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B&H Photography Podcast

The B&H Photography Podcast, a weekly conversation about all things photography. With insightful and entertaining guests, we discuss the issues most important to the contemporary photographer.

Jan 13, 2022

The B&H Photography Podcast is kicking off the new year hot. For our first episode of 2022, we welcome photographer Joe McNally to discuss his career, his working methods, and his exciting new book, The Real Deal: Field Notes from the Life of a Working Photographer.


Joe McNally is known to many as a “photographer’s photographer,” skilled in many genres and able to work across the lines of photojournalism, long-form photo essays, portraiture, sports, dance, and even fashion photography. He has worked for National Geographic, Time, LIFE, and Sports Illustrated, and his commercial clients include FedEx, Adidas, Epson, and many more. He is also a Nikon and Capture One ambassador, a World Press Photo Award winner, and an Alfred Eisenstaedt Award recipient, but as he mentions in our conversation, he started at the New York Daily News as a copyboy, “the wretched dog of the newsroom.”


Our conversation is easygoing, and we talk with McNally about the beginning of his career and early assignments. We discuss the evolution of photo technology (he shot the first “all-digital” story for National Geographic), and there is much to be gleaned about lighting, gear choices, and custom camera settings. We also talk about self-confidence, research, big budgets, and general thoughts on how to succeed in the ever-changing photo business. McNally also spins a few tales about his more adventurous assignments and the risks and rewards that come from them.


In his new book, The Real Deal, McNally candidly shares stories, lessons, and insights he has collected along the way. This is not a dedicated how-to book, nor is it a navel-gazing look back at “the good old days,” because those never really existed anyway. This book is as welcomed and as enjoyable as our conversation. Join us.


Guest: Joe McNally

Photograph © Joe McNally