Category Archives Photography


The gang at Adorama Camera up in New York City (the Platinum sponsors of my official World Wide Photo Walk), heard I was in town today for my Lightroom 3 Live Tour at the Javits Center, so on Sunday they invited me to lead a local Photo Walk, where we’d go out shooting for a couple of hours, and then head back to Adorama HQ for some Photoshop techniques on how to post process the images from the day.

I have to say, it was my most fun Photo Walk ever, because so many amazing things happened along the way. In case it rained, as a back-up plan Adorama hired a professional model we could shoot in the studio, but as it turned out, we had great weather so she came out on location with us, and I did a session a shooting with natural light, and we had lots of large scrims and diffusers available to the walkers, so everybody got lots of on location portrait shooting opportunities (a few of my shots from the walk are below).


We kicked off the walk (25 walkers, plus helpers) in Washington Square, and wound up shooting a stand-up bass player, guys playing chess in the park, a jazz trio, and a real ballerina (shown above—photo by Jeff Snyder), along with “the bird guy” and half a dozen other spontaneous things that happened along the way. It was just such a great day, and I had a really outstanding, fully-engaged group, who really were into the spirit of the day.

After shooting for a few hours, (and winding up on 5th Ave, along 14th street, and in Union Square), we headed back for classroom time, where we went through Photoshop techniques and workflow stuff for a few more hours. I really, really enjoyed the walk, and met some great people along the way.

My thanks to everyone who attended; to our awesome model “Laurence” (pron. La-ronce), and to my gracious hosts at Adorama (especially Jeff Synder and Monica Cipnic) who made my job really easy and fun.

Now, I’m hitting the sack—got a big day at the Javits tomorrow, with around 600 photographers. Can’t wait!


We’re doing it again—Joe and I are teaming up for a hands-on photography workshop down in the Caribbean on the amazing tropical island of St. Lucia, and you’re invited to come a spend a week with us in paradise.

If you’ve ever dreamed of being a part of Joe’s “Hot Shoe Lighting Workshop” this is your chance (I’m there once again as his guest instructor, and we wrap up the week with my Lightroom training, but I’ll be there with you, shooting and learning from Joe right alongside you).

The workshop is limited to just 12 students, and for those lucky photographers, it will be a week they will never forget, held at a resort like few on earth—the Anse Chastanet resort and Jade Mountain—ranked one of the top resorts in the world. When I saw it last year (that’s my room at Jade Mountain, above), I was speechless (Here’s the link to my report after the workshop, with lots of pictures and stories of a week in “McNallyWorld”).


Here’s a link with all the details on this year’s workshop. Since there are only 12 spots (and last year’s workshop sold out fast), if you want to join Joe and me, make your plans right now to join us October 17-23, 2010.

It’s going to be the learning experience of a lifetime for just 12 lucky photographers, and I hope I’ll get to shake your hand, and go shooting with you down in St. Lucia this October.


My bestselling Book/DVD combo: Photo Recipes Live: Behind the Scenes Lighting Techniques, is now available as both an iPad and iPhone App from the iTunes Store.


The cool thing is: the App is only $9.95, and includes all the same videos and content. One of the reviewers on iTunes wrote this about the App:

“His technique of showing the shot, and then breaking it down how he did it, is very productive. The narrative is fun, not dry. $10 for pro instruction on lighting is a deal, the price of some digital photography magazines.”

Anyway, if you’d like to check it out, you can find it right here. Thanks to my Publisher, Peachpit Press who developed the App and got it out there. They really did a great job with it, and I’m super psyched to have it available both as a App, and for such an affordable price.




I hope you’ll come and spend the day with me in New York on Monday learning all the cool new stuff in Lightroom 3. I just kicked the tour off in Ft. Lauderdale on Monday (had over 400 photographers there for the day, and we had a blast).

I can’t tell you how many people came up to me during the day, who didn’t have Lightroom at all yet, but were just blown away by what it could do. It’s really the kind of day that can change everything for your workflow, so I hope you can make it if you’re up that way.

It’s only $99 for the full day of training (including my step-by-step workbook), or just $79 if you’re a NAPP member. Here’s the link with all the details. Hope I’ll get to see you in person at the Javits Center on Monday. It’s gonna rock!

P.S. Don’t forget Matt is Boston on Friday. Use the same link above and see Matty K live!

…..and I have nothing to show for it. Well, there was this one photo that somehow wound up on my camera:

Crazy Joe Davolasm

Yup, that’s what happens when you (a) let Joe McNally come on vacation with you, and (b) one night you leave your camera on the dining room table. I should have known better.

There were 15 of us (my entire family, my brother in law and his family, my brother Jeff, my friends Jim Workman, Jean Kenda, and their son Kevin, and Joe McNally and his wife Annie). We were all there simply on vacation, and during the trip we’d be celebrating my 50th birthday.

Despite the fact that I have absolutely nothing to show photographically from my entire trip, I had a ball from beginning to end. First, I didn’t work a lick the entire time. My photo assistant Brad Moore covered the blog for the days I missed, along with a great guest blog from John Wright and yesterday’s hilarious one from Aaron Johnson (I’ve been a long-time What The Duck fan, and I have a custom made “What the Duck” I received as a gift from my buddy Larry Becker—that’s it below, and it’s been hanging on my office wall ever since).


