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The Outdoor Photography Experience

Lesson 10 of 29

Researching Your Location Before Shooting

Chris Burkard

The Outdoor Photography Experience

Chris Burkard

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Lesson Info

10. Researching Your Location Before Shooting

Lesson Info

Researching Your Location Before Shooting

so the next kind of thing we're gonna go into is because we're going to head back to yosemite and we're gonna watch a video on the yosemite shoot you're on the yosemite shoot in the morning which is basically just sunrise and in this segment I kind of go over some of the details of like why what where we're shooting why we're shooting it you know what what is our subject well the subject for me is really the place right um this is kind of a concept that ties back into this idea of editorial and shooting things I guess on spec so when I started tio when I started to shoot ah lot of stuff for magazines I realize something pretty quickly and it was a great piece of advice that one of my photo editors told me and he said he said you know I have photographs of every surfer every all the best waves in the world doing every maneuver because they have a tour you know that goes to all these amazing wages like I have those images he said you know when you send me a story or an article of a place...

you you traveled somewhere maybe you traveled to big sur wherever it went said if I can identify that it's that location why would I run it why would I print it you know because basically I want to have a sense of place a sense of scale in my images right so when I'm shooting on spec and I'm going to somewhere like yosemite for example I use yosemite as kind of my hero location we that's why we went to because I love it because it's easy to shoot and I really wanted you know a fun place it offered a lot of variety you know you have rivers you have you know steep you know peaks you have really cool over views you have amazing star trails you have tons of stuff you can shoot and and it's just fun on dh so when I go to a place like that I'm always aiming to shoot photographs that people are going to see and recognize oh wow that's that's your seventy but that's it new perspective I haven't really quite seen before right for wow that's an amazing place that I ca n't tell kind of where it is in a way you know I think that I mean it depends on obviously what your assignment is ba that my background comes from creating these sort of editorial pieces like a feature right if I'm doing a feature on you know surfing in india well I want tohave aspects of india fused into the images and just to kind of go over some of these photographs here you know this is this is japan right so uh I wanted to have an aspect of the landscape that really tied in to that image you know to the location that we went um this is big this is morro bay a gn image of more iraq in the background with a perfect left kind of peeling off right and this is obviously you know if if somebody would have taken this and framed right you know maybe I don't know five or six inches I want to strangle them because you're missing out on the best part of the photograph it's not so much the wave it's the fact that more iraq is sitting right there is this huge amazing feature you know it's what makes it interesting you know it's what you know it's the landscape here that makes this unique it's what makes it interesting it's this amazing you know like marine you know skyline that in the water and all the textures of that that make it unique right so I was shooting an assignment for a place or location I'd want to fuse in aspects of that you know if somebody just framed in on this like like that it would it would really be a massive disservice to the world of creativity I think but you'd be surprised you know some people just they don't quite see it like that you know so again like if your assignment was shooting shooting horseback riding in in utah you know our money our arizona whatever and you wanted to find something that was iconically that place you know iconically monument valley but fuse in this other element of what you had to shoot you know this would be a way you could do it you know and and once again thinking editorially giving your photographs room to breathe okay how important is that it is can't express enough right we're not just thinking about square crops here you guys were thinking about photographs that could be split down the middle as a spread photographs that have enough room for sky you're thinking with the idea and the eyes of a designer and editor journalists and all these things and this is the editorial process okay this is understanding and knowing what it is magazines need and want and also sending them variations so when I'd go to a place like this I would shoot this is many ways and his many variations and as many crops as I can and although you might be seeing this one photograph that doesn't mean there's not a thousand others that are usable right now the concept there's two siphoned down the important ones too what you want to send what I ideally like give the best image of the place right go ahead uh do you have any questions yet is that a question we talked we touched on this when you're seventy and quite a bit but we talked about like researching like elements of the image that you want to capture beforehand and like really diving and like not just like the cultural of it but like really how you want to capture that um when you're approaching assignment like all these assignments for showing us how does that play into like what you're high you're shooting it well that's a really good really good question and I'm glad you asked because I I get this a lot like how what do you do before a trip how do you concept well this is a perfect example of this is kind of why but the slide show together because it's a mixture of images of saw on assignment for personal work for commercial work and everything in between right so this photograph for example lake moline and jasper national park in alberta right I was on assignment for albert tourism doing a social media campaign right um and before I went there my job was to basically show how beautiful this location was super