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Travel Photography

Lesson 17 of 32

Workflow & Composition Ideas

John Greengo

Travel Photography

John Greengo

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Lesson Info

17. Workflow & Composition Ideas


  Class Trailer
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1 Class Introduction Duration:11:45
5 Travel Gear Duration:19:13
6 Health, Safety & Security Duration:11:09
7 Gear: General Advice Duration:06:20
8 Gear: Cameras Duration:15:56
9 Gear: Lenses Duration:12:48
10 Gear: Tripods Duration:15:44
11 Gear: Filters Duration:04:08
12 Gear: Camera Accessories Duration:13:33
13 Gear: Final Thoughts Duration:03:55
14 Camera Checks Duration:04:20
15 Technique: Camera Settings Duration:13:30
16 Advanced Techniques Duration:13:00
17 Workflow & Composition Ideas Duration:07:42
18 Scouting Duration:17:33
20 Locations: Opera House & Dumbo Duration:05:12
22 Details: Buildings Duration:05:15
23 Details: Pattern Duration:14:51
25 People: Street & Candid Duration:08:46
28 People: Environmental Portrait Duration:15:37
30 Wildlife Duration:08:44
31 Events Duration:08:19
32 End of the Road Duration:09:35

Lesson Info

Workflow & Composition Ideas

Alright, after I'm kind of done with the days shoot the way that I like to deal with things is I'm gonna download my images, 'cause I like to bring my computer with me. I'm gonna review, I'm not gonna spend a lot of time doing this but I just wanna organize things into a chronological order. So what I do is I basically just have one folder for each day of shooting, simple as that. And then sometimes I'll follow that up by a word by the location that I'm in. You're gonna wanna rename photos because cameras will cycle back over under their own numbers and so I'll use a system using a date system so I know when that photo was taken. I might add some key words so that I get that in while I'm on location, I can just do a quick keyword of what country, what city, what park I'm in for instance, something like that. And then I'm gonna do a loose edit, I'm not gonna do a fine-tooth which ones exactly better than the others, I just wanna get rid of some of the junky photos and highlight some of ...