Did you really not get any shots?
I really didn’t get any shots. The guys in the office thought I was kidding, until I showed my buddy Dave Moser the few that I didn’t delete immediately upon import, and he said (his exact words) “Oh…boss. I dunno know. You’ve got three. Maybe four shots shots there. Tops.” Believe it or not, he was being very kind—I wouldn’t even post any of them. They might make a good tutorial one day on how to fix totally uninspired, snapshot-looking travel photos.

OK, I did get one shot I like (below). That’s my daughter Kira taking a shot of my brother Jeff, at sunset in the charming town of Sitges (about 30 minutes outside Barcelona), which was our vacation home for the trip.


So what happened?
I think it was that I was way more into family, friends, and relaxation than I was into photography on this trip, and I never really got in the zone on any level. By the last day, I realized that didn’t have a single decent shot, so in desperation my brother and I drove to a European Balloon Festival he read about in Delta’s Sky magazine on the trip over. It was 30 miles away in the other direction, but sadly, I didn’t get anything  there either, as seen below (these were taken at 8:20 pm, and unfortunately the balloons headed off directly into the sun, which was already pretty low, and had just tucked behind a hazy cloud, so once again, lameness abounds).


Funny thing is; I’m totally OK with it. I had just finished two books—back to back—and what I really needed was some time to recharge, and I totally did that. Besides, football season is right around the corner. :)

Didn’t you go shooting with Joe?
Yup. One day Joe and Annie took me on a birthday photo trip to a little medieval town about 30 miles outside of Barcelona. There was this beautiful river lined with old buildings that looked like it would be cool to shoot. As luck would have it; the river was dry. You couldn’t paddle a canoe down it. It kinda killed the shot, so we spent most of the time just laughing and just walking around and checking things out.

On the way there, Annie had spotted a huge field of daises just off the highway, so we left early to try and catch a few shots (hoping to save the day), but when we pulled up alongside them, we could see from the highway, that they were kind of wilted, and turned away from the sun. But undeterred we took the next exit and went searching for more sunflowers. About 15 minutes down the road we found a field that looked better—-on private property—which apparently has never stopped Joe or Annie, so we “snuck” our Audi rental car into the field, kind of behind the tall daisies, but still somewhat in sight of the three farm houses surrounding it.

I really didn’t want to wind up in a Spanish jail, so I told Joe and Annie, let’s get in, shoot a few shots, kind of lay low, and we get out. So I’m out there shooting, Annie’s shooting, and I look over at Joe, who is wearing a bright red shirt mind you, and (I am not making this up) he is literally standing on top of the car shooting. We looked over and Annie and I burst into laughter. I have never had more fun getting lame shots of daisies (though Annie absolutely got a few great ones).

So the trip was a bust?
Not all at. Although I didn’t get a shot, I had one of the best vacations ever, despite the fact that I left my camera unattended long enough that Joe got ahold of it. I wish he had gone out and taken some shots with it—-at least I’d have something to show here.

So, I’m back. I’m tan, rested, and ready (OK, I’m not tan, but the rest is true), and I’m totally ready to get back to work and do whatever it is that I do (though a lot of people around here still don’t quite know what that is). ;-)  Thanks to Brad for covering for me, and thanks to you guys for being here again. It’s great to go on vacation, but it’s always great to be back home, too.

Jack Parker of The David Crowder*Band – Photo by me, Brad Moore

“The Shot”

It’s something we photographers all hope for. The thing we strive to achieve every time we pick up the camera. The one image that could possibly define who we are as a photographer, and maybe even our careers.

But if we’re successful in our quest, what then?

The image above was shot during one of my first “real” concert photography experiences, last November (you can read about it right here). It’s during a pretty epic part of one of their songs, so I was already pumped before I shot it, then even more so when I saw how great it turned out in my edit later.

Since then, it’s become my signature image. Have I shot anything worthwhile since then? I think so. Have I shot anything to top it? That’s debatable… But I’ll keep trying.

My friend and co-worker RC Concepcion is also a photographer. If you follow him and his work, you’ve most likely seen his “Mommy and Me” photo of his daughter Sabine looking up at her ballerina momma, Jenn.

Mommy and Me Ballet

It’s a great shot, one that any portrait photographer would love to have in their portfolio.  He loves it, his wife loves it, and everyone he’s shown it to loves it. But he’ll tell you, every time he looks through his portfolio, he wonders if he’ll ever get a better shot, or is this as good as he gets?

So, is having “The Shot” a good or bad thing? A blessing or a curse?

I asked Jeremy Cowart to share his thoughts on the subject…

“I personally think it’s far more of a blessing than a curse. At least you can say you’ve taken some good images you feel confident in. It’s much better than having nothing to show for. Also, I love the challenge of this idea. They say ‘you’re only as good as your last shoot’ and the pressure of that idea to constantly improve is massive and haunting and hangs over our heads like a boulder as we keep climbing higher. But I love that pressure of figuring out how to climb over that boulder. It extends beyond getting a better ‘shot’ for me. It extends into pushing my overall brand, coming up with new ideas, new ways to shoot, new ways to compete. Come to think of it, this ‘pressure’ you speak of is the defining element of my career that makes me a better photographer. And for that I’m grateful.”

What do you think? Do you have a “Shot” of your own? Sound off in the comments!