simple assignment just take cool pictures and post them like the dream jobs right this is the fun ones um now before I go to a place I like to research as much as I can without killing the mystery of it and now I say this because everybody knows how strong of a tool google is and if you don't know how to use google that I don't there's no help for you but I suggest you know looking into these locations understanding where you're going understanding the kind of what's available and the beauty of the place and how it can how it can work for you what it changes everything changes what equipment you bring changes what the weather is you know you start to know and see ok cool I researched all of albert I saw photos a million like I'm like I want to get out there what do I need a need of dry bag because I'm gonna kayak out there I need this I need that I brought my camping here I brought this and that so I set myself up to create images of this place and I also research what are some of the coolest angles so before I went there I wasn't just running around like a chicken with my head cut off I kind of knew like wow this is a rad spot this is a rad place to shoot now the best angle that you see online is really this one right here which is like a no brainer you know it's easy you just walk up this little hill take the photo it's awesome what made our image different is that you can't get here by riding a tour bus or riding a tourist boat you have to kayak about four hours out there and stay the night to get sunset and it's legal to do you just have to set yourself up for it right so I plan that ahead of time if you were just like I'm going there it's all gonna be a mystery to me well you are going to get that shot right this is a different scene being professional and actually just and just kind of going with the flow now there's an element of going with the flow that is super important and this is where it kind of this this difference is is that you know when shooting a photograph like this this was early in the morning right we woke up and we saw this amazing reflection in the lake and right before you're about to paddle out I was like hey you know come come over here I want to grab this shot because I saw my friend starting to leave and he circled back he waited I'm standing on a dock right he waited for the glory of common I just I pushed him off so that you could make this really beautiful trail and then he just did a couple strokes I took that photograph right now this is not a photo that I saw before I got there I didn't even know it this reflection existed you know or that it looked like this from this perspective so I just I have made myself available for those kind of moments toe happen right and I think that's the mixture when I go on a trip you plan things out right as a landscape photographer as a no adventure photographer has action sports whatever you want to call it so much of what happens is uncontrollable moments which are great to be ready for but the more you can conceptualize beforehand the better you're gonna be guest that is important to be able to use the internet and google do you look at other people pictures off that place before because you've never been there before occasionally I do but that's kind of the hard part is like I tried to to a point I don't want to like kill it for myself you know you want there to be some beauty and if you spend too much time just researching its like I kind of just no like these are the great locations these are some of the cool perspectives and I'm done you know what I need to get there what I need to get that shot or what I need to get the kind of this angle well um and then I know you know but I don't wantto overdo it I don't want to do it to the point where the mystery is gone and when I'm there I'm just kind of like I feel like I'm just copying someone else's work I mean that's really important to do you know is to kind of know research but then also leave that room for those moments she just happened right and then that's kind of the beauty is that it's it's taking this idea of like you know you're you're in nature landscape photography is all about kind of these moments that just happened to us right you get a sunset to sunrise but also infusing some sort of aspect where it feels like you know you've conceptualized it right so for example this there was not just a horse there I went out to monument valley driving back from doing commercial shoot and I was like I've always wanted shoot monia valley we shot this star's sudden set the whole thing was epic loved it the next morning at last night was like nine pm I'm like oh my gosh I want to do a horse ride through the valley so I hired a guide and I was like hey I really just want take pictures of you and the other guys in with riding around so wait we rode around we took pictures took us on some trails and I found this plateau before sunrise is like six a m and it's freezing out I was like hey would you mind riding up there a couple times and he did that then we went on right so I conceptualized that image that that shot that concept right it wasn't just not trying to kill the mystery for you guys I hope that like it's not a special to you because you know that but I mean it doesn't really make a difference with the ninety percent of the photographs you see that air well done are the ones that have been conceptualized and planned out but look as if they weren't that's the point right so um same thing with this this is a photo I wish you could see it on that screens looks a lot more vibrant with half dome and everything but I have shot this road like thirty times right and taking pictures of it and one trip going up there and I was this is I would up there like on this specific trip and um how to escape with me and we were skateboarding on this road and take a photo of my friend I was like this is epic I was like but I really need somebody who can skate well so we called our buddy he came out there and met us right and then and I was like I was conceptualizing what I wanted right and basically he came up I threw him in a t shirt I've done a lot of kind of spec work for patagonia so I was like other might dig this I had him in a couple different outfits and I shot this right so it was a moment that