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Design, Photography, & Fashion

Capturing Your Passions

Jimmy Chin

Lesson time 11:08 min

Learn Jimmy’s philosophy for finding your voice as a photographer, evolving creatively, and learning from failure.

Jimmy Chin
Teaches Adventure Photography
National Geographic photographer teaches his techniques for planning, capturing, and editing breathtaking photos.
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JIMMY CHIN: I've always been inspired by people who've kind of pushed the upper limits of what was humanly possible. And you always see, if you really pay attention to how they achieved it, that they took an idea, and took it up a notch, and then took it up another notch, and just kind of kept pushing it. I think it's important to look at where the bar has been set before and toy with the idea of setting it higher than anybody else has ever done before. As a photographer, you're setting your own standards. And personally, I think you should set them very high. Photography's so personal. And so if you're not involved in it personally-- like, if you don't feel something about the subjects that you're shooting, it makes it much more challenging. If you do feel something about the subjects that you're shooting, or if it does give you some sort of meaning, and there's depth behind it, it really kind of opens up your eyes to how to shoot it. A classic example is Sebastiao Salgado. He was an economist. He worked at the World Bank. He had a deep interest in geopolitics and how the economies of the world affected the people. And he kind of left academia, and left the World Bank, and pursued his passion about looking at how failing economies might push people out of their countries, and created this incredible amount of work around migrations, also seminal work around the workers. And that focus and that look into migration or workers was really inspired by what he was passionate about before he ever was really shooting. If you're going to shoot, it's really helpful if you have something that you're really passionate about already. So it really begins before you even pick up a camera. I think you need to find something that really interests you. And it doesn't have to be climbing, or skiing, or surfing. It can be a lot of different things. It can be music. It can be art. But when you find something like that, it gives you access, because it's something that you're involved in. You're probably surrounded by people who are into that particular field. That is access. And when you're passionate about something, you know something deeply. And that is important, because that means that you have depth in how you're going to approach the subject. [MUSIC PLAYING] When you're thinking about your work, I always tell people to look at a lot of different photography. And it's not easy to find your voice. I mean, that is part of the whole creative process. Over time, you will find it. But it's helpful to have inspirations. So for example, when I first started shooting in the climbing world, in the mountaineering world, I was really influenced by the late, great Galen Rowell. And he had an incredible body of work. He, to me, kind of invented the participatory adventure photography space. He participated in the expeditions. He was a climber on the expedition. He shot these expeditions from the inside out, because he was in it. And I found t...

Push the limits of your photography

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.


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

It is the attitude and preparation that make the difference for success in adventure photography.

Wow, I got a lot out of this class. So many things to think about to be prepared. Jimmy laid everything out when you're doing a shoot. I liked the idea how he went into detail on what he does to get the great shots. Great story on getting started. Thanks Jimmy.

I really value the whole of Jimmy's class. As a photographer and amateur climber his work is very inspiring. I really learned a lot.

Thank you Jimmy! Your commitment for adventure photography and outdoor extreme sports are both amazing. The clear and authentic style you talked about it makes your class very good experience for beginners and advanced photographers as well.


Shawn A.

I absolutely agree that you can't be afraid of failure. Without failure you do not become better and you stagnate. I'm definitely my own worst critic, but Jimmy's lesson helps me to accept that set-backs are the pathways to success.


I agree about Galen Rowell (and his cool pilot wife) being my influence in adventure photography. I recall his books, and how no one else was doing adventure photography like him at the time...and he was using film. I still have a few autographed books around. When I found out they both died in a plane crash, not flown by either of them, it was a travesty. I still can't believe that happened to them.

Andy M.

Hey MasterClass wizards, I noticed the the sub-chapter markers in the video timeline are present for some classes but not for others, such as these. Would be super useful to have so one isn't left scrubbing back and forth to find a particular point. Please and thanks!

Sam D.

Because I am a mountain biker, Joey Schusler is one of my inspirations and is a really underrated photographer. You all should check him out - I am hoping to learn enough from Jimmy's class to follow my passion similar to Joey.

Kenton M.

Jimmy is right! You don't become Michael Jordan overnight. It takes a lot of time, practice and commitment.

Lachlan C.

This lessons workbook seems to be unavailable to me. Im unsure if this is only just happened or not, it links to a new tab and states that access is denied?

Elizabeth E.

Love your take on how risks move your forward as well as the importance of failing creatively. It is so important to remember that failure is only a moment and often, a brilliant teaching moment, that projects you to the next win with perseverance.

Jim C.

I enjoyed the Annie Leibovitz class. I liked learning about her style (although I knew a lot about it from watching a documentary about her). I like that she's not caught up in equipment. She also doesn't like to do a lot of studio work. But she is a different kind of photographer than Jimmy. She shoots mainly portraits and low-key. As a photographer, I can learn something studying various styles. It all depends on what one wants to get out of these classes. I'm trying to learn from all of them.

Tina T.

Annie L class was a huge disappointment (snooze fest!!). This one makes up for it. :) Very engaging. Talks you thru the process.


I enjoyed this photography class 5X more than Annie's class. Jimmy talks a lot more personal stories and valuable experiences with technical explanation and commercial client requirement ... all are important lessons to learn if one wants to be successful. Thank you.