Design, Photography, & Fashion

Post-Processing: Conrad on the Wall

Jimmy Chin

Lesson time 12:05 min

Jimmy takes you through a granular look at the tweaks he makes to a photo before presenting it to a commercial or editorial client.

Jimmy Chin
Teaches Adventure Photography
National Geographic photographer teaches his techniques for planning, capturing, and editing breathtaking photos.
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JIMMY CHIN: OK, so we've selected arbitrarily one of the Five Star images. I shot this image slightly underexposed. I usually, if there's a lot of bright light, I'll underexpose a little bit. But the first thing we'll do is just your basic color, contrast, clarity, cleaning up spots on the-- on the sensor. When you're working in the field, that happens quite often. We'll do some basic color work on this. Now, the decisions that you make in terms of your post really kind of depend on the client and who it's for. For commercial work, you know, they might ask for a style, or you might stylize it in a way that you want to share it. You're a little bit more focused on making it pop, or it can be a little bit more dramatic. For editorial work, you're just kind of making the picture look nice, making it look like an accurate representation of what you were seeing. So we'll just say that this is for an editorial client. And we're going to do some basic color work on it, take a look at the saturation, the clarity, contrast, exposure, making sure that's right, and working a little bit on the highlights and the shadows. And that'll be our first general pass on the image. So let's bump up-- bring our exposure up a little bit here. I think That's probably in the range. I generally know that the sky, and in this situation, the wall is pretty bright. So I might take it down just a little bit, knowing that I'm going to bring Conrad up a bit. And that's going to help bring him out in the image. So that looks good. Let's give it a little more contrast. Just a tad, there we go. So these adjustments are very broad, and-- in the sense that, you know, they're affecting the entire picture. And so you don't want to do a whole lot here. I mean, you're getting it into a good space. And then we'll move into more specific kind of adjustments-- masks and brushing. I think that looks pretty good. And then why don't we bump the clarity a tad? Yeah, probably around there. And the saturation, just a teeny bit. OK, that looks good. Sometimes, we just move the dials around just to see how things are looking-- like, if we want to go up to the temps and take a look at how that feels if we change it. Yeah, I don't think we need to do much there. I think we can go with what we had. OK, so the lighting on this was, you know, pretty good. I think the most we're probably going to want to do with this image is maybe bring up a little bit of the shadows on Conrad. And so we'll do, probably, a general mask-- see how that feels, and if that's enough. We brought up the overall shadows a little bit. I'd love to get a little bit more detail on his face. So we'll probably go in and actually specifically do a little bit of brushing. That looks good. Great. Now let's pull out again. All right, that's just a little bit more detail in his face. And when you're working in natural light, you want to use everything you have in your advantage. This wall is actually ve...

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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.

I produce and shoot documentaries. There's something extremely pure about what he's doing. Nothing screams for nuanced, careful documentation like a climber at the peak of a mountain. It's beyond a cliche. This was beautifully done, the one is casual but it moves easily from one topic to the next. And whatever mic you're using in the sit-down interview is wonderful.

I've learned some of what it takes to be a successful adventure photographer. Mostly, though, I've learned that it is a "team sport" and that the journey to the top is arguably better than the top.

This is my first pass through the course. I'm excited about being able to fully embrace the course this summer. Thank you!

Gave a very new vision and outlook and how to approach subject elements and to craft the art.


Ricardo A.

I think the biggest lesson here is that you don't need a ton of post processing to make your photo pop; a classic example where less is more.


EDITING does make it POP... Good to know how Jimmy edit for commercial and editorial clients, different purposes.

Lynn S.

Wait a minute. In the last lesson, we finally saw a woman. It hasn’t been bro culture, exactly, but the Jimmy and Conrad show was getting a bit stale, so I thought yes, finally. We were told she would climb. Yes, finally. So they did the planning meeting and I could see that Jimmy was addressing his remarks to the guys. I thought okay, maybe it’s just a poor editing choice, don’t be so touchy. So what was the one image of the woman? She was not on the mountain — I figure there are no spas out there and let’s just say she was not dressed for cold weather. She was in a pool, gazing flirtatiously at the camera. That was it. Now we’re back onto Conrad on the wall? Please, guys, it’s the 21st century. Women climb. We’re not just there for R&R. Show us on the mountain, too.


Beautiful shot. I wonder about the rainbow flares on the mountain. I found them a bit distracting and would have edited them out, but I wonder if that would be a mistake. Anybody else have thoughts on those?