The first session of the day on the Pink Stream at GPPLondon was with Joe McNally. ( See blog post about the welcome and sponsors. )

Joe McNally is 61 years old.

Soak that in for a second. I don’t usually fixate on age – I’m more after experience. But in Joe’s case WHOA! He doesn’t look anywhere close to 61. I’d have guessed maybe 48-52. Wow.

He’s worked on all manner of assignments, all over the world with all manner of leading publications. National Geographic, Life Magazine… innumerable others.

Joe’s session, as decribed on the GPPLondon website was about, “A fast paced, interactive live demo session (with ongoing Q&A) covering creative portrait lighting from the most simple to the more advanced using one, two and three lights and wide array of light shaping tools. Learn how to manage and balance light, and consistently reproduce results.” Find Joe on Twitter as @joemcnallyphoto.

He spoke about how, as a photographer, we must always be seeking the next level and that photography is never just about the gear. He gave an example of the image of his feet and the ground under it from the top of the Burj, Dubai. He posted it to his Instagram account and it quickly became one of his most viewed images!

He said that better technology in photography combined with mediocre skill level is just crap but in bigger pixels! Client’s don’t care about technology – they care about the end product – a great image.

Joe talked about “style” and said he doesn’t have a “style of photography” and that it didn’t have to THE unifying force in a photographer’s career / portfolio.

To make better images, he advised “Influence the quality of light”. One of the examples he cited for this was zooming the flash while lighting your image.

He experimented with zooming his lens, handheld for this image, while on the scene at GPPLondon.

Your photographs should provide context – emotionally, pictorially and information about the suject / scene.

Move our subject relative to the light instead of always moving the light – take away the need for an assistant.

To produce artificial daylight, put speedlights farther away from your subject. [ Find Joe on Facebook. ]

Ramble through possibilities.