Watch National Geographic Masters of Photography

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National Geographic Masters of Photography is a 24-episode educational series featuring many of the magazine's seasoned photographers who share insights on their assignments and creative processes and give viewers tips on how they can improve their own photography. In each episode two of the magazine's most famous photographers are featured. These include Michael Yamashita, William Albert Allard, Joel Sartore, Stephen Alvarez, James Richardson, Ira Block, Ed Kashi, Jodi Cobb, Annie Griffiths, Michael Melford, Cory Richards and Steve Winter. The course is divided into six units entitled Adventure, Wildlife, Landscape and Nature, People in Their Environments, Color and Light, and Storytelling.

National Geographic Masters of Photography is a series that is currently running and has 1 seasons (24 episodes). The series first aired on October 24, 2014.

National Geographic Masters of Photography is available for streaming on the website, both individual episodes and full seasons. You can also watch National Geographic Masters of Photography on demand atAmazon Prime, Amazon, Kanopy, The Roku Channel online.

The Great Courses
1 Season, 24 Episodes
October 24, 2014
Documentary & Biography
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National Geographic Masters of Photography Full Episode Guide

  • Ed Kashi, who has photographed in difficult locations from Syria to Nigeria, expands your education on storytelling by sharing how he captures political issues, cultures, landscapes, a sense of place, the daily life of the people, and, ultimately, a cohesive feeling or mood in his work.

  • Dive deeper into the matter of visual storytelling and get background on Mr. Allard's process. Consider how to craft photographs that show a sense of place, find lead images, capture often-photographed subjects such as the Eiffel Tower in new ways, and take strong portraits--be they "found" or "produced."

  • How do photographers put pictures together to tell a story? What needs to be included for a photo essay to be successful? William Albert Allard answers these questions in detail using examples from his 40-plus photographic essays for National Geographic, including his groundbreaking first assignment on the Amish of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

  • Light is the most elemental part of any photograph, yet it's easy to neglect. Study how light leads the eye through an image and unifies a composition, then learn how Ms. Griffiths uses light to add drama and interest to portraits, nature shots, and special event photos. Also, find out why you should limit the use of flash.

  • What is there to know about color? Plenty, as you'll discover in this enlightening discussion with Annie Griffiths. Watch as she demonstrates how to use the different "personalities" of colors--including black and white--to communicate emotions. Get practical tips on shooting at different times of day, using backgrounds, creating silhouettes, and more.

  • What is it like to go on assignment for National Geographic? Find out as Mr. Melford takes you through his process during shoots in Death Valley, Glacier National Park, New Mexico, and other locations he's been assigned. Learn to anticipate the right shot--and be prepared to wait for it.

  • To capture a moment, you have to be ready. Mr. Block shares how he stays prepared as he walks you through various ways to approach people and produce pictures with impact, including going for less obvious shots and photographing from different angles. Learn how to find the "right" image once you return home.

  • Find out how Ira Block learned to incorporate people and interact with subjects even when conditions--be they language or weather--were against him. Discover how to make visual connections that advance a story; take advantage of intriguing backgrounds, lighting, and atmospherics; and capture people in authentic moments.

  • How do you approach people and get their permission to be photographed? How can you ensure you're telling a story in every image? What's the difference between a photographer and a tourist? Get answers as Ms. Cobb guides you in a close examination of individual photographs that explore the human condition.

  • As you trace the diverse career of Jodi Cobb--who has photographed everyone from famous musicians to the highly shrouded women of Saudi Arabia and geisha of Japan--discover how rewarding it can be to photograph people, particularly when you get behind the public persona. Conclude with a heart-wrenching photo essay on human trafficking.

  • Continue to investigate what makes a great landscape photo by looking at the three key elements of any great photo--light, composition, and a moment--and how these ingredients factor into this genre specifically. See how Mr. Yamashita uses negative space, sense of scale, leading lines, S-curves, and the rule of thirds.

  • As Michael Yamashita walks you through his body of work--which includes everything from a Zen garden to New Jersey traffic--pick up tips for shooting simple but effective landscapes. Go inside his story on China's Jiuzhaigou national park to understand how he approaches landscape projects and creates an air of mystery.

  • Return to Boreray, the Callanish Stones, the Isle of Muck, and other locations Mr. Richardson took you to in the previous lesson, so you can go behind the scenes to learn the "messy" process of how his remarkable landscapes were made. Also, get advice for preventing a "sedentary" feel in your work.

  • According to Jim Richardson, "When we tell the story of the Earth, we are telling the story of ourselves and our relationship to the Earth." Here, the veteran photographer takes you from the Hebrides of Scotland to his native Kansas as he illuminates how he approaches telling tales in a graphic way.

  • These days, good equipment isn't hard to come by and many people are able to take tight, standard shots of wildlife in focus. So, how can you do something original in a world awash in pictures? Find out as Mr. Sartore delves deeper into the art of building photo essays and the mechanics of making exquisite images. Gather tips on lenses, where to photograph animals, and more.

  • Good light. Good composition. A moment. Explore the key ingredients of a great photograph with Joel Sartore as you continue investigating what makes an ordinary picture extraordinary. Get pointers on using storyboarding, remotes, and additional tools in wildlife photography, then see how his images have "gone to work" on behalf of endangered species and other animals.

  • Photographing a bird in the jungle is no different than photographing a bird in your own back yard. Learn how you can use the skills wildlife photographers employ in the field at home to make the ordinary extraordinary, including panning, using eye contact, and incorporating the environment into your portraits.

  • Jaguars. Snow leopards. Rhinoceroses. How do wildlife photographers such as Steve Winter capture once-in-a-lifetime, emotion-filled images of such elusive--and dangerous--animals? Find out as he takes you through the essential tools and techniques he relies on, from shutter speeds designed for sports photography to understanding and anticipating an animal's behavior.

  • Conclude your lesson on adventure photography by applying the skills you've acquired to the broader world. See what works and what doesn't as you explore how to craft a great "scene setter," zoom in or out for maximum impact, and shoot images of the night sky. Also, learn the importance of good lighting and doing your research.

  • Head underground with Stephen Alvarez, a photographer who specializes in subterranean spaces and extreme terrain. Travel to breathtaking locales via his portfolio, including Oman on the Arabian Peninsula, Madagascar, the catacomb passages of Paris, and the Myo Lake Room in Papua New Guinea--a place no human had previously been--as he shares tips for lighting and finding adventures close to home.

  • Continue your exploration of adventure photography by looking deeper at ways to create dynamic results. Look closely at compelling shots from Mr. Richards's portfolio as he illuminates techniques for drawing viewers closer, creating a studio-lit effect in the field, finding the unexpected, focusing on details, and taking a picture of "people" --without the people.

  • Follow how Cory Richards's approach to adventure photography has evolved beyond capturing the pure danger of climbing into something larger. Discover ways to reveal the human element in and culture of a locale by using to your advantage techniques including silhouette, leading lines, the vastness of a landscape, and anticipation.