Design & Style, Arts & Entertainment

Building and Leading a Team

Jimmy Chin

Lesson time 16:50 min

A photographer is often the creative leader of a team. Jimmy teaches you how to set the bar high for professionalism and convey your creative vision, and lets you in on the preproduction meeting for the on-location shoots earlier in the class.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Create a Shared Vision • Dial In and Pick Your Moments • Build Your Working Relationship • Set Your Team Up for Success • The Preproduction Meeting


The creative process can be really personal and can be very self-centered. Sometimes you need that to have kind of one voice, one vision to have some directive and a single source of direction. More often than not though, the best work comes from collaboration. I don't think you should be selfish with creative. You know, some of the best work that I've ever produced has come from collaboration, particularly with the people I'm shooting. A lot of the people that I work with are really incredible athletes and they have their own vision. I think some of the best athletes with the longest, kind of, careers are actually the athletes that have the most creativity. They might be very talented at what they do. And they might be the strongest or the fastest, go the biggest, but it's really their creativity that, kind of, in a way, drives their career. A lot of the shoots that I've done over the course of my career weren't even my vision. It was an idea that one of the athletes had, that one of my friends had, that I couldn't have imagined because, you know, I didn't even have the capacity to think of it. I-- I didn't have the same talent or the same drive or ambition, and they came up with some outrageous expedition or some, you know, incredible idea and came to me, and we would talk it through, and it was very collaborative. There's a lot of choreography, sometimes literally and sometimes a bit more figuratively. While I might get the credit for actually pressing the shutter button, it was very much tied to what the talent wanted to do and what they had set their mind on. You have to be open to working with your talent. If you don't, you know, you're missing a huge opportunity. [MUSIC PLAYING] There's always a time and place for collaboration, which is really important. But there's also moments when you really need to take leadership. You know, if you have high expectations of your crew and the people that you're working, which you should have, you also have to live up to it yourself, and you have to take responsibility, and you really have to lead by example. Shoots can go sideways. They do all the time. Ideally, you know, you're managing it in a way that, that never happens. A part of that also means that you are flexible and you're able to kind of divert or go to plan b, and have a plan b, and have a plan c. You have to pick your moments. For me, on a lot of these trips, you're very focused on not letting the shooting getting in the way of the climbing or the skiing. For me, executing perfectly means that I'm anticipating shots, I'm thinking ahead, I'm being efficient with my systems, whether that's like having all my gear totally dialed in the morning so that I can get out and shoot everybody else getting ready, or I am moving ahead to a spot even though everybody else is taking a break, because I know that there's a moment there and they're going to come by and I'm going to get that shot as they come b...

About the Instructor

Jimmy Chin has built his career taking photos at the top of the world, earning him the cover of National Geographic and multiple awards. Now he’s taking you on location to teach you techniques for capturing breathtaking shots. In his photography class, learn different creative approaches for commercial shoots, editorial spreads, and passion projects. Gather the gear—and the perspective—to bring your photography to new heights.

Featured MasterClass Instructor

Jimmy Chin

National Geographic photographer teaches his techniques for planning, capturing, and editing breathtaking photos.

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