Exploring Photographic Style: The Power of “Wonderlust” Imagery | Andrew "Dizz" Delaney | Skillshare

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Exploring Photographic Style: The Power of “Wonderlust” Imagery

teacher avatar Andrew "Dizz" Delaney, Director of Creative Content, Getty Images

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      What Feeling Are You Trying to Evoke?


    • 3.

      Wonderlust: Playing with Color Texture Scale and Composition


    • 4.

      Point of View: Making Your Images Personal


    • 5.

      Yesterday's Mistakes = Today's Trends


    • 6.



    • 7.

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About This Class

Trends change. Styles evolve. Techniques once considered "mistakes" are now powerful visual trends. What do we crave now?

Join Andrew "Dizz" Delaney — Director of Creative Content at Getty Images — for a 25-minute class on "wonderlust" photography and how it's shaping art today. You'll learn how to:

  • identify color, scale, and composition
  • curate "wonderlust" images
  • bring these images into your Instagram or marketing
  • capture this style on your own

Perfect for designers, photographers, and everyone who loves powerful visuals, you'll learn timeless tips for evaluating, curating, and even creating great images that evoke emotion.



Explore millions of royalty-free images, illustrations, videos, and music clips at iStock by Getty Images. New customers save 20% on credits with the coupon code SKILLS20. Sign up here by April 30, 2016. 

Meet Your Teacher

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Andrew "Dizz" Delaney

Director of Creative Content, Getty Images


Andrew is part of the team responsible for the creation and development of Getty Images' creative content in the Americas, ensuring that customers find the right content at the right price point every time they search www.gettyimages.com. Working closely with photographers, filmmakers and art directors from across the globe and utilizing Getty Images' Creative Research, Andrew plays a critical role in ensuring that Getty Images and iStock continually evolve to meet the changing needs of Creative's around the world.

Andrew began his career in 1989 with Tony Stone Images in London and moved to the U.S. in 1998. By 2006, he was Director of Photography for Getty Images' Creative stills, based in Los Angeles. Now located in NY, he works across all Getty Images' Video and Photography c... See full profile

