Design, Photography, & Fashion

On Location: Climbing Photoshoot

Jimmy Chin

Lesson time 17:02 min

Meet your new instructor—world-renowned photographer Jimmy Chin—and join him on location for a photoshoot with his climber friends Conrad Anker and Bree Buckley.

Jimmy Chin
Teaches Adventure Photography
National Geographic photographer teaches his techniques for planning, capturing, and editing breathtaking photos.
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JIMMY CHIN: Photography is really a way of life. It's a vehicle for you to explore the world. It's a process of discovery, both external and internal. It's bigger than just images. It's bigger than a career. You as a student have to ask yourself, what is my idea of success? What does that look like? What is my dream? Then you have to ask yourself, what am I willing to do to get there? What am I willing to sacrifice to get there? How far am I willing to go to get there? I want to invite you into my world of photography, into my process and how I think about my work. And then share some technical aspects of photography, my ethos around it, and give you some practical skills to think about. I hope you can come out of this class and have a better picture of the direction you want to go and how you can think about your photography. I'm Jimmy Chen and this is my MasterClass. So we're shooting in kind of my backyard, in Jackson, Wyoming, in Grand Teton National Park. And this is where I live. This is where I call home. I've been living here for 20 years. And it's incredible and it's beautiful. And you can really do all these different things that I love to do personally. This is kind of a place that I find inspiration. This is also where my heart lives, as well as my community. I'm really excited to be able to bring one of my great friends and someone that I've worked with for a very long time, Conrad Anker. - Oh-hoo, hoo-hoo. - He's going to be our extraordinary talent. We're lucky to have him. And Bree Buckley, a local Jackson climber, in this as well, and Blaine Conrad. And you've done this? - Yeah. That looks good. It'll be nice and fingery. JIMMY CHIN: It's been-- - So you probably-- the best shot might be 3/4 of the way up. JIMMY CHIN: Yeah, probably. Even-- even higher-- BLAINE CONRAD: OK. - A little bit, right above 3/4. - Yeah. JIMMY CHIN: Cool. So I'll see you up there. - OK. Sounds good. JIMMY CHIN: All right. So for the purposes of this class, the reason I chose the location is because its kind of got an incredible backdrop of Grand Teton National Park. It's fairly simple. But I think the fundamentals of how you put it together, what you're thinking about, really apply to a lot of much bigger scenarios as well, On shoots, where there's a lot of variables, I like to get the hardest shot first in the can and over with and then work backwards from there. Because that's the most technical aspect of a shoot, where it requires the most gear and prep. And getting that in the can is always nice to have. OK. So I'm going to be pretty close to Conrad. And I don't need a lot of focal length. So I'm bringing a 24 to 70, and a 16 to 35, and maybe the 14, just to have that option. But I usually go pretty light on a little shoot like this. Cool. So probably the more challenging shot in this scenario is getting good light on Conrad climbing. It's the big iconic shot of 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.

Is a very good class of photography and adventure photographer life.

Jimmy are a really simple person with passion in everything that he do. That's the more important lesson in this Master Class for me.

This class was interesting to me because I know it is something I would never do, but would love to learn more about how someone who is great in their field approaches what they do. I found every class to be interesting. Thank you Jimmy.

When you are passionate about something and use photography as a means to show case your passion, every shot becomes meaningful to yourself and easier to showcase to others what they are looking for because you have an understanding of what they want to see.


A fellow student

Guys reading some of these comments, I just wanted to make a point about learning from very experienced people that is just my opinion so feel free to disagree with it. I no longer do photography but used to years back, and have assisted some fashion photographers who were very respected where I'm from. All I want to say is that the specific details of iso etc aren't what we should be focusing on when learning from masters. These things can be learned objectively anywhere online and through practice. In my opinion the important things to look for in these classes are the 'in between' things: His rapport with his model, his approach to how to plan the shoot, what he is looking to achieve generally. I'm not saying any of these were particularly outstanding or insightful here but they tend to be the common threads when people are at a certain level. I would bet you a lot of money the progression of Jimmy's career had very little to do with understanding what combo of f stop shutter speed and iso to use, and far more from mastering the bigger picture things. Anyway rant over, I just want everyone to get as much out of these as possible :)

Peter S.

Pretty much all of these classes are completely Worthless. I came into the MasterClass with a lot of questions and expectations. Should I get a teleconverter lens? Tell me in your 20 classes many scenarios that you use different lenses. Tell me why this f-stop is preferable. What are the settings of your national geographic photos? What are ideal combinations of f-stop, Iso and aperture to get proper photos outside vs inside. Midday vs night time, etc. Jimmy Chin ends up talking about things like "you need to allow yourself to fail." Yea, no kidding, I already learn those lessons everyday in my own life and my own career. This is a waste of money. I literally learned more about photography from the first 5 minutes from ANY YOUTUBE VIDEO or from the first five minutes of any photography book or the first 5 minutes from taking a photography class. He just wastes your time telling you stories about when he was a kid, waiting tables, working for his mentors, how Conrad is his best friend, etc, etc, etc.

Mary Ellen C.

I'm enjoying the class as well! I'm curious - why shoot in the middle of the day when the light is harsh? Thanks for making this.

Sophie C.

At first I wasn't interested in the class because I'm not into adventure photography. But I'm so glad I took the chance because I'm learning so much

A fellow student

I finally received a comprehensive answer to my question, I assume from a fellow student. I wanted to thank you for taking the time to respond to me. I'm not sure why you felt the barbed comment was necessary but I leave that to your own concience. I own a company in Malaysia and another in the Philippines. I am contracted to detect and pursue illegal fishermen off the coast of Philippines, illegal loggers in Malaysia and illegal bilge pumping in the Melaka Straits. Using drones, camera traps and camera equipment to support the satellite detection systems we own has become an essential skill that I must learn. I hoped to get an understanding of photography from this course but waiting three months to have a question answered was never going to work for me, I simply don't have the time. Perhaps my expectations were too high. I have found a local instructor in Kuala Lumpur and am progressing well. Again, thank you for the advice which is comprehemsive but it might behove someone of your obvious intelligence to consider yourself to be above sarcasm.

Iberê R.

Nice class. But i’ve got curious about that f 5.0 in the beginning and not a 9.0 or even 11

Jacob G.

As a photographer who shoots 50mm it was great seeing how the image compresses compared to 17-35mm lens. The framing of the horizon line added a bit more depth to the images as well and I'm seeing that I have to experiment more with it. I'm wondering what equipment Mr. Chin is using. Looks like a GriGri and maybe an ascender? I guess I'll learn the trade better in a gym. Also, I don't believe ISO matters much. He did mention that he was metering about half a stop under proper exposure which is probably key.

A fellow student

Nice scenery but I don't understand why the shot information doesn't include the ISO. It would be great to understand a little more how you selected the ISO, f/ and exp when changing from shooting with the sun in frame to shooting along the wall. Can you tell us more please?

Steve T.

I hope it gets better. I get you're hanging your life out there to get a shot, adds to the drama but overall it was rather dull or maybe just too long for what it is. And where's your helmet?

Brian C.

Hey friends! Brian Craig from mentor Detroit here. Any fellow Michiganders here?