Monday, March 24, 2008

REVIEW: The Moment it Clicks

After seeing recommendations from Scott Kelby (The Digital Photography book) and David Hobby (of strobist fame) to read Joe McNally's The Moment it Clicks, I figured I had to check it out.

When I started reading this book I discovered a couple of things. First was that Scott and Joe are great friends, so that meant that Scott's recommendation was very biased. It also seems that Joe, Scott and David are all a bit friendly with each other too, so I started to think I might have been tricked into getting this book. Sure, the pictures were nice, but did I do the right thing?

The next thing I noticed was that Joe uses a lot of jargon and the book lacks any useful configuration guides or equipment lists. This made me start to not like the book at first, but I kept reading it because it had some really cool pictures. The more I read it, the more I liked it and then I began to love it.

I think one thing I liked about this book is that you discover a famous guy like Joe is really photographer who makes mistakes just like the rest of us. The difference between us and Joe is that he's got years of experience, tons of shots, and had some great opportunities that he fought hard to get. You also discover that many times, he was just flat out lucky. Joe has talent for sure, but he's not some photography god who never makes mistakes. In fact, he'd argue that me makes a lot of them, but sometimes the mistakes teach you something and make you better.

In the end I really enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend it. I learned the value of using gels on a flash, despite all of the cool post-processing we can do with Photoshop. I also discovered that if you really want to get killer shots, you need a Elinchrom Octabank!

If you pay attention, Joe does share some gear recommendations and some lighting placement suggestions that are helpful to know. He also has some entertaining stories and fantastic pictures. As others have mentioned, it makes a great read plus a great coffee table book too.

In the end, I really enjoyed this book and plan to refer to it from time to time. If you are new to photography then it is too early to read this book, so go read Scott Kelby's The Digital Photography book. If you aren't a master of everything except for light already, then this book will not provide much value to you beyond being a great coffee table book.

Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced Value: Very Good Recommendation: Nice to have, but not a must own

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