For years now I’ve felt that Joe McNally is literally one of the best photographers on the planet, and I know there’s probably a lot of folks that share that very seem feeling, but for years now I’ve also felt that Joe is one of the best people on the planet, too. He genuinely just loves people, and you can see that in his work and they way he lives his life.

A couple of days ago Joe sent me an email and the subject line was “The Reach of KelbyOne” and he’s what Joe wrote:

“Was in Prague recently, and had been contacted by a young man and his family. High school kid, very passionate photog, wondering if they could meet with me. They drove 4 hours, with an interpreter to Prague, and Annie and I bought them dinner, and had a wonderful meal, and talked about his pictures. I gave him an impromptu PF critique at the tables outside the restaurant. He was very thankful for Kelby Training, as they use it in his school. I did a little (vertical) video of him which is coming to you via my acct. at YouSendIt. Just thought you’d enjoyâ¦.

While I honestly think it’s awesome that this young man (his name is Luk¡Å¡ Kala) is using our online training in his high school in Europe (he attends SSPOS Brno [http://www.ssposbrno.cz/] High School Food Trade and Services). I think it’s way more awesome that Joe, one of the busiest guys in the world, took the time out of his schedule to not only meet with this young man, but that Joe and his wonderful wife Annie (who is the perfect match for Joe, because she is one of the most awesome people I know) took them to dinner. Joe does stuff just like this all the time. He helps photographers along their path, and he genuinely wants the best for them personally and in this career. Joe honors the people that helped him along the way by helping so many others along their path, and by passing his knowledge, his passion, and his heart to anyone he can and he touches people’s lives in ways that go way beyond his incredible photography.

I know many of you have met Joe in person, and I know many of you have been touched, helped, guided or inspired by Joe along the way, but for everyone that hasn’t, I wanted to share this small glimpse into another side of Joe and the grace he shares with others. I could fill a hundred posts recounting the kindness Joe has shared with others, but I’m happy that today I at least got to share this one.

Luk¡Å¡ recorded a video message to me on Joe’s iPhone (I’ve embedded it below), and it’s really sweet. He seems like a great kid, and Joe told me Luk¡Å¡ has a really good eye, so I imagine we’ll be hearing a lot about him soon as he makes his mark on the photographic world.

Have a great weekend, everybody, and here’s to the Joe McNally’s of the world who help make this all a better place. :)

Best,
-Scott

 

About The Author

Scott is a Photographer, bestselling Author, Host of "The Grid" weekly photography show; Editor of Photoshop User magazine; Lightroom Guy; KelbyOne.com CEO; struggling guitarist. Loves Classic Rock and his arch-enemy is Cilantro. Devoted husband, dad to two super awesome kids, and pro-level babysitter to two crazy doggos.

33 Comments

  1. Thanks for posting this Scott. Joe McNally is an inspiration to so many photographers out there and it’s really refreshing to see stories like this. I also think that all of the nice things that people say about Joe could probably apply to you as well and all of the great stuff you do for people. Thank you for doing what you do.

  2. Here’s to those who helped all the Joes.

  3. What a great, heartwarming story! Several of my favorites…You, Matt, Joe, David DuChemin, all seem like genuine kind hearted and helpful souls. You give the industry a good name! Thank you for inspiring us with you beautiful work, thank you for sharing your invaluable knowledge, thank you for being just really friendly and approachable rock stars!

  4. I just watched Joe’s interview with Mia the other day. Top notch all around.
    Thanks for sharing this story Scott.

  5. Joe McNally is without a doubt one of the nicest guys on the planet. I’ve known Joe for years and he is always polite and knows no strangers. I must say the same about Scott plus all the folks at Kelby and even all the photogs I’ve come to know over the years thru our socializing. Joe always makes a point to talk to me when he sees me at events and that makes me feel great. Thanks Joe for being not only the best photographer but one of the best folks alive!!!

  6. That’s awesome. Joe is amazing. The kid has good English too, thanks for sharing the video.

  7. Joe is the man; you both are! I know and remember the feeling of meeting my favorite photographer. Even a better feeling when you know that they truly care about you! That will motivate that kid more than one will know. You guys should follow up with him on the blog and help his work be seen throughout the years! He seems like a cool dude…and he has an awesome shirt (rip)!

    Have a good weekend Scott!

    Dwayne

  8. Very graciously said Scott. I have had the great pleasure to meet and speak with Joe (and his team) at numerous events (all operated by KelbyOne and its predecessors PLUG PLUG) and he is not just a brilliant photographer, great educator, Joe is a really kind and generous fellow. He is always deluged by fans and those seeking his guidance and he is unfailingly helpful and courteous. At the last PSW I was honoured to be a voice operated flash stand in one of his sessions. Sounds goofy I know but it was wicked cool to be able to help a bit.

