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The Outdoor Enthusiast's Guide to Photography & Motion

Lesson 33 of 67

Composition for Stills: Landscape

Ian Shive

The Outdoor Enthusiast's Guide to Photography & Motion

Ian Shive

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Lesson Info

33. Composition for Stills: Landscape


  Class Trailer
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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: Landscape

so I really like these mountains. This is a great vista and compositionally it's very, very challenging. Cause they're way out there in the foreground is either the dense forest or this wide open rubble pile, which isn't bad. And it's kind of nice to have the ferns and the green. But really, the highlight of this area for me is the wildflowers. I'm trying to think How could I make that part of it? So the idea that I have is, rather than using the very common in typical maximum depth of field you know, the F 20 twos, the F sixteens, where everything's sharp from top to bottom. I want to use a very shallow depth of field and use the flowers is almost ah compositional design element, putting them right up against the front of the lens and having these in my in my mind, I haven't actually done it yet, but in my mind I see these little white toughs of flowers sort of populating the frame, and then you get the mountain range in the background. So in anticipation that maybe we'll get a little...

more light on the mountain. I'm gonna try and figure out a good spot. Get someplace comfortable. I can wait and then get my camera set up and then look for the exact kind of lighting situation and compositional situation that I think it's possible here Really want watching for is right now is the right kind of pack of flowers. I want a bunch of them. We need them to be sort of accessible in an area that's gonna be easy to work. I might not necessarily need a tripod for this, because if I'm looking to go shallot up the field, then I probably won't. So this looks like a great spot. There's a lot of rocks, things to climb on, able to work my way up. It's flat. It's got a good open view of the mountains and, ah, the density of the flowers is really good. So I'm gonna try and might work my way in. Since I'm not sure I'm gonna need a tripod, I'm not gonna bring the whole kit. Uh, I'd rather have a lighter footprint, work my way up the rocks, and then see if I can handhold this because load up the field 5.6 rather shallow depth of field 5.62 point a f four. All those options more or less the same You're going to get a really fast shutter speed because you're letting a lot of light into the shot. So I'm gonna put my stuff down. It was a challenge to figure out if the lights and we're gonna truly cooperate with you or not. But I think regardless, it's still epically a beautiful spot. The clouds are starting to really pick up a strong, warm white, which are going to add a tremendous amount of texture. And regardless of the mountain, actually getting full sunlight or not doesn't really matter all that much. Um, because I think we'll get a lot of reflective light in there. And these flowers are white and they're capturing a lot of light themselves, reflecting a lot of light. And so, as I start to build this composition and try different things, I think is a really good chance that it'll work out. Um, I'm gonna try and work with light that's actually happening out here on this one mountain right now with the hope that maybe to sort of creep across my my composition, I'm hand holding cause I'm still at 56 I'm doing some tests and I'm getting 3 4/100 of a second. So I'm fast enough that I'm not too worried about motion blur. And honestly, even if he's a little bit blurry, it's not gonna matter, because I'm already really, really shallow, and they're already going to be out of focus. So right now and I should add that I'm at I s 0 400 so I'm a little faster. Anyway, I want to be able to preserve that. Um, so right now I'm really just gonna move myself in and out with my camera, as is handheld of these flowers and try and just make different compositions. Work it, Try and see what it looks like when I'm here when I'm here, and I'm here when I'm here because all the flowers in so many different places. But I really want to tuck myself in and really down in there because I want them to be the majority of my frame. So I'm not focusing on them, though, on making sure they're out of focus the compositional choice and making sure the mountain in the background is in focus and now what I'm doing right now. It's hard toe. Of course. See it. But I'm making sure that I've got openings in the flowers for the peaks of the mountains because I want those three peaks to rise up. I don't want the flower to block that. And I've got a little trail down there, and so I'm trying to actually, Every time I take a picture, I'm reworking the scene a little bit Trying to remove elements. Take the trail out. Now try and embrace the trail a little bit. Show it could be good for a magazine about hiking. So it looks pretty good. Sky is super, super hot. So I'm gonna throw a filter on neutral density, Try and bring that level down. This may or may not require me to get a try, pon, but I don't think so because I'm getting a pretty fast shutter speeds. Still not too worried about losing a couple stops. So and I'm gonna probably need a pretty intense nd now because I'm hand holding this. This is the kind of place where yeah, I could get a tripod and do hdr, but really, being able to do this in the field with the filter. Means, like move faster, get a lot more compositions. And that's not something you can do with Handheld very easily without spending a lot of time getting a lot of different compositional situations going on a tripod. So the nd is on. I've slid over just the top of the horizon. It's helping dark in that sky and make sure my focus stays on the mountains. I'm still shooting super shallow. And what a world of difference. So now I'm actually getting all of the clouds in here. I got a little bit of light, you know, my mountains in the shade doesn't matter. So getting a ton of light and color throughout this frame and these flowers are just really bringing in, framing the entire composition from end to end. And so I'm looking at them, you know, it's pretty nice. I mean, on a whole, I'm seeing good, clean edges. Nothing's judging in seeing the trail little bit in there might be great at human element as well. I could have somebody walk through the trail and they could give a sense of place. Um, maybe I try and block the trail completely with a flower really depends. It's completely up to you. That's the fun of it. There's no right or wrong. Just try and create something that you're happy with and that conveys the emotion in the moment that you're trying to bring together. So I'm gonna keep taking a few more frames going to keep it at F 56 I want to make sure that I get enough options and I'm gonna try. Make sure trails completely blocked and flowers are moving around a lot. So the more they move, the more I shoot gives me more options, guarantees me more options. So now what I'm gonna do, because it's working out pretty well, give a little bit of Blur. I'm actually gonna bring my depth of field up, and Byrd dropped my eyes. So first I'm gonna go down to 100. I'm getting about 1/20 30th of a second. I'm actually going to go to about F 90 about 15th of a second. That should give me just a little motion. Blur here. Out slower. It's hard to tell. Still sounds fast, but it is not as fast as it was before. There's no wind, so I'm not getting a whole lot, but it is pretty bright, so I'm actually gonna go on under, expose a little bit neutral density filter and all the bright flowers air throwing off the cameras, internal meter. So I'm gonna make a little adjustment under exposed Get back in there. And of course, there's no win. That's how it always works when you want it. You don't get it when we're depth of field is giving me a little more detail in the flowers, which you may or may not like. I really like them is a compositionally is more of an abstract, just color. Just these little pieces of even older white, the color and they're bringing in something to this otherwise very monotone landscape breaking it up.

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.