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Impact in Your Photographs: The Wow Factor

Become a better photographer today!

Join 's Course: Impact in Your Photographs: The Wow FactorPhotograph for maximum impact and create images that cause your viewers to say "WOW!". This exciting online course is taught by Rob Sheppard, photographer, author and editor. In just 8 weeks, you'll find your photography jumping up a notch, as you learn to work with your camera and see new images, all with the guidance of an experienced digital photographer. Rob is the author of such books as The National Geographic Field Guide to Photography: Digital and Adobe Camera Raw for Digital Photographers Only, and is the longtime editor of Outdoor Photographer magazine.

Key Features

  1. Interesting Light
  2. Color with Impact
  3. Lens Choice
  4. Angle of View
  5. Use of Technique
  6. Timing
  7. Compositional Relationships
  8. The Accessible Image

  • Kick up your digital photography a notch.
  • Improve your shooting technique.
  • Use your digital camera to create photos with impact.

$396.00 USD

What You Get


You get direct feedback on your photos from world-acclaimed, professional photographers. You can learn photography in this way from anywhere in the world.  
  • Learn at your pace, with structure.
  • Be guided by a real pro instructor.
  • Get your photos critiqued every week.
  • Join students from around the world.
  • Go far beyond any book or DVD.
  • Make great pictures, again and again!



Photography Instructor: Rob  Sheppard Rob Sheppard
Rob Sheppard has had a long-time and nationally recognized commitment to helping photographers become better photographers, regardless of the equipment and technology. He was the editor of Outdoor Photographer magazine for 12 years and was the original editor of PCPhoto (now Digital Photo). Now he is editor-at-large.

He is also the author/photographer of over thirty photo books, including The Magic of Digital Landscape Photography, The National Geographic Field Guide to Photography - Digital, and Adobe® Photoshop Lightroom for Digital Photographers Only. He writes regularly for Outdoor Photographer and teaches around the country, including workshops for the Palm Beach Photographic Centre and the Light Photographic Workshops. His Web site for workshops, books and photo tips is at, and his blog on nature and photography is at

As a photographer, Rob worked for many years in Minnesota (before moving to Los Angeles), including doing work for the Minnesota Department of Transportation, Norwest Banks (now Wells Fargo), Pillsbury, 3M, General Mills, Lutheran Brotherhood, Ciba-Geigy, Anderson Windows, and others. His photography has been published in many magazines, ranging from National Geographic to The Farmer to, of course, Outdoor Photographer and PCPhoto.

He and his wife, Vicky (married 30+ years), live in the Los Angeles area. They have a son working on his Ph.D. in youth sports and education, and a daughter studying communications/journalism.

Also see Rob's Nature and Photography blog.

Sample Photos by the Instructor

© Rob Sheppard 

© Rob Sheppard 

Examples of Student Photos


View photos by previous students. You can make pictures like this too!

Course Outline


Lesson 1: Interesting Light
What is "interesting light" and how do you get it? Learn to recognize and use light in dramatic ways. How to use both light and shadow effectively.
Assignment: Experiment and find interesting light that grabs the viewer's attention. Shoot lots of pictures, and upload the selects that show backlight and spotlight.

Lesson 2: Color
Color is treated rather matter-of-fact in most photography. How can you go beyond the fact of color so that color is used with impact? This is not about manipulation or changing colors, but using color more effectively.
Assignment: See color in new ways, not just what the world looks like, but for adding impact to an image. Following tips and examples in the lesson, submit images of color used for impact.

Lesson 3: Lens Choice
Wide-angle or telephoto is only part of the story of how to use focal lengths. Discover how extreme focal lengths can add interest to a photo, and that extreme uses of other focal lengths are important, too.
Assignment: Try working pairs at the extremes of your focal lengths. Also, play with perspective while also trying a paired shooting approach with Depth of Field.

