Elevate Your Photography to the Next Level

You may already take good photographs, but what if you could consistently make your images amazing? Fundamentals of Photography II goes beyond the topics covered in the best-selling Fundamentals of Photography course, to look at photography from a different angle -- as part of creative problem-solving -- and teach you ways to find solutions when you're out in the world taking photographs.

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Fundamentals of Photography II

In partnership with
Joel Sartore,
National Geographic Photographer
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4.9 out of 5
177 Reviews
95% of reviewers would recommend this product
Course No. 7931
Video Streaming Included Free

What Will You Learn?

  • numbers Learn about key light, ghost light, and fill light to avoid unflattering shadows.
  • numbers Discover the best way to photograph people, the best focus to use for portraits, and how to create a photomontage.
  • numbers Discuss a number of experiments for getting interesting - even breathtaking - photographs at night
  • numbers Explore the pros and cons of black-and-white photography, and how to optimize monochrome images.
  • numbers Gain tips for editing, culling, and critiquing your photographs.

Course Overview

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 recreational alike—need to have a solid foundation of technical skills and the ability to apply that knowledge intuitively to a wide range of scenarios and subjects. For example:

  • How do professional photographers anticipate and capture "the decisive moment" that separates a snapshot from a great composition?
  • Under what conditions should you ignore your camera's warnings and push the limits of manual mode to best reflect the scene?
  • What are the technical tricks and equipment that professionals use to quickly turn harsh lighting, reflections, or cluttered environments to a photographer's advantage?

By exploring, and practicing, the same skills, tips, and techniques professional photographers use in the field to solve a range of visual problems, you can take your photography to a whole new level—no matter what your subject. And you can transform yourself from a good photographer into a great one.

Now, in Fundamentals of Photography II, a vibrant and vital continuation of our best-selling Fundamentals of Photography, you’ll hone your skills, improve your ability to optimize picture-perfect moments, and capture jaw-dropping images. Filmed entirely on location and designed as an extension of the first course, Fundamentals II adds new skills to your repertoire and expands upon the skills you already know. It's your chance to rejoin award-winning National Geographic Photographer Joel Sartore for an even deeper dive into the secrets of powerful photography, as he shows you how to apply your hard-learned technical knowledge to take amazing photographs out in the real world. In these 24 lessons, you’ll cover advanced topics like:

  • professional shooting techniques
  • night photography and time exposures
  • working with studio lighting setups—and taking those setups outdoors
  • specialty filters
  • shooting over and under water
  • and much more!

You’ll explore a wide variety of fascinating photographic challenges out in the field, and you’ll spend some time in the studio for an insider’s look at how photographers go through the editing process. Professor Sartore will add more tools to your photographer’s toolbox and, in his words, “unleash everything I’ve ever thought about photography and cover the gamut of what you can do with a still camera.”

Out of the Studio and into the Real World

Professor Sartore has designed this course as a follow up to his wildly popular Fundamentals of Photography course. Mimicking the progression of his in-person workshops, Fundamentals II takes you out of the studio and into the real world as you go on-location and learn to apply the tools and techniques you already have at your disposal. While you are there, he also teaches you a plethora of more advanced techniques, adding to your photographic toolbox of knowledge. Each lesson drops you into a different scenario and lets you shoot alongside a master of the craft as he approaches situations, identifies and overcomes various challenges, and produces engaging, breathtaking photography from seemingly simple events and subjects.

  • Adapting to unusual lighting: If photography is the art of capturing light, then how do you make the best of situations that challenge you with difficult lighting? Explore how to properly utilize side lighting, ghost lighting, colored lighting, and more.

  • Black-and-white photography: There’s a unique mood to black-and-white photos. You’ll be surprised at how different the world looks through a monochromatic lens, and how choosing black and white frees you to do things you’d never dream of doing in color.

  • Smartphone photography: Most of us now take photographs with our smartphones every day—but that’s no excuse to forget the art of great photography. Discover some insider tips and strategies for making the most of your smartphone camera.

During some lessons, you’ll get the unrivaled opportunity to join Professor Sartore on special field assignments—observing a master photographer throughout his creative process, watching him interact with his subjects, consult his photographic instincts, and resolve common challenges in order to tell profound, lyrical stories.

Add to Your Photographer’s Toolbox

Even if you already have a decent-sized toolbox of photographic tips and tricks, Fundamentals of Photography II gives you even more to adapt to what (and where) you’re shooting. Great photography, says Professor Sartore, “takes more tools in the toolbox.” And to that end, he’s packed each of these lessons with specific strategies—many of which will surprise you with just how dramatically they can change the way you take photographs.

