Essentials of a Climbing Photo Shoot

with Jimmy Chin

Jimmy Chin

While there are plenty of online photography courses, being a good shooter and being able to produce a photoshoot on El Capitan assignment are totally different skills.

Access this exclusive course and so much more



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Everything That Matters Most

From pre-production and planning to collaboration with the talent or athlete, Jimmy drops knowledge on everything that matters most, reminding us clearly that we are all only as good as our plan.


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Objective-based preparation

In Lesson 2, Jimmy starts to break down the details required for you to do your job well. So much comes down to doing your homework, knowing your crew, thinking through the possibilities, the various scenarios, safety considerations, the time between distances, and the least amount of gear required to do a great job and be prepared for the myriad of situations that may arise.


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What I Carry

Jimmy discusses what it is that he carries, from camera equipment to food & water, his climbing equipment to layering systems and personal gear. It all has to fit on one backpack so he then breaks down how he packs for efficiency and productivity.


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The Gear Room

Jimmy takes us on a personal tour of his gear room and office. He explains how he has organized the room and discusses why certain pieces are favorites for certain travel, shooting, and climbing circumstances.


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Case Study: Free Solo Shoot on El cap

In this Case Study, Jimmy breaks down details on what he carried for, and his approach, to shooting Alex Honnold on the enduro corner on El Capitan, Yosemite, as part of the making of Free Solo.


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Jimmy Shares His Memorabilia Wall

From a Tibetan Nomad’s knife that Jimmy traded for his rope, to pieces of Meru, Kilimanjaro, and Everest to his prized gift of a bamboo ice axe that once belonged to Yvon Chouinard and of course his Oscar for Free Solo. Do you have a collection of pieces from your adventures? If not, it’s time to start.

Meet your Instructor

Jimmy Chin is a photographer, Academy Award-winning filmmaker, and mountain sports athlete known for his ability to capture extraordinary imagery while climbing and skiing in extremely high-risk environments. He began his professional career in 1999, and his talents were quickly recognized by top expedition leaders and outdoor brands. In 2002, he secured a breakthrough assignment to be the cinematographer for a high-profile National Geographic–sponsored trek across Tibet’s Chang Tang Plateau. In 2006, he was part of the first American team to ski off the summit of Mount Everest. His film Free Solo, which he co-directed with his partner and wife E. Chai Vasarhelyi, won an Oscar for Best Documentary Film in 2019. A longtime member of The North Face Athlete Team, he has joined dozens of exploratory expeditions and completed first ascents around the globe, working with the best adventure athletes in the world. He lives in New York City and Jackson, Wyoming.