Skip to main content

Iconic Imagery Q&A

Lesson 24 from: Photographing America's National Parks

Ian Shive

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2200+ more >

Lesson Info

24. Iconic Imagery Q&A

Lesson Info

Iconic Imagery Q&A

Beautiful, beautiful imagery people are really enjoying seeing the breadth and depth of your work in thank you this question came in earlier from m ship who I was previously calling miss hip but is actually a guy, so I'm going to call mr him in any case when you're looking at these iconic images what's more important the foreground or the human element photographing iconic places what's more important the foreground of the human element I think we have to re shape the way we think about importance and composition and make it less about what it is and going back again to what is it you're trying to convey if you're trying to convey the human connection or give a sense of scale or shape or is that moment striking? You were emotionally significant and it has a person in it then take that shot I think it really just boils down to you know that perspective on it and I don't I don't ever think that there is something that is more important than another in photography it's an art that happens...

to also be a business and I think that the art of photography means there are no right and there are no wrongs in how we approach it but there are reactions to the work that give them given the meaning or importance in some ways and so you know and ultimately the businesses thie tangible way the monetary way of saying was this image successful or not? But I think putting importance on one or the other, I wouldn't do that. I mean, I love my landscapes as much as I love my people shots, um, it's just that they convey some different different elements. So this is just kind of ah, segway into show tomorrow on dh. The question is from cho fat don't don't the magazines you stock imagery more than assignment imagery. What is the ratio? Can you talk a little bit about that stock versus science assignment? Okay, it depends. It really depends. You know, I think it I would say the ratios probably close to fifty. Fifty if I was to guess, you know, my experience has been with obviously handful magazines within my genre, but obviously the agency, they're pretty broad, I think that there's obviously a lot of stock, but I think that there's also a lot of assignments, magazines really like to build relationships with photographers there, not one offs, you know, there's also a mentality of, like, client versus photographer, photographer versus client, they are partnerships essentially, and I think it's important that they collaborate, and I know you know, the reason I think I've had a lot of assignments over the years has been for starters of been doing it a long time, ice think stock is a great way to get your work not only published and seen bill tear sheets, but it's a great way, teo, also start tio, build that relationship towards an assignment. So I think it's a little bit of both, I think it's fifty fifty, I started actually with stock on dh, so that's, why? For me, tandem has been such a full circle in the sense of being able to now make that offering to so many other people, but I sure was stock because I had a desk job, they'd only let me travel a couple days, and only on weekends, I couldn't do an assignment the middle of a week, and I don't want to take that risk that I'd have. Tio, what am I going to do? I have to take my job here now over my passion that I hope is my job later, I don't have to choose those two things the stock from he was a great way to just throw up some images, see how they respond, seeing people like him also a great way to get edited by people who have looked at a lot of images like myself, as I said, I've everything ultimately a tandem, though we have a whole curation process, and so you know, I think that stocks a great entry into it and as you work it's out there just like it has with me, eventually you have an opportunity to assignments I don't think assignments are going away anytime soon either how much of the I'm going to come up and join you enjoy before me and like some company all right? You know they are right it's stuffing up open a window for you to have something to drink here. So a question for you do you know when you have an iconic in an image when you take it or do iconic images become iconic because of the public response to them? Who? This is a great question who decides that they're iconic eyes that your client that's an answer that's a good question from our own ross andes says it's all right, all right, all right I guess iconic is a double in tonda in this case in the sense that iconic could be the monument itself like delicate arch or cath or simply of tomorrow in a desert. I think in an image can be iconic because it's been published so often that it becomes recognizable were used in a way that becomes very recognizable and represents more than just the subject matter of the image but rather a theme or an idea I think that really I think it really just depends on get really can work both ways I like that you like but you haven't answered any of the actual questions I'd like you to do it this way or you could do it that way but that's the nature of photography but that's true though that I got it can mean a number of different joke I should just say it would hold it alright this question had come in from anya earlier, who had said I'm really interesting on ian's thoughts on traveling and photographing alone versus traveling with other people, colleagues, friends and family and how it differs and if you're depending on what? What your object fire your objective is when you are out there, you're on assignment are you bringing other people along? That's been the biggest change in my career? My crew started as the solo traveler or maybe with a single friend because I was just shooting for myself and shooting in the parks and chasing after my own now passion of photography as that has changed and I've got more assignments like, uh, the nature conservancy has been, you know, doing wonderful promotions for us here today and telling people about this the nature conservancy is sending out all over the world in different assignments in projects, and I'm not alone any longer I'm often if not with not usually with an assistant unless I'm diving or going underwater, but typically I'm working with scientists now I'll be in vans or caravans of people where I'm going into the field with scientists and conservationists and land managers and all sorts of people, and at first I was really nervous about it because it's like you have to suddenly share your process, which is unique for everybody, especially so for me on dh if you haven't told him be able to tell, you know, I like to work alone and cookie things I lay on the ground and now now I'm very comfortable with it, but at the time that transition was a little rough so, you know, I think it changes the process, but at first, but it shouldn't change the process and now and when I go into the field, I try to prepare people, I let them know if they're coming with me. This is this is what happens, and I think this workshops been a really great example of that is you see how slow the process is to get images and, you know, imagine now seven to ten days in a single place, slowly working your way through it, covering all angles thank you from all sides, it's a really good question that's a really good question well, it makes me think of I don't know about you guys, but traveling or even just going out in the field with people who are not photographers yes, yes that's a tricky one you don't get it it is you know that yeah to answer the rest of us about family, friends and all of that that could be the trickiest thing you know but you know it's one of things he educate them on it or you just find a way to work around it education always the key education is okay this question came in how do you get your images noticed first is social media important for you or is there something more valuable in your mind? And I guess that would not necessarily be for you when you started, but for now I think we'll be talking a lot about marketing and selling your image is getting started tomorrow you know, social media as wherever transformed landscape of how we share everything whether it's dinner or photographs andi I think that and I think that it's a great way to share, you know, there's a whole litany of things that come with that whether it's the rights of this website that you choose to share on what rights you're comfortable giving away and we'll talk about big topics big, big, big topics but I think that getting your work noticed is focus on getting your work to a place that you feel it's incredible on dh the notice I think starts to come a little bit with that as well and finding people to work with and help you get there is, well, whether it's an agency or whether it's something completely different to be a friend could be a colleague in the industry. You know, just good advice people could help. Even the smallest opportunity is a great opportunity because it starts to create the feedback loop that is so important with improving your photography. I would love to take that and turn it into some of what we are going to be doing tomorrow. Because what I'm really excited about is that we do have an editor, not very many photographers through a chance. Teo, talk directly and ask direct questions to an editor or somebody that they are wanting to super size. So yeah, and what's going to happen is for those people out there ofyou who did some mature images for the critique. We will be having the chief editor, the editor of a national magazine, scott kirkwood's with us that's, right and that's, the member benefit magazine, the national parks conservation association and where I got my career started, so yeah, that is, as I said, the beginning of a feedback loop, really, that will begin hopefully for a lot of people here tomorrow. Fantastic what else we're going to do tomorrow? You tell me I don't know your schedule a visit now just more questions. Well, I'm really excited teo lucy, I think after yesterday's what sixteen hour day started broadcasting for in them I'm excited because landscapes a z you have told you're going to see me actually execute landscapes matron here and we spent I think it was four hours in a five hundred foot if that three hundred foot area creating four five what I would consider iconic landscape photos of the mountain andi previewed a little bit of that today and I'm really going to show them all to you tomorrow not only showing you the process you also go into the field with us see how that went but also go through the post production process talk about the images and why I ended up selecting the spots I did and why other spots didn't work out got the beach we'll be beaten way also ever beat you that's right, which is similar it's also very landscape yeah baby beach challenging super super foggy yeah, I have the fortune of seeing a baldy beach, which is incredible yeah it's really great so I think it's going to be awesome, I'm really excited about that, I think it's really just going to bring everything together for everyone as well right and then again we've got a lot of people have been asking about stock agencies and business and such and that's how we're going to close the day that's correct that's how we'll close it all is how do you take this all how do you take the capturing of work bring it together sell it get into the market and make a name for yourself a za photographer whether that's part time full time and again just to reiterate to be a photographer doesn't mean you have to do it full time all the time I absolutely think we're all photographer I mean what is this? Eighty percent of the world has a a za phone camera now we're all photographers in many ways in that way hopefully we can take our photography even farther there at something that I learned recently and not one was reminded of recently was that the word amateur means for the love of and so that's great amateur photographer it's for the love of photography and it's just a beautiful way to think about it what is professional mean? I'll never make that transition again e I was joking now it's it's a great saying and it's the truth I mean you have to anything you choose to do professional you have to love you have to love because you're choosing to do it for the rest of your life potentially if that's really a passion on dh when I made that change to do this on dh that's. Why this is so awesome to share that change has been so transformative, not my photography, but for me as a person to make that change, I think, is the most important thing in a person's, professional, professional life and creative life. I agree.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Field Guide to Photographing the American Wilderness
Icons of Nature Keynote
National Park Photography Intro and Setup
Photo Editing Keynote
10 Steps to Processing Perfect Star Trail Images
Business of Photography Keynote
Gear Guide

