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The Outdoor Enthusiast's Guide to Photography & Motion

Lesson 22 of 67

Telling a Story With a Drone


The Outdoor Enthusiast's Guide to Photography & Motion

Lesson 22 of 67

Telling a Story With a Drone


Lesson Info

Telling a Story With a Drone

drones are great. I mean, a lot of the same creative considerations exist with them as they do with anything in photography thing. Really cool part is, instead of being down here, you're up there and you're getting to see really great stuff. So symmetry shape, line, rule of thirds. All of those things play a role in it, looking for those really great details. So one thing I want to share with you is a story breakdown. This is another short films a couple minutes long. It's called Chasing the Distance. This was done already several years ago. Different rules in different time. Back then, this was about ultra marathon runner Rob Krar. Really cool guy. Uh, you know, he had a really incredible story, and this was, you know, one of the first time that I really started employed drones and story telling their use very, very sparingly. Um and so I think it was strong. It really emphasized his place in the landscape, and it was the only way to really punctuate the story element about the long, ...

long distances this guy runs. It's incredible. He's one of the best long distance runners in the world. Super fast time. At the time, he had had the fastest known time from running across the Grand Canyon, from rim to rim to rim all in one shot without stopping So really cool story. Play the video for you. Now it's about four minutes long, and we'll come back and talk about a little bit more. There's no easy way to describe the last quarter of an ultra when your body does just want to stop in your mind, wants to stop. That's when I go to that dark place that I can only experience late in 100 mile race. And it's something that I both yearn for fear of. The same time I recognized chasing that distance, fooling completely minutes. It's been life changing, but ultra marathoner is seeking to find peace within themselves. Running seems to be the one thing that's provided me enough piece toe to keep going. I ran the fastest no. One time ever across the Grand Canyon rim to rim to rim, and it was a huge struggle in discomfort. But I thought about Kristina, and that's what kept me in that crossing way, fell in love, camping here, a piece of my heart is in this place. You can just feel so connected to something but so small at the same time. It's this place where you can feel free every time we get out brings us together. It's the simplest way to put it. There was a time early in our relationship when I saw her using the boat that it kind of solidified my desire to want to be with this incredible woman. I struggled with depression for a long time, and I never even remotely had a grasp on before I met Christina. We've had some dark times, kind of know that dark side of life a little bit and can kind of relate on that note as well. Running is definitely his major coping mechanism at this point running alone on the trails. It's what I need to keep myself together as a human and find peace with the Grand Canyon. This is what I wrote while Rob is was running mentor, injury, peace, peace among people and cars and a giant canyon battle rages below that I know not a husband. River rock all battle to become one. Somehow this great place consumes me, consumes them, consumes time. So I wait. I wait to the patient wife, a supportive partner, and let the grandeur of the place wash over me and swallow all things. This place is a place of balance, place to respect and honor, give and take. Forming an intimate relationship takes time a lifetime. And beyond canyon, beautiful canyon unfold your secrets for me. So that was produced for the Sierra Club at the time for part of ah campaign. And none of it was actually in the National Park was proposed extension of the park as a national monument. And ultimately, uh, it was not successful in its effort, but the film was very successful nonetheless. And, um, you know, conveying a lot of different important messages. And you can see where the little moments of the story are punctuated by the use of having aerials, getting a sense of the scale, the vast distances he goes and this distance that they they manage in their lives. So it's really, really powerful way of telling a story

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. 


  1. Bootcamp Introduction
  2. Storytelling with Stills and Motion Overview
  3. Elements of a Well-told Story
  4. Storytelling in Motion
  5. Choosing the Best Gear for Your Outdoor Project
  6. Gear for Drones
  7. Gear for Motion
  8. Inside Ian's Gear Bag
  9. General Advice for Preparation
  10. Virtual Scouting
  11. Weather
  12. Permits and Permission
  13. Model and Property Releases
  14. Health and Fitness
  15. Checklist
  16. Location Scouting Overview
  17. Location Scouting in the North Cascades
  18. Drone Introduction
  19. Drone Safety
  20. What Kind of Drone Should I Buy?
  21. FAA Part 107 Test: How to Prepare
  22. Telling a Story With a Drone
  23. Drone Camera, Lenses and Movements
  24. Selling Drone Footage
  25. Why Does a Photographer Need Motion?
  26. Establish the End User
  27. Identify Your Audience
  28. Build a Production Plan
  29. Create the Story Structure
  30. The Shooting Script
  31. Production Quality
  32. Composition for Stills
  33. Composition for Stills: Landscape
  34. Composition for Stills: Telephoto Lens
  35. Composition for Stills: Macro Lens
  36. Techniques for Capturing Motion in the Field
  37. Lenses and Filters for Outdoor Photography
  38. Capturing Landscapes - Part 1
  39. Capturing Landscapes - Part 2
  40. Capturing Movement in Stills
  41. Shooting Water, Sky and Panorama
  42. Understanding Stock
  43. Editorial vs Commerical
  44. Pricing Stock
  45. Producing Stock
  46. Shooting for Social Media vs Stock
  47. Choosing an Agency
  48. Assignments and Capturing Stock
  49. Stock Photography Market
  50. Create A Style Guide
  51. Stock Shoot Analysis
  52. Workflow for Selecting Final Stills
  53. Initial Editing in Adobe Bridge
  54. Reviewing and Selecting Motion Footage
  55. Keeping Track of Your Story Ideas
  56. Script and Story Structure Evolution
  57. Editing to the Content
  58. Music as a Character
  59. Business Diversification
  60. Business Strategy
  61. Pillars of Revenue
  62. Branding
  63. Partnerships and Brand Strategy
  64. Galleries and Fine Art
  65. Budgeting
  66. The Future of Photography
  67. Q&A And Critique



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.