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Partners in Learning

Two trusted names in lifelong learning—The Great Courses and National Geographic—have joined forces to bring you exciting educational adventures. Join award-winning National Geographic photographers as they teach you the secrets to taking great photographs in these spectacular new courses.

See more ways to learn photography with National Geographic >
National Geographic Masters of Photography

These lessons by 12 renowned National Geographic photographers offer a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at their techniques and works. The course is divided into six units: Adventure, Wildlife, Landscape and Nature, People in Their Environments, Color and Light, and Storytelling. In each unit, you’ll gain insight from two photographers into the creative process behind the striking photography you see in National Geographic magazine and other publications. Featured in the course are William Albert Allard, Stephen Alvarez, Ira Block, Jodi Cobb, Annie Griffiths, Ed Kashi, Michael Melford, Cory Richards, Jim Richardson, Joel Sartore, Steve Winter, and Michael Yamashita; plus an introduction by the Society’s Chief Content Officer, Chris Johns, who served as National Geographic’s editor in chief for more than nine years.

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Take beautiful and inspiring photos by learning to “see” like a professional photographer. Taught by an award-winning National Geographic photographer, Fundamentals of Photography is a thorough and easy-to-follow guide that presents tips and techniques guaranteed to improve your photography skills.

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Capture the magic of your travel adventures by learning how to take great photographs under a wide variety of conditions. Taught by Joel Sartore, a National Geographic contributing photographer, The Art of Travel Photography: Six Expert Lessons is filled with tips, techniques, and field demonstrations that will help you take beautiful photos anywhere you go.

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National Geographic Masters of Photography Set

Be inspired by renowned National Geographic master photographers in this two-course set. In Fundamentals of Photography, learn to maximize your results with the equipment you have on hand, even if it's just a smartphone. Then, in Masters of Photography, travel around the world with 12 fantastic photographers and learn their secrets.

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What People Are Saying

  • A nuts-and-bolts how-to course. I give it a solid recommendation. —Kanawa, Atlanta, GA
  • This is the best course I have ever seen and it completely changed the way I shoot pictures. — Linda, Miami, FLA
  • This course is fabulous! It's easy to follow and understand. I have learned so much! —Allie, Mason, MI

Professors

  • Joel Sartore

    Joel Sartore, 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 www.joelsartore.com and photoark.com). 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.

  • William Allard

    William Albert Allard, National Geographic Photographer


    A major force at National Geographic and in mainstream photography for 50 years, William Albert Allard has contributed to the Society’s magazine stories and books as a photographer and writer since 1964.


    He studied at the Minneapolis School of Fine Arts (now the Minneapolis College of Art and Design) and the University of Minnesota. Mr. Allard is the author of six highly acclaimed books, including the award-winning Vanishing Breed: Photographs of the Cowboy and the West. His latest book, William Albert Allard: Five Decades, a retrospective and memoir, explores his long career in both words and pictures. Among his worldwide exhibitions, his one-man show at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art in 2002 was the first exhibit of work by an American artist in Iran since 1979. Considered one of color photography’s most celebrated pioneers, Mr. Allard is a former contributor to Magnum Photos, and his prints appear in private and museum collections. Learn more about his work online at http://www.williamalbertallard.com

  • Stephen Alvarez

    Stephen Alvarez, National Geographic Photographer


    Photographer and filmmaker Stephen Alvarez produces global stories about exploration, adventure, and culture. He has been a National Geographic magazine photographer since 1995 and has published more than a dozen stories with the magazine. Mr. Alvarez has won awards from Pictures of the Year International and Communication Arts. His story on the Maya and their religious rituals was exhibited at Visa pour L’Image, a renowned international photojournalism festival in Perpignan, France.


    Mr. Alvarez also has produced stories with NPR, including a story on underground Paris that won a 2012 White House News Photographers Association award. He has appeared on NPR, PBS, and CBS News Sunday Morning and at the Annenberg Space for Photography, the Shakerag Workshops, National Geographic Live, the Atlanta Photojournalism Seminar, and the Banff Centre. Mr. Alvarez is a founding member of, and social media strategist for, The Photo Society, a group of contributing photographers for National Geographic magazine. His work is on the web at http://alvarezphotography.com/.