    And a tip of the hat to you too Scott. You face the same crowd adulation as Joe and have always been courteous and helpful when I’ve spoken to you. And you don’t hold it against the rest of us that Canadian Immigration has treated both of you like crap.

  9. Although I’ve never met Joe in person, I have experienced first hand his generosity and desire to help the budding photographer. On more than one occasion, I have emailed Joe with a photo question and without fail, he replies promptly and with the same wit and mastery of the English language we’ve all come to know and love. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that Joe is both a very decent person AND a very successful photographer. He is one because he is also the other.

    I should also add that I could just as easily substitute the name, “Scott,” for “Joe” in the above paragraph and it would remain every bit as true. Good guys don’t always finish last. :-)

  10. I don’t know where Joe gets the energy or the time (perhaps it is because the Knicks cannot play worthwhile basketball) to do all that he does, but he is incredibly gracious and thoughtful. He shares so much of what he knows and what he does, and inspires us all. The same goes for his wife Annie. Perhaps photography’s first couple, or if not the first, one of the best.

  11. That’s so cool! Thanks for sharing Scott.

  12. This is so awesome, thank you to Joe and Scott for all you do too!

  13. That is too cool! :)

  14. Hello everyone
    Greetings to all on this great site.
    I am a father of Lukas and I was personally at their meeting in Prague.
    Despite a crazy trip (four hours there and four back) I have to say that it was for me one of the best evenings of my life … and I’m not talking about my son.
    Home from dinner we arrived at 3 am but still could not sleep until morning and we discussed what is Joe great man.
    When we wrote the first email in Januar to Liza Politi, who organized the workshop Joe McNally in Prague … we never expect the answer … the answer follow-up at home sparked a wave of enthusiasm.
    Joe even wanted to arrive to Brno in to Lukas’s school … it was incredible.
    Unfortunately, the only available date was in the Czech Republic national holiday and the school was closed, pity … maybe next time.
    I would like to thank Joe and his wife Anne, not just for a great meeting and dinner, but mainly for long-term inspiration for my son and actually even for me.
    In annex I enclose photo from our meeting … from left: me, great Anne, great Joe, my son Lukas, a great amateur photographer Soňa Sommerová our V.A.T (voice activeited translator), and finally a great Liza without their incredible efforts the meeting never happened).

    Thank you from the Czech Republic.

    P.S.: For my son are video of KelbyOne really great inspiration … and here at home we always test all the new video … thank you for a great job.

    • Just like Joe McNally to show us all how to be a class act! I saw his One Light Workshop last year, I laughed, I cried, I was moved beyond words. Wow. And thanks for sharing Scott. I am such a huge fan of Kelby One and the KO family, hope to meet you all one day at a Photoshop World!!

    • I loved your message here! Thank you for sharing and posting this wonderful photo! Best of lucl to you and your son, Lukas! …A fun, uplifting and moving close to your meeting with great hopes and happiness to come!

  15. Hello everyone
    Greetings to all on this great site.
    I am a father of Lukas and I was personally at their meeting in Prague.
    Despite a crazy trip (four hours there and four back) I have to say that it was for me one of the best evenings of my life … and I’m not talking about my son.
    Home from dinner we arrived at 3 am but still could not sleep until morning and we discussed what is Joe great man.
    When we wrote the first email in Januar to Liza Politi, who organized the workshop Joe McNally in Prague … we never expect the answer … the answer follow-up at home sparked a wave of enthusiasm.
    Joe even wanted to arrive to Brno in to Lukas’s school … it was incredible.
    Unfortunately, the only available date was in the Czech Republic national holiday and the school was closed, pity … maybe next time.
    I would like to thank Joe and his wife Anne, not just for a great meeting and dinner, but mainly for long-term inspiration for my son and actually even for me.

    Thank you from the Czech Republic.

    P.S.: For my son are video of KelbyOne really great inspiration … and here at home we always test all the new video … thank you for a great job.

  16. I knew I liked that guy…

  17. Thanks Scott for bringing another part of Joe to us.

    Even as far back as the 80’s when I would follow his work, one only knew of ‘this guy’ who took these remarkable images as so many others did. With this big thing like the internet, we are now allowed inside places we’d never imagined we could, or would go. Not that Joe needed a push or a venue. But with him being a part of Kelby, it’s certainly given all of us a peek inside of this man, what he’s all about, and just how remarkable the levels of talent truly run inside him.

    A huge thanks out to Scott and Kelby Media for the access and forethought. And a level of gratitude to Joe that can’t be expressed in words for everything he’s done for all of us…in so many important ways.

