on January 24, 2012
Joe McNally became one of my favourite authors/photographers when I first read The Hot Show Diaries. That book was so great that I had to pick up a copy of his other book, The Moment It Clicks. I was then waiting in agony for months for Sketching Light to be released as the date kept getting pushed back. When I finally got my copy I was not disappointed. I've been to a workshop with Joe and he definitely practices what he preaches. Reading his books makes it feel like you're sitting in a room having a conversation with him (or rather that you're in the field somewhere and he's moving around describing the shape of some light source). If you're interested in portraiture or flash photography then this book is for you. If you're considering it then Joe will make you a convert. If you have either of the other two books I've mentioned then this book is for you, too. It's nice how, right near the beginning, Joe defends his criticisms that he uses too many flashes by pointing out the photos in all three books that are done with just 1 or 2 hot shoe flashes but in a creative manner. Besides, this is a book of ideas and examples, not a "how to." Joe, himself, writes how the settings he used to obtain the pictures in the book will likely not be the same the night time he tries to take the same photo. Other books may show you the basics of photography; Joe's books will take you from the basics and help you find your creative side to create some amazing, well-lit, photographs. NOTE: This book is not for beginners because Joe does not really go over the basics of photography - he assumes you already have a grasp on those concepts. If the person who this book is for is brand new to photography, then I suggest another, beginner, book to go along with this one.
on January 11, 2012
This is a very good book, Joe Mcnally reveals the way he takes the photos with little sketchs... it's like you're in a little coffee shop taking a good coffee and you have a conversation with him about how he takes his pictures, I love it, he is a very funny guy. A lot of pleasure to read and I learned a lot of things. Sorry for my english
Save the Planet, the only one with Joe Mcnally.
Mario Plouffe, Montreal
on June 9, 2014
As you can tell from the other reviews, this is a well-liked book. I’ve been into photography for a little over a year and have spent a lot of time learning the basics and building on the foundations of light. If you don’t yet have a good grasp on exposure and understanding the balance between shutter speed, aperture, and ISO, then this book might be too advanced. McNally assumes the reader is beyond those fundamentals and rarely goes into those details of his projects. This keeps the book moving along really well and gives it a conversational feel. It’s a fun read with a lot of great information.
on January 23, 2012
I've been taking pictures since the Kodak Brownie days with wire filled light bulbs in a shiny dish for a flash. I tell you that because I want you to know I'm not some newbie to photography. But I sure have learned some great stuff from this volume.
Joe McNally's books are almost as good as being allowed to tag along on a shoot.
Joe has a readily identifiable and distinctive style that is often copied. The difference that makes his pictures "pop" is his attention to detail and willingness to "go the extra mile" to shape the light to his satisfaction. He goes on long after most of us would say "good enough!" The actual taking of the picture is almost anticlimatic!
Now that I've gushed all over Joe, I want to say that I don't always like his work. Sometimes it's just too over the top for my taste. But that's ME.
And that is a point that Joe makes over and over in "Sketching Light" - there's a thousand ways to shoot a subject, some are obviously better than others, but it's what "grabs" YOU that counts. Appreciation for the final result is highly subjective and won't often satisfy all tastes.
If you call yourself a photographer and haven't read and absorbed the mountain of hard won experience Joe has shared in this book, you're missing something. You may even know something about everything he illustrates and explains, but somehow you finish reading with a greater understanding of the art.
on April 23, 2013
Joe McNally's got a career's worth of experience, and he shares it in this most-recent book. He's got an unpolished style of writing that I really like - and shares the 'learning experience', not just the 'well, here's how you do it, newbie" bestowing of wisdom upon the unwashed masses that sometimes passes for photography books.
I'd review them in more detail - but I loaned out all my Joe McNally books (this is my favourite, "The Moment it Clicks" is #2, with "Hot Shoe Diaries" being #3) and haven't gotten them back for months - apparently the person I loaned them to likes them, too :-)
on April 3, 2012
Joe McNallys Sketching Light, is my favorite photography related book I have read in recent memory.
Joe definitely walks you through each photo's lighting setup, and explains why he made the choices he did.
But where this book really shines, is that he still is able to keep it an entertaining read. It's not a dry technical manual.
Its more of interesting storytelling of a wide variety of Joe's shoots.
Definitely a great book and the price here on Amazon.ca was way better then anywhere else.
Super happy with the book and the price and speed of delivery from amazon.ca - 5 stars