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The Outdoor Photography Experience

Lesson 3 of 29

How to Create Timeless Images

Chris Burkard

The Outdoor Photography Experience

Chris Burkard

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Lesson Info

3. How to Create Timeless Images

Lesson Info

How to Create Timeless Images

we're going to go into a video that talks about packing in gear but and and basically I'm only like you know a third of the way through this little like story of my my kind of leaders but what we do is we kind of jump back and forth to it because it's nice because as we kind of go through the rest this workshop we kind of cut back to like okay well right now where we left off I did this book right awesome I'm working for surf magazines my work is comprising of of what mainly editorial write editorials every know what that means like just shooting for magazines purely like magazine assignments or on spec assignments from magazines where you're either you're either getting hired to go and shoot this location for a feature or for whatever or you're in touch with the other and you're kind of just taking pictures hoping that they'll use something and there's a little more communication than just like randomly blindly submitting right on spec meaning speculation okay so this is where my care...

er is right now okay and we'll just pause right there really quick because that was that was what made up all of my income and sadly I mean you guys the point of this thing is to kind of I really want to talk straightforward with you guys and be really realistic about kay well I mean what I might be shooting for my own like personal enjoyment all the time and stuff and what I might be shooting for you know a careers sometimes a lot different so when I say like you know this is what I'm shooting from income you know obviously like there are a lot of other things I'm shooting but this is what is compromising of my bulk of my income what's making me live and breathe as a photographer in the field right is mainly at this point editorial okay um I started to work after that book came out I started work for surfline I got a staff position at surfline surfline was one of the biggest website advertisers of surfing in the world they have all the webcams massive so I gain a really clear understanding of how valuable the web is all of a sudden my income started to come not only from editorial but also print sales because I was able to promote a lot of my work out there and get seated out so I was getting a lot of enquiries for prince selling a lot of prints right so that was that was kind of these this twofold thing okay so there were parts um so going back to this this book this project I just one of the things that I was able to talk to some of the students about and this is if there is one concept that I could leave you with that I think is going to be valuable it's it's really it's really this is that you know this idea of creating timeless images there are other things that we can do to create timeless images um what are some of those do you guys do you guys know have any thoughts or ideas we talked about this a lot yes no people no cars true yeah anything that date sear images now I would say if you don't have people it's fine you can I person I loved having people in my images but having people it's specific if this person was wearing a very brightly colored jacket with a big swish on it it might not feel is timeless right so how do you do that shooting a lot of silhouettes shooting and strong lighting scenarios where you know you see a photograph of ah a surfer and a green barrel and they're totally a silhouette what does that do for the viewer yeah you're like I know that feeling I know that feeling I know what it's like to be in that scenario that warm california evening sun offshore is blowing you can relate to it right a lot of you all can relate to this because they don't see a boy or a girl with like blond hair this or that or logo's they just see and on a subject there it's easier for the viewer to put themselves into that person's shoes and emotionally relate to your images if the subject is not easily identifiable okay yes do you ask people to wear something I mean if you're sure this mean if you're shooting a commercial shoot it doesn't really matter he could be wearing yellow and you're not going to see him this is the holy backlit but if you're shooting a commercial shoot I mean you're almost always styling your your model if you know if I'm shooting on editorial I'm just trying to work with what I have you know obviously and I might be like oh tuck that in or ball block you know you want to make them look the best you can but you understand there's a big difference between a moment like this where this just happened and I'm just like cool or a moment where it's all set up and stylized in this and that so we'll talk about that too where there's these moments where you're kind of posing things and making them happen you're you're basically making your ideas and concepts come to life or just shooting off the cuff as it happens yeah so I just wanted to ask you always you know I asked him to pose so I just think like I said it depends this this scenario just is happening this person was was here where I mean I can break down a lot of these these these images for you to give you a visual but basically you hide behind this waterfall we're all sitting here waiting you know um I think he went out there and snapped a picture from this vantage point and then like and then you know might have like put his hands in his pocket looked up I snapped a photo and I said and then he might have walked away for second said hey can you go back I want to stop one more picture of you and he's like grace we goes back out does you know like simply like that but it it all kind of depends you know like I said you go to these places sometimes you have these great concepts in mine ideas that you want to execute other times great stuff just happens along the way okay we're gonna we're gonna talk a lot about that that's a really good question yeah do use yourself as a subject no I'm not really good with a self timer and drive I usually am always traveling with an assistant or with you know on a commercial project or with like you know maybe some athletes like if you know this might be a photograph that might go into an article for a surf magazine right as like a filler image you know this might be one of the athletes from the trip you know which is exactly what this was this is good yeah but it's never usually me yeah you know um I like being behind the camera yeah do you feel like these timeless images of these timeless moments come from genuine elements like genuine human emotions that in these beautiful places I would absolutely say so I mean that's that's what makes people respond to them you know I think it's there's a lot of other things that go into it you know go into creating that but I would imagine to me at least that it's all basically demographic you know hike so if it was you know twelve and thirteen year old girls that were like looking at my my photographs this maybe wouldn't resonate to them right but people like you enjoy being outside maybe you've been in this scenario before maybe you've seen something like this before so it relates to you this is why understanding and knowing your demographic and who they are is important right because if I know that most people that followed me or maybe you know the eighteen toe you know fifty five year old males and females who spent you know maybe seventy percent of their time you know wreck creating outside then this is going to be valuable to them