Fundamentals of Photography Course

The Great Courses
Show More

24 episodes in this series

Episode 1 Making Great Pictures
What makes a photograph iconic? What three things must every picture have to stand out from any old snapshot? These two questions form the core of Mr. Sartore's introduction to…
Episode 2 Camera Equipment--What You Need
To take a picture, you need to have good equipment. Here, get a no-nonsense guide to finding photography equipment--including cameras, tripods, and camera bags--that fits your needs. Also, take an…
Episode 3 Lenses and Focal Length
Lenses are the most critical tools of photography. In this lecture, he takes you into the field and shows you different camera lenses in action. Among them: 70-200 mm (good…
Episode 4 Shutter Speeds
Your camera's shutter speed controls how much light enters the lens in a shot. Learn how to become a master at working with this critical tool of photography. You'll discover…
Episode 5 Aperture and Depth of Field
What do numbers such as f/1.4, f/2.8, or f/16 mean? Finally make sense of your camera's aperture settings, which can help create eye-popping visual effects and solve specific compositional problems.…
Episode 6 Light I--Found or Ambient Light
In this first lecture on one of the two building blocks of photography, learn how to tap into the power of ambient light, which isn't created in a studio but…
Episode 7 Light II--Color and Intensity
Continue exploring light and photography with a look at color--both the "color" of different types of light and colors as they appear in your photographs. Then, focus on the differences…
Episode 8 Light III--Introduced Light
Mr. Sartore discusses a tricky type of light: man-made (or introduced) light. You'll learn tips for manipulating different sources of light (including firelight, car taillights, reflectors, and spotlights). Also, you'll…
Episode 9 Composition I--Seeing Well
How do you truly capture the beauty of the three-dimensional world around you? The answer lies within composition--photography's second building block. In the first of three lectures on the subject,…
Episode 10 Composition II--Background and Perspective
Great composition also involves paying attention to background and perspective. Here, Mr. Sartore offers you numerous tips and strategies for finding the perfect background, examining the benefits and drawbacks of…
Episode 11 Composition III--Framing and Layering
Frames. Leading lines. The eyes of your subject. Layers. Learn how paying attention to--and using--these and other compositional tools can isolate the true subject of your photo and add a…
Episode 12 Let's Go to Work--Landscapes
Now start applying the information you've learned. Your first assignment: rural and urban landscapes. Some tips you'll discover include surveying the ground ahead of the prime light you want to…
Episode 13 Let's Go to Work--Wildlife
Explore techniques for photographing wildlife, whether it's birds in your backyard or lions on a safari. Learn how to set up a blind to conceal you from your subject, where…
Episode 14 Let's Go to Work--People and Relationships
Using touching photographs of family and friends, Mr. Sartore demonstrates how to use your camera to best capture joy, sadness, anger, and other emotions--without interfering with your subject's behavior.
Episode 15 Let's Go to Work--From Mundane to Extraordinary
A key skill for any photographer is the ability to capture the special aspects of even the most mundane subjects. Focus on developing and strengthening this talent alongside Mr. Sartore,…
Episode 16 Let's Go to Work--Special Occasions
Special occasions come loaded with moments that beg to be captured with a camera. Taking the knowledge you've gained from previous lectures, investigate ways to anticipate and better prepare for…
Episode 17 Let's Go to Work--Family Vacations
Transform the way you think about and take photographs during vacations. How can you avoid taking the same dull pictures like other tourists? What are some good ways to capture…
Episode 18 Advanced Topics--Research and Preparation
Despite what you may think, researching is an important part of any well-planned photo shoot. In the first of several lectures on advanced topics in photography, learn from Mr. Sartore's…
Episode 19 Advanced Topics--Macro Photography
Examine how to capture the remarkable (and often overlooked) beauty in miniature subjects such as insects, flowers, eyes--even a pile of money. Learn the best equipment to use, lighting techniques…
Episode 20 Advanced Topics--Low Light
Low light used to be the bane of Mr. Sartore's profession. Now, it's all he wants to photograph in. Learn how to take advantage of low-light situations by picking the…
Episode 21 Advanced Topics--Problem Solving
In order to be a better photographer, you need to be a visual problem solver. Mr. Sartore, using his own career experiences, takes you through varying levels of difficult situations--such…
Episode 22 After the Snap--Workflow and Organization
Regardless of whether you're shooting with film or on a digital camera, you need an effective system to organize your pictures. Here, get practical tips on everything from storing film…
Episode 23 Editing--Choosing the Right Image
Hone your editing skills by combing through groups of images to select the ones that stand out. It takes time and practice--but once you can narrow your photographs down to…
Episode 24 Telling a Story with Pictures--The Photo Essay
Close out the course with a fascinating look at telling stories with your photographs. Using his photo essays on Alaska's North Slope; people at Leech Lake, Minnesota; and dwindling biodiversity,…