Ratings and Reviews


I have taken quite a few courses with createlive and this was by far one of the best. Ian is a fantastic teacher and remarkable at describing what he is doing and his thought process clearly. There is so much good information in this course, I definitely plan on buying this class. Not only is Ian a great teacher, but he also seems to genuinely want to help other photographers and see them succeed. You can tell he cares more about seeing good pictures of nature than anything else. I cannot recommend this course enough. Whether you are a beginner who shoots landscape photography as a hobby or a professional who already specializes in landscape photography, this class has something to offer and will expand your skill set. Can't thank Ian enough and I hope he does another course soon.


Ian is a great teacher and it is great when some one who "can do", can also explain how he does it. Clearly, his experience and commitment are why he is good at what he does. There is a lot more to a great photo than getting the camera settings and filters right. Ian did his best to help us understand what to look for when "working the scene" and finding a good composition without distractions. A great course. Thank you, Creative Live and Ian Shive.


Amazing course. Ian Shive is a wonderful teacher, as well as photographer, and it all comes across. I was glued to my computer for the entire 3 days when the class was live, and just had to purchase it so I don't lose any of it. The bonus materials alone are worth the purchase price. I've got a trip coming up soon and will have the opportunity to put some of what Ian said into practice; and love that I can have it with me on my portable devices so I can refresh my memory and reinforce it all. Great to have on a long plane ride. If you are on the fence, get off that fence and go purchase this great course!!! You won't be sorry. My thanks to CreativeLive, and Ian Shive for giving us this wonderful opportunity to not only learn, but to actually be in the field with Ian.

Student Work