Design & Style, Arts & Entertainment
Career Advice: Building a Body of Work
Lesson time 11:01 min
Building a career takes tenacity and patience. Learn Jimmy's philosophy behind a life in photography--and how hard work, passion, and perseverance can lead to success.
Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars
Topics include: Amplify Your Initial Spark • Tackle Big Ideas One Step at a Time • Market Yourself: Build a Foundation
Teaches Adventure Photography
National Geographic photographer teaches his techniques for planning, capturing, and editing breathtaking photos.Sign Up
If you want a career in photography, clearly, you have to do the work. I think you can be talented. You can think of it as a hobby. But if you're serious about it, it's about committing. It's about being obsessive. You know, I always say, you have to do your due diligence. You have to get out and shoot. It's kind of building on this body of work that you have. Building that body of work is great, because it helps you get honed in and refined with your camera, your equipment, thinking about shooting, how you're going to shoot it, different approaches. There's so many things to learn about photography that it really is about boots on the ground and getting out to shoot. If this is something you want to pursue, like anything in life, you've got to throw down. You've got to make it happen. It takes obsessiveness. It takes relentless pursuit. It takes getting beaten down and getting back up. It can also be really enjoyable. I mean, you should love the work. You should love getting out and creating images, and motivated every day to do it. It should be a calling. For me, it's given meaning. It's given purpose to my life. It should feel like that. I think people are lucky when they discover something that gives them meaning and purpose. And if you feel that, you have to go after it, and it has to be relentless. Producing that body of work doesn't come easily. There are really no shortcuts. You really have to spend the time. It can be challenging, for sure. Breaking into the photography business isn't easy, nor should it be. I think it's nice to give yourself assignments. It's great practice. Think of these ideas that you want to-- or a story that you want to tell, and go out and shoot it. That's the best way to develop that voice and the best way to kind of start putting all these different kind of abstract ideas and coming back with images. [MUSIC PLAYING] When I'm thinking about a shoot, I think through a lot of different ideas of what I want and try to get. You have to build your ideas from a certain point. So you kind of have your initial spark. I think a good way to approach it is having that initial spark, and then thinking bigger. Looking at it and thinking how you could make it really incredible. And I mean, that's what it means to push yourself creatively. Taking that first idea and taking it up another level, and then up another level, and really pushing it to as grand a scale as you can think of. Then you work backwards from that in a way. Sometimes you're also thinking about a shoot or an image, and you can go the other way, minimizing it if it's something more detailed or abstract. But in most cases, I think of a shoot, an idea, and I'm really thinking about how I can take it further and create something that maybe I haven't seen before. So it really requires you to think outside of the box. But when you are thinking about big ideas like that, there's a whole other side of that, right? Because if ...
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.
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National Geographic photographer teaches his techniques for planning, capturing, and editing breathtaking photos.Explore the Class