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They’re Back….

Jun 23

In Seminars & Workshops at 10:33am

Yep, we are back at that hulk of a building hard by the Hudson River, which for a time was my studio, and for a shorter time, was my home. The one day lighting workshops are up and running again, and of course, the inimitable Andrew, he with the heart tattooed on his chest, is back helping us out…..


This was 4 SB900 Speed Lights. Used a combo of small flash tools to produce a look reminiscent of what I saw through the lens in ambient light conditions. Lemme s’plain…. Andrew was standing there with his jarhead haircut, backlit by window light that was doing highlight skips off his temples. Unlike Clint Eastwood, who has a pulsing vein in the middle of his forehead, Andrew has one just by the left side of his forehead. Saw this, made a kind of soft, flat ambient light pic of the scene, and then thought, we could sharpen this up with some flash, albeit small flash, placed in a way that would mimic the existing light pattern.

So, the temple lights were produced by two speed lights, both outfitted with Lumiquest Mini Soft Box 3.0. Played with those for a bit, and then stripped them off and went with hard light produced by just the flashes, both zoomed to 200mm. The hard, shadowy face light was another SB900 zoomed to 200, and hand held high and in front of Andrew’s face. The chest light was another zoomed 900, this one with a tight Honl grid spot. Four lights, wireless TTL, and Andrew’s lookin’ like a bad man. Which he distinctly is not. Good guy, good shooter, great on a Mac (learned all his computer stuff from me) and a tremendous help to any and all at the workshops.

Moving on…..Jasmine came back! Again! Is there anybody out there as sweet, sultry and talented as she in front of the lens? Hailing from Emmanuel Models in NY, she gets in front of the lens and just rules. She mentioned to me she needed kind of high key, fun stuff for her book, so we conjured the white set. This is my first experience shooting on one of the new vinyl drops made by Lastolite and marketed here in the US by Bogen. Great stuff. Walk all day on it, takes a beating, and has a real rich, matte white feel when you light it. We switched up for this to big flash–real big flash–meaning the Elinchrom Octa. The big fella took over the set, and coupled with a floor bounce directly under it, coming from a Ranger pack, it gave the white on white Jasmine just the right lighting pick me up. Soft light, but general (as opposed to the hard spotlights for Andrew, which meant he could barely move an inch) this broad, beautiful light allowed Jasmine to be Jasmine, and she could go ahead and conjure all the beautiful moving geometry she always does when a lens is pointed her direction.



Later that day, in the last 5 minutes or so of the workshop, we collaborated on an impromptu set. Take one battered old room on the ground floor, mix in a Ranger pack with 1/2 cut of CTO, outside the windows near the train tracks, with a long throw reflector. Throw in an Elinchrom Skyport for good measure so you can run the pack and control the power rating from camera. Hook all that up with Will running a wind machine, and let Jasmine start moving, and, I think this is the type of shoot that the term “shooting fish in a barrel” was coined to describe. You cannot miss. Shot on D3, Lexar media, 70-200 lens, auto white balance, auto focus, cursor smack on her face.


Back to the white set. Not everybody’s got an Octa, so we stripped all of that out, and went back to basics with 2 SB900 units blasting on TTL through a hand held Tri-grip diffuser. Nothing else. Lauren’s never really modeled, but she has a wonderful, commanding presence in pictures. Simple, soft, done.


Onto the basement. Had this nutty idea. Gelled lights blasting down hallways. Beauty dish overhead. Ranger pack. Floor bounce off a gold Tri-grip from an SB900 in SU-4 mode (manual optical trigger). Jaira was our subject, and the up front light combo looked like it was meant with her in mind.


Lighting all day. Small flash, big flash. An even bigger thank you to our sponsors–Nikon, Adorama and Bogen. Jeff Snyder was up from Adorama, shooting and dispensing wisdom. Mark Astmann, the William Holden of flash lighting, was there as well, and he was able to bring and demo the new Elinchorm Ranger Quadra.

more tk.

46 Responses to “They’re Back….”

Joe Faraoni says:

on June 23, 2009 at 10:38 am

Awesome workshop! I want to go back.
Thanks Joe and crew for a great day.
If you’re thinking about going… just do it.

Tony Polito says:

on June 23, 2009 at 10:54 am

thanks for an amazing and educational day. The eyes are open and creative juices flowing. For anyone who has a chance to go to one of these workshop pls put it at the top of your priority list. Everything and everyone was exceptional. Big thanks to all.

