Skip to main content

Mastering the Art of Photography

Lesson 8 of 39

Seeing Beneath The Surface Of Things

 

Mastering the Art of Photography

Lesson 8 of 39

Seeing Beneath The Surface Of Things

 

Lesson Info

Seeing Beneath The Surface Of Things

Do me a favor. Go grab your passport or any photo ID. You can put me on hold while you go get it. Okay. Now look at the picture of yourself. What does it say about you? Not much, right? It says that this is what you look like on the day it was taken, when you weren't allowed to smile or show any emotion whatsoever. Truth be told, if it's anything like mine, it probably says that is what you'd look like if you ever got arrested. Your passport photo tells the immigration officer what you look like The semblance of you. What it doesn't tell them is anything about who you are. What makes you you? Now take a look at this magazine cover. Study it. What can you tell me about this person from their picture alone, They're powerful, confident their hands on. They have a playful, almost cheeky side of their disposition. While this portrait reveals is not just what the subject looks like, where their personality and their character, too. This is the difference between semblance and essence between...

the outward appearance of a subject, place or thing, and it's intrinsic nature or indispensable quality Here's another example of capturing the essence of a subject. The great wildebeest migration, which takes place every year in East Africa, is one of nature's greatest spectacles, but it's actually pretty tough to photograph. Well, much of the time is just an enormous brown mass of animals, and there's so much going on, it's hard to know where to point your camera now. When I was there a couple of years ago, what struck me most was not the river crossing itself, but the interaction between the zebra and the wilder beast. It reminded me of how I imagine a battle from the First World War would have manifested. The zebra were like military generals directing the action the wildebeest with, uh, Tommy's, the infantry under orders charging over the top to an unknown destiny. Amidst the smoke and the dust and the turmoil. Many wouldn't make it, but charged they did with this image. That was the essence of the story I wanted to tell. That's what you should be aiming to get to the bottom of with your photography, the quintessence, the substance, the spirit of your subjects. Postcard shots focus on semblance. Great photographs reach for the heart

Class Description

AFTER THIS CLASS YOU’LL BE ABLE TO:

  • 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.

ABOUT CHRIS' CLASS:

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.

WHO THIS CLASS IS FOR:

  • 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.

Lessons

  1. Class Introduction - Three Steps To Creative Photography

    There are three elements that go into creating a compelling photograph: technique, composition and creativity. Chris explains how an ancient Japanese philosophy of art, built around the notion of hand, eye, heart, helped him develop a fool-proof process for creating beautiful photographs, time and time again.

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

    The photographs we take reflect not just what we see but what we feel about what we see. In this lesson, Chris explains how to connect with your subject - the first step in turning snapshots in photographic art.

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

    Almost by definition photography involves making judgements but being judgemental blocks creativity. So, to reveal how to turn negative views into positive outcomes, Chris heads to Britain’s “least-interesting” location and challenges himself to create a compelling photograph.

  4. Firing The Creative Mind - Part 3: Detaching From Outcomes

    Sometimes, we get so focussed on what we set out to photograph that we forget about everything else, which leads to missed opportunities. Often, the most successful photographs are the ones never anticipated. Chris reveals the benefits and practices of keeping an open mind.

  5. Practicing Mindfulness In Photography

    By deconstructing one of his all-time favorite images, Chris shows how approaching photography with a mindful eye can help you create photographs that show much-photographed subjects in a new and compelling way.

  6. Finding The Visual Narrative

    To find the story, you have to get involved. You have to invest time and energy and immerse yourself in your subject. Stepping way outside his photographic comfort zone, Chris heads to Naples, in Italy, to see whether he can capture on camera its people and culture, and reveals the benefits of knowing your subject.

  7. Behind-the-scenes: Naples

    In a feature-length lesson, Chris is joined by fellow professional Simon Weir. Together, they take you behind-the-scenes of photographing on assignment, and reveal their vision-to-print approach for capturing compelling images.

  8. Seeing Beneath The Surface Of Things

    Getting beneath the surface of things is key to creative photography. Chris compares his passport photograph with a masterful portrait to demonstrate the difference between the semblance of a subject and its essence.

  9. Finding Inspiration

    Where does inspiration come from? Chris looks back at the past to discover what inspired his approach to photography, and passes on ideas about how to find inspiration in the world around us.

  10. Slowing Down

    Revisiting a personal photographic project, Chris explains the benefits of taking a more thoughtful approach to image making.

  11. Three Reasons To Shoot RAW

    Looking at the whole process of photography, from visualisation to print, Chris explains the three key reasons for moving away from JPEG and embracing RAW.

  12. Choosing the Right Frame Format

    Cameras are designed to be held a specific way but that way doesn’t always suit the composition. Chris reveals how turning pro’ helped to think more carefully about frame format, and explains how to match subject and composition in the field.

  13. Don’t Be Limited By The Shape Of Your Camera

    We rarely give much thought to the shape of the camera sensor and yet it defines the image space. Investigating some of his favorite photographs, Chris shows how thinking “outside the rectangular box” can have a huge impact on the visual quality of photographs

  14. WYSIWYG

    With a camera, what you see is what you get. Unlike the human eye, cameras record every minute detail, which can reduce the visual impact of a photograph. In this lesson, Chris reveals how he uses the viewfinder to improve his compositions and ensure every pixel counts.

