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Mastering the Art of Photography

Lesson 35 of 39

Image Review: Gone Fishing

Chris Weston

Mastering the Art of Photography

Chris Weston

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Lesson Info

35. Image Review: Gone Fishing
Chris reveals some useful composition techniques to bring visual energy to a static kingfisher.


Class Trailer

Class Introduction - Three Steps To Creative Photography


Firing The Creative Mind - Part 1: The Camera Points Both Ways


Firing The Creative Mind - Part 2: Letting Go Of Judgement


Firing The Creative Mind - Part 3: Detaching From Outcomes


Practicing Mindfulness In Photography


Finding The Visual Narrative


Behind-the-scenes: Naples


Seeing Beneath The Surface Of Things


Lesson Info

Image Review: Gone Fishing

one of my students, Dean McIntosh, posted this image on the group's Facebook page, and I was immediately struck by the background as much as the subject. Beautiful soft lighting and warm pastel colors, which set the mood and sufficient diffusion so as not to be a distraction from the subject. So we're off to a great start, so let's look at the composition now. The title of this shot is gone fishing, but the square crop creates a visually static image, and the position of the implied horizon line created by the branch is mid frame, which gives equal weighting to what is above and below it, which again creates a very static composition. This is a bird more in the mood for thinking about fishing rather than actually partaking in any fishing. So my first suggestion would be to change the framing. I'd go with the standard rectangular format and position the bird in the top left corner. This does two things. First of all, it creates an implied diagonal line from top left of frame the bottom.

Right now, unlike horizontal lines, diagonal lines of dynamic creating a sense of visual energy. So now our bird is more in the mood for fishing. Secondly, it places the implied horizon line in the upper third, which emphasizes everything below it. This makes it more imminent that the bird is about to act to go fishing, so that simple change of framing has turned a static shot into an image full of visual energy, which resonates with Dean's original title. On the processing side, the bird is slightly underexposed, and in contrast, the bright background draws attention as it did mine when I first saw it. So I would selectively adjust the exposure in light room, using the radial filter tall, lifting the exposure just on the bird and adding a bit of contrast by the texture, slider and a bit of vibrancy to lift the colors. A final tweak I'd make is to darken the very top of the frame, just a touch using the graduated filter at all. This is a really small point, but the extra weight just helps push the eye down into the frame and the direction the bird is about to go when it really has gone fishing

Class Description


  • See images with a creative eye.
  • Capture artistic photographs of the most popular subjects.
  • Choose the right lens and camera settings for the image you want to create.
  • Recognize and capture the “decisive moment”.
  • Add visual mood and emotion to your photographs.
  • Develop your own unique photographic style.
  • Find what inspires you and apply that inspiration to your image-making.
  • Fine-tune color, tone, and visual presence with easy-to-learn Adobe Lightroom adjustments.


Once you’ve mastered basic camera craft and photo-technique, what is the next step in advancing your photographic skillset? In this in-depth course, award-winner Chris Weston shares an approach to photography that has creativity at its heart, and reveals the secrets and professional techniques that will get you creating photographs that ‘sing’.

Taking you on a step-by-step journey, from vision to print, Chris shows you how to: tap into your natural creative instincts; ‘see’ much-photographed and everyday subjects with a unique vision; set a creative intention and get the camera to capture it authentically; and, with a few simple techniques, process superb print-ready photographs. Through ‘in-the-field’ examples and inspirational case studies, he reveals the nuances of composition that can make or break a photograph, and describes the creative tools that turn snapshots into stunning photographs good enough to adorn any wall.

Delivered in an easy-to-follow, down-to-earth style, using ‘real-life’ examples and ‘live’ tuition, this course builds on the practicalities of camera technique to equip you with the creativity and vision to see, capture and process compelling photographs time after time, whatever your camera or level of experience.


  • Beginners who want to create better photographs.
  • Intermediate photographers who want to refine their image-making and be more creative.
  • All photographers looking for inspiration and creativity.
  • Outdoor photographers interested in travel, landscape/cityscape, nature, sport, and wildlife photography.

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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I loved this course - in particular the latter part of it in which he demonstrated how post processing lets you really tell the story of the image. Another fabulous course. Thanks Chris & thanks Creative Live.

Abdullah Alahmari

Thanks a lot to mr. Chris Weston This course is great and It is a 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 course for me. Beside the other course ( mastering photographic composition and visual storytelling) both courses are Complementing to each other and highly recommended.

Charles Ewing

Fantastic course. Great photographer, teacher and storyteller!