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About Joe McNally

For the past three decades, photographer Joe McNally has been documenting our times on assignment for publications like LIFE, Time, National Geographic, Sports Illustrated, and many others. Highly regarded as a master of light, both natural and artificial, Joe continues to create stunning imagery all over the world. Much sought after as a photographer, lecturer, and teacher, Joe educates and inspires shooters of all types--pros, hobbyists and beginners--with The Language of Light.

In this DVD set, Joe shares almost 30 years worth of field knowledge, instruction, and philosophy about using light as a powerful tool of visual communication. He fully explores and explains different lighting techniques, and goes well beyond the "how" all the way through the "why," of using light. Small flash, hard light, soft light, light with color, light in the studio, and light on location are all dissected and explained. You see and hear all about the f-stops, shutter speeds, lenses and light shaping tools, and you are taken further into the reasons why a one lighting approach is better than another for certain scenes, faces or groups. All along the way, Joe offers tips, tricks and solutions that can only be gained from 30 years with a camera to your eye. Sit back, relax and enjoy as this legendary shooter takes you on a fast paced, humorous, and always informative journey about how to speak with light.

Summary of Customer Reviews

Customers most agreed on the following attributes:
Informative (13),Easy to understand (10),Good resource (8),Broad range of information (7),Easy to use (7),Entertaining (7),Reliable (5),Reliable research (3)
Best Uses:
Portraits (14),Studio (11),Home (8),Everyday (7),Travel (6),Occasional refresher (5),One time use (3)
Reviewer Profile:
Semi-professional (13),Enthusiast (11),Advanced (9),Professional (3)

Reviews about this item

Review Snapshot®


(based on 38 reviews)


of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars



  • 4 Stars



  • 3 Stars



  • 2 Stars



  • 1 Stars



Most Liked Positive Review


Thank You Joe McNally

I always learn something when I read one of Joe's books or view his dvds or follow his blog. He and David were AWESOME on the FlashBus Tour. This dvd is another solid addition to his catalogue and although focussed a little more on basics this time, it's excellent and I'm utilizing many of his techniques.


Most Liked Negative Review


Should be called Language of nikon TTL

He starts out saying how this course is not brand specific, then proceeds to show only how to use nikon TTL. That would be great if I shot nikon or used TTL for flash. Neither of which apply. If you are looking for a guide to nikon CLS this is the video for you. If not, it is a waste of money like it was for me.

Reviewed by 38 customers


Fine Stuff


from Colorado in summer, Florida in winter.  -  Advanced

I've been a serious shooter since 1953. I did a fair amount of work with lights in the sixties, then went almost exclusively to available light -- mostly street photography. Recently I've been getting back into speedlights in a big way, and Joe's hands-on demos are extremely useful. If you're learning or re-learning artificial lighting you can't afford to be without these disks. Joe knows what he's talking about.


Loads of ideas


from Dallas, TX  -  Advanced

I have followed Joe for years and have learned a lot from him about lighting. I took one of his bus tour courses and this DVD is a great resourse that shows you on location lighting set ups for different situations. It also helps you understand the dynamics of lighting.

(2 of 6 customers found this review helpful)


Should be called Language of nikon TTL


from Greenwood, IN  -  Advanced

He starts out saying how this course is not brand specific, then proceeds to show only how to use nikon TTL. That would be great if I shot nikon or used TTL for flash. Neither of which apply. If you are looking for a guide to nikon CLS this is the video for you. If not, it is a waste of money like it was for me.


HIghly Recommended For Any Lighting Buff


from Seattle, WA  -  Advanced

This DVD set is a great tutorial/reference/inspiration for lighting with Speedlights/Speedlites and with strobes as well. Joe presents everything in an entertaining and easy to follow way. His use of descriptive language is really great and helps you to understand how and why he makes particular choices about lighting. It bears repeat watching as your knowledge and experience grows. For more experienced shooters, I think it works well as inspiration and refresher. I went to his One Light, Two Light tour and didn't pick this up at the time and regretted it until I finally took the plunge on Adorama. Totally worth it.


a very nice learning experince


from san jose calif  -  Advanced

a great refresher


A Great DVD


from Plymouth, England  -  Advanced

I am very happy with the purchase of this DVD. Joe McNally is engaging and very passionate about what he's teaching you. The only negative is that I would like to have more DVD's in my collections made by him. A negative of buying from Adorama & the USA to England is the added cost of import tax I had to pay. DOH.


GREAT instructional DVD. Worth the cash.


from Glenville, NY  -  Advanced

If you are looking for a superb training video on how to use off camera flash units, then this is the DVD for you. Joe is a great teacher and this product is well worth the money. It's also worth checking out David Hobby's Strobist DVD's. Disclaimer: I'm invested in the Nikon CLS system and I attended the Flash Bus tour.

(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)


Joe is the GREATEST !!


from Germany, Munich ( Oktoberfest !! )  -  Intermediate

Not very cheap, but worth every cent. Joe is an entertainig teacher, 1 of his lessons saves you many days of trying. Thx Joe


A Must Read for Photographers


from Wisconsin  -  Advanced

Great read and refernce by one of photography's leading character's at sharing knowledge. McNally's humble approach to teaching is a magnet at drawing people with any sort of interest into photography into enjoying it as a lifetime pursuit whether as a hobby or professional endeavor.

(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)


Professional results with Speedlights


from Keene, New Hampshire  -  Advanced

This is a fantastic video if you are looking to get professional results using Speedlights. Joe is a fantastic teacher, he gives great detail on the setup for each of the shots, and his way of presenting the information keeps you interested. If you are looking to expand your knowledge on lighting this is one of the best resources you can purchase.


Questions & Answers Powered by TurnTo®

Questions about this item:

Shopper  Why Did You Choose This?
Steven S  Attended a Joe McNally seminar in Portland, Oregon and the DVDs are an excellent reference for what I learned at the seminar.
J R  Can I buy the DVD for part 2? I already have Disc 1 and I'm not interested in the download version.
AL B  I am not completely sure if the rules for purchase have changed, but it is my understanding that volume two is only available via download .
Marcelo S  Hello, I wanted to know if the DVD The Language Of Light with Joe McNally comes with subtitles in Spanish? thanks
JOHN M  Hi, I don't think so. I ripped my DVDs and those files do not support Spanish subtitles. I no longer have my original disks. My puppies destroyed them for me.
See more questions and answers

Related Articles & Videos

Product Review: The Language Of Light by Joe McNally

Joe McNally, who toured the United States this Winter and Spring and thrilled thousands on the Adorama-sponsored FlashBus Tour Workshop series, has just come out with a must-have DVD showing his unique spin on lighting.Read More

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