  15. Choosing Lenses

    We all love to buy them but don’t always know how best to use them. Chris heads to the cinema to showcase how different lenses are used to define the visual narrative of a photograph.

  16. Perspective

    Chris takes on the challenge of capturing an image he’s long had in mind to show the benefit of looking at the world from a different perspective.

  17. Considering Foreground And Background

    Most photographs contain three elements: the subject, and what’s in front of and behind the subject. Chris puts on his walking boots to reveal the importance of considering all three elements, and show how to use foreground and background to strengthen composition.

  18. Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad But Three Into Two Is Better

    Chris considers the limitations of cameras in recording the world we see and reveals compositional techniques that can be used to recreate the three-dimensional world on a flat piece of paper (or digital screen).

  19. Separate And Isolate

    Chris compares a set of images to show how separation of subject and “ground” improves composition, and shows the different camera techniques and composition rules you can use to draw attention to your main subject.

  20. The Art Of Creative Exposure

    There is no “right” or “wrong” exposure. In this lesson, Chris looks at silhouettes and high-key imaging to demonstrate that exposure is a creative tool, and reveals some of the techniques behind capturing in-camera exposures that match the photographer’s vision.

  21. Focus On The Story

    Chris poses the question, what is the point of focus? In answering that question, he reveals the power of focus and de-focus in defining the visual narrative and leading the viewer on a visual journey through the image space.

  22. The Passage Of Time

    Most photographers know the technical role of the shutter. In this lesson, Chris looks at how to use the shutter as a creative tool.

  23. Creating A Visual Sense Of Mood

    Great photographs reveal more than the physical nature of things, they elicit an emotional response, too. In this lesson, Chris heads out in the middle of winter to show you how to use light and color to add mood to a photograph.

  24. Color vs. Black & White

    We see the world in full, beautiful technicolor. So why on Earth would anyone want to compose an image without it? In this thought-provoking lesson, Chris looks towards some of the world’s leading photographers - past and present - and heads to New England to reveal when to shoot color and when to shoot black-and-white.

  25. The Decisive Moment

    Henri Cartier-Bresson coined the phrase “The decisive moment”. In this lesson, Chris talks through one of his most successful wildlife images to explain what makes a “decisive moment”.

  26. Using Color As A Cohesive Tools

    Photography isn’t always about the single image. There are several reasons you may want to consider building a portfolio of work - from exhibition to competition. Chris reveals how he set out to create a unified set of images for display in his gallery.

  27. Photography Is A Two-Part Process

    As Chris moves from out in the field to inside the digital darkroom, he explains the role of computer-based processing in photography, today, and describes the essential processing tools he use for the vast majority of his processing work.

  28. Case Study: Recreating The Art of Sumi-e

    In the first of three case studies, and with the help of some Hollywood-style GFX, Chris takes you on a step-by-step explanation of how he used Adobe Lightroom to fine tune the out-of-camera RAW files of his Japanese-style photographs, ready for exhibition in his galle

  29. Case Study: Making Something Out of Nothing

    In this second case study, Chris takes the out-of-camera image from his Lincolnshire challenge (Lesson 3) and sets about completing the process of vision to print.

  30. Case Study: Moody Blues

    In the final case study, Chris takes an image from his winter waterfall experience (Lesson 23) and, step-by-step, reveals how he used Adobe Lightroom to turn the RAW file into a finished image that perfectly matched his visual intent.

  31. Image Reviews

    In a series of image reviews, Chris deconstructs (mostly) TCP students’ images, posing the question, “Does the image tell the story the photographer wanted to tell?” Where it does, he explains how, and where it doesn’t he reveals what could be changed to better match final image and creative intent. The sequence starts with a herd of zebra and frame format.

  32. Image Review: The “Thinking Man”

    Chris reveals how to use depth-of-field to improve a portrait of an orang-utan.

  33. Image Review: The Golf Course

    Chris shows how to use the vertical format to identify and isolate the main element in a “busy” scene.

  34. Image Review: Dreamstate

    Chris uses frame format, color and the presence controls to turn an “okay” portrait into a more compelling composition.

  35. Image Review: Gone Fishing

    Chris reveals some useful composition techniques to bring visual energy to a static kingfisher.

  36. Image Review: Promenade

    Chris takes a step forward to remove a foreground distraction and open up the visual journey.

  37. Image Review: Sky and Reflections

    Chris shows how the placement of the horizon line can completely change the visual narrative.

  38. Image Review: Grass and Field

    Chris shows how an image that looks pretty on the surface, misses the visual narrative, and sets about making changes that better match the photographer’s story.

  39. Final Word: Show Me What The World Looks Like To You

    In his final word, Chris explains why just because “everyone now owns a camera” doesn’t mean the world is full of photographers, and shows why training yourself as a photographer is the most challenging but most rewarding aspect of The Complete Photographer journey.

Reviews

Glenda
 

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!