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Fstoppers ‘Photographing the World 1’ Landscape Photography Course Review

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Related course: Simply Stunning Landscapes

For the past six months or so, I have been reviewing photography courses and tutorials here, at ExpertPhotography. Yet, sometimes I can still be amazed.

That is what happened while watching the ‘Photographing the World 1 – Intro to Landscapes’ video course from Fstoppers. The first in a series of four, this course focuses on landscape photography. It aims to give you a complete overview of everything you need to know in this genre.

The title doesn’t lie: it’s shot all around the world, from Iceland to New Zealand. But is it good enough, and most importantly, is it good for you? Read on to find out.Fstoppers 'Photographing the World 1' Landscape Photography Course intro

[ExpertPhotography is supported by readers. Product links on ExpertPhotography are referral links. If you use one of these and buy something, we make a little bit of money. Need more info? See how it all works here.]

Overview

What Is Photographing the World?

Photographing the World 1 is a 13-hour video course on landscape photography and post-processing.

It is the first result of a collaboration between Fstoppers and Elia Locardi, a well-known landscape photographer. Their plan from the start was to create the most complete and most ambitious video course ever shot on this genre. I believe they have achieved this.

This course is primarily shot in two locations. In the first part, we find ourselves immersed in Iceland vast winter mountains, waterfalls, and caves. Most of the second part is shot on the beautiful south island of New Zealand, famous for its breathtaking scenery. Hence the title.

The course is the first part of a series of four, released since 2015 successively. The other parts focus on cityscapes, astrophotography, and more advanced landscapes.

Check out this video to get an idea of the course:

Who Is it For?

This course, being so ambitious, but also pricey (we’ll get back to that), is not for everyone. Even though the chapters are designed so that they’re increasing in difficulty, I definitely wouldn’t recommend it for beginners.

For one, you really need to understand how photography works to truly appreciate the course. But also, at the start of your photography journey, an investment like this will likely be very hard to justify.

However, if you have some experience and the drive to learn and practise, I think this is a fantastic choice.A beautiful flowing waterfall from Fstoppers 'Photographing the World 1' Landscape Photography Course

Contents

Photographing the World 1 consists of roughly 13 hours of core content, with additional introduction chapters, 8 behind-the-scenes episodes, and all the files you need to work with along the course.

In order, these are:

  1. Gear
  2. Intro to the Basics
  3. Kirkjufell (check it out for free)
  4. Cliffs
  5. Godafoss
  6. Vesturhorn
  7. Aldeyarfoss
  8. Ice Cave
  9. Skogafoss
  10. Seljalandsfoss
  11. Wanaka Tree
  12. Church
  13. Focus Stacking
  14. Lake Matheson
  15. Pancake Rocks (Files + Video separate)
  16. Northern Lights
  17. Behind the Scenes (available on YouTube)

All on-location episodes also include relevant post-processing tutorials, which form a core component of the course. Elia Locardi is famous for his signature technique he calls time blending. This essentially means blending not only differently exposed images of a certain moment, but creating an image from different parts shot at different times.

Other than time blending, the course includes some better-known landscape photography tricks as well. Without the need for completeness, some of these are:

  • Dealing with depth of field
  • Focus and exposure stacking
  • RAW processing for landscape photography
  • Retouching
  • Long exposure and its toolkit
  • Composition techniques
  • Gear and accessories.

All this is placed in stunning sceneries and presented by one of the contemporary pioneers of the genre.Stunning landscape scene from Fstoppers 'Photographing the World 1' Landscape Photography Course

Price

Photographing the World 1 is, by a large margin, the most expensive photography course I reviewed to date. It sells for $299, and it’s rarely discounted.

On one hand, this is completely reasonable, given the vast expenses required to shoot the course, such as travel and gear cost.

However, I also think that five years after its release, it would be rational to sell it for a slightly lower price.

About the Creators

In their own words, Fstoppers is an online community aimed at educating and inspiring photographers.