just happened I saw it and then I was like what can I do to make it better and outside magazine and a picking this up for for a like full pray or first brad or for a full page I forget but that's and that's an example of like shooting on spec and then having it being used later and I know that if I just would've submitted the original photos from me and my friend were skateboarding it wouldn't have been in school right needed some color it needed cem you know it needed some elements to it and yeah so it's kind of one of those things where you're trying to think like a studio photographer in a way this is the beauty of like skateboarding and a lot of these other kind of action sports things that they have the they have the ability to set up whatever they want you know lights strobes and do all that stuff once again you know a moment that I could never planned happen I plan the framing I saw the location planned how I wanted to be framed but actually having the surfer in the waves and everything lined up that's something that just happened all of a sudden so being ready for that okay does does that kind of concept make makes sense to you guys a bit like this idea of having an idea executing you know traveling and planning it out but also leaving room for just the amazing moments happen yeah yeah later but um if you plan for like a brand or something that you might want to work with you don't have a relationship with them already do you find that it's easy to approach someone if you have some cool pictures maybe with that that brand like you had the patagonia brand tucked in there yeah I mean I would have done that if I hadn't worked to them before but just like in that in that scenario I wouldn't have but it doesn't mean that if like I was trying to work for somebody else or submit photos I think that would be a great idea or concept to do you know for sure like always good you know you definitely don't want to send photos to a competitive brand of somebody wearing their competitors gear you know I mean like so it definitely makes sense you know this is kind of why a lot of times when you're thinking about stock imagery or selling images out in the stock market the more like no logo no whatever basic colors the better right because then it's just everybody applies to everybody you know you have a basic red t shirt or yellow or you know a nondescript yellow backpack it's going to be really easy to get that went off the market as opposed to like something that is just you know blaring with logos and says this and that patio near whoever that's only really going to apply to like maybe them um one more example really quick yes you might touch in this later but are you gonna talk about you know um so strobes studio lights outside what do you do and you hate that stuff just for my own work I hate it only because I don't know how to do it and it's just a nightmare it's a headache I find that if I did that would make my work days like twenty hour days instead of eighteen hour days because I'm already trying to shoot at night and when the sun's good and stuff and I've this is one of those things I used to shoot with a lot of struggle I used to shoot with like three to four strobes in the water and do a lot of stuff with surfing and I took that out of my portfolio because it's really simple I just I knew that my work my best work was all about natural light and celebrating natural light and pushing it to the limit of what I can and so I feel like it it in a way it kind of hurt my other work and I also have been very this is something I suggest for everybody don't put work out in the world that you don't want to bring back and if you don't like shooting weddings don't put wedding photography out there I mean obviously you might have to because that might be your bread and butter but just consider you know what you're putting out in the world and how that's going come back to you so for me it was like I want to put all my strobe work out there my you know flash portraiture stuff when I know it's not my strongest and it's also not something I really dig doing you know I'd much rather just find an amazing landscape and kind of chew like that so um I just feel like in a way you know it's it's about putting your best foot forward and projecting out in the world but you hope to bring back you know that's people are seeing so that's all they have to base your work off of you know um so last thing I want to talk about before we kind of dive into this you have seventy section um this is on that trip to alberta to and uh basically um this is out the basket canyon amazing place we showed up here all right I'm just going to run you through the entire thing we showed up here was like a ten day trip right so we're shooting all these locations I should appear the night before and I was like this place is incredible and like this place needs a kayaker or someone in there like the first thing I thought I was like you need some one in this shot you know leading it looks too amazing to explore and I and as I arrived there I was like you guys should flip that screen around it's so much cooler on that little screen to look at so you can really get a feel for how the image is um but when I saw that this whole place I was like you know what this place needs it needs cloudy skies with a polarizer and a subject in there so I made a couple calls called a friend and jasper the like town just north of the katie no knee kayakers who'd be loved this like yeah it's like there's one of the best guys like does he have a yellow kayak yeah he does like perfect so why would I want a blue and well you get lost in the water you know you want that color that's gonna pop right and so the guy was really cool epic kayaker we came back the next day I wanted cloudy skies because with cloudy skies it's going to be more even grady in and the polarizer is going to cut the reflection of the water a lot easier than if you have dark shadows coming down from the canyon right so I came to this bridge same spot they came before and I shot it vertically I shot at horizontal and I shot it you know cropped in and every different perspective right so here's your normal horizontal perspective right and I shot both these because immediately I knew I was like this could be a