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FAST CLASS: The Outdoor Photography Experience

Lesson 1 of 13

How to Create Timeless Images

Chris Burkard

FAST CLASS: The Outdoor Photography Experience

Chris Burkard

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Lesson Info

1. How to Create Timeless Images


  Class Trailer
Now Playing
2 Pismo Beach Walk Gear Duration:14:30
3 Yosemite Trip Gear Duration:08:27
4 Water Housing Photography Duration:33:39
5 Shooting in the Water Duration:08:41
7 Pismo Beach - Focus Point Duration:10:38

Lesson Info

How to Create Timeless Images

If there is one concept that I could leave you with that I think is going to be valuable. It's really this is that, you know, this idea of creating timeless images, there are other things that we can do to create timeless images. What are some of those? Do you guys know? have any thoughts or ideas? We talked about this a lot(laughs). Yes. Now people, no cars. Yeah, anything that dates your images now? I would say if you don't have people, it's fine. You can, I personally I loved having people in my images, but having people it's specific. If this person was wearing a very brightly colored jacket with a big swoosh on it might not feel as timeless right. So how do you do that? Shooting a lot of silhouettes shooting in strong lighting scenarios where, you know, you see a photograph of a surfer and a green barrel, and they're totally a silhouette. What does that do for the viewer projector? Yeah, you're like, I know that feeling. I know that feeling I know what it's like to be in t...

