The Hot Shoe Diaries – a brief review

411m0fyciol_sl160_It’s times like this that almost make me wish I were a Nikon shooter.


But seriously – I’m going to go out on a limb, and say that if you shoot or are planning on shooting CLS – this book is your bible. No joke. I doubt there are many photographers on the planet using CLS to better effet than Joe McNally – and this book gives you a front row seat inside his head, breaking down each shot, each though process and each lighting decision so by the end you are left going “oh yeah, that makes total sense”.

remember the old Bo Jackson slogan from the late ’80s “Bo knows Football”?
well this is “Joe knows CLS”. For realz.

The book starts out with a brief discussion on “The Gear”, what Joe uses and why. Good stuff. Joe also talks about why he uses CLS – next time you hear a PhotoSnob opining on why TTL flash is for losers, or how it limits creativity – smile and hand them a copy of this book. Pretty hard to call Joe McNally Un-creative…

But the real meat of the book is, well, the rest of it – starting with one light setups, then moving on to two and more, Joe gives a blow-by-blow, play-by-play account of the creation of some of his most striking images. From concept to setup to trial and error lighting schemes, Joe walks you through his head as he creates the light for all kinds of awesome shots. Talking about both How and Why, he takes you inside the setup of some absolutely fantastic shots and how they are lit.   Each short chapter deals with a particular assignment, a particular shot.  From positions to modifiers, Joe breaks it all down.

In case it isn’t obvious, I am loving this book.  Even as a Canon shooter, it’s still worth a read just to get inside the head out of a creative person like Joe (and most of the CLS stuff is translate-able to ETTL)   I almost consider it a reference book – think about it as a “lighting setup library”  – a cornucopia of ideas & light to build on for all of us n00bs.

In short, get it.  Srsly.


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