and make sense in them right you have a question yeah I just wanted to ask if you ever look for the show powered something if it no no no I'm not a fan of photo shop I'd never photoshopped someone's hand or a bird or anything like that um what will die tomorrow will dive into editing and I'll show you the process I use a really just the funny thing is to is that most of my work isn't it's besides what I put on instagram or this and that it's being used by a magazine or a client or someone and they're doing all the work on it right so it wouldn't even make a difference because I couldn't like photoshopped a file and give it to them anyway so other aspects that can make a photograph feel timeless what are they no I talked to you about this colors do you want to feel like what we talking project it's pie in the videos but I just I really want to get this out so that you guys say that you hear it and we're gonna play this video in a second but I'm you guys remember yeah natural elements um like landforms air obviously like span way longer than human life so you know people will be able to relate to that that's a great that's a great idea and concept that's that's that's a good one as well a lot of times I'll look for items or objects that might not be around forever you know historical aspects of a place or a location right um something that kind of doesn't give it like data you know so but really it's it's this emphasis on color right um your artist right um when you want to create depth in an art piece and you're working with color a lot of times what you're taught to do and the only reason I know this is because the only class I really took in college was a it was a three dimensional art class right and and drawing and I loved art and so what I what I have learned in applied photography is that it's all about these color relationships right you want to create depth in your images that's all we're trying to I like the word depth more like timelessness because this is a flat screen right but we're trying to make this image feel like it has depth feel like it's stacked feel like there's there's elements that come out especially when you're looking on the phone I mean you gotta think every single almost every single image you guys see nowadays it is probably on your phone be probably view ten toe won the amount of photographs or whatever on a device or on a computer than you do in person so how do we make things jump off a screen especially when it's in a square format that's like you know two inches by two inches something right so hard cool tones and warm tones what do they do they push and they pull they recede and they move forward right because of the fact that these cool tones are pushing back these warm tones are pulling forward what is one of the number one things you guys see every evening in california on online or on social media sunsets right why are we so drawn to sunsets is it is it like a human condition yeah kind of is because we love that we love that cool without warm right that is like it's just in our nature and when you understand elements of art how that works this makes this image have more depth you know probably also because of this the fact that something's leading in here but most importantly it's it's that depth case so I think in a lot of the images that I'm shooting photographing I'm really looking for elements that it's too bad the screen's not is like vibrant as some of these other ones a little washed out but these these elements of warm tones that really make a knob jet like this feel like it's more forward you know something that feels like it's right up in your face okay um what else do we have that makes sense you guys that those if there's one thing I want you guys to place that element light is so important okay and it's so important to get up early I mean if you get up early and stay out late I mean I can't emphasize always this kind of rule of thumb in like this like the surf world because when you're dealing with light on water it's so amazing right but you could get a cut they always like you could get a cover on a two foot wave it's the right light in the in the right conditions right because it could be amazing amazing lighting scenario that just really really speaks to you rather than shooting the same photo maybe better and bigger midday go ahead did you say cool tones push and warm tones pole it doesn't really matter what they do is matters you have both of them I think I'm not even I think it's that yeah that the cool tones kind of received the warm tones push forward it might even be the opposite I'm not even sure I just always know that if you have both those elements in their your image is gonna have more depth right so what are some other elements you guys tone's I'm talking like water physical things you can you can implement in trees is foreground right so that's the foreground right okay made ground background rule of thirds right all of these things right we don't even get into every single aspect but foreground is so important rule of thirds this this photograph on that screen you should like check this out it's a lot cooler here you could see it um yeah so yeah it's a lot better so there's actual color in the sky there but yeah these these amazing you know sunset clouds right and then you have this cool water and you have this reflection and all of these things really give your image a lot more life a lot more death and these are the things that that we need to look for in photographs so it's not enough especially now but it's not enough just to pull up and stop picture and leave okay you have to be implementing as many of these elements leading lines okay I don't care if it's sidewalks in your photograph for whatever it is they're trees or something that they should be leading out of the corners or pulling your eye to something that's important right um are you are you a fan of like making your photos more vibrant than like maybe how you saw it or just we're going to get into that in post processing okay um but I think you'll be pretty shocked at the amount of work that I very the little amount of work that I try to do my images you know it's it's really for me it's about bringing it back to a flat radiant and then kind of working it from their you know I'd rather work with my curves and tones that I would saturation and vibrance and things like that just one last thought before we transfer over to the secure video you guys is if I was to wait five seconds what would happen to this image and I snapped this photo five seconds later but we go where not good in composition yeah where would ugo yeah shadows right so this is like a really dumb question but you guys to understand like you be sent you see this stuff like happened in photographs like wait what do you do it no like you put him in this bright part of the image right you put him in the image the part where it feels like he's going somewhere so it's so important too if the person just sitting there not moving it wouldn't be a cz interesting as if they were actually I mean this is literally a photograph somebody paddling into our camp we got to this spot we posted up we waited for the sun to set this amazing story behind this photograph but I walked up to him like oh my gosh the lights beautiful hey can you go out and do a circle for me awesome and just this image where he's moving into this place it says volumes you know um but obviously all of these elements what's happening to the mountains we have this really beautiful natural convergence right into the center of the frame it's like I mean you can't not take a picture there you know but but more importantly I just want to bring those elements

