Photographing Dance, a learning journey and then meet the artist – Joe McNally

“Who dares to teach must never cease to learn.” – John Cotton Dana


So the metadata tells me I was at F4, 180 of a second, and 3200 ISO. Seems about right. No other way to capture any kind of detail on stage with the lighting level that was up there. It’s a dance (pardon the pun) that you partake in when lighting the stage. I know cause thats normally the hat I wear. You aren’t lighting it for the camera per say for most events, but for the viewer. In this case, the viewer being a few hundred proud parents.

Of course, I was one of them.

I still would have loved a little more light though. A few SB910’s hung on the first electric would have been nice 🙂

To really freeze action with the existing light though, I  to would have to be way up in the 1/1000th of a second range at about at least F 5.6, but I was already cranking the ISO. As is stands, from about 100 feet away at about 80MM to capture the entire stage, I am REALLY cropped in here. Oh yeah, I should mention the best part. I was snapping frames left and right from a pocket wizard that I was holding with one hand backstage while the other hand was jugging between clicking reaction shots in the wings and group portraits backstage just outside the dressing rooms. I must have looked like a crazy person!

All that being said, its not too bad I guess.

More about the process after I get through the processing.

As always, I’ll share what I learned 🙂


Of course, if you can harness the light, place a few flashes here and there, and have control of your subject, there is no better artist to learn from than Joe.

Meet the Artist – Joe McNally

I had the pleasure of attending a great workshop a couple of years ago with this amazing man. He is not only a master of the flash, a brilliant teacher an incredible story teller and artist with the lens, but he is a REALLY funny author as well.

His work is all over the place, but just in case you haven’t heard of him, here is a great video of some of his dance work.

Now THIS is how it’s done!

Lots to learn…….

Joe McNally Dance Portfolio from Joe McNally Photography on Vimeo.


A few places to follow the art, passion, and teaching of Joe McNally

Joe’s Website

Joe’s Adorama “about the image” sessions

Joe’s Vimeo Channel

Joe on Instagram

Joe on Twitter

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