National Geographic Photography: Light, Color & Storytelling
4.3 (306 ratings)
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National Geographic Photography: Light, Color & Storytelling

Go beyond shooting to study light, color and storytelling with four top National Geographic photographers.
4.3 (306 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
2,740 students enrolled
Current price: $10 Original price: $80 Discount: 88% off
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  • 4.5 hours on-demand video
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Establish an intended mood through use of light, color, framing, and other creative tools in order to tell a visual story with a deliberate message through photographs.
View Curriculum
  • 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.

The best way to learn the art of photography is by watching a master artist at work. In Masters of Photography: How to Use Color, Light, and Storytelling in Photography—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. 

Join Michael Melford, an internationally recognized landscape photographer, for a discussion about diffuse light, sidelight, backlight, and “magic” light, and how to use filters to control the available light. 

Annie Griffiths, Executive Director of Ripple Effect Images, demonstrates how the different “personalities” of colors communicate emotions. She’ll provide practical tips on shooting at all times of day, using backgrounds, and creating silhouettes, and she’ll show you how to use light for drama and interest, nature shots, and special event photos. 

Learn how to create impact with your photos following the lead of William Albert Allard, photographer and writer, and consider photographing traditional icons in new ways. 

Ed Kashi—photojournalist, filmmaker, and educator—takes the lessons on visual storytelling to the next level, sharing insights into capturing daily life, cultures, landscapes, a sense of place, and a cohesive feeling or mood. 

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

Who is the target audience?
  • Anyone who enjoys taking photographs with any type of camera, from professional to smartphone, particularly those interested in visual storytelling.
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Curriculum For This Course
18 Lectures
Good, Bad, and Magic Light
4 Lectures 48:50

Diffuse Light

Side Light and Polarizing Filter

Back Light and Metering
Wait and Work the Shot
2 Lectures 27:18
Going on Assignment

Stay and Anticipate
Compose with Color
2 Lectures 30:38
Dust, Sunlight, and Colors

White, Black, and Moods
Write with Light
2 Lectures 34:36
Falling in Love with Light

Using Different Types of Light
50 Years of Telling Stories
2 Lectures 27:43
Visual Essays

Tips and Tactics for Assignment
Moment, Gesture, Place
2 Lectures 32:34
Light and Place

Finding Good Composition
Engaging the World
2 Lectures 30:10
Passion in Telling a Story

Communication and Collaboration
Raising awareness
2 Lectures 29:19
Advocacy Journalism

Documentary Imagery
About the Instructor
The Great Courses
4.4 Average rating
1,183 Reviews
10,559 Students
9 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.

Michael Melford
4.3 Average rating
285 Reviews
2,742 Students
1 Course
Award-winning photographer for National Geographic

Michael Melford is an award-winning photographer who has worked with National Geographic for more than 30 years, producing 19 features for the magazine as well as more than 30 stories for National Geographic Traveler and eight titles for the Society’s books division. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in photography from Syracuse University, he became a contributing photographer for Life Magazine and went on to have his work featured in many leading publications, including Newsweek, Time, Fortune, Smithsonian, Geo, Travel and Leisure, Travel Holiday, and Coastal Living. Most recently, he has been on assignment for National Geographic, celebrating the marvels of America’s National Parks. Mr. Melford holds National Geographic seminars on photography around the country and on the various ships that National Geographic has stationed around the world.

Annie Griffiths
4.3 Average rating
285 Reviews
2,742 Students
1 Course
Award-winning photographer for National Geographic

National Geographic photographer Annie Griffiths has photographed in nearly 150 countries, and her work has been exhibited on five continents. She has worked on dozens of magazine and book projects for the Society, including stories on Lawrence of Arabia, Baja California, Galilee, Petra, Sydney, New Zealand, and Jerusalem. Deeply committed to photographing for aid organizations around the world, Ms. Griffiths is also the Executive Director of Ripple Effect Images, a collective of photographers who document programs that are empowering women and girls in the developing world. Her book projects include A Camera, Two Kids and a Camel; Last Stand, done with author Barbara Kingsolver; Simply Beautiful Photographs, which was named the top photo/art book of 2011 by both Amazon and Barnes and Noble; and Life in Color: National Geographic Photographs. Ms. Griffiths has been honored with fellowships by Ashoka, The Cordes Foundation, and The International League of Conservation Photographers, and she has received awards from the National Press Photographers Association, the Associated Press, the National Organization of Women, The University of Minnesota, the White House News Photographers Association, and Heifer International.

William Albert Allard
4.3 Average rating
285 Reviews
2,742 Students
1 Course
Award-winning photographer for National Geographic

A major force at National Geographic and of mainstream photography for 50 years, William Albert Allard has been contributing to National Geographic Society stories and books as a photographer and writer since graduating from the University of Minnesota in 1964. One of color photography’s most celebrated pioneers, he has shot in 30 countries and been published in many major U.S. and European publications, including more than 40 articles with National Geographic. In addition to being a former contributor to Magnum Photos and having his prints appear in private and museum collections, he is the author of six highly acclaimed books, including the award-winning Vanishing Breed, a collection of his photographs and writing about the American West and the cowboy. His latest book, William Albert Allard: Five Decades, a retrospective and memoir, explores his long career in both words and pictures. Among his worldwide exhibits, his one-man show at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tehran, Iran, in 2002, was the first exhibit of an American artist in Iran since 1979. In 1994, he received the Outstanding Achievement by an Alumni Award from the regents of the University of Minnesota.

Ed Kashi
4.3 Average rating
285 Reviews
2,742 Students
1 Course
Award-winning photographer for National Geographic

Ed Kashi is a photojournalist, filmmaker, and 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 the innovative Iraqi Kurdistan Flipbook—which has been shown in film festivals and museums around the world—and award-winning short films and multimedia projects on geopolitics and social issues. Along with numerous awards from World Press Photo and Pictures of the Year International, UNICEF’s Photo of the Year 2010, a Prix Pictet 2010 Commission, and honors from Communication Arts and American Photography, Kashi’s images have been published and exhibited worldwide. He has made seven books, including Curse of the Black Gold: 50 Years of Oil in the Niger Delta and THREE. Kashi’s 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.