Jimmy Chin Masterclass Review

Published by: Julia

Adventure photography and filmmaking requires a special skill set, which Jimmy Chin teaches you in his masterclass. He demonstrates how to get those seemingly impossible shots while climbing, trail running, skiing off-piste and taking part in other extreme sports.

This photography masterclass is not just for those who take photos or film of adventure sports. Anyone who is interested in photography will enjoy and benefit greatly from following Jimmy´s advice.

Meet your instructor Jimmy Chin adventure photographer extraordinaire

Jimmy Chin is a world-renowned adventure sports photographer and filmmaker. For the past 15 years, he has been a member of The North Face Athlete Team. He is an accomplished adventure athlete himself which has contributed to him being able to capture some truly amazing shots. He is one of only a few people to ski Mount Everest from the summit. Jimmy made the first ascent of the Shark´s Fin on Meru, in India.

He has won several awards for his films and photography work. So, if you want to learn how to capture the action and spectacular scenery Jimmy´s adventure photography masterclass is definitely for you.

In fact, what Jimmy teaches is applicable regardless of what type of photos or films you want to create.

People who love beautiful wild scenery or watching adventure sports, I am sure, will also enjoy the course. As will anyone who is involved in high octane sports like climbing, snowboarding, skiing, mountain biking, trail running and more besides.

Photography is really a vehicle for life. It is a way for you to explore the world. It’s a process of discovery both internal and external.

Jimmy Chin – Teaches Adventure Photography – Masterclass.com

Jimmy Chin´s on-location and photo study photography videos

One of the best things about taking this masterclass is the fact that Jimmy uses real footage to demonstrate what he is teaching. He calls these videos “on-location” studies. His photo study videos are also very enjoyable to watch for the same reason.

It is a really good way to learn. For a start, these videos are far more interesting than sitting there watching someone speaking to the camera. We are all visual creatures, so when someone shows you something rather than just explaining it you remember much more.

When you take Jimmy´s photography classes, you get to enjoy some spectacular scenery. I watched much of this course using my TV, so was able to watch it in HD on a big screen. Doing so greatly added to my enjoyment of this course.

That is one of the great things about the masterclass platform. As you can see from my full review, they can be watched and enjoyed on all kinds of devices. I´ve used my phone and have enjoyed just listening to the audio, while in bed or traveling.

Jimmy´s photo study and on-location shoots classes provide an insight into how he created some of his iconic photos while working in the following situations:

  • taking photos from the summit of Everest
  • shooting photos while skiing from the summit of Everest
  • taking photos at the top of the antenna on top of the Empire State building
  • completing a commercial shoot for Cannon

An example of a climbing photo-shoot

As you would expect for an avid climber, Jimmy kicks off his course by demonstrating how he handles climbing photoshoots. In this lesson, he climbs with Conrad Anker and Bree Buckley and photographs them, while explaining his techniques to his students.

In this section he covers the following:

  • preparing your equipment for a climbing photography shoot
  • why you need to get the hero shots first and how to do it
  • how to get enough shots
  • adding depth to a shot
  • getting the most out of the available sunlight
  • innovative ways to deal with lighting issues
  • how to accurately assess the type and quality of the light that is available
  • how to communicate clearly with your subject while working in a difficult environment
  • making your subject feel comfortable about being photographed

Jimmy Chin´s lighting awareness exercises for photographers

For the lighting section, Jimmy covers how to identify color temperature, the direction of the light and its quality. He also explains how to create harmony between subject and background.

Throughout his course, using his workbook, Jimmy shares all kinds of tips and provides you with exercises too. So, I strongly suggest that you take the time to download Jimmy Chin´s PDF workbook too. The exercises for the lighting section of the course are especially good.

