The Language of Light - Volume One - Full Download (w/Bonus Features)

For the past three decades, photographer Joe McNally has been documenting our times on assignment for publications like LIFE, Time, National Geographic, Sports Illustrated, and many others. Highly regarded as a master of light, both natural and artificial, Joe continues to create stunning imagery all over the world. Much sought after as a photographer, lecturer, and teacher, Joe educates and inspires shooters of all types--pros, hobbyists and beginners--with The Language of Light.

In this download, Joe shares almost 30 years worth of field knowledge, instruction, and philosophy about using light as a powerful tool of visual communication. He fully explores and explains different lighting techniques, and goes well beyond the "how" all the way through the "why," of using light. Small flash, hard light, soft light, light with color, light in the studio, and light on location are all dissected and explained. You see and hear all about the f-stops, shutter speeds, lenses and light shaping tools, and you are taken further into the reasons why a one lighting approach is better than another for certain scenes, faces or groups. All along the way, Joe offers tips, tricks and solutions that can only be gained from 30 years with a camera to your eye. Sit back, relax and enjoy as this legendary shooter takes you on a fast paced, humorous, and always informative journey about how to speak with light.

BONUS FEATURES: - Tech Talk with Anne Cahill - Nikon's Lindsay Silverman (the flash wizard) - Sit-down interview with legendary photographer, editor, and author, John Loengard - A "guest" appearance by David "The Strobist" Hobby, and more...

Starting Simple (The Basic Headshot)/The Power of 1,000 Suns (V-Flat Lighting)

Starting Simple (The Basic Headshot): In this first section, we start as simply as possible- using a single on-camera flash. We show the good, the bad, and the ugly of your camera's pop-up flash at work. Then we step it up by adding a speedlight to your camera's hotshoe, and crafting a beautiful, simply lit portrait.

The Power of 1,000 Suns (V-Flat Lighting): Next, we ramp up the volume of light significantly, using a few items you can find at an art supply store, and make open, high-key light, often used in the fashion world.

Making Bad Light Good (Managing Sun Outdoors)/Umbrellas- Keeping Out More Than The Rain
Ever been asked to shoot a portrait of friends or family outdoors, and the only time that works for them is 12 noon? You get the the location, and they smile at you and say "This must be great for you as a photographer! The sun is really bright!"

Desperate times call for desperate measures, and in these two sections, we'll show you how to make the most out of some basic light shaping tools. We'll turn awful, high noon daylight into beautiful, soft portrait light.

Mini Modifiers (Small Flash Light Shaping Tools)
Starting with straight flash, we take a look at making good light with really simple tools. The off camera remote TTL flash is being triggered and directed by a "pop up" or built-in flash. On the remote speed light, we use small, simple light modifiers to make the light look good in an efficient, easy ways. We show light shapers like a tiny soft box, a tri-grip panel, a ring light, a snoot with a grid, and a beauty dish. Good light with really simple, affordable modifiers!

Different Light For Different Faces
Here, we take a notable face and work our way through several iterations of lighting approaches and modifiers. Each has its own distinct quality, and each imparts a particular "look" to our subject. The differences between a reflected umbrella and a shoot through umbrella are explored. We also use a soft box to illustrate the subtle differences between using an umbrella and a soft box style of light. We move the light source around our subject, sometimes using only the light, but at times also using a reflector to modify the light. Moving the flash in relation to the subject imparts differences in quality of the light that are sometimes huge, and sometimes quite subtle.

Busy Setting, Simple Light
In this segment, we encounter a busy graphic environment, and try to take simple steps, explaining each move thoroughly, to light our subject. We deal with white balance, existing levels of both artificial and natural light, exposure compensation, placement of flash, use of a stand, and a reflector. We talk about subject placement, strategies for effectively using the graphics and light of the room to our advantage, and then mixing in flash in a way that is natural, pleasing, and doesn't call attention to itself.

Pretty, Simple Light (Basic Beauty)/One-Light Dramatic Portrait

Pretty, Simple Light: This section is an exercise in matching a beautiful young face with an equally beautiful quality of light, and doing it as simply as possible. Shot with TTL flash, commanded by a built-in flash at the camera, the lesson deals with the possibilities of using an umbrella as the main light, and the subtleties and nuances of placing and using a second TTL flash as a fill bounce.