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1. Intro: Hello. My name is Andrew Delaney, and I'm a Director of Creative Content with Getty Images. Today's class, we're going to talk about wanderlust. Wanderlust is a concept that we looked and found last year that covers off imagery that inspires and has a sense of all attached to it. I've been with Getty images for over 20 years. We've seen a massive increase in the number of contributors that we have. We've gone from 10 or 15 years ago perhaps having a central core of maybe 700 photographers to now. We have over 250,000 contributors across. I still can get images. That's a lot of people with a lot of cameras, and those cameras come in all shapes and sizes. Everything from the very largest most expensive capture devices, all the way down to smartphones, iPhones, especially where we're saying a quality of imagery being taken which has an instantaneous feel to it. Now, wanderlust or wander is literally the need to produce imagery that inspires all from the viewer. A lot of it is to do with the connectivity between ourselves and the world around us, particular, nature. It's being used by a variety of different types of companies, and I'll give you some examples of that, and there are different approaches to creating this content, and I'll give you some examples of that too. We'll also cover off the importance of picking unique and different viewpoints, and also the need to embrace perhaps some older ways of shooting that in the past may have been diagnosed as being problematic or mistakes. Imagery that fits in the wanderlust scene are driven by a number of different factors not least of which are composition, color, and scale. We'll also be looking at the importance of texture, looking for that in your imagery, and also making sure that it can be immersive which, of course, is a change in your point of view. One of the most important things to remember today is the fact that we are all photographers. Perhaps, as a species, we are more visually literate today than we've ever been in our history, and that means that everybody is capable of detecting a bum note. When you see imagery that is inauthentic, doesn't look real, that looks posed, a little alarm bell goes off. So, your challenge today is to create or if you prefer to curate to then find imagery that fits under the term of wanderlust. Be creative. Be original. Surprises. I look forward to seeing them. 2. What Feeling Are You Trying to Evoke?: So, whether you're in the business of making photographs or you're in the business of using photographs to create your own brand identity, one of the things that you absolutely need to have is clarity of thought, clarity of message. We live in an incredibly visually cluttered world and in order to stand out for company to get its brands, to get its product or service across to the masses, you've got to grab attention, you've got to do it very well and in a very sophisticated way. Work out what it is you're trying to say and then think literally and laterally about that concept to come up with the ideas of the images that might work to tell a story about your brand or your service. There's an old saying and I'm really not sure who came up with it first that says that the best camera in the world is the one that you have with you. Obviously, that leads me to talking about smartphones. Those that are capable now of producing incredibly high-quality images. What does that mean? That means that every moment can be documented. It means every time something happens in your social sphere, something happens with your family, it can be photographed and not just caught momentarily but caught momentarily at a very high quality. We're now in a position where we've been taking imagery shot on cell phones for a couple of years and many of these images have been very very successful. Not just images taken on cellphones but images of cellphones being used as in this case here of a concert. So, let's get a little deeper into a few of these concepts. I'll kickoff with Wanderlust and then we'll look at some different points of view and again, the impact of technology on that point of view. Then we'll look at some of the classic mistakes of all that are now mainstream ways of making our pictures look very arresting. 3. Wonderlust: Playing with Color Texture Scale and Composition: So what is wonderlust? Wonderlust is a term that our trends team identified last year. Essentially what it does is it talks about images which inspire a sense of awe. They are images that are looking at connecting us with our surroundings. They are images that elicit a reaction of wonder when you see them. In order to create this content, you're going to be playing with color, texture, going to be very, very aware of scale, and effective composition. We're going to run through a few examples of where we've seen this wonderlust trend, and then we'll pick apart some of the images, and show you what went into them, and why they work. One of my recent favorites from New Zealand, there's this great ad for Land Rover. Now normally, car manufacturers are not too happy about showing anything other than the vehicle that they're trying to show. In this particular case, they've given top billing to the landscape where the Range Rover is very small in the frame, as you can see off on the right hand side there. Obviously, the inference here is that in order to have the exciting lifestyle that involves jumping off of hills with a parachute on your back, you need a Range Rover to take you there. But the point is that, using scale to affect an image that is as remarkable and all inspiring as this is an effective way of doing that. If we move on to the classic campaign from Apple shot on an iPhone six is a clear indication of how modern technology is changing the face of image capture. We're seeing these chips getting larger, we're seeing the optics improving, and therefore, we're seeing these small devices being able to create very large and epic proportioned images. This is a great example where the scale has been used incredibly effectively to show the lady on the boat. I think also the time of day and the weather that's been shot has helped to measurably, to layer this picture and give it a great sense of depth. If you look at the next couple of examples, they are images which are far more inclusive than the kind of images that you really wish that you were there. Whether it's the perhaps cliched shot of the feet in an environment, I still think this particular one which was shot on the subway works incredibly well. Likewise, who doesn't enjoy lying in the sea? I know we got another great example is adventure.com. Imagery here that shows fantastic use of scale. But also a great use of texture, certainly in the bottom two images. I think there's a lot of times when you are recording particulates in the atmosphere which diffuse the light and give a great sense of the unknown to the image. Very sophisticated way of photographing. Were seeing how people are planning their trips, be they real or be they traveling vicariously through others, but they're doing it using Pinterest and using Instagram. We're seeing being