How to create a narrative for a magazine photoshoot

Jimmy Chin specializes in editorial photography, which means that he knows how to tell a compelling story using pictures. Across two extensive videos, he explains how he approaches working for magazines like National Geographic. He covers the following subjects:

  • coming up with your concept
  • carrying out the necessary research
  • putting together your pitch
  • presenting your pitch effectively
  • capturing the photos you need to adhere to the agreed-upon narrative
  • editing your pictures to ensure that they fit in with the agreed storyline
  • how to work with editors to bring their story to life
  • how to get the most out of your subjects

How to land commercial work as a photographer

As well as being a journalistic photographer, he sometimes works for commercial entities. In this section, he explains the difference between the two types of work. He then goes on to show you how to land clients, get the shots you need and give the company you are working for what they want so that you get paid well.

A commercial adventure-themed photoshoot case study

Jimmy dives deeper into the challenges of doing a commercial photoshoot by providing his students with an inside view of a job he recently undertook for Canon. In this section he shows you how to:

  • vet your team
  • make efficient use of your time
  • capture enough images so that all scenarios are covered
  • how to allocate your resources and stay within your budget
  • how to choose the right equipment for the job

How to manage risk when shooting in dangerous situations

Adventure sports photographers often work in high-risk environments. Jimmy shows you how to identify the dangers and work to manage them. Good planning, knowing your subject well and having taken part in the activity yourself will all help you to ensure that everyone returns home in one piece.

Working with others to create something really special

Creative partnerships push you to develop your skills and produce amazing images. So, you need to learn to work well with others. In the course. using the trip, he took with Conrad Anker to Antarctica as an example he reveals how to get the most out of these partnerships.

You really want to work with people who elevate your game, who really push you.

Jimmy Chin Masterclass.com

Choosing the right gear

Without the right camera, lights and other gear getting good results is impossible. So, it was good to see Jimmy include a gear guide.

I used my all-access pass to complete Annie Lebovitz´s masterclass. For the price of just 2 standalone masterclasses, you get access to the entire catalog of around 80 courses. This enables you to take courses you might otherwise not be able to afford to take.

It was also a good course, but I was surprised that Annie did not talk at all about choosing the right gear. Thankfully, Jimmy does. He devotes two full videos to the subject.

How to get the most out of your camera´s functions

He also provides advice on modes, ISO, functions, and depth of field settings. His tip to set your camera up before you put it in the bag is a good idea. Knowing what the settings are enables you to pull it out and immediately understand what adjustments you need to make. Being prepared like this enables you to work fast and get the shots you would almost certainly miss.

Jimmy, like most professional photographers, has his go-to modes and settings. During this video, he shares what they are and why he uses them. He also briefly covers how and when to shoot manually.

Editing your portraits and other shots

Using a range of photos Jimmy took during the climbing on-location video he made with Conrad he demonstrates how to touch up and edit your images.

Over the years, Jimmy has developed a systematic approach to the editing process. He calls it his 5-star method, which he shares with you during his photography masterclass. But, to benefit fully from it you will need to use Lightroom.

I really liked his detailed approach. For example, he even took the time to explain how he names his files.

How to build a body of work to propel your photography career forward

Producing that body of work doesn´t come easily, there are no shortcuts.

Jimmy Chin Adventure Photography Masterclass

Every photographer has to start somewhere. You need to practice, to build up your skills, grow your creativity and put together a body of work you can use to sell yourself.

Jimmy´s suggestion is to start with an idea and just go out and make it happen. You are not likely to be able to execute it perfectly. However, you will learn a huge amount simply by taking action. Pushing yourself to act rather than just think and plan enables you to develop your problem-solving skills and will spark even more ideas.

Resources to help would-be professional photographers to become successful

As well as exercises, Jimmy provides other kinds of resources. Mainly in the form of additional sources of information. For example, a link to an in-depth article that shows you how to relax your subject enough to enable you to produce great photographs.

Finding your voice as a photographer

Like most things, if you want to become an exceptional adventure photographer, you need to practice. The more you do, the more you will learn.

Jimmy encourages his students to be true to themselves and experiment. To try photographing different things. This makes it easier to find your voice and tap into your creative flair.

All-in-all this is a good course. It will not teach you absolutely everything you need to know about taking photographs. Rather, Jimmy provides the broad brushstrokes of how to approach becoming a good adventure photographer.

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