Skip to main content

The Outdoor Enthusiast's Guide to Photography & Motion

Lesson 32 of 67

Composition for Stills

Ian Shive

The Outdoor Enthusiast's Guide to Photography & Motion

Ian Shive

Starting under


Get access to this class +2000 more taught by the world's top experts

  • 24/7 access via desktop, mobile, or TV
  • New classes added every month
  • Download lessons for offline viewing
  • Exclusive content for subscribers

Lesson Info

32. Composition for Stills


  Class Trailer
Now Playing
1 Bootcamp Introduction Duration:06:35
4 Storytelling in Motion Duration:34:19
6 Gear for Drones Duration:02:53
7 Gear for Motion Duration:05:23
8 Inside Ian's Gear Bag Duration:20:07
10 Virtual Scouting Duration:03:54
11 Weather Duration:10:17
12 Permits and Permission Duration:03:09
13 Model and Property Releases Duration:04:43
14 Health and Fitness Duration:03:04
15 Checklist Duration:03:20
16 Location Scouting Overview Duration:15:18
18 Drone Introduction Duration:14:59
19 Drone Safety Duration:03:26
22 Telling a Story With a Drone Duration:06:15
24 Selling Drone Footage Duration:02:39
26 Establish the End User Duration:06:35
27 Identify Your Audience Duration:03:12
28 Build a Production Plan Duration:05:28
29 Create the Story Structure Duration:04:26
30 The Shooting Script Duration:07:08
31 Production Quality Duration:08:37
32 Composition for Stills Duration:08:04
38 Capturing Landscapes - Part 1 Duration:28:12
39 Capturing Landscapes - Part 2 Duration:23:36
40 Capturing Movement in Stills Duration:32:17
42 Understanding Stock Duration:20:45
43 Editorial vs Commerical Duration:03:57
44 Pricing Stock Duration:05:40
45 Producing Stock Duration:14:49
47 Choosing an Agency Duration:08:58
49 Stock Photography Market Duration:05:28
50 Create A Style Guide Duration:05:30
51 Stock Shoot Analysis Duration:21:29
57 Editing to the Content Duration:05:00
58 Music as a Character Duration:05:41
59 Business Diversification Duration:07:07
60 Business Strategy Duration:04:57
61 Pillars of Revenue Duration:17:09
62 Branding Duration:06:36
64 Galleries and Fine Art Duration:03:11
65 Budgeting Duration:05:21
66 The Future of Photography Duration:26:12
67 Q&A And Critique Duration:1:09:39

Lesson Info

Composition for Stills

you have to always be looking for great compositional opportunities. And when you get skunked at a different location because it's overcast and the lights not great, that doesn't mean that your day is over. Ultimately overcast skies for me, or like a giant soft box. Nice, big right, even light that cast over the landscape and is great for detail work and good landscape photos or great nature Photos in general can be had not just on a macro level, not just on a wide landscape level, but also medium close ups and details and thinking about other types of compositions that you could make usual izing the light and utilizing the situation. Some walking down the trail here coming back from Lake An and I noticed a lot of this really bright, very vibrant green plants growing all along the trail wild, different wildflowers. And it's just absolutely alive in here. And so I really want to capture that, especially the vibrancy that I think it'll be a great juxtaposition. So one of things I love to...

