The title of this Fstoppers course doesn’t lack ambition: Photographing the World 1. It’s an introduction to landscape photography and covers some of the world’s most beautiful locations.
Does it help you get the best from landscapes, even if you can’t travel to far-flung exotic locations? Well, read our review to see what the Photographing the World 1 course does well, as well as things that could be improved. That way you’ll know if it’s a course you should consider.
Overview of Photographing The World
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.
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:
- Intro to the Basics
- Kirkjufell (check it out for free)
- Ice Cave
- Wanaka Tree
- Focus Stacking
- Lake Matheson
- Pancake Rocks (Files + Video separate)
- Northern Lights
- 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
- Long exposure and its toolkit
- Composition techniques
- Gear and accessories.
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 traveling the world and shooting landscapes. He’s an awesome instructor for such a globe-spanning tutorial.
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:
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).
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.
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.
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.
Honestly, I don’t know of alternative products to Photographing the World 1. It’s unique in its approach, vastness, and also price.
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.
If you have the budget and the determination, I can wholeheartedly recommend it.
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.
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Ease of Learning
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Community and Learning Support
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Value for Money