cover and I have never shot kayaking and I've never you know it's not something I've ever really dived into before prior to this moment but I like I saw it this could be a cover and as soon as we got back we submitted the photo's a canoe and kayak and it was a cover I just but the thing is I could see the on a design scale how there could be text up top how the person just leading to something amazing you know that the colors are popping it just it felt and looked like that now I also shall these variations because I didn't know what they might want to use you know they might want something like this that's the less you know less wide angle you know a little more straight lines but I shot tons of variations you guys I just want to show like in every scenario if you're walking up something like this and you're only shooting one perspective I'm gonna strangle you you know you have to shoot as many as you can I was down on the candy looking back and all over I shot this as many places as I could and luckily I had this little moment to scout it out you know the night before so I kind of knew what were right and this is one of those instances where I came there I just saw before me shot it it's awesome it would've been a great image without him there you know but I was like what could elevate this scene what could make this that much better right because one thing that happens is sometimes I don't know about you guys but you get so in awe of like beauty when you're there that you kind of forget like does this need anything else you know you're you're at the beach the sunset it's incredible you're just firing away blindly but sometimes we forget like what could make this photo just that much better right and and so that's kind of the we're constantly trying to think about it considers what could elevate this scene and so this is an example of something you know also too that was ah it was kind of a uh social media assignment actually that turned into an editorial assignment cause I shot the images submitted them but just considering what the magazine might need is important so I just wanted to kind of keep continuing finishing on this little this little rant about my career and how how it evolved so where we left off you guys was shooting a lot of editorial for surf magazines and for any magazines I couldn't editorial why isn't important I think you asked this question over at lunch and I purposely wanted away because it's a good question and I want to make sure that we answer to everybody but why do we shoot editorial what did we establish already the pay sucks usually it's not very good unless you're shooting for you know an amazing massive magazine but when I was doing it a lot it wasn't for those great magazines uh pay wasn't great and it's not really a sustainable way to kind of make a living I found you know shooting when I was shooting so why would I continue doing it the love the love is one of them but the love doesn't put money put food in your mouth um doesn't pay your exposure right exposure because editorial has a massive amount of exposure right you have magazines have circulations of three hundred four hundred thousands the reputable idiot because it looks good because it's so rad to have a spread you know and there's this fine line you guys between doing things for the love which and doing things for this but for me it's usually what I love is shooting personal projects you know things that I don't have any editorial value there just for me so I kept doing editorial because I loved it but what I realized really quickly was it's the commercial work I paid the bills for that made the career keep elevating right and so from shooting hgh editorial projects I was able to go on a lot of trips with surfers and athletes and those athletes or surfers or whoever had sponsors right and so those sponsors would need images so all of a sudden now I wasn't just shooting on spec for magazines but I was actually working for a magazine or working with the magazine pretty in line and so I was submitting an assignment you know they were signing off great go ahead go to india can't wait to see what you get goto iceland see what you get awesome I was going there I was coming back I was traveling with a group of surfers or group of athletes they had sponsors that had needs they had images of them so um to page me this is just a very very rough you know um interpretation but like a two page spread in magazine that might pay you a hundred bucks if that same image was bought by an advertiser and then they ran a two page spread in the magazine you might make like I don't know forty hundred to twenty five hundred bucks in the surf world right every market is different keep that in mind so totally different that your name might not be on it it had their logo's on it's not as clean and pure and all those things but jeez I mean that's like eight times the money or something like that I don't know but that's how you kind of made at least I made money in that in that regard and so what happened was uh you know I was working for first surfline ah and water magazine uh ended up getting a job surfer magazine when the editors changed over and so I was working at staff for surfer magazine which is who I'm working for now andi all these trips I've been going on the photographs were getting used for different purposes you know they were getting used for the magazine off course and they were getting used for these awesome features but I was able to sell them for advertisements here advertisements there and all of a sudden and you're going on trips with sponsors or with brands like say I don't know the quick silver's billabong is root cause of the world whatever and doing campaigns for them right so none of the images are being used in editorial they're just being used for commercial use okay and the rates for those would be much much higher um now keep in mind this is the same with any company brand any sport I don't care if you're shooting competitive rollerblading it's it's essentially works the same way right the advertisers pay you know for the ads in the magazine no um if you're shooting a lot of editorial and you have a really good name for yourself and you are you're proven is somebody who can you know travel with athletes or whoever