Setup and Shoot: Location Lighting for Challenging Situations By Joe McNally

50 min
Difficulty Difficulty Difficulty

Joe McNally takes his amazing lighting techniques to the kinds of locations that clients ask for in sports, editorial, or commercial photography: outside on an unseasonably chilly Florida day, inside a cramped gym, and down in a mucky swamp. There, he creates some stunning athletic portraits that show you how to manipulate light and capture what can be asked of you in real-life working situations.

Video transcripts available with a subscription.

Joe gets right to the teaching with the trial and error process behind creating a small flash setup for a sunset shoot in daylight balance with a magenta filter and green flashes.
Joe's model arrives (surprise!) and they begin the process to get the shot. You'll see how each successive shot brings Joe closer to what he's envisioned by adapting the setup to suit the subject.
Not all locations are perfect. Joe demonstrates what needs to be done when the shoot takes place in a cramped space like a gym with low dark ceilings, mirrors everywhere and tons of heavy equipment by keeping it simple from the start.
By working with the subject, Joe sets about to create the shot that gels with both the existing location and the subject's natural movement to get what he needs in the short time allotted.
Inspired by countless editorial requests to bring out the monster in an athletic subject, Joe takes to the swamp to scout out the perfect spot to turn a volleyball player into a muddy, mucky, monstrous Swamp Lady.
Joe tweaks and fixes until the location, light, effects and costuming come together right.
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 cecilbirtwistle cecilbirtwistle

    Is that Matt Kloskowski on the beach/martial arts part ?!

  2. Profile photo of davestarrett davestarrett

    Joe is always brilliant.

  3. Profile photo of davestarrett davestarrett

    I love this guys stuff. He is funny and presents his techniques in an easy to understand method. I see great value in these on set kind of courses whereby you are given some insight into the real time thought process involved in solving technical and creative problems that come up on a shoot. This videos are helpful as it closely resembles the kind of situations I find myself in and it’s great to see what someone else approach is. Joe McNally is an excellent choice for an instructor.

  4. Profile photo of jgabriel jgabriel

    Joe McNally is the original “Regular Guy” of awesome photography. You learn as much from seeing the troubleshooting on his lcd as any lighting diagram could display. Nicely done.
    —- Yes, please post my feedback

  5. Profile photo of Ross Ross

    Plenty of variety in this training, with some really high quality learning available. I got a lot out of the time invested.

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