Class Description

Short on time? This class is available HERE as a Fast Class, exclusively for Creator Pass subscribers.

Shooting outdoor photography is a powerful way to commune with nature and experience the fullness of life. Learn how to train your eye on incredible shots and convey the energy of the outdoors in The Outdoor Photography Experience with Chris Burkard.

Chris’s beloved images of life on the world’s coasts are alive with action and emotion. In this class, he’ll share the tools and techniques he uses to capture the photographs he sells to magazines, brands, collectors, and publishers.

You’ll learn about his shooting style and the gear he brings on his global adventures. He’ll also talk about the business of photography and share tips on marketing and selling your work.

If you want insights on how to create rich, dramatic images that let you enjoy more time outdoors, don’t miss your chance to learn from Chris Burkard in The Outdoor Photography Experience.

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I've been staying up all night to watch the live broadcast. As somebody else here mentioned (latsok), it's emphasizes on the non-technical aspects (emotion, engagement, colour and composition) rather than the technical stuff like shutter speeds, iso and f-stop. Although I can use some help in both, the technical aspects are not only camera specific but fairly objective as well. The non-technical aspects however are something much harder to grasp. Getting help in this by no-one less than Chris Burkard is just amazing. I bought this class so I can re-watch certain parts of the broadcast again whenever I need it. But also to show my appreciation for Chris Burkard and Creative Live for providing this great online course!

Matt Redfern

This class was packed full of amazing knowledge. I really enjoyed the topics covered and have found it super helpful for my work. I have had so many takeaways ranging anywhere from how to put myself out there, finding my style that stands out, practical applications, etc. I would highly recommend this class to everyone interested in photography! Big thanks to Chris and CreativeLive for putting this together.


This was a phenomenal class. I highly recommend it to anyone. Chris is not only a sensational photographer, he is a wonderful teacher. He provides such detailed information and freely gives same to his students. He is really really available and eager to answer questions and so easy to understand. I learned so much and I was thrilled. I am very very grateful I found this particular class.