Lesson 4: Angle of View
It has been said that photographers are the only people to constantly see the world from eye-level and at a middle distance. Discover the excitement of new angles to the subject.
Assignment: Let's start with images that feature low-angle (i.e., really "get down" with your subject) and high-angle (something well above normal eye-level) perspectives.

Lesson 5: Use of Technique
Many special techniques are available in photography that can be either silly add-ons to an image or a dramatic way of getting attention for your image. Learn the difference and how to use technique in this way.
Assignment: Look for ways that you can boost the impact of your photo strictly through photographic technique. As described in the text and photo examples, these techniques include high-speed shutter, blurs, flash-blur, etc.

Lesson 6: Timing
Often the difference between a casual photo and one filled with drama is in the timing. Timing your shot is not just for action and sports photographers. Timing can make all the difference for any type of photography.
Assignment: Look for ways to "time" your shot to capture a special, impactful moment. As noted in the lesson, these techniques include high action, the timing of a gesture, etc.

Lesson 7: Compositional Relationships
Effective compositions aren't hard if you pay attention to a few guidelines, such as the rule of thirds. But when you break the rules and look for strong relationships in your composition, you can gain new impact for your images.
Assignment: Play with composition. Look for ways to compose your subject so that it strongly relates in some way to the rest of the image area. Examples: "anti-rule-of-thirds" photos; very deliberate compositions; get edgy!

Lesson 8: The Accessible Image
If you do all the things in the earlier lesson, you can create an image with impact, but one that has little lasting impression with the viewer. Photographs need to be understandable and accessible so that viewers will appreciate your efforts to give them a more interesting image.
Assignment: Explore the idea of working the subject. With the same subject, find different ways of seeing that subject within a short period of time. This is not about shooting one subject at different times of day (which is an interesting exercise, but not for this lesson).

© Rob Sheppard 

© Rob Sheppard 



  • Digital camera with aperture and shutter speed control.
  • At least one zoom lens, plus a tripod.
  • Desire to go beyond the good photograph to capture better images.



Do I need to have a digital camera?
It is not a necessity. You can shoot film and gain from these lessons. However, the lessons will be oriented toward digital SLR camera users.  

Does my digital camera need to be expensive - a professional model?
No, as long as your camera allows you to control aperture and shutter speed and use a variety of focal lengths - those are important things. A digital SLR is ideal, although an advanced compact digital camera would also work fine. However, without the creative options of exposure control plus a range of focal lengths, you will likely find a point-and-shoot camera insufficient for this course.  

Are you going to teach things you can do in Photoshop in this photo course?
Not really. We will touch on a few topics such as how technology can aid in striving for impact but, overall, this course is not about Photoshop or digital image-editing software.  

Do I need anything else in the way of equipment?
Yes. A tripod. Also, at least one zoom lens.  

© Rob Sheppard 

© Rob Sheppard 

Do I have to be online at any specific time?
No, you do not need to be online at any specific time. The lessons are sent to your email and you are also provided the Campus Square - where you interact with your classmates and instructor. This is also where you upload your photos to be critiqued by your instructor. The instructors are very punctual and respond quickly.

Will I have access to the instructor to ask questions during the photo course?
Absolutely! Students can ask questions in the special Q&A forum set up in the course's Campus Square, or can ask the instructor via email.

Do you offer a money back guarantee?
Yes. We are confident that you will fully enjoy our courses. All the same, for our 8-week classes, we offer a 100% money-back guarantee before the Wednesday that Lesson #3 is sent out. If for any reason, you are not satisfied and let us know that you would like to withdraw before the Wednesday that Lesson #3 is sent, you will be promptly refunded.

For our 4-week courses, we offer a 100% money back guarantee before the Wednesday that Lesson #2 is sent out from BetterPhoto. If for any reason you are not satisfied and you let the ordering department know that you would like to withdraw before the Wednesday that Lesson #2 is sent, you will be refunded within 7 days. After the second lesson has been sent out, no refunds will be given.

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