fed this diet of other people's interpretations of the world around them, which wets our appetite for travel in the great outdoors. The travel industry is huge, and I think it's worth $4.7 billion or something ridiculous like that. As a way of that changing, you're seeing companies like Airbnb starting up with a much more affordable way of travelling. Now, their advertising is quite astonishing. Again, they're using these wonderlust images that touch on the sense of scale, in the sense of being in a place, a place that you would really like to travel to. Look at the composition here. Look at the way that these images are cropped in a very long manner, it lends itself to the way it's used online. It's an effective way of getting across the idea of scale. In the fashion industry, as much as the car industry, it's normally the clothing that is front and center in the advertising. More recently, we've seen a definite trend where mother nature is the hero of the image, and the clothing is as pull second. Why is that done? It's done to suggest that by wearing these clothing you can indeed enjoy the awe of being in great places around the world. Patagonia, one of our favorite uses of great photography has been doing a series of images where there person wearing their gear is a tiny, tiny point of the overall picture. It's about again, being in that moment, and being in awe of the world around us. Emirates have very cleverly used the landmarking question as a kind of jewel in the bottom left-hand corner of the image. In this case, the Taj Mahal, and in the next example as Big Ben. I would say, this is an incredibly brave use of scale and one I would encourage you to experiment with yourself. You don't always have to show the entire object you're photographing to intimate it and to get others to understand what you're saying. I may have said this before, but I think that as a species, we're more visually aware today than we've ever been, which gives us great rain to be a subtle as we possibly can be when making imagery. We're seeing color palettes becoming a lot more subtle. We're seeing man and nature, becoming blended with one another, and I think in this example from Fuel Raven is a beautifully rendered. The un-subtlety of what the guys wearing allows him to stand out, but everything about the rest of the image is very much immersive. Imagery like this takes careful planning. Obviously, if you're going out to blend your subject with the environment, you want to make sure you know what your environment looks like and dress your subjects accordingly. You can also do this in post, but let's use subtlety as our keyword here. So one of our top forming images on Getty Images over the last few years from Ipanema beach here in Brazil in Rio De Janeiro, backlit dreamy, very immersive. Of course, it's layered with that old standard of the decisive moment. Beautiful shot, very well composed, and has been used in a number of different applications. A wonderful example of an increasing number of photographers who were embracing the 69 format. Virtual panoramic format, obviously, it fits in with the HDTV size, but it does give a greater amount of space to play around with your composition when you're trying to get across the scale of nature. A fascination with the world around us, not just the familiar, but the unfamiliar. This is an amazing image from the Sudan that shows what life is like outside of the West. Again, beautiful moodly lit. So, this image from anapana during a storm, it's not an extreme spot shot, it's more of a contemplated shot, more of a man experiencing different sides of nature. Fantastic composition, beautifully handled, and perhaps importantly, what this demonstrates is how all images today live or die on the basis of how they look as a thumbnail, which means, you've absolutely got to get your composition right. If your image doesn't read as a thumbnail, it's going to die. It's not going get clicked on. A client of ours is not going to go to the next step of investigating an image. If it fails the test of what it looks like as a thumbnail, it's got to look good. So, what are our takeaways from this concept of wonderlust that we've identified? First of all, you absolutely have to strive to make images that elicit awe and evoke an emotional response from your viewer. Play with color. Remember all of those different color palettes that can be changed and tweaked and post, and texture. Look for texture, and add scale or be aware of scale. Don't forget that you can play with some different formats. Somebody within a 69 frame for example, can look very different than if they're shot in four by three frame. Approach travel in nature with a fresh eye. This is imperative, you're not going in to emulate what everybody else has done, your job is to go out and make something different. It has to be as a resting, if not more a resting than what's gone before, but experiment with time of day, your point of view, even the weather. Finally, think about those other concepts that link into the wonderlust idea, which are imagination, exploration, and possibility. 4. Point of View: Making Your Images Personal: One of the other approaches to image making that fits nicely within the Wanderlust theme is POV or point of view. Essentially, it's giving the viewer the perspective of you as you do something as opposed to recording somebody else do it. The word selfie didn't exist a couple of years ago, is now firmly established in the photographic lexicon. In fact, as a word, it's gained in popularity in terms of people using it to search for content on our site to the tune of an increase of 42,000 percent in the last 12 months. We've seen the style of selfie change too. We've seen the the style of selfie where it's me doing what I do, to now increasing in popularity is the group selfie, that as a keyword alone has seen a 12,000 percent increase on our site over the last 12 months. So, we have clients who are looking for this kind of imagery to promote their product or service. Whilst the classic selfie has certainly taken with a cell phone, we're finding increasingly that it's the look of all that point of view that's being emulated by folks photographing on much bigger cameras. We're seeing show, the use of go pros, but we're also seeing the use of all the professional grade cameras, it's just where they are put, what their position is that's changing. I think if you're the kind of person who does undertake crazy notions of adventure sports, then documenting yourself, doing it allows us armchair sports people to feel and react to the experiences that you're having. So, in this next section here, we will see that the range of material that we are seeing is extremely immersive, and that point of view is very much about enjoying what that person's enjoying. So, you can't really have a conversation these days about point of view without bringing up the word drone, massively popular, huge numbers being sold left, right, and center, government scrambling to legislate on how they can and cannot be used, all that not withstanding. What we're looking at is something that started off as, I think a cheap alternative to helicopter viewpoints, and