do with the end of my shoots is to put together an edit and see How does it look? How does the palette. Look at all the images, feel green. Do they offer like landscapes? Are they all evening to blue? I like to have a lot of diversity, so I'm looking for diversity of color, looking for diversity of subject matter, diversity of focal lengths. And so this, to me strikes me is a great opportunity to capture What's otherwise somewhat classic are Ansel Adams. I believe his photograph these in black and white, and they capture the light in a lot of different ways because of the rivets on the leaves. But great especially have other wild flowers growing up through them or next to them. And so you have a lot of opportunities for composition on this. You can shoot across at it. But the classic way to do this because it's certainly not the first time I'm doing it, and not first time anyone else has done it before, but it is still nonetheless very fun to get. The classic way to do this is to shoot it straight down, which means you gotta get as high as you possibly can screwed if there's a rock in your buy or whatever, so I'm gonna set up. I'm gonna try and figure out what focal length I'm gonna use. Probably a wide angle, but I'll probably zoom into about 35 mil, but we'll check it out. But I want to ultimately fill the frame with this. I don't want any trail I don't want as me. I want as few other plants in the outsiders as possible. I want to try and hone in on the healthier plants and leaves. So really, this is all about composition and what I'm going to remove or eliminate from the frame. And again, if you've been listening to anything I've said in this course for my national park course, you hear me constantly say that you, as a photographer, want to eliminate elements from your seen as much as possible. I'm like the painter that's constantly adding to their campus. So I'm gonna get set up now and see if I can get a good angle on this and see if we can make this work for us. Don't bring the tripod legs all the way out. You know, I might not absolutely need a tripod, but it will really help you with a composition that you're very, very, very much looking to eliminate elements in the scene. So I will boost this up. Now being tall helps. But when I have to stand on my toes and because I can't really look through the viewfinder very easy. This is a great time. Do you think about using live you for composition, Turn off my history, Ram and all the other stuff and see where I am looking at. So right now I'm super wide him at 16. And I'm getting everything from this tripod leg right here to this triumph. I like That's all right. I'm just start now, so I'm gonna tweak this a little bit, remember? Ultimately, the angle that you end up with is your final image doesn't necessarily have to be the way you shoot it. You can rotate a little bit in post production and Photoshopped later. And it No one's gonna know the difference if you're shooting like this, like this or like this. So you could make that angle work with you a little bit if you want to rotate that image. But ultimately, I want to try and get as much of icann as I can in this right now. So I zoomed into 35 millimeters. I'm using my hand to cut the reflection so I can actually see what's on the screen. And so from I'm getting a little still little too much of the ground around here, so I'm actually a little too high, so I'm gonna use this middle little bar and lower down, and that's looking pretty good. So it's still getting a tripod leg. But that's all right. We're going to now closed down these legs a little. So I get more of a lean forward. This bring this up like that and because of on such an angle, gonna hold on to my tripod and there's a little wildflower that's up in the middle there. And I'm gonna use that as a focal point, moving my angle around and that looks pretty good. So I'm actually use autofocus because it's the sharpest way Teoh get a shot like this where I can't really look straight through. I can also touch the screen and say, Hey, this is where I won't be focused and everything's blowing around right now, so I really like this composition. It's filling the frame corner to corner right now, have the entire frame filled and what I want to dio, I could probably go up a little bit more like this. Like that. Now, what I want to do is I want to make sure that the wind when it blows the leaves doesn't create blur. I want a nice, sharp image as much as possible in here, but I do want to drop off a little so I don't want to be all the way out. I don't want to be at f 22 capturing maxed up the field, but I still want a lot of sharpness on the top layer as opposed to someone away for that win to pass. And I'm gonna shoot in aperture priority mode and I'm gonna start F 13. Take a look at what I'm getting and it's nice. Still moment from the fire. A few frames. That looks pretty good. Everything very still in a push and hold. Get a few more. I'm soon live. You're gonna take a few out alive. You killed faster shutter speed of sometimes it'll be. It looked through it. And now I'm gonna get a little variety of the depth of field since you can't really see on the screen Exactly what and again you don't know what you're going exactly get No matter how good you are, anybody says I know exactly how many inches, Whatever. There's a leaf poking up here is the leaf booking up here. You don't really know You gonna get get options, Don't edit in the field edit at home. So I have f 13. I'm gonna go down f a faster speed guarantees me that I'm not going toe. Let's see if I could probably get a little closer. Actually, someone do this when I lower the legs little bit more and I'm gonna raise it up on the double. Check my focus. It's good. Can It looks pretty nice. And I'm gonna reduce my exposure Compensation wheel, go a little under. I want to be under exposed cause I'm getting pretty, pretty hot reading off the camera. Eso I'm gonna It's a little bright and I don't need that. Rather have the shutter speed working for me a little faster. So when under exposed not quite a full stop. And that gets me a little more depth of field and go up to 11. And just for kicks or shoot one at F get a few of Menefee team. That's all there is to it. Ultimately, this thing will come together in the editing room. But ultimately, when you take a look at the final composition is just a screen full of green. Really beautiful. We've got a nice I line focus, a little off center. And for this particular plant, you know, if it was more full or larger, I might have a little more flexibility with composition. But I really like this. It's wild, it's lush, and I think it really shows the place.

Class Description

Great outdoor photography starts with a love of adventure and exploration. Learn to maximize your skills and optimize your potential with this complete guide to capturing photos and video in the great outdoors. Award-winning photographer and filmmaker Ian Shive will go in-depth on how to create a story through stills and motion in any environment.

Throughout these lessons, Ian will cover scouting and planning, capturing photo and video, and understanding how to get an audience for your final project
Ian will cover:

  • Permit needs and location scouting essentials
  • Gear basics & prep
  • Introduction to using drones
  • Fundamentals of moving from still photography to capturing video
  • How to capture landscapes 
  • Composition and lighting techniques
  • How to handle low-light situations
  • How to capture for stock photography and video
  • Getting your work seen in print and publications
  • And more!

For four weeks, Ian will be your outdoor guide to capturing the beauty and greatness in nature. If you have a love for nature or adventure, join this class to learn how to turn your passion and social media posts into profit or exposure. 



Ian was an amazing instructor.; very fun, enthusiastic, encouraging, and comprehensive. I hope to be able to return as an audience member for another of his classes. It is a privilege and a gift to have access via Creative Live to such a wealth of expertise. Thank you!

Cindee Still

Ian Shive is a dynamic speaker with a wealth of knowledge he is willing to share. He has had a magical path that led to his success. He touches on so many aspects of making, selling and creating images as well as how to market them and make an income from your work. It is so much fun to be part of the studio audience. The Creative Live staff are always so warm and friendly and they feed you like your on a cruise ship! Wonderful experience.


What a great class this has been. Thank you Ian Shive and Creative Live! Recently retired, I have set out to learn everything I can about photography and pursue this passion to capture the beauty in the outdoors. Creative Live has served as an amazing educational platform to help me learn everything from how to use my camera, the fundamental technicals, and learn about software and tools. This class brought it all together. At the end of this class my approach to photography and my images are different. Ian shares so much valuable knowledge that will change the way you go about taking a picture; from scouting a location, to thinking through the story and adding elements to an image to evoke an emotional response. My personal growth has been significant and I have changed to the way I approach creating an image from an Outdoor Landscape to an Outdoor Experience. Loved every minute of it, sad the class is over.