Making Great Photos in Bad Weather, with Joe McNally

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.

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.

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Course Lessons:

Lesson 1: Light Shaping Gear: Part 1 (Duration 06:27)

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.

Lesson 2: Light Shaping Gear: Part 2 (Duration 06:47)

Joe continues to explain the roles of the different light shaping tools he brings on location.

Lesson 3: Setup On the Pier (Duration 04:38)

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.

Lesson 4: Getting the Photograph (Duration 10:47)

No matter what the conditions happen to be, it all comes back down to the photograph, and your need to get it.

Lesson 5: Setup for the Night Shot (Duration 06:34)

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.

Lesson 6: Night Shot in the Rain (Duration 11:53)

With the lights set in the doorway we move outside into the rain to get the shot.

Lesson 7: Retro Motel: Part 1 (Duration 19:09)

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.

Lesson 8: Retro Motel: Part 2 (Duration 14:04)

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.

Lesson 9: By the Pool (Duration 16:04)

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.

Lesson 10: Classic Car: Part 1 (Duration 11:06)

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.

Lesson 11: Classic Car: Part 2 (Duration 11:55)

Joe laid the foundation for this shoot in the previous lesson and now it's time to get the shot.

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…


  1. 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!

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.....

  5. 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!

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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 ...

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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!

  16. 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!

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

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