Comments (2)

Anonymous picture
Keith

This was amazing!

Anonymous picture
Jose

Incredible series. As a beginner, these video will take you from simple understanding to being an expert. Very valued series. Thank you, Kanopy and The Great Courses!

Related videos

National Geographic Masters of Photography Course
The best way to learn any art form, including the art of photography, is by watching a master artist at work. Now, in National Geographic Masters of Photography--24 lectures taught by 12 top National Geographic photographers--you gain unparalleled access to some of the world's greatest photographers. Through our partnership with…
Night Photography
Great photography doesn't have to end when the sun sets. Overcome your worries about night photography and sharpen your skills at working with (and capturing) moonlight, starlight, and even urban lights. Professor Sartore walks you through some night scenarios you may never have thought could yield such compelling photographs.
Make a Difference (Wildlife)
Good light. Good composition. A moment. Explore the key ingredients of a great photograph with Joel Sartore as you continue investigating what makes an ordinary picture extraordinary. Get pointers on using storyboarding, remotes, and additional tools in wildlife photography, then see how his images have "gone to work" on behalf…
Fundamentals of Photography II
Great photography goes beyond knowing about how lenses and f-stops work. It's about creative problem solving under real-world conditions. Taking great photographs means knowing how to choose the right tool or apply the right technique to capture your subject in the best possible way. Photographers who wish to excel--professional and…
The Art of Travel Photography Course - Six Expert Lessons
Travel enthusiasts take note: this is your ticket to capturing the beauty and awe of any scene, anywhere in the world. Filled with practical tips, techniques, and field demonstrations, this course, taught by National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore, helps you learn to see the world through the eyes of a…
Black-and-White Photography
Fall in love all over again with black-and-white photography, which looks great in just about any light and allows you to create compositions and moods you could never achieve with color photography. As Professor Sartore demonstrates, it's a powerful way of getting to the essence of your subject.
Working with Light in a Landscape
Landscape photography may seem easy--just a matter of going outside and snapping away--but there's an art to excellent landscape photographs. And most times, it doesn't require fancy diffusers and flashes. Discover the secrets of expert landscape photographers, including when to shoot and how to frame your foreground.
Set the Scene, Get Close (Adventure)
Conclude your lesson on adventure photography by applying the skills you've acquired to the broader world. See what works and what doesn't as you explore how to craft a great "scene setter," zoom in or out for maximum impact, and shoot images of the night sky. Also, learn the importance…
Advanced Topics--Research and Preparation
Despite what you may think, researching is an important part of any well-planned photo shoot. In the first of several lectures on advanced topics in photography, learn from Mr. Sartore's own diverse shoots around the world about ways to research and prepare for photographing in more complicated situations.
Telling a Story with Pictures--The Photo Essay
Close out the course with a fascinating look at telling stories with your photographs. Using his photo essays on Alaska's North Slope; people at Leech Lake, Minnesota; and dwindling biodiversity, Mr. Sartore leaves you with a greater appreciation of how photographers are not just observers but actual storytellers.
Understanding Light
Light, according to Professor Sartore, is what great photography is all about. In this lesson, he shows you how to take a more measured, thoughtful approach to various light sources, techniques, and effects--including back lighting, side lighting, floor lighting (also known as ghost lighting), and colored lighting.
Taking Photos under and around Water
Underwater photography is tricky, expensive, and often requires bulky special equipment. But there are certain strategies anyone can use to capture great photographs in aquatic environments. In this lesson, experiment with underwater shots (and have some fun!) using everyday tools like smartphones and a 10-gallon aquarium.