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Class Introduction

Lesson 1 from: FAST CLASS: Lighting, Logistics, and Strategies for a Life in Photography

Joe McNally

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Lesson Info

1. Class Introduction

Lesson Info

Class Introduction

so welcome. I could just add my welcome. And thanks to all the folks that creativelive, this is not an easy thing to put together. As you can imagine, multiple cameras, remote locations arranging for bars. And this in that it's always great. Teoh. You know, uh, use a Borras a location Because if it doesn't go well, relief is just a walk away. So But we'll have fun today. Here in this actually pretty nice location. It's kind of a charismatic, um bar. It's already thrown me a couple occurs. We'll see how all that goes. It's smaller than I imagined. There's a lot of folks in here in a relatively small space. There's just something I'm gonna have to deal with us. As of October, when I teach like this, I kind of view this as location work, you know, and location will throw you some curves. It will be up and down and sideways on you, and it's as photographers. What we have to do is develop a number of skill sets that will cope with everything from, um, the light's not working Teoh a difficul...

t client. Teoh, a subject who doesn't have the, uh you know enough time for you to rein, you know, you know, on And, you know, we operate at the whim of the world a lot of times. So it's us up to us to be kind of very resilient creatures, you know, and bounce back from adversity and have the skill sets to do that. I have a very firm belief that as photographers were all in the same boat together, right, and we're all trying to get to the next level. I've been doing this 35 years. I'm still trying to get to the next level. You know, I'm still wondering where my next good picture is coming from. I have, ah production tests scenario in New York City next week that will involve multiple helicopters, radio frequency lights. I mean, it's it's a testing scenario, and I'm already kind of wired up about it because there's so much stuff that could go wrong. And I'm looking to see how that's going to go. You know, it's like a freelance career. Photography is like standing on the edge of a cliff for your whole life. You know, you just kind of okay, I'm hanging in there, you know, they haven't fallen off completely yet. All right, so yeah, what you'll see today, at least partially. And then also tomorrow. My studio team is here, except for one very crucial person, Annie Kehoe, who manages all of our social media marketing. She's back at the studio holding down the fort. But Lin is with me. You'll meet her. She's unbelievably lovely, wonderful human being. She's been with me for 26 years as our studio manager and producer. She builds all our contracts. She does all our estimates, bids she handles all the phone stuff, which is a good thing because, you know, people call the studio and say, I was wondering if Joe could maybe do this for, you know, $3 you know, and our something along something crazy. You know it And my reaction, of course, on the phone, if I was picking up the phone would be like you, which is not a good way to start the day or maintain your business. Lin is very patient and wonderful. She's like, well, but it sounds like it's an issue. Okay, why don't you start by sending me an email and a paper trail will then get started and we'll go from There are philosophy. Generally speaking, business wise is we're like a rubber band will stretch, but we won't break. Okay, there's certain point that we get to that. We just say No, we have our first assistant. He's been with us for seven years, Michael Callay. He goes by Callie, you know, so he's not on the set right now, but he'll be back in. We are a team we're presenting here together as a team, as I think it was. Um, Tom, you mentioned You know the team aspect of this and you'll see there's an image, not it won't come up today, but we're on a big production shoot in the woods and you'll see an image on the show here. Over the course of a couple of days. I'm not even at the camera. At that point, I've done the shooting pretty happy with it, and I back off the camera. And then Cowie and Lynn and John, you know, from our studio are all gathered around the camera because, you know, I need that help. You know, I'm the 1st 1 to say on the set, like, Okay, talk to me talk to me. It is very much a team effort. You you go forward as a group, and so people are checking. When I do, they're back stopping me my names on the door. I take the credit. Also take the blame. You know, I take the bumps and lumps and all that sort of stuff. But behind the door there it's It's all teamwork, you know. So we have a staff of four. You know, Annie is social media marketing. Lin is is manager and studio production. Kallias, first assistant chief videographer. And then