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Mastering the Art of Photography

Lesson 14 of 39


Chris Weston

Mastering the Art of Photography

Chris Weston

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Lesson Info

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.


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6 Finding The Visual Narrative Duration:02:39
7 Behind-the-scenes: Naples Duration:07:52
9 Finding Inspiration Duration:03:19
10 Slowing Down Duration:03:57
11 Three Reasons To Shoot RAW Duration:02:29
14 WYSIWYG Duration:04:15
15 Choosing Lenses Duration:05:02
16 Perspective Duration:02:44
19 Separate And Isolate Duration:02:32
20 The Art Of Creative Exposure Duration:06:38
21 Focus On The Story Duration:04:20
22 The Passage Of Time Duration:03:00
24 Color vs. Black & White Duration:03:09
25 The Decisive Moment Duration:03:00
30 Case Study: Moody Blues Duration:03:29
31 Image Reviews Duration:03:02
33 Image Review: The Golf Course Duration:02:32
34 Image Review: Dreamstate Duration:02:38
35 Image Review: Gone Fishing Duration:02:24
36 Image Review: Promenade Duration:01:47
38 Image Review: Grass and Field Duration:02:20

Lesson Info


If you or I were a camera, it would have a resolution of 576 megapixels, 10 to 20 times more than today's cameras. That's a lot of data too much, as it turns out, for the brain to process without imploding, and especially so, given that much of the data our eyes collect is unnecessary to everyday life. So to prevent a catastrophic meltdown, your brain simply ignores much of what your eyes see, which is great, say, when you're driving a car and need to concentrate on avoiding hazards. But not so good when you're taking pictures because what our brain ignores, the camera doesn't with a camera. What you see is what you get with the wig cameras see and record everything. Which brings me to point number one. When you look through your viewfinder, every pixel counts. It's important you take time to explore the whole image space and notice every detail present in the frame, not just the area where the action is taking place or where the subject happens to be, and you have to decide how that d...

etail is going to affect your composition and what to do about it. a simple trick I've learned over the years, irrespective of what I'm photographing, is to review the image space in sections section by Section I mentally divide the viewfinder into small boxes, so in my head it looks something like this. Then I look at what's going on visually in every one of those boxes to assess what part they're playing in relation to my visual narrative. What I'm looking for are positive elements and negative ones. So let's review my scene here. I have a central subject, the lighthouse, the beach huts. Give me some mid ground interest and the track leads the I from the foreground into the picture space. These are positive elements, all adding to my story. But what else do we see here? There's a bent sticking out from this green hut here. There's a light colored stone block and a van, and they're distracting telegraph wires and telegraph poles in the background as well as a concrete building. And my leading lines don't go to the lighthouse. But past it now every one of these objects is a distraction that I need to get rid of before I settle on a composition and press the shutter, which in this case I can do simply by moving my position a few feet to one side. Of course, with some subjects, this is easier, while with others is easier said than done with mostly static subjects, you have time to carefully consider the image space with wildlife or sport to pick two examples. You're often acting in split seconds, and there isn't enough time to go through this process while you're shooting away. Which is why I try to anticipate the action and set my framing before I make the shot. Here is an example of what I mean for this image. I wanted to capture a sense of the bear looming interview. So as the bear approached, I quickly studied the environment and found this spot. I like the way that all grasses and the driftwood create a natural foreground barrier from which the bear emerges and the stony outcrop creates an implied circle that takes you from the foreground around to the bear. The background was nice and Uncluttered, and it gave me the perfect backdrop for the subject, and then I waited to press the shutter, so there was separation between the grasses and the bear. So the next time you look through your viewfinder, remember what the camera sees is what you get, so make sure that what you get is what you want. If you like the idea of dividing the picture space into a grid, most digital cameras have an electronic grid that is turned on by the setup menu. It usually shows that one third grid rather than the more focused one I use in my head, but it's a great place to start now. Another option is to get a screen cover like this and draw a grid onto it. You can then use the LCD screen to review the image space again. It's not perfect as you won't be able to use it for moving shots, but it will work with static scenes like landscapes, and it's great practice for creating the habit of doing it in your head

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.



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!