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Online Photography Course
Creating Storytelling Photos

Become a better photographer today!

Join 's Course: 4-Week Short Course: Creating Storytelling PhotosExpand your possibilities for all types of photography and gain more satisfaction from your pictures as you take a journey into storytelling photography. Connect with the amazing things going on in our world and share that connection with storytelling photos. This 4-week online class will deepen your own connection to your subjects and give you the tools to develop your visual eye and your photographic craft to capture better images. Instructor is Rob Sheppard, who brings to this class the experience of being the editor of Outdoor Photographer magazine for 12 years, as well as being editor-at-large and columnist with the magazine, plus author of over 30 photography books.
Key Features

  1. Step out from the crowd and learn to capture stories in your photos, from nature imagery to family photos to working with events.
  2. Discover how to go beyond simple subject-based photography.
  3. Learn to think visually about the world in order to create better photos.
  4. Discover how you can use moviemaking ideas to find the best shots for your subject.
  5. Discover how to get more from composition and camera angles.
  6. Learn how to bring multiple photos together to tell a richer story.

  • UPDATED COURSE (now covers all types of photography!)
  • For serious hobbyists, intermediates and advanced.
  • Explore new possibilities and enjoyment with all kinds of photography.
  • Learn to step up your photography to better images with these key steps.
  • Guidance from an experienced digital photographer, editor and writer who knows how to help photographers succeed.
  • Course designed for anyone with a digital camera from advanced compact cameras to digital SLR. 

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.

A Couple of Photos by the Instructor

© Rob Sheppard 

© Rob Sheppard 

Course Outline


Week 1: What Are Storytelling Photos and How You Get Started
What separates storytelling from regular photos? Why are they so important for better all-around photography? Storytelling photos are pictures that do more than simply record a subject. You will learn how to find photos that go far beyond simply framing a subject. You will discover how photos can tell stories and how you can work shot type, composition and other visual elements in a photograph in order to express something deeper than subject-only-based photography.

Week 2: Thinking Visually About Stories in Photos
A photograph can only tell a viewer what is in the photo. While words can be important to identify details of a story-telling photo, the story needs to be told by the photo, not the words. This lesson will help you think visually in order to find the best way to show off the stories you find in the world around you. You'll learn why it is important to discern the difference between what you see in the world to photograph and the actual photograph of that world. You will look more deeply at compositional techniques to help you clarify and enhance your photo's story.

Week 3: Developing Depth with Multiple Images (including Slideshows)
It can be hard to tell a complete story with just one photo. Today's digital technologies make it easy to use more than one image, from multiple photos on a single print to digital slide shows to the iPhone and more. This lesson will show you how using only two photos can enrich a story, then give you ideas on how you can bring together even more images to show off more of your subject. Multiple photos can tell complete stories that can't be told any other way. You will learn how it isn't just number of shots, but how they relate and interact that can make the difference.

Week 4: Working a Subject to Find and Tell the Story
It is very easy to be literal in any photography, i.e., see the subject, use technique the best you can, and the photo is made. You can learn to work a subject so you can go beyond that initial impression and first shots. You can discover specific visual techniques to help you to dig deep visually so you can uncover stories that you might have missed when you simply saw the subject for the first time.  

© Rob Sheppard 

© Rob Sheppard 



  • Digital camera with aperture and shutter speed control.
  • A willingness to experiment and try different approaches.
  • Desire to capture better images.
  • A working knowledge of using f/stops and shutter speeds for creative control (i.e., aperture for depth of field and shutter speed for motion).



Will this class help me learn to be a better photographer?
This class is designed to do exactly that. It will stretch your perceptions of what is possible with photography and give you the stimulus to use that idea for improved and more satisfying photos of subjects you find important. 

Will this class help me learn more about my camera?
Absolutely. The class is not about any specific brand or model, but the lessons and assignments will get you exploring your camera and its controls. 

Does my digital camera need to be expensive - a professional model?
No. The class is not "about the camera", but about how you use any camera to better capture nature photographs. As long as your camera allows you to control aperture and shutter speed and use a variety of focal lengths, you are set. A digital SLR is ideal, although an advanced compact digital camera with a good-range zoom would also work fine. However, without the creative options of exposure control, plus a range of focal lengths, you will likely find a simple 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, though I often make comments about image processing in the critiques. This course is about shooting, not about Photoshop or digital image-editing software.   

Do I need anything else in the way of equipment?
A camera and lens is enough. This is about shooting with whatever gear you have.  

© 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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At a Glance
4-Week Short Course
Category: Composition Courses

$198.00 USD
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Average Customer Rating: 4 out of 5
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Course Reviews:

4 out of 5 4 out of 5 4 out of 5 4 out of 5 4 out of 5 4 out of 5
BetterPhoto Member Deb Cloer
Deb Cloer
member since: 1/11/2010
Great class for learning how to apply a more photojournalistic approach to photo taking, and to add more interest to photographs.

- 5/31/2014 4:05:41 AM

4 out of 5 4 out of 5 4 out of 5 4 out of 5 4 out of 5 5 out of 5
BetterPhoto Member Rajiv Chopra
Rajiv Chopra
member since: 12/25/2006
This is an excellent course, and one that I highly recommend. We often lose the plot, the context, when shooting photos, and Rob's lessons and critiques are very well planned and delivered. The critiques are sharp, and always helpful.

- 3/7/2014 12:10:15 AM

4 out of 5 4 out of 5 4 out of 5 4 out of 5 4 out of 5 5 out of 5
BetterPhoto Member Mark Calibo
Mark Calibo
member since: 5/8/2009
This is a great course, if you want to learn about photography as an art or cultural piece. Story Telling Photos, involve what the viewer sees in the photograph and not what the photographer is seeing in his head.
I don't think this is a beginner course, although it really should be one of the first courses any photographer should take. Don't look for praise on a good photograph if it doesn't tell a story!

- 8/8/2012 6:19:22 PM

4 out of 5 4 out of 5 4 out of 5 4 out of 5 4 out of 5 5 out of 5
Laura L. Mahoney
member since: 6/2/2011
After taking 2 great classes with Rob, I feel I have definitely improved my skill set and look forward to more classes. Thank you for the oportunity to learn from the pros!

- 2/1/2012 4:38:40 AM

4 out of 5 4 out of 5 4 out of 5 4 out of 5 4 out of 5 4.5 out of 5
BetterPhoto Member Michele M. Williams
Michele M. Williams
member since: 6/26/2011
I learned a great deal from this course. It makes you think beyond exposure and composition, and really think about what you want to say with a photograph. The course material is good and Rob's critiques are honest and respectful, as well as timely.

- 10/16/2011 9:49:20 AM

Read all 9 course reviews...

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More Delighted Customers:

"This was a great course! Mr. Sheppard was professional and a very knowledgeable instructor. I learned a lot from the course that I know will help me in the future. His lessons were well designed and his comments were clear, concise and helpful. I highly recommend this course with Rob Sheppard!" Ronald Zincone, student in Successful Publication Photography 

"This is a fabulous course. It delivered far more than it promised. In addition to showing me how to make my photographs more powerful, it expanded my vision and gave me a whole new prespective on photography. I highly recommend the course. I will take other courses taught by Rob." -Sheldon Gottlieb in Impact in Your Photographs 

"This is a excellent class for anyone who wants to learn more about how their external flash can impact their photos, indoors or out. ... Rob is an attentive instructor who really likes to help the students see the important aspects of light and darks. I would recommend it for anyone!" -Karen Baumann, student in Rob's Drills for Creative Flash Photography course 

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