  • If you're working in low ambient light and want to capture a moving target, try employing rear-curtain sync, which triggers the flash towards the end of the shutter duration. The result will be an artistic motion trail recording the movement of the subject with a sharp and highly focused, subject at the end.
  • Want an interesting aerial perspective on your subject? Depending on the subject, you can just look down on it from your standing height using a wide-angle lens and, here's the real trick, cutting out the frame of reference. This even works well for subjects with geometric or graphic patterns.
  • Think your chances of taking great outdoor photos end when the sun sets? Think again, as Professor Sartore explores how to use and effectively capture moonlight, starlight, urban lights, and more.

Hone Your Skills with a Master Photographer

What makes Professor Sartore such a rare and delightful photography instructor is that he is an excellent mentor as well as a talented artist. A teacher of the highest caliber, he knows how to share his knowledge and creative process with other photographers (both professional and amateur) in a clear and engaging manner. He makes photography exciting and inspiring. And he doesn’t shy away from highlighting common mistakes and missteps even the most seasoned professionals can make from time to time, making this course valuable for photographers of all levels.

This visually dazzling course is an excellent opportunity to learn from this master photographer, whose photographs have earned him the Best Picture Award from National Geographic magazine and the Veolia Environment Award for wildlife photography—and whose work has been covered by national broadcasts including the CBS News Sunday Morning show, National Geographic’s Explorer, NBC’s Nightly News, and NPR’s Weekend Edition.

“Good is what your mind imagines, but great is often what reality gives you,” says Professor Sartore. And to get great photos, you have to get out there in the field and start looking at the world with your eyes—and your skills—prepared to overcome challenges and find the best story. Consider the 24 lessons of Fundamentals of Photography II your gateway to taking better, richer photos.

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24 lectures
 |  Average 30 minutes each
  • 1
    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. x
  • 2
    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. x
  • 3
    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. x
  • 4
    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. x
  • 5
    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. x
  • 6
    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. x
  • 7
    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. x
  • 8
    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. x
  • 9
    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. x
  • 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. x
  • 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. x
  • 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. x
  • 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. x
  • 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. x
  • 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. x
  • 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. x
  • 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. x
  • 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. x
  • 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. x
  • 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. x
  • 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. x
  • 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. x
  • 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? x
  • 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. x

Lecture Titles

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What's Included

What Does Each Format Include?

Video DVD
Instant Video Includes:
  • Download 24 video lectures to your computer or mobile app
  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
  • FREE video streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps
Video DVD
DVD Includes:
  • 24 lectures on 4 DVDs
  • 129-page printed course guidebook
  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
  • FREE video streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps
  • Closed captioning available

What Does The Course Guidebook Include?

Video DVD
Course Guidebook Details:
  • 129-page printed course guidebook
  • Photos
  • Lesson takeaways
  • Assignments

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Your professor

Joel Sartore

About Your Professor

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...
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Fundamentals of Photography II is rated 4.8 out of 5 by 177.
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Covers most aspects of photography I have watched both Fundamentals of Photography I and II and really enjoyed both courses. Joel Sartore is an excellent instructor and makes photography very understandable. I strongly recommend watching FofP I before II if you are new to photography.
Date published: 2020-07-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good program. I would have given it 5 stars if it had more on landscape photography.
Date published: 2020-07-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from More advanced tips I wasn't sure whether this program would give me what I was looking for, namely some tips and help with photography beyond what I already know and was using. Happily from the first lecture, I was able to get information which could help me take my photography to the next level.
Date published: 2020-06-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great stuff! I just finished part1 of this series and now I’m starting on this one. The first one was very informative and so far part2 is also full of great info.
Date published: 2020-06-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fundamentals of Photography II Excellemnt teacher with practical examples of even advanced techniques. Improved my photography greatly and inspired me to take on some projects. Got my neighbor's dogs in harsh light with some good results while practicing.
Date published: 2020-04-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from thoughtful and inspiring I bought this course after completing the Fundamentals of Photography course. Joel shares his experience and expertise in a thoughtful and inspiring way. I learned more than I thought I would in the first course and the second promises to surpass it. It is an excellent course.
Date published: 2020-04-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Expert teacher One of the best photography tutorials I’ve ever watched. Joel’s presentation was very practical and informative.
Date published: 2020-04-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Entertaining to watch: an Awesome way to learn Material was clearly covered. Not only did I learn a great deal but it was fun to listen to each lecture. I particularly liked his commentary about problems encountered in the field and how they might be addressed.
Date published: 2019-12-16
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