National Geographic Photography: Landscape & People

Go beyond shooting to study landscapes and people with four top National Geographic photographers.
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  • Lectures 23
  • Length 4 hours
  • Skill Level All Levels
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
    30 day money back guarantee!
    Available on iOS and Android
    Certificate of Completion
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About This Course

Published 4/2016 English

Course Description

The best way to learn the art of photography is by watching a master artist at work. In Masters of Photography: People and Landscape—eight lectures taught by four top National Geographic photographers who represent the gold standard of photography—you’ll gain unprecedented access to true masters, watching and learning from them as they work. 

Travel from Kansas to Scotland to learn how to tell a moving photographic story about a location, led by Jim Richardson, whose work has been seen in publications worldwide. 

Michael Yamashita, 30-year award-winning National Geographic photographer, shares tips for shooting simple but effective landscapes—including the use of light, composition, negative space, sense of scale, leading lines, S-curves, and the rule of thirds. 

Award-winning National Geographic staff photographer Jodi Cobb provides insight about how rewarding it can be to photograph people and demonstrates how to take photographs that explore the human condition. 

Ira Block, an internationally acclaimed photojournalist, gives you step-by-step instructions on how to incorporate people and interact with subjects even when conditions are not in your favor. He also discusses how to capture people in authentic moments and reveals tricks for taking advantage of intriguing backgrounds, lighting, and atmospherics. 

Beyond revealing professional secrets, this course provides a toolbox overflowing with techniques you’ll put into practice every time you lift your camera.

What are the requirements?

  • This course focuses on the artistic process rather the mechanical side of taking pictures. Other than a basic understanding of a camera’s operations, no advanced photography knowledge is necessary.

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Tell a visually stunning story through photos, capturing the emotions of a landscape or delivering the nuances of a person’s character with impactful, jaw-dropping images.

Who is the target audience?

  • Anyone who enjoys taking photographs with any type of camera, from professional to smartphone, particularly those interested in capturing impressive landscapes and thought-provoking portraits.

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.


Section 1: The Joys of Nature
Stories in Landscapes
Telling a Story
Finding a Scene
Section 2: Exploring Landscapes
Elements & Lighting
Applying Skills
Section 3: Guide the Eye
Photographs Are the Best Teachers
Inside a Landscape Story
Section 4: Moment in Landscape
Three Elements
Finding the Moment
Section 5: Gaining Trust
All Over the Map
Being a Fly on the Wall
Photography as Advocacy
Section 6: Uncover the Human Condition
Photography as Communication
Unique Perspectives
Section 7: Build Relationships
Learning How to See
Significance of People
Light in Portraits
Section 8: Use the Background
Ready for the Moment
Find Different Angles

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Instructor Biography

The Great Courses, Experience the Joy of Lifelong Learning

The Great Courses is the premier publisher of educational video and audio courses that are designed to meet the powerful and rapidly growing consumer demand for personal development and lifelong learning. The pioneer of the concept of engaging, direct-to-consumer university-level courses, The Great Courses has a catalog of more than 450 courses led by the world’s top professors and experts in a broad range of subjects across science, mathematics, philosophy, history, literature, fine arts and music, better living, business, and personal development. Our esteemed faculty members are drawn from the most respected institutions in the world and, uniquely, are selected by our customers exclusively for their ability to teach. Our courses, too, are produced only after we survey our community of lifelong learners on course concepts and gain their approval. The result—compelling courses taught by engaging instructors at the top of their fields.

Instructor Biography

Jim Richardson, Award-winning photographer for National Geographic

Jim Richardson is an award-winning photographer whose work has attracted international acclaim and numerous media appearances, including two profiles by CBS News Sunday Morning. A photographer of global issues and landscapes for National Geographic for more than 30 years, as well as a documentarian recognized for his explorations of life in rural places, Mr. Richardson’s work has focused on critical environmental resources issues and the Celtic world, with special attention to Scotland and its remote islands. His also shoots travel photography for National Geographic Traveler, where he is a contributing editor, and National Geographic Expeditions. He frequently represents the National Geographic Society in keynote presentations, media appearances, cultural enrichment lectures for travel groups, and workshops, including the National Geographic Traveler Seminars, of which he was a founder. Richardson began documenting rural Kansas life as a photographer for the Topeka Capital-Journal in 1970.  His first project was published in 1979 as the book High School USA, which is today considered a photo documentary classic.

Instructor Biography

Michael Yamashita, Award-winning photographer for National Geographic

Michael Yamashita is an award-winning, 30-year veteran of National Geographic whose photography career has spanned continents and produced more than 30 National Geographic features. After graduating from Wesleyan University with a degree in Asian studies, he spent seven years in Asia, which became his photographic area of specialty. Mr. Yamashita has 10 books and two documentary films—Marco Polo and The Ghost Fleet—to his credit. For his most recent book, Shangri-la: Along the Tea Horse Road, he traveled to the far reaches of western China and the Himalayas to capture the fast-disappearing ancient culture of Tibet. He has taught at major photo workshops, including the Maine Media Workshop, Santa Fe Workshops, Tuscany Photo Workshop, and the Palm Beach Photographic Center, in addition to conducting hands-on workshops in Myanmar, Cambodia, Thailand, Singapore, Taiwan, and China. Corporate clients, including Sony, employ Mr. Yamashita to teach camera users how to get the most from their equipment. 

Instructor Biography

Jodi Cobb, Award-winning photographer for National Geographic

Jodi Cobb’s groundbreaking career spans more than three decades as a staff photographer with National Geographic magazine, one of only four women to have held that position in the publication’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. 

Instructor Biography

Ira Block, Award-winning photojournalist, National Geographic

Ira Block is an internationally renowned photojournalist and filmmaker who has produced more than 30 stories for National Geographic magazine and its affiliates, National Geographic Traveler and Adventure. Having started his career in newspapers, where he earned numerous press club awards, he is now a sought-after lighting expert whose editorial work has taken him around the world. He is also frequently called upon to review and critique the latest digital cameras and lenses, as well as for commercial and corporate work, and he produces and directs videos and short films. Mr. Block’s coffee table book Saving America’s Treasures was a collaborative effort among the Clinton White House, National Geographic Society, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. His 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. He has taught at the School of Visual Arts in New York and at Durham University in England, and he has conducted workshops around the world in conjunction with National Geographic Expeditions.

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