  • Ira Block

    Ira Block, National Geographic Photographer


    Ira Block is an internationally acclaimed photojournalist, filmmaker, teacher, and workshop leader who has produced more than 30 stories for National Geographic, National Geographic Traveler, and National Geographic Adventure magazines. He began his career as a newspaper photographer, earning numerous press club awards. His momentous coffee-table book, Saving America’s Treasures, was a collaborative effort among the Clinton White House, the National Geographic Society, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.


    Mr. Block’s photographic exhibit Faces of Hope, portraits of survivors and images of objects retrieved from the aftermath of the World Trade Center tragedy, is part of the permanent collection of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum. As an expert in lighting, Mr. Block is sought after for assignments ranging from shooting ancient artifacts in Greece to photographing dinosaur fossils in the Gobi Desert and documenting Moche mummies in Peru. View more of Mr. Block’s work at http://www.irablock.com

  • Jodi Cobb

    Jodi Cobb, National Geographic Photographer


    Jodi Cobb’s groundbreaking career spans more than three decades as a staff photographer with National Geographic, one of only four women to have held that position in the magazine’s history. She has worked in more than 65 countries, documenting closed societies and disappearing cultural traditions. Ms. Cobb is perhaps best known as the first photographer to document the secret lives and rituals of the geisha, revealed in her book Geisha: The Life, the Voices, the Art. The book was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and won the American Society of Media Photographers Outstanding Achievement Award.


    In another first, Ms. Cobb provided an unflinching look at the brutal reality of human trafficking in the National Geographic story “21st-Century Slaves.” Featured as one of National Geographic’s Women of Vision in a new book and exhibition, Ms. Cobb has repeatedly received National Press Photographers Association Pictures of the Year and World Press awards. In 2012, she was awarded one of journalism’s most prestigious honors, the Missouri Honor Medal for Distinguished Service in Journalism. Learn more about Ms. Cobb at http://www.jodicobb.com/

  • Annie Griffiths

    Annie Griffiths, National Geographic Photographer


    Annie Griffiths has photographed in nearly 150 countries during her illustrious career and worked on dozens of magazine and book projects for National Geographic. Her books include A Camera, Two Kids, and a Camel: My Journey in Photographs, a memoir about balance and the joy of creating a meaningful life, and National Geographic Simply Beautiful Photographs, which was named the top photo/art book of 2011 by both Amazon and Barnes & Noble.


    In addition to her magazine work, Ms. Griffiths is the Executive Director of Ripple Effect Images, a collective of photographers who document programs that empower women and girls in the developing world, especially as they deal with the devastating effects of climate change. Known for her warmth and humor as a lecturer, Ms. Griffiths has the innate ability to share stories from her photographs that bring to life both the people and the cultures she documents. Learn more about her work at http://www.anniegriffiths.com/about/.

  • Ed Kashi

    Ed Kashi, National Geographic Photographer


    Ed Kashi is a photojournalist, a filmmaker, and an educator dedicated to documenting the social and political issues that define our times. Since 2000, he has pioneered the movement to multimedia and filmmaking in photojournalism, producing an innovative flip-book entitled Iraqi Kurdistan and award-winning short films and multimedia projects on geopolitics and social issues. Mr. Kashi has won numerous awards from World Press Photo and Pictures of the Year International, as well as the UNICEF Photo of the Year for 2010, a Prix Pictet commission in 2010, and honors from Communication Arts and American Photo.


    He has published seven books, including Curse of the Black Gold: 50 Years of Oil in the Niger Delta and THREE. His latest book, Photojournalisms, is a compilation of journal writings to his wife, done over a nearly 20-year period from various locations around the world. View more of Mr. Kashi’s work at http://edkashi.com/blog/.

  • Michael Melford

    Michael Melford, National Geographic Photographer


    Michael Melford is an internationally recognized photographer who has worked with National Geographic for more than 30 years. He has produced 19 feature stories for National Geographic magazine and more than 30 stories for National Geographic Traveler. His work also has been featured on the covers of Newsweek, TIME, LIFE, Fortune, Smithsonian, GEO, Travel + Leisure, Travel Holiday, and Coastal Living. Mr. Melford has won recognition from World Press Photo, the International Center of Photography, the Art Director’s Club, and numerous other arts organizations and publications.


