a genius”. I said again: “You are a genius!” He goes “I am not!” “You are” “No I am not” and then we shook hands and I felt honored. Joe is unbelievable, I learned a lot from him. Thank you Joe for your fantastic courses! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  8. Profile photo of waynebritt waynebritt

    Excellent presentation as usual from a gifted photographer and instructor. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  9. Profile photo of pedrojschmitt pedrojschmitt

    I’m still at the beginning and Joe makes me laugh countless times. His sensor of humour is contagious and of course the tips are great. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  10. Profile photo of Dan J Dan J

    I can’t believe how good a photographer that comedian is! Awesome course! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  11. Profile photo of Susan Liberto Susan Liberto

    Funny guy and good teacher. By the way, that bird was a Great Blue Heron. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  12. Profile photo of Ibelieve75 Ibelieve75

    Joe’s always a blast to watch! really enjoyed this and how he breaks the shoot down, in a few instances I would have liked to know what lens he was using, Most of the time he said what it was.

    Keep em coming! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  13. Profile photo of Ross Ross

    Joe is always excellent. I liked this class because he took so much more time to explain his process and why he was doing the things he was doing. Thus I got more out of the class and more insight into how he approaches a problem. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  14. Profile photo of greenlife greenlife

    What a fun and wise guy he is! I do not know anything about flashes yet, and this is not for flash novices technically (I could not copy what he did), but anyway I learned a lot, not the least about imagination, communication and trying different things. This was so nice, that I watched all of the videos in one row. Thanks, excellent lesson. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  15. Profile photo of Rick Rick

    Yet another great course by Joe McNally… I may be brown nosing a bit but, hey, Joe’s the man when it comes to lighting in any situation, good or bad. This course proves that fact even more. I’ve been learning from McNally for years, not just technical knowledge but from his candor on set with clients and staff. Joe is a true professional all around and I can’t wait to see the next course. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  16. Profile photo of emilnekem emilnekem

    Great to see Joe Mcnally lighten up! This is an exciting course, I especially appreciated how in the beginning there’s a full overview of the equipment that will be used during the shots. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  17. Profile photo of digital1 digital1

    Awesome chapter and light analisis. Got and 85mm which I’ll give a try. Thanks and keep
    up the good work. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  18. Profile photo of dianne583 dianne583

    Hi Joe, great video, thank you. I particularly liked the way you allowed us to see the problem solving approach you took to the classic car shoot and the resulting photos were beautiful. This was a fun video to watch with lots of relevant content. Thanks. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  19. Profile photo of colinwalks colinwalks

    Thanks again Joe very helpful and entertaining! I would relay love to know what you would do in full sun. Maybe another course? —- Yes, please post my feedback

  20. Profile photo of Sundra Tanakoh Sundra Tanakoh

    There are simply not enough words in my Thesaurus to describe how (insert Thesaurus word HERE) Joe and his course is/are. Mr. Photon has done it again!!!!! Masterful. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  21. Profile photo of 1226816 1226816

    Well this is a real topic of interest and Joe covered some critical challenges in creating something out of nothing. BUT, it’s as if Joe owns Adorama! He has every piece of equipment made for any condition, and that’s not realistic! Having 12 of everything looks great in a photo but really? I saw Joe here in NYC at the Javitz, and although it was oversold, he did this shot with one on camera strobe and an umbrella that was beautiful! I am much more interested in seeing real life work arounds with the real life limitations, real life photographers have to deal with. And I know Joe can do it! But I don’t have three assistants, 4 cameras, 24 hot shoe strobes, every light modifier ever made … —- Yes, please post my feedback

  22. Profile photo of wayne rivett wayne rivett

    Great course, Joe’s teaching style is so easy to get along with, I really enjoy his classes. My only gripe is the segment “night shot in the rain” would not stream, don’t know why but I thoroughly enjoyed the rest —- Yes, please post my feedback

  23. Profile photo of John John

    Joe, this is one of the best courses on Kelby!! Your humor and how you deal with the different issues is fantastic. I like how you have left in segments that others would have edited out of the final video. A true behind the scenes glimpse of how you work. Thanks. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  24. Profile photo of

    I’m watching this at work, and I’m laughing my a$$ off! Joe’s weatherman rendition and bird comments are fricking hilarious! Ahh good times – and awesome lesson! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  25. Profile photo of Donald Mclean Donald Mclean

    It is always a pleasure to watch such a skilled artist explain his thinking as he crafts his impeccable vision into life. The icing on the cake would have been a brief bit about the final pictures and things Joe might have done differently after processing and thinking more. Encore please! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  26. Profile photo of Gary Dates Gary Dates

    Always something to learn from master photographer Joe McNally. However, I was disappointed because there’s always a model involved! What about those of us who can’t afford a model, make-up, etc? How about a bad weather shoot wherein the goal is to shoot a SCENE, as opposed to a professional model? Just sayin….. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  27. Profile photo of Erden Kimel Erden Kimel

    This was especially priceless. As a local resident I remember that time period. Loved to see Joe tackle the elements, picked up several pointers, jumping off points for my own work. Though someday he owes us a “shoot in harsh light” course too. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  28. Profile photo of rrobertson rrobertson

    Awesome video, tons of great information.

    I think Joe missed his calling as a stand up comedian. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  29. Profile photo of Sylvain Sylvain

    Joe your the best !
    What can I say… Entertaining, full of tips, a joy to watch and learn !
    Thank you for this course. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  30. Profile photo of Robinson Acosta Robinson Acosta

    Yet another excellent course from Master McNally. Thanks, Joe, Scott and the whole crew for such an instructive video. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  31. Profile photo of Ivan Boden Ivan Boden

    Wow. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  32. Profile photo of Peter Blyth Peter Blyth

    Like a Chess Grandmaster, Joe McNally, breaks his lighting into moves and thinking steps ahead produces images which mate with his vision and location. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  33. Profile photo of C. C.

    Just Awesome as only Joe can do………..Thank You…….. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  34. Profile photo of Eric Harmon Eric Harmon

    Another incredible video from the master. There is always something new to learn from Joe. I love his sense of humor and his approach to teaching. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  35. Profile photo of Rob Turner Rob Turner

    Excellent insights on the thought process of how to work the situation and the lighting! Thank you for the great training. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  36. Profile photo of Paul Paul

    I was disappointed in the title of this course. With a title like “Making Great Photos in Bad Weather” and a trailer where Joe is beng tossed around by the wind, I was expecting to receive tips on how to shoot in the wind, in heavy rain, in cold weather, in snow when it’s snowing, in bright sunlight and in foggy situations. It should having titled “making Great Photos in Bad Light”.
    However, we can never go wrong with Joe’s presentations. We always learn something and this course did not disappoint in this respect. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  37. Profile photo of Frank Effrece Frank Effrece

    This was a great learning experience, it one of his best shows. Joe McNally gave some good insights in over coming some bad locations. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  38. Profile photo of allypuk allypuk

    Really enjoyed this one, very interesting and great insight to breaking down the lighting elements while shooting. Only thing was did’t actually get to see the black and white image at the end! Did love how it showed the images step by step all the way through this video:) great job Joe and kelby for some great content! —- Yes, please post my feedback

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