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The Moment it Clicks: Photography Secrets from One of the World's Top Shooters Paperback – 23 Jan 2008

3.9 out of 5 stars 51 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: New Riders; 1 edition (23 Jan. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321544080
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321544087
  • Product Dimensions: 22.6 x 1.8 x 22.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 338,001 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

From the Back Cover

THE FIRST BOOK WITH ONE FOOT ON THE COFFEE TABLE, AND ONE FOOT IN THE
CLASSROOM
Joe McNally, one of the world’s top pro digital photographers, whose celebrated work has graced the pages of Sports Illustrated, Time, and National Geographic (to name a few), breaks new ground by doing something no photography book has ever done―blending the rich, stunning images and elegant layout of a coffee-table book with the invaluable training, no-nonsense insights, and photography secrets usually found only in those rare, best-of-breed educational books.

When Joe’s not on assignment for the biggest-name magazines and Fortune 500 clients, he’s in the classroom teaching location lighting, environmental portraiture, and how to “get the shot” at workshops around the world. These on-location workshops are usually reserved for a handful of photographers each year, but now you can learn the same techniques that Joe shares in his seminars and lectures in a book that brings Joe’s sessions to life.

What makes the book so unique is the “triangle of learning” where (1) Joe distills the concept down to one brief sentence. It usually starts with something like, “An editor at National Geographic once told me…” and then he shares one of those hard-earned tricks of the trade that you only get from spending a lifetime behind the lens. Then, (2) on the facing page is one of Joe’s brilliant images that perfectly illustrates the technique (you’ll recognize many of his photos from magazine covers). And (3) you get the inside story of how that shot was taken, including which equipment he used (lens, f/stop, lighting, accessories, etc.), along with the challenges that type of project brings, and how to set up a shot like that of your own.

This book also gives you something more. It inspires. It challenges. It informs. But perhaps most importantly, it will help you understand photography and the art of making great photos at a level you never thought possible. This book is packed with those “Ah ha!” moments―those clever insights that make it all come together for you. It brings you that wonderful moment when it suddenly all makes sense―that “moment it clicks.”

About the Author

Joe McNally is an internationally acclaimed photographer, whose career has spanned 30 years and included assignments in over 50 countries. Although the majority of his career has been spent shooting for magazines such as Time, Sports Illustrated, and National Geographic, in the mid-1990s Joe served as Life magazine’s staff photographer, the first one in 23 years. He also has shot commercial assignments for Target, Nikon, and Sony, to name a few. Joe is a recipient of the Alfred Eisenstaedt Award and has been honored by Pictures of the Year International, World Press Photo, The Art Directors Club, American Photo, Communication Arts, and Graphis. He conducts numerous workshops around the world as part of his teaching activities. One of Joe’s most notable projects, Faces of Ground Zero ― Giant Polaroid Collection, has become known as one of the most significant artistic responses to the tragedy at the World Trade Center.


Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I agree that this book has been over-hyped. I found it rather tedious to get through, although there were some rare snippets which were well presented. This book was really aimed at the Mcnally fan club and those who know him well. From the perspective of a wider audience, it fails and is a fairly flat, and over many pages, a dull read. This book tried to be somewhere between the Scot Kelby type of book (bread and butter tips and very readable) and those trying to inspire photographers to have a better 'eye'. McNally doesn't do either very well. Whilst he may articulate himself well with the camera, he is not able to do so with the written word. His style of story telling is more suited to a bar room chat where a degree of familiarity is inherent - but to a larger reader-base it lack readibility.
One third of the way into reading this book I had my own 'Moment it Clicked' -when I realised the rest of it would not get any better and that I would have to trudge through the rest of his tedious stories without feeling that I had connected with his images or that it was going to improve my photography. Overall - this book was overpriced. It is not suitable for any coffee table - I cannot see myself referring to this again and so will probably 'gift' it to someone.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There are plenty of books that follow a similar format to this. A picture, an anecdote and some information about how the image was taken. Micheal Grecco's Lighting and the Dramatic Portrait is a good example of this style of book. Those of you expecting detailed recipe's with lighting diagrams will be disapointed, the technical information is light but gets to the heart photo. This is by no means a criticism, The Moment it Clicks is absolutely jam packed with great photos, entertaining anecdotes and pithy quotes.

Joe's writes as though he's sitting next to you in a bar, talking in a what I assume is a New York accent, there's even a chapter dedicated to bar talk. Unfortunately, I'm unable to do accents when I'm reading to myself, so it comes across to me like Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins, but no matter, every page jumps out at you, and a lot of the insight he dishes out, will stick with you for life. The pictures, as Joe would say, are all shot with available light, any &*%%@^ light thats available, so there's plenty to excite strobists and strobophobes alike.

Did I mention that this book was packed? I have never seen a book of this style so packed with material. I was about half way through the 240 pages and thinking that this was incredibly generous, I would have been satisfied with half the amount of content.

The geardos among you will drool over the photos and lists of Joe's kit, which get a full four pages towards the end of the book and there is a colourful glossary of terms full of explanations of photographic terms and slang, as well as footnotes on the pages where the terms are used.

Highly recommended
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Format: Paperback
I can understand why some people don't like the style or content for this book, and it isn't one for experts (or probably for people just starting out in photography). But I would recommended it for enthusiasts who already know a fair amount about using their camera and want to develop themselves.

It is great for inspiration, and for examples of how to come up with unusual ideas, compositions and techniques when you have limited time etc. You probably won't find yourself in the same situations as the author (if you do, you will be a pro photographer and don't need to read the book!)... but the concept of coming up with original photographs applies to everyone.

It is mainly about people photography, and quite a lot of it is about how to get people to relax, act natural and pose in the way you want. But it is also about how to use light, and that applies to all photographs.

So to sum up, I'd say that if you are interested developing yourelf in any kind of people photography (not just formal portraits, but also more reportage style) then definitely get it. If (like me) you prefer other types of photography but need to stimulate your creativity, it is also definitely worth checking out.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
this from my dead body before I'd let this walk away.

From one of the worlds most sought after and accomplished photographers comes an instruction book that is revealing as a 'How to' book and shows just how dedicated a photographer is or needs to be to set them apart from all the wannabes.

Even though I say so myself, this was a superb buy by me - well done Paul!

Seriously, this book is a wonderful read.
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Format: Paperback
This is a must have book even though there are some shortcomings.

The great
The photos are amazing, the text is snappy and interesting, and is written in a way that lets you dive in selectively.
A must have if you like photo journalism photography, and want to break into this arena.
The book doesn't hold your hand technically, rather concentrates on some of the concepts on dealt with in other books.

The not so great
My main bugbear about this book is the print quality of the photos. These are amazing photos, but the quality they are printed here is disappointing. The prints are good enough for a technical book which this ultimately is, but not up to art book quality (or that of National Geographic from where some of the images are from). Seeing as some of the hype around this book is that it is a coffee-table book, as well as a technical manual I though it was worth pointing out. I would have happily paid an extra £15 for high quality prints.
Some lighting diagrams would have been helpful in places.
That hand-writing font used in places (personal peeve) looks atrocious

Conclusion
It's amazing for what it is: A book of tips and great inspiration from one of the world's best photo journalist.
The tips are not that in depth and a lot of the time you are going to have to fill in the gaps in the technical information yourself. I liked this as it made me think and the book wasn't holding my hand all the way through.
As there is really anything else like it out there is it a must have, beginners will find it useful but will need to find technical information to support the book else where; more advanced photographers will love it.
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