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Fundamentals of Photography II

Get 'em gasping with advanced skills, tips, and tricks on taking photographs, wherever they happen to be.
Fundamentals of Photography II is rated 4.8 out of 5 by 198.
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Rated 2 out of 5 by from Fundamentals of Photography II When I bought this course I was hoping to advance my level of knowledge and ability to become more creative; sadly the course is so basic that after having spent several hours in front of my monitor I do not feel that I have learned much, if anything, I did not already know. Very disappointing.
Date published: 2023-01-15
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Make a choice - I did The episodes are comprehensive and the photographer is himself clearly talented. However I have decided that I prefer one on one in person lessons. So a personal choice rather than a review of the course online. A review might well have been higher but chose middle.
Date published: 2022-12-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great tips for the serious nonprofessional Less for those seeking instruction on the mechanics of photography than for those looking to improve their photo selection, framing, use or light and shadow, and so forth. Emphasizes what is being photographed over the mechanics of making a shot, although some of this is included as well. Explanations and examples are abundant and clear: a course for those who want to learn by example.
Date published: 2022-09-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fundamentals of Photography 11 I wish Joel had talked more about technical aspects of photography...ISO, aperture, shutter etc...the course is very interesting...I want more tech.
Date published: 2022-06-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful content, fantastic instructor! I have learned so much from Mr. Sartore. His method of instruction is both informative as well as entertaining. I watch a class when it’s time to relax and just enjoy the moment. I learn so much while enjoying myself I feel guilty. I didn’t know learning could be so fun. What is more is that Mr. Sartore explains camera function in real world scenarios. He brings humor and humanity to the course. Now I need to go out and practice what I have learned. I have no excuse. I must say i would like to meet Mr. Sartore in person some day
Date published: 2022-03-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of the best courses I've ever taken! Joel Sartore's Fundamentals of Photography I and II are some of the best courses I've ever taken! He is an excellent, personable instructor, who makes learning fun, as he shares his vast knowledge about photography. This course has given me the skills and techniques I need to continually improve my photography. Thank you Joel, for taking the time to teach these courses. I love these courses!
Date published: 2022-03-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great! I have both “The Fundamentals of Photography I & II”. Joel Sartore does a great job teaching viewers the basics of photography and how to improve your skills in composition. I have a minor in Media Arts from 20+ years ago and this is nice refresher. It’s also a lot less expensive than what you’d pay for 18 hours of class and lab time at any college or university. He tells you from the beginning that an expensive camera is not necessary and that is the truth. Thank you to Joel and Nat Geo for the videos and guidebooks.
Date published: 2022-02-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Sartore, Master Photographer Well, I have a couple of photography courses from GC that are taught by Sartore. He is very good at explaining and demonstrating his points. The only drawback for me is that I shoot nature and landscapes and am on my own. I don't have clients that I can pass along the costs of my "shoots" to. Sartore makes extensive use of models. He may use 3 to 5 models, in coordinated outfits, done up by makeup artists. These models really dress up a scene. I shoot alone and cannot afford models or deal with the legal impact of getting the releases correct or paying for makeup artists. Great Courses featuring Sartore are worth the money and well worth any photographer's time to watch. I simply would prefer help on bringing the photo of a scene "to the next level", being creative, without models. While this review gives a reservation of mine, do not take it as a reason not to watch this course - DO buy the course.
Date published: 2022-02-02
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Take a deeper dive into the art of great photography and learn to apply skills, tips, and tricks with a National Geographic photographer out in the field.


Joel Sartore

The reach of this course amazed me. People from all over the world have written to tell me their pictures are much better because of the lecture series. That's so very satisfying.


National Geographic Photographer

Joel Sartore is a professional photographer and a regular contributor to National Geographic magazine. His assignments have taken him to some of the world's most beautiful and challenging environments and have brought him face to face with a diversity of wildlife in all 50 U. S. states and all seven continents. He was recently named a National Geographic Fellow for his work on The Photo Ark, a multiyear project to document the world's biodiversity in studio portraits (see and His photograph of a lion in a tree was voted the best picture by National Geographic magazine in 2011, and also won him a 2012 Veolia Environment award for wildlife photography. In addition to his work for National Geographic, Mr. Sartore has contributed to some of the most prestigious and widely read publications, including Audubon Magazine, Time, Life, Newsweek, and Sports Illustrated. Mr. Sartore and his work have been the subject of national broadcasts such as National Geographic Explorer, NBC Nightly News, NPR's Weekend Edition, and an hour-long PBS documentary, At Close Range. He is also a regular contributor to CBS's Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood. A noted author and public lecturer on photography to audiences around the world, Mr. Sartore has written several books that highlight his craft and his work. Among these are RARE: Portraits of America's Endangered Species, Photographing Your Family, and Nebraska: Under a Big Red Sky.

By This Expert

The Art of Travel Photography
National Geographic Masters of Photography
Fundamentals of Photography II
Fundamentals of Photography
Fundamentals of Photography II


Find the Picture

01: Find the Picture

Think of photography as visual problem solving. How do you find perfect shots in the midst of crowded "problem areas" like an historic mansion? How about in sparse environments like an abandoned farmhouse? Here, learn savvier ways to find the pictures you want-or may not have known you wanted....

32 min
Understanding Light

02: 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....

30 min
Working with Light in a Landscape

03: 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....

31 min
Taking Photos under and around Water

04: 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....

35 min
Photographing Reflections and Reflectivity

05: Photographing Reflections and Reflectivity

Reflectivity in photography, when used the right way, can transform the annoyances of reflections and glares into powerful ways to add a splash of brilliance to dark scenes and create layered images. What are the ways you can make reflections work for you instead of against you? Find out here....