    He also has produced photography for eight National Geographic books, including National Geographic Treasures of Alaska: The Last Great American Wilderness and Hidden Alaska: Bristol Bay and Beyond. Mr. Melford teaches photography primarily through National Geographic; he leads one-day seminars around the country through National Geographic Traveler’s photo seminar series and travels with National Geographic Expeditions aboard the small ship fleet and on other trips around the world. Learn more about his work at http://www.michaelmelford.com/

  • Cory Richards

    Cory Richards, National Geographic Photographer


    A climber and visual storyteller, Cory Richards was named National Geographic Adventurer of the Year in 2012, the same year the American Alpine Club presented him with its Rowell Award. At the 2014 National Geographic Explorers Symposium, Mr. Richards was named to the inaugural group of National Geographic Photography Fellows, whose work combines visual storytelling and exploration. Mr. Richards’s camera has taken him from the runway to the wild and remote corners of the world, from Antarctica’s unclimbed peaks to the Himalayas of Nepal and Pakistan, in an attempt to capture not only the soul of exploration but also the beauty of modern society.


    He is a passionate mountain climber on The North Face athletic team and has carved a niche as one of the world’s leading adventure and expedition photographers. His photography has appeared in National Geographic magazine, Outside, and The New York Times. His film work has won awards at nearly every major adventure film festival, including grand prize at the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival for Cold. View more of Mr. Richards’s work at http://www.coryrichards.com

  • Jim Richardson

    Jim Richardson, National Geographic Photographer


    Jim Richardson has been a photographer for National Geographic for more than 30 years, specializing in global environmental issues and landscapes. He also is interested in the Celtic world, with special attention to Scotland and its remote islands. His documentary photography has focused on the American Great Plains and includes extended coverage of small-town life in his native Kansas. He has a 30-year photographic relationship with the people of Cuba, Kansas (population 220). This unusual body of work has been excerpted in National Geographic, LIFE, and many other publications worldwide. Among his books is The Colorado: A River at Risk, which has been recognized widely for its contribution to awareness of water issues in the American West. In addition to photographing for National Geographic magazine, Mr. Richardson represents National Geographic in keynote presentations, media appearances, cultural enrichment lectures for travel groups, and workshops. To view his portfolio, visit http://www.jimrichardsonphotography.com/

  • Steve Winter

    Steve Winter, National Geographic Photographer


    Steve Winter has been a photojournalist with National Geographic for more than 20 years, specializing in wildlife, particularly big cats. He is also an adventurer who has been attacked by rhinos, stalked by jaguars, and charged by an 11-foot grizzly bear. Mr. Winter was named Wildlife Photographer of the Year in 2008 and Wildlife Photojournalist of the Year in 2012 in a competition cosponsored by the Natural History Museum in London and BBC Worldwide. He won the Pictures of the Year International Global Vision Award in 2010 and 2011 and received first prize in the nature category from World Press Photo in 2008 and 2014. Mr. Winter is the coauthor of Tigers Forever: Saving the World’s Most Endangered Big Cat. He lectures globally on photography and conservation issues and has been featured on NPR, as well as the CBS Evening News, 60 Minutes, and other programs. Mr. Winter teaches workshops with Wildlife Photo Masterclass, a cooperative formed by National Geographic photographers. He is on the web at http://www.stevewinterphoto.com/

  • Michael Yamashita

    Michael Yamashita, National Geographic Photographer


    Steve Winter has been a photojournalist with National Geographic for more than 20 years, specializing in wildlife, particularly big cats. He is also an adventurer who has been attacked by rhinos, stalked by jaguars, and charged by an 11-foot grizzly bear. Mr. Winter was named Wildlife Photographer of the Year in 2008 and Wildlife Photojournalist of the Year in 2012 in a competition cosponsored by the Natural History Museum in London and BBC Worldwide. He won the Pictures of the Year International Global Vision Award in 2010 and 2011 and received first prize in the nature category from World Press Photo in 2008 and 2014. Mr. Winter is the coauthor of Tigers Forever: Saving the World’s Most Endangered Big Cat. He lectures globally on photography and conservation issues and has been featured on NPR, as well as the CBS Evening News, 60 Minutes, and other programs. Mr. Winter teaches workshops with Wildlife Photo Masterclass, a cooperative formed by National Geographic photographers. He is on the web at http://www.stevewinterphoto.com/