"We make pictures. At the end of the day, we create something potentially significant that did not exist at the beginning of the day. We go forward, despite the uncertainty. Because this is an act of love and passion, which defies reason and prudence."
~ Joe McNally
Just by viewing a brochure, you can tell what a workshop with Joe McNally is going to entail. What the brochure can’t tell you, though, is Joe’s love and passion for what he does is genuine. Nor can it illustrate the natural fluidity of Joe McNally, Cali, and Jon working together as a team, or RC Concepcion’s talent and natural ability to teach, and his lovely wife Jenn’s genuine interest in everyone’s success. All together they created a phenomenal learning atmosphere.
This workshop started with a single speed light - lighting scenarios and finished with an extravagant staged scene with 7-10 speed lights (flashes). Each morning from 9-12, we reviewed the previous days work, discussed lighting scenarios at length, and listened to Joe talk about the lighting and the wonderful stories behind his images. Joe could have been an impersonator, as each day he broke out into different characters and accents as he shared his journey as a photographer. We broke everyday from 12-3, allowing the participants to enjoy the surroundings before our afternoon sessions from 3-6:30. RC walked us through basic retouching, giving us all a guide of where to start. He took us into Photoshop and demystified it, eventually finishing up the week by taking us though the process of capturing an HDR image and post-processing it.
I had taken previous pre-con workshops from Joe & RC at Photoshop World, so I was familiar with their work, passion, and style of teaching. I was more concerned about what the group would be like. I think we were all a little awkward on the first day, but by the second day we were all finding our groove. By the end of the week, we were all friends, sharing contact details and planning to meet up in the future.
Aside from the quality of the workshop itself, the location of this one was perfect. Jade Mountain & Anse Chastanet could not be a more perfect place to capture the true beauty and warmth of the people of St. Lucia.
The location also made it a perfect trip for significant others, too. My husband enjoyed a much needed vacation full of relaxing, scuba diving, and talking with the locals about the ocean. One of the highlights of his trip was meeting Victor the “Human Submarine,” who is actually in the Guinness Book of World Records for spending the most time under water—a total of 6+ years. Joe & RC made sure the experience was great for our partners, too, by including them in what we were doing and showing them behind the scenes.
So was this workshop worth the investment? Absolutely! Would I do another? Most definitely! I had the time of my life learning and spending time with some truly special people in a breathtaking environment. Even the pictures I took that didn't work are valuable to me because they were learning experiences that I now understand.
At the end of the day, I was able to share the experience with the love of my life and walk away with some amazing images, and I would recommend any budding photographer to take part in a Joe McNally or RC Concepcion workshop. You will come away re-energized in your quest for your next picture.