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Learn from the best: National Geographic photography course

Learn from the best: National Geographic photography course

There is arguably no greater repository of outstanding nature and adventure photography than the archives of the National Geographic. The magazine has produced some of the most famous photographs of all time, from Steve McCurry’s Afghan Girl to Tim Laman’s Orangutan reaching for figs at the top of a 100 foot tree in Borneo, and many more. Camera manufacturers pay top dollar to have their ads on the back page of NG, because they know the numbers of avid photographers who read the magazine and aspire to produce something approaching the marvels to be found within its covers.

So an opportunity to learn from NG’s award-winning lens masters in a structured course must be something many shutter nutters will jump at. On Udemy, and priced quite reasonably, is the tempting course National Geographic Photography: Adventure & Wildlife.

The course is presented by four award-winning photographers:

  • Cory Richards, National Geographic Adventurer of the Year 2012
  • Steve Winter, Photographer of the Year 2008 and Wildlife Photojournalist of the Year 2012
  • Stephen Alvarez, a photographer who specialises in subterranean spaces and extreme landscapes
  • Joel Sartore, an NG photographer who has taught courses on meaningful photo essays, lighting, composition, and choosing the moment.

The quartet of pros reveal their professional secrets and provide a toolbox of tips and tricks for creating that perfect shot.

The adventure photography parts of the course invite photographers to redefine what Adventure means and to communicate the feeling of being there as accurately as possible. Human adventure necessarily involves people, so an emphasis is placed on trying to capture the struggles and hopes and difficulties of the people involved. Photographers are encouraged to see the world in a new way and show what no one has shown before.

Wildlife photography is broken down into essential elements such as Understanding the Animal, Relating Animals to Ourselves, Capturing Action and Wonder, and Telling the Story of the Animal. As such, this course is about the artistic aspects of photography rather than the technical side. Only a basic knowledge of photography is required.

Overall, the course aims to empower photographers and adventurers to take pictures that tell stories to inspire change, and to make the most fleeting moments unforgettable.

Update October 2020: Pixpa have published a guide to the 18 top photography schools around the world. If you are thinking about pursuing more in-depth photograhy studies, it's worth a look.