hat scenario that warm, California Evening Sun offshore is blowing, you can relate to it, right? A lot of people can relate to this because they don't see a boy or a girl with like blond hair or this or that, or logos, they just see a subject there. It's easier for the viewer to put themselves into that person's shoes and emotionally relate to your images, if the subject is not easily identifiable. Okay. Yes Do ask people to wear something. I mean, if you're shooting this mean, if you're shooting a commercial shoot, it doesn't really matter. He could be wearing yellow and you're not going to see it because it's totally back lit. But if you're shooting a commercial shoot, I mean, you're almost always styling your model. If you know if I'm shooting on editorial, I'm just trying to work with what I have, you know, obviously, and I might be like, oh, tuck that in or blah, blah. You want to make them look the best. You can, but if they're standing there's a big difference between a moment like this where this just happened. And I'm just like, cool, or a moment where it's all set up and stylized and this and that. So we'll talk about that too where there's these moments where you're kind of posing things and making them happen. You're basically making your ideas and concepts come to life or just shooting off the cuff as it happens. Yeah. So I just wanted to ask you always, ask him to pause or just like, like I said, it depends this, this scenario just is happening. This person was was here where I mean I can break down a lot of these images for you to give you a visual, but basically, you hate buying this waterfall. We're all sitting here waiting, you know, I think he went out there and snapped a picture from this vantage point. And then like, and then you know, might have like, put his hands in his pocket, looked up, I snapped a photo. And I said, and then he might have walked away for a sec and said, Hey, can you go back? I want to snap one more picture of you. And he's like, Great, so he goes back out and does you know, like, simply like that. It's, but it it all kind of depends. You know, like I said, you go to these places. Sometimes you have these great concepts in mind ideas that you want to execute other times. Great stuff just happens along the way. Okay, we're gonna we're gonna talk a lot about that, cause that's a really good question. Yeah, Do you use of yourself as a subject. No, cause I'm not really good with a self timer and a tripod. I usually am always traveling with an assistant or with, you know, on a commercial project or with like, you know, maybe some athletes. like if, this might be a photograph that might go into an article for a surf magazine, right as like a filler image, you know, and this might be one of the athletes from the trip, you know, which is exactly what this was. That could be you Yeah, but it's never usually me. You know, I like being behind the camera. Yeah. Do you feel like these timeless images and these timeless moments come from genuine elements, like genuine human emotions and these beautiful places? I would absolutely say so. I mean, I think that's, what makes people respond to them. You know, I think it's, there's a lot of other things that go into it, you know, go into creating that, but I would imagine, to me at least, that it's all based on your demographic, you know. Hike, so if it was, you know, 12 and 13 year old girls that were like looking at my, photographs, this maybe won't resonate to them, right. But people like you enjoy being outside. Maybe you've been in this scenario before, maybe you've seen something like this before. So it relates to you. This is why understanding and knowing your demographic and who they are is important, right? Because if I know that most people that follow me or maybe, you know, they, 18 to, you know, 55 year old males and females who spend you know, maybe 70% of their time, you know, recreating outside, then this is going to be valuable to them and make sense and then right. do you have a question? Yeah, I just wanted to ask if you ever like Photoshop out something? No, No, I'm not a fan of Photoshop. I'd never Photoshop someone's hand or a bird or anything like that. What we'll dive tomorrow we'll dive into editing and I'll show you the process, I use a really just. The funny thing is too is that most of my work isn't it's besides what I put on Instagram or this now it's being used by a magazine or a client or someone and they're doing all the work on it. Right? So it wouldn't even make difference cause I couldn't like Photoshop a file and give it to them. Anyway. So other aspects that can make a photograph feel timeless, what are they? Now, I talked to you guys about this colors. Do you want us to like talking about we talked about jacked, yeah, it's probably in the videos, but I just I really want to get this out so that you guys so that you hear it, and we're gonna play this video in a second. But, you guys remember, yeah. Natural elements, like landforms are obviously like span way longer than human life. So, you know, people would be able to relate to that. That's a great, idea and concept too. That's, a good one as well. A lot of times I'll look for items or objects that might not be around forever, you know, historical aspects of a place or a location, right. Something that kind of doesn't give it like data, you know, so, but it really it's, this emphasis on color, right? You're an artist. Right. When you want to create depth in an art piece and you're working with color, a lot of times what you're taught to do, and only reason I know this is because the only class I really took in college was a three dimensional art class. Right and in drawing and I loved art. And so what I have learned and applied to photography is that it's all about these color relationships, right? You want to create depth in your image cause that's all we're trying to I like the word depth more than I like timelessness because this is a flat screen, right? But we're trying to make this image feel like it has depth feel like it's stacked feel like there's, elements that come out, especially when you're looking on a phone. I mean, you gotta think every single almost every single image you guys see nowadays, is probably on your phone. You probably view 10 to one the amount of photographs or whatever on a device or on a computer than you do in person. So how do we make things jump off a screen especially when it's in a square format that's like, you know, two inch by two inch or something right? So hard. Cool tones and warm tones, what do they do? They push and they pull, they recede and they move forward. Right? Because of the fact that these cool tones are pushing back these warm tones are pulling forward. What is one of the number one things you guys see every evening in California on online or on social media? sunsets, right? Why are we so drawn to sunsets? Is it like, a human condition? Yeah, kind of this because we love that, we love that cool without warm, right? That is like, it's just in our nature, right? And when you understand elements of art and how that works, this makes this image have more depth, you know, probably also because of this, the fact that something's leading in here, but most importantly, it's that depth, okay. So, I think in a lot of the images that I'm shooting, photographing, I'm really looking for elements that it's too bad, the screens not as like vibrant some of these other ones a little washed out. But these elements of of warm tones that really Make an object like this feel like it's more forward, you know, something that feels like it's right up in your face. Okay. What else do we have? Does that make sense? You guys that those, there's one thing I want you guys to apply that element light is so important. Okay. And it's so important just to get up early. I mean, if you get up early and stay out late I mean, I can't emphasize always this kind of rule of thumb. We're in like this the surf world because when you're dealing with light on water, it's so amazing, right? But you could get a cut, they always say like, you can get a cover on a two foot wave. It's the right light and in the right conditions, right? Because it can be amazing, lighting scenario that just really speaks to you. Rather than shooting the same photo, maybe better and bigger midday. Go ahead. Did you say cool tones, push and warm tones pull. It doesn't really matter what they do matters you have both of them. I think I'm not even I think it's that. Yeah, that the cool tones kind of recede and the warm tones push forward. It might even be the opposite. I'm not sure. I just always know that if you have both those elements in there, your image is gonna have more depth, right? So, what are some other elements? You guys? Tones? Tones I'm talking like, what are physical things you can you can implement in? Like in that case the tree is foreground. Right? foreground, right? Okay? mid ground background rule of thirds, right? All of these things right? We don't need to get into every single aspect but foreground is so important rule of thirds this photograph on that screen. You guys should like, check this out. It's a lot cooler. Here. You can see it. (People murmuring) Yeah, so yeah, it's a lot better. (People laughing) So there's actual color in the sky there. But, yeah, these amazing, you know, sunset clouds, right. And then you have this cool water and you have this reflection and all of these things. Really give your image a lot more life a lot more depth. And these are the things that we need to look for in photographs. So it's not enough especially now it's not enough just to pull up and snap a picture and leave Okay, you have to be implementing As many of these elements, leading lines, okay, I don't care if it's sidewalks in your photograph, or whatever it is, or trees or something they should be leading out of the corners or pulling your eye to something that's important, right? Are you? Are you a fun of like, making your photos more vibrant than, like, maybe how you saw it or just, we're gonna get into that in post processing, okay. But I think you'll be pretty shocked at the amount of work that I, the very little amount of work that I try to do my images, you know, it's, really for me, it's about bringing it back to a flat gradient and then kind of working it from there. You know, I'd rather work with my curves and tones and I would saturation and vibrance and things like that. Just one last thought. Before we transfer over to this gear video you guys is if I was to wait five seconds, what would happen to this image and I snapped this photo five seconds later but we go where not to Good composition. Yeah, where would he go? (mumbles)Yeah and shadow right. So this is like a really dumb question but I want you guys to understand like, you be set you see the stuff on like happened in photographs you like Wait, what are you doing? No like you put him in this bright part of the image right you put him in the image, the part where it feels like he's going somewhere. So it's so important to if the person was just sitting there not moving it wouldn't be as interesting as if they were actually I mean, this is literally a photograph somebody paddling into our camp. We got to this spot. We posted up we waited for the sun to set there's amazing story behind this photograph, but I walked up the home like oh my gosh, the lights beautiful. Hey, can you go out and do a circle for me? Awesome. And just this image of where he's moving into this place, it says volumes you know.

Class Description


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Shooting outdoor photography is a powerful way to commune with nature and experience the fullness of life. Learn how to train your eye on incredible shots and convey the energy of the outdoors in The Outdoor Photography Experience with Chris Burkard.

Chris’s beloved images of life on the world’s coasts are alive with action and emotion. In this class, he’ll share the tools and techniques he uses to capture the photographs he sells to magazines, brands, collectors, and publishers.

You’ll learn about his shooting style and the gear he brings on his global adventures. He’ll also talk about the business of photography and share tips on marketing and selling your work.

If you want insights on how to create rich, dramatic images that let you enjoy more time outdoors, don’t miss your chance to learn from Chris Burkard in The Outdoor Photography Experience.