on 27 February 2008
This is a must have book even though there are some shortcomings.
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
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.
on 9 September 2009
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.
on 8 March 2008
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.
on 2 August 2009
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.
on 10 March 2008
... and what a photographer! Joe McNally has a well-deserved reputation as a photographer and is only slightly less well known as a teacher. But for those of us on this side of the pond, attending one of his workshops is, let's face it, financially daunting. No matter. You can buy this book instead!
Here is much photographic wisdom in book form - and (unusually, given the subject matter) a book that can make you laugh out loud and yet teach you at the same time. OK, so some of the shots are ones you'd never get to take yourself as an amateur (hanging out of a helicopter over the Hollywood sign with Michelle Yeoh takes some beating, and as for getting to meet Kermit in the flesh...). But then for others you *can* try and emulate, even if you don't have all of the kit that Joe has available to him. And even if you can't, well, then, as the publisher's own blurb says, this book would look equally good on your coffee table.
This book is written in a very 'chummy' kind of way, which might be appealing to some but to me, I was just left feeling as if not enough development of detail or technical thought had been conveyed by its author. And meanwhile we mere mortals are probably supposed to be somehow impressed by his high flying lifestyle when he speaks of "fun filled days" with Donald trump, who jests: "what are you doing in my limo?" Funny indeed, as much of this book's text is, but I could find a joke book in the bargain bucket if I really needed to as well. And this book is far from such a bucket at the present time.
It mostly seems that the author set out to give a roundabout overview of his life as a successful photographer. And in that respect the book mostly succeeds. I didn't however wish to buy a book just to read about all the nice perks of working at the top of his profession etc., and I really wanted to read more about the technical skills and setups which were all too often briefly mentioned. "One of the world's top shooters" likes to use gels, scotch tape, strobe projectors and Octabank softboxes.
The book also has plenty of highlighted epiphanies which seem quite mundane when removed from their context such as this: "sometimes, when you've got a camera in your hands, you can convince yourself that you're Spider-Man" - page 60"
Wow that must feel great! Like we need to know that. Yawn...
And next time you need to photograph Sophia Loren he advises "Use soft lighting for women of a particular age such as Sophia Loren..." - page 34
I must give her a call sometime then and see if she'll agree to his suggestion!
What grated me the most was finding a picture of three professional mimes and then reading this in the accompanying text:
"My assistant was a 6' 3" cowboy out of Colorado... He came up to me at the camera and whispered, "Hey Joe, if I beat the $#!& out of one of these mimes, do you think he'd say something?" - page 79 Well, if that was supposed to be funny, I don't get it.
So I turned the page to read this, on the very next page, accompanying a picture of a young angelic girl "FYI, I am a bed sheet thief. If i think I need a broad light source, I swipe the bed sheet from the luxurious Motel 6 I might have stayed at that night and stuff it into my gear bag. There's no weight and it takes up no space." -page 80
Enough. I now hope I've given enough reason as to why I found this book to be less than a serious & very helpful photography book. Definitely not recommended as an inspirational photography book, in this reviewer's opinion.
on 4 August 2014
If the overly informal, slangy and hideously jokey style of writing doesn't irk you, the sheer lack of technical and educational information will do. The photographs aren't astounding either in themselves or in the quality of reproduction. Suffice to say, I wouldn't recommend The Moment it Clicks to anyone whatever their interest in photography might be. Very disappointed..!
on 3 February 2009
"The moment it clicks"
I forked out my hard earned cash for this book, which at almost $60/£40 I have to say is a complete rip off! For that kind of money I expect my mind to be on fire with the information held within on how to go that extra 9 yards that makes me stand head and shoulders above other photographers out there.
I want to learn something about the craft when I buy a book that claims it's in some way instructional. Not wonder why 95% of that book was written anecdotally, more concerned about the who or where, and not the all important how! Stories are fine to illustrate a point, but this book is so devoid of useful shooting data or substance to help the avid leaner improve, beyond some Zen like vagaries.
The most substantial thing about this book is the title, ironically it should be "The moment it doesn't click"
It's a waste of paper and your time. AVOID!
on 17 June 2009
I've taken a look at the other reviews, and most of them really like this book, so I had high hopes to learn some 'behind the scenes' from reading it ... which I didn't.
Everything Joe talks about in this book I already knew. It's nice with a photograph on one side and the info on the other ... but stick to the technical stuff and don't try to be funny, I prefer a book that shows me a picture and goes really into detail about the lighting setup, camera settings and even post processing ... that way I can learn from it.
Now you see a nice photograph, but you have no idea how he managed it exactly, you do get some info, but not all of it, so you can't really recreate the same look on your own without filling in the blanks and experimenting a lot.
I'm sure his workshops are nice and interactive, but in my opinion this book isn't as good as a lot of people make it look, sorry.
From the title and the blurb, I'd expected something about how to capture great photos "in the moment". I was intrigued. Instead, what I got was a book with lots of probably useful advice for someone with lots of lighting kit. Some useful advice about other stuff, but mainly about lighting. Be warned.