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Insight: Joe McNally's Tips on Creativity; Dan Milnor on Storytelling with Pictures

By David Schonauer   Monday September 9, 2019


Being a photographer isn’t always amazing.

Sometimes, notes photographer Joe McNally in a recent video interview with Advancing Your Photography’s Marc Silber, “despondency creeps in.”

Photography, says McNally, can be hard, even overwhelming. “One thing I find is hand is to be comfortable with uncertainty,” he adds. He speaks from experience.

“I have been comfortable with a certain level — sometimes a major level — of uncertainty for the better part of 40 years,” he notes. “You have to get used to the fact that you don’t know where your next check is coming from, that you don’t know what you’ll be doing next month; you don’t know whether January will be busy, or if things will go dead in the summer. You have to plan ahead. Now, especially, you have to be proactive.”

In the interview, which we feature below, McNally offers insights on creativity, which is connected with self-confidence, which in turn is something that must be nurtured in a profession rife with uncertainty.

As a mantra, McNally suggests a familiar but useful adage — “when one door closes, another opens.”


As McNally notes, uncertainty can be the engine of creativity. “When things are at their worst, that is oftentimes the opportunity, or the necessity, that is incumbent on you to be at your most aggressive,” he says.

Another video from Advancing Your Photography features photographer Daniel Milnor, who offers advice on telling stories with pictures.

There’s a difference between making pictures and telling stories with a camera, says Milnor. “A portfolio is basically your best images, but it may not tell a story at all. Telling a story requires you to do some things photographically that sometime people aren’t prepared to do,” he says. “Namely, that’s showing images that might not be aesthetically perfect.”

Milnor also talks about process — why and when he shoots with film, what cameras he uses, and how he edits his images.
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At top: From Joe McNally's AYP Video

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