  18. Thanks for sharing that story Scott. Joe has always impressed me as nice guy, this story helps solidify my impressions of him.

  19. Scott – I was one of the attendees at the workshop Joe was leading in Prague and Vienna along with 15 others, and some of their families. Joe, Annie, and Liza Politi of Fancy Girl Street Boy Productions not only made their way out to meet with Lukas, he never mentioned it to any of us. We became aware of their excursion later on during the workshop. It was done in such a way to ensure Lukas got to meet an inspiration while ensuring the workshop attendees got to spend massive amounts of time picking through Joe’s encyclopedia of photography brain without disruption. Tack on to that a 6 hour time difference from the east coast, and meeting Lukas after hours, you’ve got an exhausted McNally on your hands. He never faltered, never complained, never said no. When you attend a workshop like this, obviously you’re buying into the Joe McNally name. But the supporting cast of his wife Annie, Liza Politi, and Joe’s first assistant Michael Cali also deserve a shout out for making this happen. Joe is a gentleman. I had the fortune of getting to know him and seeing this first hand in two great European cities. If you think he comes across as the genuine article in a large forum, do yourself a favour and take the opportunity to attend one of his smaller group workshops and have him challenge you. He did nothing for himself while we were there, it was all about other people, and paying it forward.

  20. Hi from Rome! I think I own ALL the books by Joe McNally and Scott Kelby…so that clearly says how much admiration I have for these two guys. Like this Czech guy, I’ve also learnt so much from them through their unique books and alongside have also appreciated them for the human beings they are and the dedication they have for learning for learning’s sake, THANK YOU Joe & Scott (….talking about books, when are the new ones coming out, Scott & Joe?)

  21. I was fortunate to spend a week in St Lucia with Joe, and I agree with you 100%, Scott. Joe is as great a human as he is a photographer. I wish I could work with him on a regular basis!

  22. Hey to all….hope everyone is having a great weekend. Many, many thanks to Scott and all who might pass by this site for kind words and thoughts. When things like this occur, it does remind me all over again that this is a photo community, with the emphasis on community. I was very lucky to have been mentored in my early years as a photog, and happy to keep up the tradition, as best I can, of this being a “pass it on” business. Good luck to all, and esp. to the young photog Lukas. Many adventures await…..

  23. What a great story, Scott. I’ve attended a few seminars that Joe has taught (and I’m looking forward to seeing him again in Boston this summer!), and every time I’m impressed with his teaching style, wit and wisdom. He is truly one of photography’s treasures. As others have said, all the great qualities that Joe exhibits as a person are mirrored by you. You always seem to make the time to interact with your “fans” whenever the opportunity presents itself, much like Joe. Birds of a feather….. :-)

    On a side note, will there be a KelbyOne store in the future where we can purchase hats, shirts, coffee mugs, etc.? There used to be a NAPP store for all this, but it’s no more.

    Have a great weekend! I’m off to shoot the Blue Angels tomorrow in RI. Weather should be perfect, although I won’t get as up close and personal as you did a few weeks ago!

    –John

  24. I Love this story! I Love Joe! I Love Scott! …Two of this Worlds precious people! I
    have been a (NAPP) / K1 member for years, but it was in Hartford, CT
    – May ’08 when I attended Scott’s seminar – that gave me direction
    and goals. And at the end of the day, the convention center hall
    emptied out… I was partially eager to get home, try what I had
    learned and attack new resources, ideas. Part of me didn’t want to
    leave. The I saw Scott and his buddy Dave Mosher heading down the
    stairs, I waved to hear back, “Doug… Go home.” Ha. The next day,
    he had a shout-out to thank Hartford here on his blog… Included me
    in that. Scott… You’ll never know… !!!

    Then, Summer ’09 – Dobbs Ferry, NY! Was so lucky to attend a
    workshop with Joe! I was aware of Joe McNally before “The Moment It
    Clicks,” however not exactly sure how I heard of him. Often searched the
    web for photographers to learn from, be inspired by as in’06 I bought a
    used D200 without a clue how to use it, but I hoped it would fill a
    creative void (and it
    was a new toy, a gift to myself after a, well, breakup -sigh-).
    Sadly, it lived in Program mode. Still, I had enough fun that I upgraded
    to a new D300 (still befuddled that it didn’t work like my Kodak DC4800
    (3mp and it captured tiff!).

    Then I discovered the DLWS website with Moose Peterson – a workshop
    happening in Maine, not too far from me, looking at the roster, I saw
    Joe’s name. After a super helpful Sharon Peterson had helped me get set,
    I had to withdraw. Thoroughly disgusted, I took my allocated funds and
    bought a “full frame” D700 and a 24-70mm 2.8f with still, not a clue
    how aesome this tool could be.

