This Wednesday, July 17th from 12 – 1:30 PM ET we’ll be doing an AMA (Ask Me Anything) on Twitter with award-winning photographer and PhotoShelter member Joe McNally. We hope you’ll pick his brain about business tips, workshops, behind-the-scenes stories and more.
Tweet @photoshelter for a chance to be featured in the AMA. Don’t have a Twitter? Feel free to comment on this post and we’ll get them in the mix, too.
To provide a little inspiration we asked Joe a few questions of our own last week:
What’s the best lighting tip you’ve learned over the years?
If I go into a room that I have to light, I turn off all the existing lights first. I feel it’s important to have a room, or space, “speak” to me first before I try to light it. Another tip. A tactic I often espouse is put your lights where the existing light is coming from anyway. In other words, make your light look like you are creating what belongs there naturally.
How do you define success and/or progress in this job or in this industry?
Now there is so much visual competition for eyeballs. If I can get someone to stop on a page and tilt their head and get them to think just for a second, then I’ve done my job as a visual storyteller. I grew up as a generalist and have benefited from being that, but in today’s market, having a signature style is probably more paramount than it was. Even if it’s not good, style can connect you to the marketplace.
How has your craft and/or style changed since you first started shooting? What has been the biggest industry change that’s impacted your work?
Digital technology. It allows me a different approach to a story. The first all-digital story for the National Geographic was my story on Aviation. I was able to be in a tactical aircraft and continue to shoot without changing out film! And had the freedom to change ISO without changing film. Digital has been a huge change – for good and for bad. The photographer became the darkroom. The photographer became responsible for edited delivery of pix, good and bad. The simplicity of assigning. You no longer have to go to an office as a staff member and get the job. Get it on email, shoot it, go back to your computer and send it. Never go to the office. Good and bad. Technology is great and still raging, but the photographer has had to assume enormous burdens, both artistically, financially and in terms of speed of reaction to the marketplace.
What is the one piece of business advice you wish you’d known when you were first starting out?
You have to have a good plan for your archive. Don’t surrender everything to a client and fight for some measure or rights.
Need more inspiration? Check out Joe’s work here and be sure to submit your own questions Wednesday on Twitter!