there's me. I'm the drag on the operation on the anchor that slows everybody down. You know, they're all working hard and I'm staring out the window. I'm a drifter, Okay, I'm like a balloon. Lin just keeps reeling me back in, but that's that's my function, because I'm the person who is generating ideas, proposals, etcetera again. We'll get into this. You have to be very proactive as a photographer about your creating your future. When I grew up photographically the phone rang like crazy wasn't much money changing hands. My magazine day rate when I started in this industry was $ a day. Very simple. Right? Magazine. Call you up. Can you go shoot this guy? Yep. Go out. Shoots and film process that Edit it. Send them a bill Sentiment page of slides. Thank you very much. They use it. Give the slides back. Give it to your agent. See if you can resell it. Pretty simple stuff and we'll get into the changes that have gone on. Now I am sympathetic across the board. For all the reasons that we are here because it's a visually tired world, it's over, saturated with imagery. How do you grab somebody's eyeballs for even a nanosecond? What people do now? Those of you went through an airport. Did you stop the magazine? Stand hundreds of magazines screaming for your attention? If you go over to newsstand, what do you do? That's all you do. So what is my job as a photographer? Grab your eyeballs for longer than a nanosecond. Some Philip of difference. Some excellence that's imparted to the picture. And a lot of that comes from the language we speak with light. Light is is a language. I one of the things I do when I'm talking about light is I ascribe to light very human characteristics. It's voluptuous. It's baroque, its ornate. It's slashing, its angry. It's soft and cuddly. It's, you know, all those things I actually personify light in my head. And it enables me to think up what it should look like walking in my landscape is here today, and the difference is that I can influence it. I can create an accentuation or a diminution of the elements in this photograph. What are you doing? When you're lighting something, you're speaking a language to somebody you're never gonna meet, right? You're talking to someone who's gonna view your picture, and you're never gonna know them, right? Ever. So you have to initiate that conversation. Think of it this way by lighting something or not. You give somebody a psychological roadmap to your photograph. Look here. Not so much here. This is context. This is important. All that sort of stuff. Very, very valuable way to think about lighting because, look, let's face it. Any idiot can put up an umbrella, you know? I mean, you're looking at one right here, you know? I mean, when it's desperate, Asian, our and the job has gone completely south. I know that. I've only got 10 minutes left. I can put up umbrella 10 feet over here. And everybody here is gonna look nice, you know? And I can go. You know, I had visual ambition for the job, but that that disappeared a long time ago because the subject was late than the you know, I don't know there was a hurricane or whatever it might be. You know, the permit I had for outside. I didn't check it out thoroughly. And now there's a parade out there, so I have to find some place else. Whatever could go wrong will go wrong. It's a house of cards there, out out, out on location. So, you know, you throw open umbrella, you get out of Dodge, and everything's fine, but differentiation of light when you really can kraft light lighting this. But not that. That's the key to you know, where maybe could get to the next level. I'm gonna start over in this neighborhood, and we have to talent today. One is kind of Ah, you know, he's kind of big guy, you know? He could be a bartender. It could be the bar owner right. So he's a character driven sort of guy, so I'm gonna light him very differently from our female model. Are female. Model is kind of a little bit I know Seattle rock star kind of thing going on, you know? And so I'm gonna like her more of a beauty way. I'm gonna play with that. The field. I'm gonna play with color. I'm going to see what works, and we'll build from there. So what's on the table? Okay, um, I didn't even realize this when it was written, but it's like the five C's, you know, controlling like confidence with your equipment, communication skills, conquering challenges and critiques. I didn't realize it would obliterate like that, but it did. So today is gonna be a lot about controlling light. And over here, you know, this is fairly straightforward. We're gonna shoot live on location production hurdles. Um oh, I see what it's doing. It's going The little yellow thing is going that way. Okay. And this could take all day postproduction. Callay! We'll show you our post production. For what it's worth, okay, We're not the kind of studio. As I'll say tomorrow, we're not the kind of studio that you know, once