    Joe’s website – workshop section… After a long hiatus, Dobbs Ferry
    workshops were on again! Missed the winter sessions, but after Joe’s
    fantastic studio manager, Lynn, helped me register, I was set for a
    workshop in the Summer! What an experience! By the end of the day I was
    blissfully wiped out! Full of Giant “I Get It!” moments (Aperture
    Priority, TTL, CLS, Shutter Speeds, “stopping down,” tri-grips,
    reflectors, diffusion, soft boxes, – 2/3ev, “quality of light,” “depth
    of field,” …why f2.6 and not f11 or 5.6 and not 2.8, etc. …and when
    the class appeared to be sluggish late in the afternoon; an
    enthusiastic, energized voice confidently gathered attention with,
    “C’mon! I’ve got a 32gig card in here! I’m ready to go all F’in night!”)
    Huge Experience for me! Enough
    inspiration to change the course of my life coupled with enough
    passion for shooting – making images – capturing moments – creating
    art… But the workshop wasn’t merely a barrage of technical
    wizardry. There was philosophy, etiquette, humor, life lessons, emotion
    and genuine camaraderie… I did not want to leave – Joe sat down next
    to me and asked what I got out of the workshop – was it helpful?

    …Did not truly answer him properly, honestly.

    Joe, you changed my life – in many ways, saved it!

    I began to shoot everything, read, watch tutorials…
    Attend 2 more McNally workshops the following year! -Fuel on the
    fire- And on…. Difficult to express the impact! Joe
    has touched my life and really, I doubt he could ever know just how
    much. I’ll never be a celebrated shooter, famous or even
    particularly good. But what a blast I’m having along the way! …And
    every once ‘n awhile I thank Joe when I somehow capture an image that
    isn’t half bad.

    I am so proud to have met Joe and later, Annie – when I see stories like this…
    Well it’s more of Joe inspiring me with his kindness, humility and
    generosity! Camera or not… I aspire to be more like him! He is a genuine, life teacher!

    Thank you for sharing this Scott!

    Doug

  25. Joe is an all around great human being. Very kind even to shy folks.

    He even humored me and put a speedlight on his head so I could get my picture taken with him to show my wife that I was with the magical unicorn. Scott called him that at one of his classes. :)

  26. Great story thanks Scott. Joe recently presented in Singapore and certainly changed the way I will approach photography from now on. Clearly a top man.

  27. As a general dentist, practicing in Miami, FL., and who loves photography, I am also exposed to some of the greatest minds in my field (something I am also passionate about). One of these great contributors to dentistry resides in your neck of the woods, Scott Kelby, and his name is Dr. Pete Dawson… on to my point. Dr. Dawson often says that to be a MASTER in your field there are three requirements: 1. A Master must know the subject material inside and out, backwards and forwards. 2. A Master must practice his or her craft at the highest level of excellence and most importantly, 3. a Master must teach others and pass on his or her knowledge. You and Mr. McNally are true masters.

  28. There are many photographer and learners who are touched and inspired by Joe … i am one of those guy who become photographer only because of him ….

    I know this little out of context what i am gonna say next …. but i am feeling right now to tell how Joe changes people’s life …. In my country Canon dominates the market and very few have Nikon product. No body knows in my country how Powerful Nikon lenses and CLS system is.

    2 Years ago when i first came across Joe Mcnally work … i was stunned …. later i followed almost all of the available videos including his famous video “Language of Light” which Joe handed over to me personally when he visited Dubai in 2013 for GPP. I almost learned his DVD by heart and applied all of the Nikon CLS which Joe uses in his work … including gels …. different light modifiers etc etc into my work and today my photography is entirely change …. all credit goes to Joe ….

    After learning all Nikon CLS and Joe’s work …. In my country …. people are referring me now a source to learn Flash photography and one of the leading prime example of Nikon user …. In April-2014 i conducted a workshop in my country which made people switch back to Nikon …. from CANON …. and that was the point i was feeling proud over Nikon product and being one of a unknown Student of Joe ….

    There are many similar examples out there like me where Joe’s work changed life of photographer ….. I am just a fraction of it …

  29. What a wonderful and truly heart warming story! I always feel like you guys at the top are untouchable (not for anything I have read/seen, but because of my own securities. Thank you.

  30. Scott,

    The video you did on Joe doing the shoot at the Brooklyn Navy Yard impressed me with what a true gentleman Joe is as he worked with the assistants and the models. He continually took time to thank each person when they performed as he gently requested, moved lighting or handed him equipment.

    He is so much more that just a great photographer.

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