has become its own unique viewpoint that is only achievable by using this technology. It is a fantastic viewpoint to document somebody who is going for a run. It is a fantastic platform in order to show a different perspective on many of the things around us which we consider the norm. Traditionally, I think we've seen a lot of helicopter-born imagery being shot at an angle to the ground. Whereas now, we're seeing much more ordered and angular imagery being shot from directly overhead, as in this case of LAX. We're seeing cityscapes being rendered in the same way, and it gives you a very dystopian view of what our cities look like today. We're seeing this immersive point of view being applied across a whole range of subject matters, that the kind of images that you feel that you've glimpsed at the side of your eye, they are the images which are caught, and then don't look planned at all. We're finding a lot of photographers are emulating the style using logic cameras, but essentially, we're finding images that are showing emotion, that are subtle, they're engaging. They have that authentic feel to them. So, with these caught moments, whether it's grandma on a seesaw, whether it's a view of commuting that we've not seen before, whether it's those quirky moments that we capture, or even that moment between a child and his grandfather. The key here is that, you're looking for something different. You have to be prepared to either discover it or create a set of circumstances where the moment happens, and you're there to photograph that. So, it's not about controlling a shoot, it's about creating a shooting window, whereas period of action that happens, you step out of that, no longer get involved in it, and you record what happens. 5. Yesterday's Mistakes = Today's Trends: Many years ago, there were a certain set of absolutes that were connected with commercial photography. You can't have this, you must do this. Quite frankly, most of those rules have gone out the window. Whereas perhaps 10/12 years ago, we would edit technically first and conceptually second. We've turned that on its head. Our first question that our editors ask themselves when they look at an image is does it work? Does it convey a message? Does it have an underlying concept? Then they look at its technical qualities. Sometimes the technical qualities are bad and so bad that the image would never be used. Other times, the technical quality actually helps to underline the authenticity of the image. Flare, backlit, be it the highlights blowing completely, be it any of the excessive grain or excessive noises we should call it today, all the way through to images that have gotten to deliberate color filters put across them to evoke emotions of film from years gone by. In this case, the application of filtration to evoke the idea that there's been a light leak in an older film camera gives a very nostalgic feel to this image and I think it makes it easier for us to feel comfortable with it and doesn't detract from the message and the underlying concept in the image. Lens flare has become, again, very popular. A technique that I think originated when we made that transition from transparency film to negative film where photographers could expose for the shadows to just let the highlights take care of themselves has found itself being re-used in the digital age where we're trying to be reminiscent of those older negative emotions. In this particular case, the application of that flare with this fantastic point of view really gives this image a nostalgic feel but I think makes it very effective. As a rule of thumb, we're also taught that we have to keep our horizons straight at all times and 90 percent of cases that is the way it should be. However, there are times when throwing the camera completely off to one side, would add a level of dynamism to the image and help to impart the concept of speed to the image. Despite modern cameras being able to photograph noiselessly in virtual candlelight, we find adding grain or noise in post gives to that nostalgic feel of old film. Applying these techniques is something that has to be done definitely and delicately. You can't, I think, just go out there and start slapping the way willy-nilly. Plan- Think about what you're trying to say. If you're talking about an image that's about tranquility, it's doubtful whether throwing in a great angle in the background is going to help your course because it's disconcerting. Whereas if you are shooting something that's to do with speed and that's to do with an action of some description then by all means, experiment with that tilted horizon. I don't think the technique of adding blur to your imagery has ever really gone away. I think the tools that we have at our fingertips to allow us to manipulate that have got better and better. But certainly, the ability to either pan with your subject to blur the background or to lock your camera down and let your subject blur, all still have a major part to play in inferring action in a lot of imagery. A lot of these techniques can of course be applied in post and I advise subtlety and caution when applying them. Of course, the only way that you're going to get great at doing this is by doing a lot of practice. The application of these techniques, be it at the point of capture or in post. This emulation of an Instagram filter look is not just an esoteric way of playing around with pictures, it's a bonafide saleable technique that our clients are reacting to. So, the images that you're looking at at the moment are a collection of images that are not just our personal favorites from Instagram. These are some of our top selling images from the last six months. These are images that embrace all of these techniques we've spoken about, be it flam, being backlit, being tilted horizons or items being out of focus that you wouldn't normally expect. But the point is that the message, the concept behind the image is still incredibly clear and yet it's overlaid with a technique that is of the moment. 6. Conclusion: As I mentioned at the beginning of the class, where you've been doing this for many many years and we have seen various trends, and various ways of shooting, and ways of changing images, change over time. So, are these lying in the sand? No this is a snapshot of some of the trends that we've seen today. I think over time, we could see it going anyway. I wouldn't be surprised if in the next six months to a year, whether we see the marketplace looking for much more classic polished images, without any of these apparent mistakes being added. Whether this class has got you in the mood to go out and shoot your own examples of this kind of imagery, or whether you're in the process of curating this kind of imagery, finding imagery that does this, out there in the world. Either way, it will be great to see it, shared in the project gallery, and then to get everybody's comments on that work, as you guys interact with it. The golden rule here, as most of you know about rules, is to ignore the rules. Break them. Be your own path. Be original, and I look forward to seeing the work. Thank you. 7. Explore Photo Classes on Skillshare: