The World Around You

with kristen ryan

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March 05, 2018
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April 23, 2018
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Full Participation sold out.
Study Along seats available!

In this four week course we will explore landscape photography and all the elements that come together to create memorable images. We will examine technical considerations such as settings, filters, focus and bracketing. From sunrise to sunset, midday sun to night photography, students will learn how to shoot landscapes in all types of light. We will also cover composition and take a look at how elements such as lines, color, framing and foreground elements work to capture and hold a viewer’s attention. After considering the impact of human inclusion within landscape work, we will talk about various geographic settings such as seascapes, cityscapes and mountains. We will conclude with with post processing in conjunction with story telling and mood, looking at the technical side of editing as well as its role in creating emotion in the final image.
“I am surrounded by beauty and through this class I now know how to capture that beauty in an effective and authentic way.”


4 weeks


daily shooting encouraged


4 hours of work per week


Students need a solid understanding of manual exposure and white balance and a strong comfort level with post processing.



Kristen Ryan is a natural light photographer residing in the suburbs of Chicago with her husband and 4 young kids. Specializing in fine art, lifestyle and landscape photography, she strives to capture life’s fleeting moments in an artistic way. Inspired by light and nature, she loves to travel with her Nikon D800 close at hand. She uses a variety of lens including zooms, primes and various lensbaby optics. Kristen edits in both LR5 and Photoshop. Her portfolio is available here.

The following photographers also participate in discussions and provide assignment critiques as teaching assistants:

A number of course alumni are invited to engage in discussion, share insight with students, and provide feedback and encouragement throughout the course.


200-level (Intermediate)

Course Syllabus

Welcome & Preassignment

Reading: Discussion of landscape inspiration; gear suggestions and discussion, including tripods and filters.
Assignment: Self exploration of personal landscape inspiration and style; brainstorming locations for shooting during the course

Week One: Light, Atmosphere & Technical Considerations

Reading:Discussion of technical settings, focus and subject determination. Use of filters and exposure considerations will be examined as we explore light, atmosphere and creative effects.
Assignment: Exploring and utilizing light, atmosphere and creative effects

Week Two: Framing, Depth, Setting, and Composition

Reading: Understanding and utilizing elements of composition to create depth in landscape images; People in Landscapes; Various geographic settings; creating variety in a shoot
Assignment: Creating depth in your image; Finding variety in a single shoot

Week Three: Emotion & Mood in landscape imagery; practical and creative editing techniques in Lightroom and Photoshop; Black and white conversions

Reading: Emotion & Mood in landscape imagery; practical and creative editing techniques in Lightroom and Photoshop
Assignment: Enhancing the mood of your images through color and post processing techniques

Week Four: Night Photography; HDR and composites, panoramas; Preparing your images for print.

Reading: Night Photography; HDR and composites, panoramas; Preparing your images for print.
Assignment: Shooting night images; Merging images through HDR or panoramas.

Full Participation students engage in an interactive online classroom experience that includes instructor-led group discussions and detailed, personalized guidance for the duration of the workshop. Full participation students receive instructor and TA critiques of the posted assignment each week and have lifetime access to a Workshop Alumni forum for continued peer discussion after the course concludes.

Study Along students will have access to all materials and will be able to view all content and conversation in the main workshop forum and receive access to their own private subforum for peer study groups and image shares. Study along students will not be able to ask the instructor questions or request instructor feedback on their assignments.


  • Debbie Gottdenker says:

    This workshop totally blew me away. I had been considering taking it for a while but was worried that, living in the suburbs, I would have a hard time finding “good enough” landscapes to shoot. But Kristen opened my eyes to the possibilities all around me and, even more importantly, how to capture them beautifully. If you are on the fence (like I was), don’t be! The materials are so comprehensive and Kristen gives so much of herself. This workshop will give you a deep appreciation and understanding of landscape photography – and you’ll have so much fun in the process.

  • I cannot say enough about how much I LOVED this class! Kristen was incredible as a teacher–she went above and beyond in answering questions with such detailed responses and you can tell she is totally committed to helping each student get what they want out of the class. The materials were meaty and very useful–it was a great balance of challenging, but not too overwhelming.. Kristen also structured this class in a way that allowed us to get detailed feedback on our daily shooting through having assigned TAs each week–I’ve never been in a class before with CM where some of the TA’s gave me paragraphs of feedback on my daily shooting, which helped me learn and improve immensely. I’m not a landscape shooter, but what I learned help me take much better pictures of my kiddos in their environment, and I do love to go out once in awhile and shoot landscape for fun. I just loved this class and highly, HIGHLY recommend it.

  • Delanie says:

    I took this course in the fall of 2018 and I was blown away by the amount of information in it. The PDF was so detailed and had amazing ideas for creating beautiful landscape images, including using filters and longer exposures. The critiques were so helpful and I look forward to going back to these materials again and again to improve my landscape work!

  • The World Around You by Kristen Ryan is truly one of THE best classes offered through Click PhotoSchool. I love taking nature photographs, but this class opened my eyes to the technical and artistic beauty found in landscape photography. It also showed me that many of those great photos are right in my own town, I just never noticed them before! This class will teach you how to look at the sky, water, sun, and scenery with the eyes of a photographer and then translate all of that into your own unique image. For me, the best moment in this class came when I realized that I had a specific vision for a photo and now knew which tools in my camera bag/settings on my camera would help me get that specific image. Getting to that point took initiative and work, but I felt totally supported throughout the class. The PDFs are easy-to-follow, clearly written, and chock full of wonderful examples. The videos were also incredibly helpful. Kristen provides tons of demonstrations along with step-by-step guidance. I was very glad that I took this class as a Full Participant. Kristen was very active in the Q&A forum each week helping us through the material. Then at week’s end she gave detailed and insightful feedback on the images submitted. I learned so much from her comments. The Teaching Assistants and Alumni Helpers were also helpful and supportive. I also had great classmatest! We shared the photos we liked, but also many, many of our photos-in-process ( aka – those we didn’t really like but needed help understanding what went wrong and how we could do better next time). It’s a great learning environment! Don’t hesitate….take this class!

  • Lorena Cora says:

    Kristen Ryan is an amazing teacher and TWAY is just a wonderful course!
    I have always loved landscape photography and wanted to improve it. Wow, did I learned a great deal from Kristen and the TA’s. All the materials and lessons are perfectly laid out and easy to understand. Any photo you submit will receive feedback on what you are doing well and how to improve your photos, which to me is priceless. Full participation is definitely the way to go.

  • Bobbie says:

    I had never taken a landscape photography class and this one was a great way to start. Until I took this class most of my photos had been of my family, including my grandkids. Kristen is a very talented photographer and a very talented teacher. The PDFs and all the videos were so well done. Kristen was very attentive to the forum and quick to answer questions and make comments. Each critique was helpful and she showed you ways to improve upon the photo with editing techniques. Not only did I learn about the important ways to see the world but also i learned a lot of new Lightroom and Photoshop techniques for editing and making the best photo. I would highly recommend this class for someone who wants to learn more about landscape photography, your just wants to get “outside” the box with your photography skills and try something new. As an added bonus it was great seeing all different places in the world as photographed by fellow students and also how even in your own neighborhood once you open your eyes there is beauty!

  • I’m not new to landscape photography but I signed up for this class because it was recommended to me by several photographers whose work I admire. Now that I’ve completed it you can add me to the ranks of Kristen fans. The workshop materials were richly detailed and chock full of great instructions and tips. I learned much more than I ever expected and I know I will be referencing those materials for a very long time. Kristen is a great instructor and gives wonderful, personalized feedback. I’m so glad I took this class!

  • Wow, what a fun and challenging experience! I’m a hobbyist who primarily does sports action and family candits and portraits. I have wanted to improve my landscape shots which have mostly looked like tourist snapshots and learn how to create more meaningful and creative shots – and this is the class!!!! Kristen’s materials are very well put together, full of great information and so inspiring! It was also very satisfying to be able to go through the work flow, from composing shots (great assignments) all the way to editing in Lightroom along with some great PS tools. Then you get great feedback from Kristen and the TAs and Alumini helpers to quide you in making your photos better. This is a wonderful clas! Take it!

  • Michelle Wright says:

    An amazing teacher and a wonderful course! ~~~ This was my first photography course and was so worth waiting for. I highly recommend being a fully participating student. I was debating whether to or not but so glad I did. The opportunity to have your work fairly critiqued by the most tactful and kind people I have come across in the industry to-date was so helpful and empowering. I never once hesitated to submit my work. Kristen is amazing and I learnt a great deal from her and all her material, which I have to say was extremely comprehensive. The AHs and TAs on the course were fully interactive and very responsive. I feel that my landscape work has developed in leaps and bounds. I am quite honestly delighted and would take WAY2 – if there was one! – in a heart beat ❤️

  • I was “riding the fence” on taking this class. I had actually been wanting to take it for “three” years! I’am a portrait photographer & knew little about shooting Landscapes! But I “so” wanted to learn (esp when I would see images of Kristen’s ;~)).
    Kristen assured me it wasn’t too advanced for me. So I signed up, & I’m SO glad I did! I feel like I’am going away from this class w/ skills & techniques I wanted to learn…but just couldn’t on my own.
    Kristen will take you at your own current level & build on that. The lessons are layed out in a comprehensive manner in a way that is easier to understand…& if you don’t understand she “explains” it to you so you will, then further reinforces that learning with video’s that make it even clearer.
    Some of the material can be somewhat technical & even challenging for someone like me, knowing little about Landscape photography. But that is what I loved about this course, it didn’t seem “as technical” & hard to understand with Kristen’s teaching style, which is very approachable, inspiring, & encouraging!
    Kristen values ALL her students equally & wants each one to succeed. I’am just SO glad I took this class, & feel like I know SO MUCH more, than what I did before I signed up for it!
    Thank you so much Kristen!!

  • Iris says:

    What an amazing class this is. I took the class in Fall of 2015.Kristen’s material and her feedback are so detailed. There are still so many things I like to learn better (night photography).
    If you want to take your landscape/cityscape photography a little further, I highly recommend this workshop to you. Kristen is taken so much time explaining things and her critique is amazing.

  • Gina says:

    I took the May 2015 offering and it was amazing! Kristen and the TAs provide so much feedback. Feedback on what you are doing well and how to improve your photos. The course really helps you evolve your style and be purposeful in your landscape shots. Kristen does a great job sharing her passion for landscapes as well as tailoring the feedback for your style and goals. Full participation is definitely the way to go.

  • Addie says:

    I have always been interested in landscapes and a huge fan of Kristen’s work so this workshop appealed to me immediately. But I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to find anything good to shoot where I live in the Chicago suburbs. Boy was I wrong! This workshop taught me how to find beautiful landscapes in the scenes I see everyday, even in the suburbs! Kristen is such a good teacher and freely shared her knowledge to help me achieve my vision. I had contemplated waiting to take it as study along but I’m so glad I took it full participation. The detailed and personalized feedback I received from Kristen and the TA’s was invaluable and really showed me the potential in my images. I would recommend this workshop to anyone interested in elevating their landscape images!

  • This workshop was nothing short of amazing. Kristen covers so much in the materials that it could easily be a four – five week workshop. I live in Montana, so taking this course was a must for me. I am surrounded by beauty and through this class I now know how to capture that beauty in an effective and authentic way. Kristen does a great job of encouraging personal style while guiding you through the technical side of landscapes with both gear (filters) and editing. She also encourages daily shooting and sharing, all of which helps you to develop a keen sense of observation while considering the various elements of a scene. If you are looking for a workshop that will help you develop that eye for landscapes and a workshop that is all about you (kids optional), this is the one for you!

  • Lori says:

    I was extremely excited to see this new class on the workshop list and knew I’d have to take it! I had seen and admired Kristen’s landscape photography previously and was thrilled at the opportunity to learn from her. I have always loved photographing nature so I felt this was a great fit for me. Kristen’s teaching materials were thorough and clear and she was very active on the forum, answering our questions as they came. Kristen is very encouraging and positive in her feedback.
    Even if you don’t think you are a nature/landscape photographer, consider this class. It’s a great way to get out and explore “the world around you” and it’s beauty!

  • Susan says:

    For anyone think about taking The World Around You, but are afraid you’ll have nothing to shoot because you don’t live in the mountains or on a beach. Take it!! You’ll find amazing landscape scenery everywhere, even in the burbs or in the city. Kristen is such an incredibly talented landscape photographer and has put together such an amazing workshop. This is the perfect class for you if you are in a rut. You will be wowed an inspired every day.

  • katseye says:

    The course was amazing! It was exactly what I have been searching for. If you are at all interested in landscape photography, sign up for this class! I am so happy I did!

  • Karen says:

    Is there any way to open up more spots for study along?

  • Jessica says:

    I just noticed this class! I’m so excited there is a landscape workshop!!! Now to save! :D

  • Kathleen says:

    Oh my goodness, a landscape workshop?! I will seriously consider signing up for this…

  • Lori says:

    I cannot wait for this class Kristen! I’m sure it will be great. I’m so excited you are doing a landscape workshop.

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