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How Photographer Joe McNally Bridges the Gap

by Jamie Davis Smith
featured, photo & video

One reason why photography can be so addicting is because there is always something new to learn.  Even the best photographers recognize that there is always a way to challenge themselves to create new and better images and improve their skills.

Photographer Joe McNally, a legendary photographer who has worked for National Geographic and Life Magazine among many others, credits his ability to shoot incredible photos anytime, anywhere to having bridged the gap in his own skills.  As a result of his technical proficiency, he is one of the few photographers who has been successful in many areas, from photojournalism to advertising to sports photography and more.

Joe’s talent is undoubtedly a large part of his success.  But another equally important part of his success is that he approaches photography with the attitude of someone who does not expect conditions to line up for him, but is instead prepared to meet whatever conditions he finds.


It’s here! Photo Week 2017 is LIVE AND FREE right now. Join Joe McNally and other world renowned instructors all week long.  Learn More here


Rather than sticking to golden hour portraits or the predictable conditions of constant studio lighting, Joe learned how to shoot, and do it well, even under the most trying circumstances.  It takes work, but any photographer can learn how it do it and Joe teaches his approach in his classes for CreativeLive.

In his previous class for CreativeLive, Lighting, Logistics, and Strategies for a Life in Photography,  Joe explored tools and strategies photographers can use to create strong images in nearly any situation to create the foundation for a successful career.

For Photo Week 2017, Joe will explore in-depth one way in which he uses light to “grab somebody’s eyeballs” and make them stop in their tracks.  Getting someone’s attention long enough to make them stop and linger on an image you made is no easy feat in an era when everyone has a camera in their pocket and can share their photos with a couple of taps.

One thing a cell phone camera, or a photographer with only one set of skills, will likely never be able to do is to create arresting night portraits.  In Joe’s class for Photo Week, Darkness in an Urban Environment: Managing Light on the Streets, Joe will explore how with the right skills anyone can bridge the gap in their knowledge and take arresting photos in one of the most challenging environments – city streets at night.  Once you are able to produce portraits with glow of city lights behind a perfectly lit subject, you will be to control light in a new way and produce work not many others are able to make.  As a result, you will be able to tell new stories, take on new work, and truly be able to produce work that makes your viewer linger.  As photographers, that is what most of us want to achieve.

Check out Joe’s Photo Week class and the other Photo Week classes being broadcast live this week, October 9 – 13 to see how you can bridge the gaps in your knowledge and take your work to the next level.


It’s here! Photo Week 2017 is LIVE AND FREE right now. Join Joe McNally and other world renowned instructors all week long.  Learn More here


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Jamie Davis Smith

Jamie Davis Smith is a Washington, DC based photographer and writer. Follow her on Facebook at Jamie Davis Smith and Instagram at @jamiedavissmith