and get them good exposure that's good for two things good for the brand first of all because they are realized wow this guy's super valuable he can go and get us free advertising right if you have editorial of someone with therewith the brand's logo on it that's free advertising for them okay because they're paying for it right just in the magazine um it looks good on because it looks good on the appetizers so they're really keen to work to usually also the athletes are really keen to work with you or your subject is really kinky and this is the same if you're working with models or something to it doesn't matter like you're promoting them they're promoting you it's kind of works back and forth right so but anyway this is kind of what I was doing for for a good number of years and that was really my my bread and butter was was shooting a lot of editorial I had a little print stuff on the side okay but what I started happening was I was getting a lot more recognition from maybe some larger larger commercial clients clients that were in the surf world war in the action sports world at all you know wine labels and you know random you know outerwear brands and car companies and this and that they said you know we love the way that you've been able to document california surf culture and surf culture in general we have a project that we could use your expertise and we could use your eye and your vision on great so now all of a sudden my work started to shift and what I started to do uh and this is probably this is so I think important and fitting to this this classroom two things okay um first of all there came a point in my career I was like you know what I'm to that point I've got a little bit of money saved up I want to invest in myself so I want to invest in my own portfolio my own career and up till now up to the last couple years what has been probably the best way to get your work in front of editors and in front of you know new potential clients whatever exhibit e have a good idea up until five years ago yeah what what what do you know what that's called what they used to be called like when you stand like this in the portfolio or you send something that really set him a book right usually promo mailers people would spend a couple thousand dollars sending problem mailers so it might be ten small prints it might be a little card with your contact info in a really good image that's what photographers would do but your sponsor me skate video uh yeah yeah in a very rudimentary way but not different to be like you know me basically making I don't know something something small like this and printing out two thousand times it's going to be expensive you send it all of you send it to all the magazines and all the perspective clients you guys wanted you guys won't work no one thing I want you guys to do tonight write down a list of five clients that you would love to work with five commercial clients right I'm talking like the levi's toyotas that whoever's the world write down that list okay making a realistic list a list of people that you could actually see yourself working with how would you align with them how would that work okay now to get back to what I decide to do rather than do this with the onset of social media I realize something you know I would rather put some of my best work out there online work that I know and that I'm comfortable with potentially being redistributed potentially stolen used on someone's website blah blah but if I know that it's getting re shared its getting out in the world I know there's going to be value there so I invested in myself the money that I might have made not putting it out there and trying to sell it I'm willing tto lose because I know that it's going to go out there and work for me right so that's exactly what I did I started using social media as a tool to market myself I decided to minimize my watermarks I decided to put a plus work out their work that you know work that I potentially could have distributed and sold and done this and that maybe maybe work that could have sold for stock and made it mine maybe a couple hundred dollars I invested in myself and I was willing to do that because I knew the power of social media and I could see what it was doing and so because of that it is something that really started I feel like benefit myself in the long run because the clients were seeing this people were seeing this work and it was getting redistributed unit was getting out there into the world in the time when I was going into these offices of editors and looking at their desks and seeing stacks of problem mailers just being pushed off to the corner nobody's looking at that stuff you know where would people looking there were looking on their phones they were looking on facebook they were looking at stuff they were shared in right so um trying to kind of emerge with this new market and accept it and see how I could work with that does this kind of makes sense he has a you're standing for that um I would say about five years ago when facebook was kind of like taking off you know um now nowadays we have like one hundred sixty thousand one hundred makes seventy thousand facebook followers or something like that and you know because we've just we're putting a lot of energy in that channel obviously and other channels have grown to um what is the other thing I've done well this falls right in line with this concept of um of trying to define yourself three things I found myself shooting more commercial work and I was going to these amazing locations right I was already traveling there for surf and other things some you have to understand like just like with those things that I told you guys you know you gotta stick to what you're really good at but also working on things on the side you know like I knew that at this point early in my career if I was to show you my portfolio it wouldn't have photos of of people kayaking and photos of cars and things like that in there because I had never shot that stuff you know so my work of that those it sucked why would I put that in front of you if I wasn't comfortable if I knew that so what I realized if I was on my list what was on my list maybe it was toyota you know which is the brandy work for all the time now that would