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Shoot: Group Corporate Headshots

Lesson 20 from: Lighting, Logistics, and Strategies for a Life in Photography

Joe McNally

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Lesson Info

20. Shoot: Group Corporate Headshots


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


Location Assessment


Gear Overview


Direction and Wardrobe


Exploring Location and Available Light


Bar Owner: Setting the Scene


Shoot: Bar Owner


Shoot: Bar Owner, Evolving the Look


Lesson Info

Shoot: Group Corporate Headshots

(laughing) Alright. (laughs) Come on in, come on in. (laughing) Come on in, alright. Come on over. Alright. Yeah, yeah, yeah, let's try to get this done today. (laughing) Okay, alright, Suzie, I want you to go right next to Brittney. This is your advisory team, alright? Brittney's the boss. Suzie, you come in, right in here. Nick, you're gonna be the book end here. You're the head of security. (laughs) So, I should have a pose like this. Yeah. Kind of serious. Yeah, come forward a bit, both of you, just a tiny little bit. Okay, alright. Good, good, alright. So, alright, nice. Now what's another concern here? Has to rattle through your head. F-stop, depth of field. Now I have three people. F/8 was yard and yards of f-stop for her just being alone. F/8, (humming) Kallee, what do you think? Good enough? Yeah. Yeah, I'd go f/8 on here. They are back pretty far. Okay, alright. Well that's a conclusive, absolute answer for me now. F/8 for sure. (laughs) Thank you, K...

allee. You're welcome. Thank you for that-- 100% f/8. Yeah, I looked it up, Joe, it's gonna be fine. (laughing) Alright, yeah. Now, Suzie, get a little closer to Brittney. Cool, that way. There you go, right there, perfect. Nick, come really close. That's not working for me. The folded arm's not working. This is Seattle, put your hands in your pockets. (laughing) Okay, you're alright? You're alright? Okay, cool, cool. Alright, so now I have all three lit and it looks pretty good, right? I would maybe bump it a little bit brighter. Why would you bump it brighter? It doesn't need to be mechanically brighter. It's like if I go into my handy-dandy RGB histogram, the histogram is pretty decent, but, I could do this and take it. Let's try the flash and see what happens. Let's try bumping the flash up to 2.0. Cause, again, the audible is coming back really quickly. I think it's still got a little more juice in there. So plus two now. That feels better to me. Does that feel better to anybody else? Okay. That feels like it's got a little bit of the higher key feel that I would like for this photograph. Now, I've got a little bit of shimmer of this wall. Here's the beautiful thing about this, it's simple. You can walk in here and be done in 10 minutes. Do I control this wall? No, once I wash that light off of it, photons go everywhere, okay? So I have no real articulation as to where they start and where they stop. But, this is very effective if you're working very fast. Now, Suzie has got a pair of glasses on that has got a little shimmer to them. So I'm gonna ask her to, no, no, keep em on. That's part of your persona. But I'm gonna ask you just to adjust them slightly like that. Put these guys up a little bit on your ears and angle those down. Okay. Cool. Alright, good, good, good. Alright, here we go. Cool. Nice. Way to go everybody. Okay. So, that little move on Suzie's part, and the shimmer is gone, which is, that's not a good thing at all. The shimmer is gone. (laughs) Is there a song like that? I don't know. Anyway, cool. Alright, so what I'm doing here on my LCD is I'm checking sharpness. You know, it looks pretty good across the board. It looks reasonable, but the light is still coming back to me. You know, it's coming back fairly quickly. So, to be safe, okay, I'm gonna go to f/11. Now, my aperture priority will react. What just happened? I went to f/11, my shutter speed slid slower. Alright, here we go, perfect. Now the flash is working hard. Now the flash is working hard. If want to easy up the burden on that flash, what I can do is go to ISO 640. Still working pretty hard, but I got now that bounce back. Okay, that little bit of, it's a faster recycle, it's working less hard, and I also go the cleanliness of the image back here, and it looks quite nice. Simple, flat light, perfect. You guys look great actually. You could run a multinational company, I'm sure of it. And that's an advantageous move that I just made, f/11 actually sharpened up Nick to a great degree. So that's a good little safeguard thing. Okay, yes? I just have a couple questions coming in on this site app. One is from newb from Dubai who says, what happens if you then move that speed light closer or further from the wall, and how did you determine, I don't know. Is it three feet from there or so? How did I determine? (laughing) I didn't. I would be lying to you if I did. A general rule, okay. You don't wanna bounce off a wall and put it up against the wall like that, cause then you're not giving the wall a chance to do its job, right? If I had my Druthers, I would push it out in here someplace just shy of where my compositional frame is ending right in here. That way I get a chance for this to spread and then this to equivalently spread again and go larger and more wrapping and all of that. Thank you. Sure, no worries. Now, alright. So that is a quick corporate portrait. Stay with me guys, okay. Brittney, you're looking great, Suzie, perfect, Nick, absolutely wonderful. Okay, now, that's a quicky. That's a one light solution, but I did make that one light look like a big light source. Pretty simple stuff. Alright, let's kill this.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Joe McNally Gear List
McNally Lighting Diagrams

Ratings and Reviews


What is there to say, this is a master at work. I feel like I owe Joe a hundred lunches for the information I’ve learned from him and used in jobs through the years. Personally I relate to his slightly self-deprecating style quite well. Joe’s a confident, supremely knowledgeable and incredibly experienced photographer who doesn’t need to wear that on his sleeve to get the point across. He is also clearly a great leader who has built a terrific team. I snap up everything of Joe’s I can find and use it as a library, where every time you watch you take away something new. Thanks Joe, you’re a legend and good on Creative Live for offering this wonderful and beautifully curated course.

ileana gonzales photography

When I saw the chance to learn from the great Joe McNally I jumped through the screen at the chance to be in the audience. It's one thing to see how a fantastic photographer works, thinks, composes and styles, but to get a behind the curtain view at the way his entire shop operates was truly amazing. By allowing us to see Lynn's processes and Cali's workflow it encouraged me to diversify before taking the plunge into the business side of photography. Truly an amazing team and an unforgettable learning experience.


Joe is fantastic! The wealth of information, experience and extraordinary talent he shares is invaluable! He's also a very engaging, humorous instructor who keeps an audience a part of the "discussion." Don't miss a Joe McNally class, seminar or workshop opportunity!

Student Work