How I Shoot: Photographing the Extreme Outdoors with @jimmy_chin

For each How I Shoot, we ask an Instagrammer to tell us about their creative process. For more of Jimmy’s photos and videos from his outdoors expeditions, follow @jimmy_chin on Instagram.

"I find I get a lot of my inspiration from the core community of athletes I spend time with, and I have been able to make a career shooting amazing athletes doing amazing things in amazing landscapes," says Jimmy Chin (@jimmy_chin), a professional climber, photographer and cinematographer based in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. While his athletic career came before his photography pursuits, Jimmy quickly developed a passion for documenting the beauty of nature and the talented athletes who interact with it. His passion for exploring extreme environments around the world and incredible eye for landscape photography have landed him opportunities shooting for National Geographic, The North Face, GoPro and more.

On Instagram, Jimmy likes to share day-to-day inspiration as well as some of his assignment outtakes. His iPhone has become a handy tool to catch interesting perspectives that he normally wouldn’t take with his professional cameras, and he also likes having the control over the stories he can tell through his Instagram account. “At the heart of my work, I am always looking to share stories about the human spirit or the never ending instinct to push human potential and progression.”

Here are Jimmy’s tips for capturing dynamic landscape photos:


iPhone 5S, GoPro and Canon 5D

Vantage Point

Whether it’s running, hiking, climbing, skiing or swimming, finding a unique perspective in nature means getting active and dirty. “My favorite moments are the unplanned and spontaneous visual gems you find when you are out in the wild doing what you love.”

It’s also crucial to “know the sports, know your comfort level and stay ahead of the game out in the field.”


No matter where the focal point of the image is, Jimmy likes to frame his human subjects to convey the scale of the landscape next to human experience. “I try to shoot anything but your medium frame at eye level, because that’s the perspective from which people normally see the world—and why show them what they already see?”


When he has time, Jimmy likes to use Snapseed (iOS or Android) or VSCO Cam (iOS or Android), but otherwise he often makes subtle adjustments (sharpening, adjusting contrast, changing saturation or adding vignette) with the Instagram editing tools before posting. “Editing is a big part of the creative process, and choosing a mood you want an image to evoke can be just as fun as shooting.”