Photographing with One Light By Joe McNally

1 hr 55 min
Difficulty Difficulty Difficulty

Ever been told to work lighter, faster, better and with less gear? Well Joe McNally's latest class dives right in and shows you what's possible with just one single light. You'll learn how to take studio-quality lighting on location. When you're done, you'll be able to take one light and make it look like you had so much more at your disposal.

Video transcripts available with a subscription.

Work lighter, faster, and with less gear. Improvise and explore what you can do with one light only
Joe shows off his equipment table and talks about what gear he likes to have on a shoot like this one
Making the subject feel comfortable and getting started with the first exposure
Employing a flash filter, flash stand and eventually a diffuser
After snapping a group of photos in the initial setup, Joe continues making adjustments with fill reflectors
Moving the light stand behind the camera and trying different things with a hard light
Joe adds some wind to the shoot and changes lenses to create a shorter depth of field
Using the camera's built in flash as the trigger for the one remote flash
Using the on-camera flash as the single light and shooting remote flash by yourself
Scouting a new location and taking some initial shots to get a feel for the shoot
Joe gets in close with the camera and takes some close portraits
Working with late afternoon daylight coming through a doorway
Triggering the remote flash with the pop up and posing the subject
Shooting under a tree canopy in the rainy outdoors of Tampa
Even in difficult circumstances, it is important to stay positive and go forward with the shoot
Using the single flash and reflecting it back to the subject to brighten her
Using a larger light box
Shooting against the Tampa skyline with the sun fading quickly
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 newelly newelly

    very good course…thanks

  2. Profile photo of Gilda Paterson Gilda Paterson

    I started watching this series of videos by Joe McNally and couldn’t stop! This guy is nothing short of amazing. I bought a new flash, it arrived today so I came here to find out what a person could do with only one flash. Was I in for a big surprise! Joe’s professionalism, creativity and his positive attitude approach to solving lighting problems is so inspiring. Man, this guy is so good!! Thanks Kelby Training for providing first class training!

  3. Profile photo of mauriciozanin mauriciozanin

    This video was my first step using small flash and opened a new universe of possibilities. Joe Mcnally is THE GUY to understand light and and teach us to ballance small flash resorces to construc a great ligh. It was my first step long time ago, and Mcnelly and All Kelbytrainig suport helps me to define my own photographic stile. Tks a lot . Maurício Zanin – Fashion and Artistic Photographer (From Brasília – Brazil) —- Yes, please post my feedback

  4. Profile photo of crossmage crossmage

    Joe hits the ball out of the park yet again in this video workshop! And while he’s using the Nikon CLS to get the shots set up so quickly, the results are possible for Canon shooters or manual-flash strobists. It’s just amazing what Joe shows can be done with only one light – the insight into how he thinks and solves problems and the creativity with manufactured sunlight. Thanks! I marked this video as a favorite so I can watch it again a few times. —- Yes, please post my feedback

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