you know, Teoh make something look like it ain't riel or, you know, it's minimal. Darkroom work. That's what we do. We excel at camera. That's what we strive for you No big flash. The business critiques your favorite aspect of everything. Right? We're gonna put your stuff up. Uh, live shoot group portrait's, and then we're kind of out of dodge. But anyway, the most important piece of equipment in your bag is your attitude. Okay, win, lose or draw. I'm a photographer at the end of the day, and that's something very important to remember all the time. You know, because you have to be in love with the sound of the shutter. You have to absolutely be in love with that moment of exposure and again, win, lose or draw Good day or bad day in the field. You have to enjoy that time in the field, and this is something I would caution all of you in any young photographers in particular who might be watching if you predicated your sense of self worth or self esteem as a photographer on what somebody does two or with your pictures downstream after the fact you're in for a lifetime of misery because nobody's going to use your pictures the way you would. Nobody's gonna display them or care for them the way you you do, you know. So you have to be happy at that moment, whether you get paid or not, whether they use it well or not, whether you get yelled at or not, whatever might occur in the aftermath of shooting, you have to be excited about that moment in the field. And I am. I'm resolutely just kind of thrilled to be out. There is, you know, with a camera in hand and it goes along. This comes from the very name photography, photography photograph. Oh sits from a Greek root that means to write with light so understanding and embracing light and the power of light and what it means in the course of telling stories as a photographer, think of your camera, not as a camera. Think of it as a visa. It enables you to cross borders. It enables you to get into people's lives. I've actually been allowed into people's lives just because I have a camera in my hand, you know otherwise. you would be foreclosed, you know. But you are passionate enough about this that you want to do this so badly that that person allows you in because they feel that passion. They feel like that connection that you have that you want to honestly tell their story at the end of day. What are we storytellers? We're storytellers, and that is, you know, the camera manufacturers, you know, I bless him. I love him. And at the same time, I'm like, man, you know, the little bit like drug dealers, Don't you think? You know, here's more pixels. The siren call of more pixels, you know? And now your pictures will be so beautiful. You know, the automative automation aspects of of the cameras. Astonishing. Right? And we've been seduced. I think by that in terms of thinking that this is quote unquote easy or easier than we might have imagined because you put a camera on aperture priority. Go click Auto focus. You know, not bad, right? Not bad. Used to be a lot of work now. Cameras air turbo charged right, But that still doesn't author the basic mission. Telling stories telling effective stories is hard work it's hard to do. So that's incumbent on us. And camera is this machine. It's this interface. Anybody ever had the experience where you go out and just shoot pictures like mad because you're just really excited about what you're seeing. Then you bring it back and launch it into your computer. It's like, What was I thinking? What was I thinking? You know, this sucks. Well, maybe it doesn't completely suck, but it's, you know, um, yeah, the interface, that camera, as magnificent as the cameras are, it's still a mechanical interface between what you're seeing and what someone else is gonna you're gonna convey to someone else. Remember, the person you're gonna talk to via your picture is not there with you. So you have to convey this powerful emotional, visceral experience that you're having out here effectively right through the camera lens mechanics, pixels, computer photo shop, all that stuff and deliver it on somebody's doorstep and make them go. Oh, you know, if you could do that, that sounds stupid. But it's true. If you could do that, then you've intrigue someone, then even lightened someone and you've got your hooks in them and my job is if it offers to get you involved in that story, lead you through those pages or bring you along on my adventure. So that is really, really hard to do, despite you know how amazing the technology is. You know, I've been to nearly 70 countries and all 50 states with cameras in my hand, and the physical reality of crossing a border as difficult as it can be sometimes is nothing compared to the emotional borders you have to cross. Is a photographer to get involved in riel storytelling pictures about somebody's life.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Gear List
Lighting Diagrams