have been a list somebody on my list so what did I do to get myself closer to working with them well it's simple I knew first of all that I needed to portfolio it would resonate with them I need a portfolio that would actually show images of me working with vehicles I was going to these amazing locations already but I was usually driving like some crappy minivan or some weird sedan or some funky little you know four door car you know like so I was going to isil and I'm like you know what I need to start building my portfolio of amazing vehicle shots in these landscapes I want to shoot vehicles in the same way that I would shoot surfers the thing that's built my name up I want to apply the same type of treatment to that do you see any similarities here of how there might be a vehicle infused in that same aesthetic right so going to russia going to ice and go in these places I started investing into myself I started running and more expensive car that I was just paying for because I knew that this you know defender won ten would look way cooler and images than this crappy minivan right and I started shooting it along the way and by doing that I created a portfolio for myself right this was all spec work I didn't sell any of these images they weren't used for anything other than just having a portfolio that I knew that that opportunity came along I could have something to put forward right and so that was kind of the goal and what is that translated to well um as you can see we have you know projects like in big sur going up and shooting there well what's that translated to well it's it's translated too much you know that here's here's some more um these were just photographs that I shot inspect this is in norway right shooting cem cem vehicles there this is in iceland right shooting some vehicles there mohr iceland stuff shooting vehicles there so I was investing in myself into something that I knew I love shooting surfing but I was like you know I want to shoot something more something on a work with bigger clients you know that could ideally take me to different places and work on rad stuff and so I basically was able to start getting you know noticed by some of these these brands and start doing work for them so this is a really small selection of work that I've done for toyota and whatnot as well now um let's this last element of ah this last element of investing myself so um so considering this idea of you know building your career making making things um more specific to you I I realized pretty quickly pretty early on that for me location played a big part in things right and I was always receiving tons of scrutiny because I wasn't traveling hawaii every winner shooting you know these for three to four weeks on the north shore and I think a big part of it was just because I grew up around cold water and I loved kind of more rugged places with no people that's where I felt the most comfortable but more importantly than that I didn't see any need to go compete with people when I could go go to places that nobody else was going right so let's consider this you have you guys been to hawaii to shoot there for any reason like surfing for a reason like ok good so I'm not going to like bum nobody but think about this you know you go to hawaii here they're um you are there you're you're paying your own way because you're not working for a magazine you're not working for a brand you're just going there which is something a lot of people do when they're shooting surfing right it's kind of the thing you know because all the athletes are there all the contests are there it's a great place to see the best surfing happening like literally hundreds of feet in front of you but when you go there and something amazing happens who were you competing with you're competing with all the staff photographers of the magazine that are being paid a salary where even if your angle is a little bit better they'd probably go with them because they're paying those guys you're competing with all the brand photographers who are hired by the brand of shoot images of their guys you're probably going to sell any photos of the brand what your end up where you're going to end up doing maybe it's selling a photo like a a website or something like that that's that's going to pay you very little and you're going to be very very hard time recouping money from that trip so the hardest part about this is that it's not really a sustainable cycle right um you maybe you go to try and sell prince print sales of it well that's going to be really tough thing to do too um so for me I realized pretty clearly that I needed to find a different plan and what I started to do is travel to places that felt more rugged more remote more distant and this is really what got me involved and excited about shooting in the arctic and shooting surfing and super remote places right and I've been to iceland eighteen times in norway multiple times and russia twice and the area and that's all fine and good but in the beginning it was really just about going there because I had a general interest so one of the ways I tried to set my work apart was by going to thes location that's right and going to places that I hadn't seen images before nowadays you know there's tons of stuff of this you know online but ten years ago when I started traveling there there wasn't a lot of people going there so that was one of the ways that I try to this set kind of my work apart and it really helped in defining that style you know it's obviously you know not to not to dumb down my work but it's a lot easier to create great images of places that you've never really seen other people shoot or you're not competing with other bill shooting there in this market in this field right so before he plays to seventy I just wanna make sure that those kind of three concepts in terms of defining your style making career stand apart those makes sense yes have questions on those things uh would you still recommend that approach for somebody today you said you got a sort of doing this ten years ago when absolutely the world's a big place and there's so much to see and discover and doing I mean I can't imagine not I mean I know the I have a list of like tons of places that I would love to go to you know but I