Gary polito says:

on June 23, 2009 at 11:00 am

Thanks to all who worked so hard to help inspire the 14 of us and to help us improve or fine tune our skill levels. Thanks for sharing your time with us.

Paul Aylett says:

on June 23, 2009 at 11:01 am

Inspirational! Thank you so much for sharing :o )

Larry Smith says:

on June 23, 2009 at 11:10 am

Great workshop as always. Definitely enjoyed myself and learned a lot. I would recommend to anyone!

Evert says:

on June 23, 2009 at 11:15 am

wow, fantastic!

As a soon-to-be-having-a-RangerRX-too guy, can I ask you how/if you use color gels in combination with large modifiers? I do have a nice EL holder for filters, but then again I’d like to be a bit more color-creative with things such as a deep octa…

Tyler Colson says:

on June 23, 2009 at 11:28 am

I like when Joe says things like, “back to basics.” And he’s using just two speedlights. I just got my second Vivitar 285 in the mail yesterday. Trying to build the “McNally Elk Speedlight Rack”.

Thanks for the details Joe.

bryan lathrop says:

on June 23, 2009 at 11:40 am

counting the minutes….I’m in there MONDAY! Can’t wait.

Richard Cave says:

on June 23, 2009 at 12:02 pm

Love the last shot Joe, you should pay a visit to the UK…

Got a beer with your name on it, Lauren is a natural


Wayne says:

on June 23, 2009 at 12:28 pm

Joe, please come over to Ireland and spread the good word!

I can only read blogs and watch your DVD’s for so long. I need better drugs…


jakob says:

on June 23, 2009 at 12:49 pm

Awesome shots, love it! Your the man Joe! When do you come to switzerland?

Bill Bogle, Jr. says:

on June 23, 2009 at 1:04 pm


Great pictures from the workshop. Andrew did a great job in front of the lens again, but wait, no shirt in 75 degree weather is not the same as it was in January when you had to tie him down the rope to take the shot! I did not see any space heaters or coats. What gives?

You also have ramped up your equipment. An Apple Cinema Display – nice. What happens when you drop kick the wires on that baby?

Has Jasmine had anything to eat since January? She looks stunning.

Wish I was there. Your teaching and sharing is wonderful.

Bill Bogle, Jr.

T. C. Knight says:

on June 23, 2009 at 1:52 pm

That gridspot on Andrew’s chest made this picture IMHO. Didn’t realize you could get such soft light from a grid. Combined with the hard light; this really works well.

Wish I could be there but just a little too far up north for me.

Thanks again for a fine post Joe.

stephen says:

on June 23, 2009 at 2:22 pm

Nice workshop.

When are you coming out to SF? :)

Richard stokes says:

on June 23, 2009 at 2:40 pm

Was at the workshop yesterday. It was an awesome experience. A note to anyone going: do not be shy about shooting the models. When I got home I’d wished I had taken a speedlight and diffuser off to the side a gotten some shots with another model that wasn’t busy. You paid good money for this class, get your money’s worth.

Dave says:

on June 23, 2009 at 3:04 pm

See you tomorrow.

Fayyaz Ahmed says:

on June 23, 2009 at 4:13 pm

two thumbs up for the octa shot!

Paul Michael Kane says:

on June 23, 2009 at 4:15 pm

I am booked for the workshop this Saturday! I can’t wait!!


MaskPhoto says:

on June 23, 2009 at 4:48 pm

Pure fried gold, this post is.

Jasmine can definitely ROCK those skinny pants (tights?).

I have your books on my amazon wishlist. Waiting for a good payday (or a generous soul).

Have a great one!

Sean McCormack says:

on June 23, 2009 at 5:15 pm

Hey Joe,
Just bought the Ranger Quadra 2 head set. I’m over the moon with them.
If you get a chance, try fitting one to the ezybox minus a bracket.. it’s a perfect fit for the 15X15 box..

Sergei says:

on June 23, 2009 at 5:19 pm

Love last one, Joe.
But for first one – do you really needed 4? Here is stuff i shot couple months ago – http://www.flickr.com/photos/sergeistudio/3421695960/ with just 2 SB900 and reflector, and in colour + softer sources (mine was with bare flashes) it will do exactly same.

(pity i missed deadline to sign for this workshop – was actually free..)

Craig Ferguson says:

on June 23, 2009 at 7:44 pm

Another great workshop post. What’ll it take to get you over here to Taiwan?

