Book Review – The Moment It Clicks by Joe McNally
Let me confess! “This is the first book on the subject of Photography that I have ever read completely“. I am glad that I did.
The Moment It Clicks is an awesome book which will take you in the mind of the Writer/Photographer Joe McNally.
Recommendation: Must Buy!!
If you don’t want to take my word for it then head over to the review below.
The Mundane Stuff
First, let me start with the mundane, which, in essence, is pretty exciting. (You may skip this section entirely, if you want to)
This book ranked #19 among the Best Selling books on amazon under the “Lighting” sub-category of Arts and Photography, back in 2008. Published in February 2008, it’s a 256 page book by the Joe McNally. With a career of over 30 years, Joe has done shooting for Life,People, Sports Illustrated, National Geographic… enough said. He is one of the top Photographers as the sub-title of the book suggests: “Photography secrets from one of the world’s top shooters- Voices That Matter”.
The Exciting Stuff
The Moment It Clicks can be a Coffee Table Book, an inspirational book, a handbook for amateurs and pro, a field guide or a workbook. The moment it click can be all of them together!!. To summarize; this book is the experience of events in the continuum of Photography by Joe McNally.
Structure of the Book
The book is structured in double truck form. It is divided into four seemingly unrelated chapters and Appendices, where you will find:
- An image.
- A Story behind the image, what went into Joe’s mind, planning behind shoot, time constraints, what went wrong etc.
- A statement that encapsulates the learning from the experience or something related to the situation at hand or something that has happened in his past.
- A point/ tip in the bottom right or top left corner of the page.
- How (usually general guideline) you can shoot such an image.
There is also a section called the Bar is Open where Joe tells the interesting stories of certain shoots. You’ll have to read those to believe the story behind some of the great shots.
Style of the Book
The editor of The Moment It Clicks is Scott Kelby. The book is written easy to understand story-telling style. It is a dialogue between Joe McNally and the reader, where Joe talks to the reader; he writes something, then asks questions on the readers’ behalf and then answers those questions succinctly.
You can pick any of Joe’s mantras to shape up your photography. Directly from The Moment It Clicks.
- “You gotta be lose like a boxer- you have to bob and weave, slip and slide, the world doesn’t stay still. We can’t either”.
- “Your light could become unpredictable. That’s a good thing. Predictable is not your lighting wants to be”.
- “If you want something to look interesting, don’t light all of it”
There are many more like this each with an explanation on how to… ; a photograph; and the planning behind the photograph !!
The Negative of the Book
The not so interesting part of the book is the Joe’s camera bag. I felt that camera bag was not required. A complete gear list that you’ll be overwhelmed by it. A total of 80 pieces of equipment!! Honestly, you don’t need it in the book especially when Joe has mentioned about the gear in the stories. I say waste of real estate of the book.
You can skip the gear list and and you won’t miss a beat of this excellent experience rich book.
Who can buy this book.
Aspiring photographers with a basic understanding of the camera and off camera lighting. This book won’t talk about F stops, shutter speed etc. you will be directly taken into the world (read head) of Joe McNally. This means that this book does not teach you the absolute fundamentals of image making and assumes that you are an intermediate to advanced photographer who knows what a DSLR/flash is.
I strongly suggest you to buy the book and read it. The Moment It Clicks is totally worth the price.