still want to go and that's the beauty is that there's so much out there to still explore and see and do now oh obviously taking you know a path that is just about really taking a path it's less conventional right and taking a path that feels a bit more true to to what inspires you you know and this is what inspired me and this is what I felt drawn to you know if you're drawn to do the same route that other people have done that's that's fine too it's just I just think it's going to be a bit harder gonna throw yourself into a lot bigger pool ah fish you know but if you want to try and send that you need to create your own path is what you're saying yeah yep yeah with the likes of you know the surfer trips to iceland is that something that you would invest in yourself too then go sell those pictures that some that surfer pace for to go do that I've done it both ways I've been there on assignment people I've done commercial projects I've paid one hundred percent for myself to go I mean I paid a lot of trips or I've paid everything up front then just made my money back later and I think the key is once you've done it enough you know the trips that are going to be super valuable on I'm like great I'm willing to invest all my money into this one cause I know it's gonna pay off would be awesome but in the beginning it's obviously really tough to just make those initial investments right that's why I think having a great idea and a great concept goes a long way it's not just like I'm gonna go there and create you know great images and push him out it's like what's the value going to go there I'm going to put images away for my portfolio I'm gonna create images for stock I'm gonna get a good editorial assignment I have some ideas of how I met people shoot video have some ideas of how I might feel to shoot some you know stuff for social media like nowadays they're so many factor's they're going to play of what you can get out of it but the main value might not be the money monetary compensation no you know I mean if I go somewhere at least for me now if I go somewhere and I'm like I'm not gonna make any money but I know that I'm gonna create great images they're gonna have a good social impact that's value teoh right so thinking about all those levels right and personal value of course like going there and having good times yeah and if you may be important to you if you extend that step further so that's to say it wasn't funded by the magazine and you taking these athletes you know guess is around the athlete management effective are you putting that investment for those athletes or what they put in that no no everybody's invest equally you're not front the bill for because they're benefiting too right and that's I guess you know who's getting the value and you know if that value they're getting the value if they're getting an editorial things that's free advertising for them builds their name builds their sponsors name which ideally they should be pitching in for or the sponsorship yeah absolute agree with that I was just trying to figure out you know this must be a balance there's someone that they're totally is that it's all about finding weaving in a balance and make sense in a lot of ways you can minimize the expenses on these trips is getting support for tourism sells out surfing was wakeboarding same it's all the same doesn't matter shooting you know competitive ballet it's like it's all the same you know it was answered when you were taking pictures for example just for yourself put in there one line you were just like putting their online and waiting for clients to come you're where else ascending like toyota I mean I'm just putting work out in the world that I know is going to get a good engagement yeah and I'm just hoping that the right people are going to see it and that's just it's the luck of the draw you know you're just you're just hoping and praying that it's going to get the right people on your work is going to see it out there if you're shooting stuff it's interesting enough words you have a good I mean that's the one thing you can't help people with this you can't help people you can talk about it all day you can't help people necessary decipher what about image makes a compelling you know all these aspects what we're talking about leading lines compelling light that you gotta get me on a three dimensional this that yeah those are all things that are going to apply but I think that if you start shooting work that feels consistent it's all gonna start coming back to you you know which is great yes so you did then you're doing still a lot of editorial and clearly you're doing a lot of commercial work what part um selling prince uh has today for you and also if in the past or right now you're working or you want to work with galleries that eventually you know it's more your personal work that will come out and your personal point of view or not the company or we're going to talk about that I think after this video um selling prince aspect is a huge part of my business now um it's only grown because of social media right because I'm ableto it's a really great tool to dictate which images would be good as prince sells well more people that engage the photo probably means more people are gonna buy it right I mean if you'd make if you make a mean and you have understand like I always hate looking at this from the monetary perspective but if you're making a gallery just to put your own image in there what you like I don't know what to tell you you're really well off because the point of the galleries to sell work right and the point to sell work is to make money and sustain that gallery and make business that works so for me using social media as a way to determine which images they're going to do well which images they're going to be engaging and print well that's a really good model it's a great way to dictate what to print and what do you know if I have a photograph that does extremely well I'm gonna want it print that one up and sell it you know so that's just kind of my concept on that you know there's with I'll talk more about print sales in a little bit too and with galleries as well and how to kind of dictate a show or something like that

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.