It was started in 2010 by founders Patrick Hall and Lee Morris in Charleston, SC. Fstoppers has since grown into one of the most popular resources for photography education.

However, Photographing the World 1 is not presented, only produced by them. The course’s architect is Elia Locardi, an American landscape photographer well-known in the genre.

For years, he and his wife have been living on the road, constantly travelling the world and shooting landscapes. He’s an awesome instructor for such a globe-spanning tutorial.The presenter of Fstoppers 'Photographing the World 1' Landscape Photography Course

What I Loved

I highly respect Elia and the team of Fstoppers for pulling off such a challenging project at an unprecedented scale. Here is what I particularly liked about it:

Scenery

Regardless of the great instructor and crew, one thing that truly stands out is the beautiful scenery. It’s stunning, really.

Both Iceland and New Zealand are popular photography destinations, and not without a reason.

Throughout the course, we see famous tourist spots, but also hidden gems only known by the locals (well, until now).Stunning ice cave from Fstoppers 'Photographing the World 1' Landscape Photography Course

Coverage

This course essentially covers Elia’s entire landscape photography workflow, from gear decisions to the finishing touches of post-production.

In this sense, you not only get a landscape tutorial, but also a post-processing one – although it’s best treated as one coherent package.

From Photographing the World 1, you can learn every step of landscape photography with great detail and precision.

Style and Language

Elia is an outstanding teacher. Besides his excellence in photography, his style and presentation skills are also worth mentioning.

He’s accurate in his explanations, but never loses the big picture. He is straight to the point, but we always learn the adequate context to every the step he takes.

He backs up all his decisions with facts from his experiences, but always gives alternative considerations.

Production

Photographing the World 1 is beautifully shot. Some of its charm is, of course, due to the stunning scenery.

But the Fstoppers crew took their fair share of making it look equally breathtaking on video. With drones, sliders, great editing and audio, watching the course is a wonderful experience.

There are some clips that seem to be far lower resolution than the usual FullHD, but they’re rare and don’t really hinder the course.Stunning mountainous landscape from Fstoppers 'Photographing the World 1' Landscape Photography Course

Areas to Improve

There’s really not much to not like in Photographing the World 1, other than perhaps its price. But let’s see one issue, which is:

Lack of Online Streaming

I have noted this in all of my Fstoppers course reviews, but it really is a severe problem.

Unlike every other photography course provider, Fstoppers doesn’t offer online streaming.

This means you have to download the episodes, whether you want offline access or not. It’s quite a long and bothersome process.

The total size of the downloaded files in this instance exceeds 23GB. We should be given the choice to watch that online.

For viewers with less powerful computers than what I happen to have, downloading, extracting the ZIPs and offline watching will be even more lengthy and annoying.

So, Fstoppers, please include an online streaming option as soon as possible.

Alternatives

Honestly, I don’t know of alternative products to Photographing the World 1. It’s unique in its approach, vastness, and also price.

If you’re not specifically after landscape knowledge, but rather Elia’s workflow, you can check out Photographing the World Part 2, Part 3, or Part 4.

We also happen to have our own landscape photography course. Expert Photography’s Simply Stunning Landscapes is a shorter, less expensive, and less global course. But it also teaches the basics and the approach to landscapes with great detail and coverage.

Our Verdict

Photographing the World 1 is a stunning landscape photography course. It’s a first-of-its-kind project, never undertaken before.

If you have the budget and the determination, I can wholeheartedly recommend it.

Check it out here in Fstoppers’ store.

Scores

To standardise and compare our product reviews, we’ve decided to use a scored-based ranking system. To learn more about interpreting these numbers and how other courses measure, please visit our course review roundup page here.

Value for Money (20)
13
Coverage (20){{column-name-2}}: 19
Accuracy (20){{column-name-2}}: 19
Ease of Learning (15){{column-name-2}}: 15
Production Value (15){{column-name-2}}: 13
Uniqueness (5){{column-name-2}}: 4
Community and Learning Support (5){{column-name-2}}: 5
Total (100){{column-name-2}}: 88
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