Jake says:

on June 23, 2009 at 9:49 pm

Fantastic stuff. Always inspirational. I’m now collecting sb900′s.

Brad Matthews says:

on June 23, 2009 at 10:43 pm

Fantastic Workshop from the Master Educator Joe McNally. A wonderful day at Dobbs Ferry, well spent with a fantastic group of shooters, an outstanding crew & equipment reps/sponsers, extremely talented models and of course Joe, Lynn and Drew. It would be very hard/if not impossible to meet a greater and nicer group of people. Thank You all so very much for the great opportunity to meet and learn so much from all of you. If there is ever the opportunity to attend one of Joe’s Workshops I highly recommend it, and your photography will be greatly improved with the knowledge you take away and apply. Thanks Again

Day 2 Dobbs Ferry Workshop

Ben Madden says:

on June 23, 2009 at 10:46 pm

Jasmine on white,
With Elinchrom light.
Eyeball nirvana,
Studio manna.
Truly a workshop delight.

Scott says:

on June 24, 2009 at 12:06 am

Wow, Jasmine is stunning! I see what you mean about fish in a barrel.

Boston Photographer - MWynne says:

on June 24, 2009 at 11:16 am

I would love to attend a workshop in the future. The shear volume of information must be a bit overwhelming. An incredible variation from one photo to the next for a workshop setting. Thanks for the post.

Andy Colwell says:

on June 24, 2009 at 1:20 pm

So good to see more people getting to have such a great opportunity with such great talent on either side of the camera. Missed the opportunity to get in on this – summer classes…that whole student thing – but it’s refreshing to read the kinds of things that I and others from January’s Workshops felt after that.
More than somewhat looking forward to more in the future at the grace of Joe & his team.

Vladimir says:

on June 24, 2009 at 2:28 pm

Great blog Joe, I really enjoy your shoot descriptions – it’s like getting extra chapters of The Hotshoe Diaries for free! I have a question – why are you shooting with such a long lens in the Jasmine setup shot? Or is this typical for this kind of shooting?

Marshal says:

on June 24, 2009 at 6:41 pm

Such spectacular models! :)

Joseph M Arthur says:

on June 24, 2009 at 10:11 pm

Amazing post. I absolutely love the lighting for Jasmine’s photos. P.S. – Awesome vids on Kelby training.

Amber says:

on June 25, 2009 at 1:36 am

Such awesome images!Love the one of Jasmineagainst the battered wall. Just too cool


on June 25, 2009 at 5:31 am

Awesome workshop,
nothing to say.

point357 says:

on June 26, 2009 at 4:12 am

Right, help me out. I love that first Jasmine shot, but what’s the set-up? Obviously there’s the house-sized octa but I can see a head and 2 lastolite panels on the right. Is the head firing or are the panels reflectors? Or even just been left there out of the way? And floor fill? How and why would I use that? So many questions. Why don’t you attend a workshop, you ask. Well, bring it to the UK and I will try my very best :-)

LOVE that shot.

Luke Towsend says:

on June 27, 2009 at 2:41 pm

Joe, Quick question.

The last shot for this post. Lets say this was done via all small strobes. Obviously you have some strobes maybe 20′ away in the background, and you could have a ezybox in place of the beauty dish and so on and so forth. How would you fire the strobes in this situation? Would you use a su-800 and take it off camera behind you so it could fire the unit in the box but still see the strobes at the end of the hall or would you go with a single sb unit on the hotshoe? I’ve had this problem in the past so would appreciate your thought on that. I think we ran out of time at dobbs to demonstrate this technique. Thanks Joe,


Luke Towsend says:

on June 27, 2009 at 2:42 pm

and also, where’s the green light coming from in that shot?

Luke Towsend says:

on June 27, 2009 at 5:23 pm

okay, lets make another assumption that you’re working in close with, say, a 24-70 so the light isn’t far in front of your lens as it would if you were working with longer glass. Thats what I meant by asking how you would fire the unit when it is on your same plane and/or behind you a bit but still you’re needing to fire the units down the hall. Okay, I think i’ve cleared up any confusion.

and drew…lets not publish these last two comments alright, haha.

Tom says:

on June 30, 2009 at 2:37 am

Hey,I was just looking through the blog and saw your “Gelled coridoor” shot, reminded me of this:


that I had shot a few weeks back for a school project.

Zafer says:

on July 6, 2009 at 4:16 am

What’s the shadow around her torso? How did that happen?

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