The Moment it Clicks - Photography Book Review

The Moment it Clicks - Photography Book Review The Moment it Clicks is written by Joe McNally. Joe is a renowned magazine photographer. He has had his work published in a wide range of famous magazines and spent five year's as Life Magazine's staff photographer.

Joe's work is extremely varied and he clearly has a wide range of experience. He has worked in extreme conditions and is no stranger to deadline pressure.

This book works though a large number of Joe's photographs and provides information about the set up and thought processes that went into creating each shot.

Who is the Book For?

On the whole I would say this book is aimed at the more serious photographer. The ideal reader is probably someone who is looking for fresh ideas and inspiration. I'm not sure how much you will learn in technical terms, even though there are plenty of technical and composition tips thrown in along the way. A lot of the tips are advanced.

Even if you are not an experienced photographer you may well find this book of interest as it may help to give you creative ideas that you may wish to incorporate into your own style.


The layout the book is based around a full page photo with a page of text opposite it to give background and technical details about the photo.

I really enjoyed reading the text. Joe has a wry sense of humour and there are anecdotes throughout the book that are funny as well as providing plenty of tips.


The Moment it Clicks is split into four main chapters. These are Shoot What You Love, Keep Your Eye in the Camera, The Logic of Light and Theirs is Always Something to Bounce Light Off Of. To be honest I didn't find a great deal of difference between these four sections. They all work in a roughly similar way.

Joe also includes short sections on Lighting Tips, his Camera Bag and his Grip and Lighting Gear.

Aside from a glossary and index the book is rounded off with a section entitled The Barroom. This section runs in a similar way to the earlier four chapters with Joe talking you through a series of photographs.

The book runs to 250 pages.

What I Really Liked

I liked Joe's writing style and humour. He has a lot of stories to tell and tells them in an amusing way, There is plenty of useful information included in the stories, but you need to dig a little to pull this out for your own use.

Where It Could Be Better

Many photo books have a clearly defined audience and a level of expertise the book is aimed at. I don't feel that is quite the case here.


The Moment it Clicks The enjoyment I got from this book revolved more around looking at the photographs and reading the narrative than learning lots of new composition ideas. You may get most from the book if you are looking for inspiration and are prepared to think very deeply about the photographs and how you can apply the concepts covered to your own photography.

This was not a book that I found myself reading from cover to cover, but one that I would flip through to find areas of interest and then read pages around them. If you are ever feeling short of inspiration I can see The Moment it Clicks being a useful reference book to dip into and freshen up your thoughts.

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