31 min
Photographing Shadows and Backlighting

06: Photographing Shadows and Backlighting

Any good photographer, whether professional or amateur, should know how to handle shadows. Here, turn off your camera's flash and learn how to find (or create) elegant lighting in shadowy scenes-whether it's diffusing light or highlighting shadows to create dramatic, memorable backdrops....

33 min
Big Results from Little Lights

07: Big Results from Little Lights

Professor Sartore shows you how to effectively wield the small lights that come with basic cameras. What happens when you take the flash off your camera? Diffuse it with a tissue? Play around with shutter speeds? As you'll discover, you can get big photographic results from these little lights....

32 min
Taking Studio Lights Outdoors

08: Taking Studio Lights Outdoors

The big lights of studio-lit photography, and the setups involved, don't have to be so intimidating. First, explore the two basic types of light that studio photographers use. Then, take the studio lights outside and experiment with studio lights plus ambient light-and even turn daytime into night....

29 min
Human Portrait Photography

09: Human Portrait Photography

There are average, everyday portraits-and then there are unforgettable portraits. Focus here on candid, environmental portrait photographs outside the studio. You'll learn professional tips that can allow you to create deeper connections between the portrait's viewer and its subject....

33 min
Animal Photography

10: Animal Photography

From dogs and snakes to ducks and zoo animals, discover the secrets of interesting animal photography-the kind that stands out from the boring pet pictures we've all seen before. As you'll learn, the most important aspects of great animal photography are repeated access and plenty of time and patience....

34 min
Night Photography

11: 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....

30 min
Art Photography: Perspective and Illusions

12: Art Photography: Perspective and Illusions

Art photography can be lyrical, fun, dark, or surprising-but it's always about going beyond the obvious. Follow Professor Sartore on several shoots and discover how to take photos with a more artistic eye, how to playfully deceive viewers-and how to do it all without the aid of digital post production....

28 min
Art Photography: Having Fun

13: Art Photography: Having Fun

Continue your exploration of more artful photography with a lesson on setting up and shooting funny, bizarre, and outrageous scenes and subjects. How can you use the knowledge and techniques of professional photographers to do something different with these out-of-the-ordinary scenarios? Prepare to think (and shoot) outside the box....

26 min
Art Photography: Still Life

14: Art Photography: Still Life

Still lifes don't have to be boring. Here, learn how to add layers of intrigue and dynamism to indoor and outdoor still lifes by changing your perspective, shooting through objects, adjusting your depth of field, and other old-fashioned photography principles....

31 min
Black-and-White Photography

15: 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....

30 min
Elevating Your Perspective: Photos from Above

16: Elevating Your Perspective: Photos from Above

For a unique, cleaned-up view of the world, nothing beats an aerial shot. Whether you're planning on photographing large crowds or vast landscapes, learn some tips for getting yourself up off the ground on the cheap (even a roof balcony provides a new view) and capturing fresh perspectives....

28 min
Smartphone Photography

17: Smartphone Photography

Just because you're using a smartphone to take photos doesn't mean you should be satisfied with lackluster shots. Transform how you use your smartphone's camera and work smarter with panoramic shots, different filters, and much more. The end result: photos that stand out from the millions posted online every day....

26 min
The Decisive Moment in Photography

18: The Decisive Moment in Photography

How do professional photographers capture the "decisive moment" in their work? Find out for yourself in this insightful lesson on how photographers anticipate great compositions, how they know when they've captured that perfect fleeting moment, and tips for reaching this pinnacle in your own shots....

30 min
Live Event Photography: Farmers' Market

19: Live Event Photography: Farmers' Market

Everyone loves to take photographs of farmers' markets, with all their colorful bounty of fruits, vegetables, and other tasty treats. But they can actually be quite challenging if you want to go beyond the obvious. Visit a Nebraska market on a summer day and learn how to deal with a variety of obstacles, from crowds to high contrasts between light and shade....

34 min
Live Event Photography: T-Ball

20: Live Event Photography: T-Ball

Visit a t-ball game to ease into shooting sporting events. Along the way, learn how to use motor drives, fast shutter speeds, and autofocus; how to set up angles; and how to approach action scenes with a keen eye for the story unfolding right in front of you....

29 min
Live Event Photography: House Party

21: Live Event Photography: House Party

If you're a recreational photographer, chances are you'll be called upon to shoot a family social event or get-together. By photographing the goings-on at a summer solstice party, you'll cultivate the skills you need to record special days and capture delightful memories-all while enjoying the party as well....

30 min
Live Event Photography: A Day at the Ranch

22: Live Event Photography: A Day at the Ranch

Take a trip to a beautiful Nebraska Sandhills ranch and watch Professor Sartore overcome visual chaos to capture the drama and action of a day of cattle round ups and branding. Harsh light and fast-moving action challenge you to be at the top of your game....

30 min
Live Event Photography: Family Fishing Night

23: Live Event Photography: Family Fishing Night

Continue your study of live-event photography with this lesson that takes you to a family fishing trip in Nebraska's Bohemian Alps. How does an expert photojournalist use establishing shots, detail shots, and interesting lighting effects to tell the (sometimes hidden) stories behind all the fishing, cookouts, and family fun?...

31 min
Editing, Culling, and Critiquing Your Photos

24: Editing, Culling, and Critiquing Your Photos

Once you're done shooting, it's time to sit down and edit. But this final lesson isn't about post-production on your computer. Instead, it's about visually critiquing your photographs-their backgrounds, lighting, focus, sense of place-and culling them to find the few that truly capture what you want to say....

29 min