the ones that are better in case I wanna do a slide show in the later parts of the trip and this doesn't take very long. I'm gonna backup my images on my separate hard drive which is sometimes stored in the safe in the room. And then I'm gonna pack all my gear, charge the batteries so it's all ready to go in the morning. Now as I said, I do bring my computer with me and I do an edit. I usually try to do it in 10 minutes, even if I've shot 1000 images, I try to get through it (snaps fingers) as quickly as I can, I'm tryin' to work off of the Malcolm Gladwell Blink philosophy, just, is it good, not, is it good, not, is it good, not and just get through the stuff as quickly as possible. And so the way this works for me using Lightroom, which can be a little bit slow as I download before dinner and I build the previews during dinner. So my computer is working while I am eating. After dinner I come back, rename the images real quick, I rate 'em all as one star because that's what most of 'em are gonna become. I do a quick review of the images and I'm basically looking for the worst 10% and the best 10% and they either get a garbage can or they get two stars and that's all I'm hoping to do. And it's not that hard just going through the day really quickly, you can go through three or 400 images very, very quickly using this. And then I might develop or optimize a few of the best images just so that it's done if I need to upload something to Instagram, at the end of the day it's ready to go. And so I'm not tryin' to do everything, I'm gonna go home and I'm gonna redo this process and spend more time when I do have that time available for it. Another little quote for ya, As we start making our way to shooting and composing, (sighs) you know I go through composition for an entire section in my fundamentals class and I though should I even include it in here? I go, well let's just include it tip of the iceberg and so I thought what composition ideas do I find most useful with travel photography? 'Cause in travel photography you're often trying to showcase a location. And so here are the ideas that I think work really well. The good 'ole rule of thirds, getting the subject out of the middle allows you to have a subject with a little bit of environment around it. You're trying to show what's this location all about. The idea of just looking up, it's not how everybody sees the world but I think it's a fun look at the way things are. Balance, when you have more than a subject, they are somehow well balanced in the size and the position and in the space between them. One of my very favorite things is just looking for patterns and there's always lots and lots of patterns that you can choose from and so just finding a good pattern, a little element and you're good. Yup there was the rule of thirds but I love symmetry as well and so there is some rule of thirds in here as far as where the lamp posts are, where the horizon is and so forth and so there's a lot of buildings and structures that are built symmetrical and I tend to like to go with the flow and shoot them symmetrically as well. We're showing many different subjects, subjects in the foreground, subjects in the background, subjects in the midground and so having these different layers in your photograph help tell the story of people in their location. Color is always something we attribute to a lot of travel photographs, there's a lot of colorful things out there. Color just makes, colors do a lot better on Instagram. (audience laughs) It's just something that our eyes are naturally drawn to. It's okay to have small subjects. Showing that big openness of a place gives you the feel that (gasps) this is a big open place and giving that feeling along with the photograph is an important element I think. Framing your subject using other secondary elements around your subject to give a hint of what the other parts that you are looking at here and so down in Cuba there's this one street that I love 'cause you can get it nice, the capital building right in this arch and sometime in the next 40 to 500 years they'll get the scaffolding off of the capital building there. And I think probably the best compositional technique for travel photography is scale. And we've talked about this in many different ways in having open space, rule of thirds, and so forth but I think that beautiful iconic photo with the small person just to show how small we are in relationship to these places we are going. Just works out so well in so many different types of travel photographs. And so there you go, 10 compositional ideas to think about. Well if these are the things to do, what shouldn't you do? And so this is my no no list. And so, composition no no's and they run a wide gamut of things. Unwilling subject, if somebody does not want their photograph taken there are more than enough people in the world who do want their picture taken. I'm not gonna force tryin' to take a photo onto someone. Poor lighting, we talked a little bit about shooting under bad lighting, if you can avoid it that's best. There's bad timing where you see a shot that kinda seems good but you really need to stay there for about five minutes to wait for the timing to get right, that takes patience. Some people just grab the best that they can and they go. (sighs) We really wanna see your subject and I know some people photograph a great subject but yeah, I know there's a car in front of some of it but it was really neat. Well let's wait for that car to get out of the way. The dead center, that's gonna happen on a lot of peoples photographs. If it's not sharp (sighs) oh boy, not much you can do. There is no software that fixes unsharp images. Now there's (sighs) it's a careful balance between having open space and having too much dead space and it really depends on the type of photograph that you're shooting. Distracting elements, something that doesn't make sense in the photograph. Be aware of those and you gotta keep border patrol they call it, looking around the edges of the frame, is there something pokin' in that doesn't really make sense over there. Sometimes people just get, oh this is just wonderful I'm gonna take a picture and they're like not really clear as to what is the intent of this photograph. What's the story they're trying to tell? They're just kind of just emotionally excited and they're taking a photograph. The biggest problem, this is what I started off with is there's just too much information. You know, walking around with a wide angle lens, just oh, this is all so awesome I'm just gonna take a picture of everything and try and get it one shot. And that's how your eyes and you absorb it while you're out there but the photograph it needs to be a little bit more focused on what you're doing so, just trying to capture everything in one shot doesn't always work so well.

Class Description

Are you going on a once in a lifetime trip and want to have photos that you can share with friends and family? Do the decisions of what to bring, where to shoot, and what to capture feel overwhelming? Travel photography can feel challenging, time consuming, and expensive. But with the right tools you can plan and prioritize to come home with images that you treasure.

Join photographer, educator and author John Greengo, who has photographed all over the world, as he guides you through all of the steps that you need to capture the photos that you want during your travels. This class will offer different plans of what to bring, and how to create a realistic agenda based on your priorities, whether it’s documenting your trip, telling a story through photographs, or simply capturing great images.

John will teach you:

  • What gear to pack based on your goals.
  • How to create a media storage plan and workflow while traveling.
  • Best practices on how to find and scout the best locations to photograph.
  • How to approach locals and build trust before taking their portraits.
  • Camera techniques and settings for different shooting scenarios.
  • Different types of travel photos, such as The Walk Away, The T-Shot, and Environmental Portrait.
  • What to do with your photos once you’ve returned home.

Don’t let the challenges of travel photography keep you from capturing images that will provide you with lifelong memories. Join John Greengo to learn the best techniques, tools, and technology to capture great photos no matter you limitations in time, money and resources.



As usual John has been an awesome instructor. He is so energetic and fun. I love taking his courses and this was no different. I absolutely loved it. I have learned so much by taking his courses. Thanks John for all you do to help us beginners out.

Melissa Maxwell

So inspiring! This class is so comprehensive and I look forward to applying all of Greengo's tips. He is a wonderful instructor and the example photos are breathtaking.

a Creativelive Student

John Greengo was fresh, exciting and entertaining. He was extremely well prepared for this class, and I loved hearing little nuggets from such a seasoned travel photographer. The course provided great content and ideas I can take with me on my next trip!