One Light Dramatic Portrait: Another iteration of simple light is of course the dramatic portrait, lit with one small source. This approach causes shadows and rapid fall off, and we discuss the nuances of why one might use this technique for a face that is suited well to harder, edgy quality of light. We use a very simple light shaper, one that fits into a camera bag, but wring excellent results from it via tactics such as moving it in close, and then going to a hi-speed sync technique that allows the use of a very shallow depth of field.

Lighting With Room To Move
This section deals with an age old problem. When you want your subject to be active, you have to give them more room, which means your lights are farther away from them. Which could mean you lose some of the special quality of the light that you always strive for. In this section, we'll photograph an active, leaping model, and light her with an excellent quality of light that also allows her to be energetic and moving on the set. We'll also quickly show how an additional diffuser can take that broader, more general light, and turn it immediately back into portrait light for closer work. Also incorporated into this section is looks and strategies for lighting a white background.

Small Groups (Make It Fast, Make It Fun!)
The notion of group shot photography often send a chill down the spine of even the most confident of shooters. In this segment, we explore approaches in lighting that involve one simple flash reflected into an umbrella as well more complex approaches that involve up to four speed lights. All have their strengths and weaknesses, and those are discusses we carefully build a lighting solution. The issues of depth of field and the need for f-stop come into play, as well as the angle and approach of the light. Most importantly, you will see the camaraderie on the set and witness that all important factor of human connection and humor that make a group session move along as painlessly as possible.

Lighting In A Tight Spot (Small Flash For A Small Shop)
Here, we go on location in a time honored way. We take a look at the proprietor of a small store and try to come up with a picture that indicates the nature of what he does, and the visual flavor of the shop. In other words, this segment is about environmental portraiture. Again, the build is slow, starting with the basics of filtering one flash into an existing light pattern. The importance of scouting and selection of angle is discussed, as well as they why's of placement of subject and importance of the subject's gesture. The strategies of shutter speed relative to the ambient light of the environment are explored, from the idea of "dragging the shutter" to blend available light to speeding up the shutter to negate the effect of the ambient conditions and replacing it with flash. It's a thoroughly explained lesson in sorting out and lighting a location, from the very simple approach of one light, to multiple lights with gels.

How To Light An Empty Box (When All You Got Is The Light)/At The Buzzer

How to Light an Empty Box: On location again, but not a small shop this time. It's a big empty box (a gym) and the only way we can infuse it with drama and pictorial interest is to light it well, and dramatically. This segment deals with three ballplayers, each of them lit individually, with a hard, contrasty light. The overall environment is controlled through the mechanisms of white balance and shutter speed, and the lights provide the accents and drama. All done TTL, with line of sight tactics, this segment is a terrific mix of the location assessment skills, lighting drama, exposure and color control, and composition.

At the Buzzer: This section speaks to seeing something at the last minute, on location, that could work, and then going about making it work, quickly and well. We take the basics of lighting the box--hard light sources, background accent light, and roll them into a portrait solution for a single athlete. We show a snoot used for a very specific main light, and then fill that main light with a bounce off the floor. The athlete is lit with rim lights, and the separated from the background via a very controlled accent light for the flag on the wall. All in all, a lot of simple lights, used together, both in TTL and in manual, to create an edgy athletic portrait.

Flash And Blur/Large Groups (Make It REALLY Fast!)

Flash and Blur: The age old problem of showing motion in a still photograph is addressed in this section. Our subjects, fast moving long boarders, are trailing a moving vehicle rigged with speed lights. We show how to approach this type of shooting, solutions for rigging the lights, and discuss their angle and spread relative to the riders. The flash provides the "stopping power" via its very fast flash duration and the shutter speed, working in concert with the f-stop the flash is giving us, gives us the sense of motion, as the woods and road fly by us.

Large Groups: Small flash, big group. This is where the pressure is on. Sixty five guys, all shot TTL, with small flash. One of the most important lessons of this segment addressed the photographer's ability to command attention, get people moving in a coherent direction, and relate to a large group of people in a way that gives and receives respect. The lighting strategies are fully explained, from the placement of the lights, to the way they influence the scene. The lesson also shows the photographer directing and organizing the set, from moving trucks to placing chairs and benches, and getting a big number of people organized and graphically arrayed. These are essential skills that need to be brought to bear quickly in the direction of a large group portrait.