[BTS Video] Joe McNally's Epson Photograph Is A Circus In The Air

Most people know Joe McNally for his photojournalism or his editorial work. Others know him as the author of some of the best photography books on lighting. But Joe "numnuts" McNally is also one heck of an advertising photographer too. Recently Joe photographed the Anti-Gravity Dancers in an ad campaign for Epson's new R3000 printers. By using huge Octobanks and powerful gridded rim lights, McNally and his team were able to create some dramatic portraits of the dancers flipping and soaring above the New York City skyline. Check out the final ad below and then head over to Joe McNally's Blog to view a ton of images throughout the day. This shoot looks like a ton of fun and has my wheels turning a bit!

Log in or register to post comments


My question is how do you normally get 7" octabanks above your subjects EASILY when they are jumping 15 feet in the air?  That's a mighty C Stand you need!

Patrick Hall's picture

Wow lots of hate on this post yet no comments? What do you guys think?

As a BTS it's pretty uneducational and uninsightful (is that a word?). The pictures made me feel something like this -> http://goo.gl/AnrP7 <- at best. Nothing out of the ordinary, really.

There was to much blur in the legs the needed the flash duration to be shorter everything else looks pretty good. 

So the final shot that was for the ad... wasn't taken by joe LOL :)

In some pictures the BG looks so underexposed that maybe could be done in studio and merged in post, not needed  to put the circus on rooftop. Just my opinion.

"Post", "post" and "post" all i hear from photographpers today.. Do it while you shoot. 

There is something called budget limitation sometimes...

Not really when the Client is Epson.... and the end photo use is a BTS type photo ... so that done in Post would be a fail... IMO

Alex's picture

and why would anyone hire Joe McNally if budget is limited?

For me it just doesn't feel right when you light up the subjects with a load of powerful flash heads against a flat dull background, it would work better if the jumpers were slightly desaturated but I guess the ad company wouldn't want that as the client is a printer manufacturer wanting some vivid colors.

In this shot http://fstoppers.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Joe-Mcnally-epson-printe... the guy on the wall looks overweight due to the curved shadow on his belly caused by one of the rim lights and his posture.

Patrick Hall's picture

yeah I'm not sure what I would do.  Ideally you would have backlight on the NYC skyline and you could always do it in post if you didn't have that light on the day of the shoot.  

Seeing shots like this remind me how much a graphic designer can really your photos and ad campaign to the next level.  I guess in the end though, this ad was meant to sell the printer to photographers of which most of them would find this really impressive and have huge respect for McNally.  

I'm more impressed by the jumping and flipping on those crazy stilt shoes.

a lot of heavy and expensive equipment, a big team, a really cool location, cool and interesting models -> bad and boring pictures with ugly light

Anthony Luke's picture

Bad lighting. He just throws a bunch of lights up with no thought to the overall look and feel. No finess at all. There are so many amazing shooters out there. Joe is just a McPhotographer. Check out these shooters:
or anybody on this list can blow Joe out of the water:

Learn from the best people! not from a web famous photographer who is trying to sell you stuff.

Ok lets be real here for a second, Joe McNally is a very seasoned
shooter, he's not just throwing lights randomly around, and his flash
duration is exactly what he wants it to be. To talk about what is
technically wrong with the shoot wouldn't do any good because everything
he did was intentional. It all comes down to taste and what this shoot set out to accomplish, which is to show a cool light set up with highly saturated colors in order to sell high end printers to photographers. Which I think he accomplished nicely.

No one wants to comment on the fact that he's using Profoto gear?