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Travel Photography: Capturing the Spirit of a Place

Become a better photographer today!

Join 's Course: 4-Week Short Course: Travel Photography: Capturing the Spirit of a PlaceAwaken your wanderlust and create exciting images of your adventures, whether close to home or far abroad. Instructor is master photographer and author Brenda Tharp, who invites you along on this exhilarating online photo course. In this class, you'll learn how to capture the mood of a place, record the moments of everyday life and events, create dynamic scenes, make cultural portraits, and use the available light to create memorable photographs of your journeys.

Key Features

  1. Beyond the Postcard: Expressing a Sense of Place
  2. Creating Dynamic Landscapes and Using Light Effectively
  3. Create Storytelling Details and Incorporate Design
  4. Photographing Candids and Portraits of People

  • Perfect for intermediate photographers with a working knowledge of aperture/shutter control.
  • Guaranteed to teach you simple concepts to improve your travel photographs that can also help you with other areas of photography.
  • Expand your ability to see more creatively.
  • Develop a comfort level when photographing people while traveling.
  • Perfect your ability to work with available light.
  • NOTE: While this class was condensed from 8 to 4 weeks, much of the material has still been included, with longer weekly lesson material, to give you the same amount of information that will help you improve your travel pictures.

$198.00 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: Brenda  Tharp Brenda Tharp

Brenda Tharp is known for her inspirational and informative workshops. She is the author/photographer of the book Creative Nature and Outdoor Photography that has been receiving excellent reviews. Brenda has also written how-to articles for many photo magazines, including Outdoor Photographer.

Brenda followed her passion many years ago when she quit her corporate job to pursue a career in outdoor and travel photography. She has llama-trekked, sea-kayaked, flown in helicopters and hot-air balloons, cycled, and hiked to create her photographs. Those images have appeared on the pages of Alaska Airlines, Audubon, Discovery, National Geographic, Northwest Airlines, Sierra, Sunset and Travel Holiday magazines, along with many others. She has images included in books produced by Chronicle, Michelin, National Geographic, and Sierra Club.

Her keen eye for design and use of natural light and color are a signature in her work. Her photographs are regularly published in calendars and greetings cards for a variety of international companies. Brenda markets her own stock photographs, and is also represented by She has co-starred in episodes of Canon's Photo Safari television program, and appeared on San Francisco area news shows to discuss photography techniques. She has developed a reputation as a teacher of unlimited energy with a compassionate yet honest approach to critiquing.

Sample Photos by the Instructor

© Brenda Tharp 

© Brenda Tharp 

Course Outline


Lesson 1: Beyond the Postcard: Expressing a Sense of Place
Learn to capture the mood/feeling of a location.
Assignment: Pretend your hometown or a nearby town is a new location if you're not already traveling. Photograph the things that best express your impression of the place. Try to also capture the mood, what it feels like to be in that place. Use the ideas in the lesson, but be as creative as possible!

Lesson 2: Creating Dynamic Landscapes and Using Light Effectively
Assignment: Create a "big scene," but make it have depth. In addition, work with mixing artificial and ambient light, such as skylines, and twilight images. Get creative!

Lesson 3: Create Storytelling Details and Incorporate Design
Looking for details that tell a story. Utilizing line, pattern, etc. to make interesting detail images.
Assignment:  Find and photograph details that still suggest a sense of place. Make them as graphicly interesting as possible.

Lesson 4: Photographing Candids and Portraits of People
Capturing the action of festivals, rituals and daily life and making up-close portraits.
Assignment: Go out and explore, and make images that are truly candid. Push yourself to try and do it without using a telephoto lens all the time! Get in closer, and practice becoming "invisible". Also, photograph portraits of strangers. Make a connection, get up close. Part Three: Use fill flash on some portraits.

© Brenda Tharp 

© Brenda Tharp 



  • Digital or film-based camera.
  • Working knowledge of aperture and shutter speed
  • The ability create proper exposures
  • Wide-angle and telephoto (zoom lens OK)
  • Tripod



What skills do I need to take this course?
This course is open to any photographer who wants to improve their ability to make travel photographs that capture what they experienced. Participants should understand the basics of how to make a good exposure and how to vary results with exposure compensation.  

As this is an online course, must I use a digital camera?
This course is open to film and digital photographers alike. However, if you do use film, you'll have to process your film and get it scanned/prepared to upload digitally to for display in the course gallery and for critiques of the assignment pictures. 

What equipment do I need to make the most of this course and do the weekly assignments?
You will need an SLR camera body that allows complete control of shutter and aperture. For lenses, you will need a wide-angle lens, a telephoto lens (zoom lenses in the wide-telephoto range are OK), and a tripod or monopod. A polarizing filter would be helpful as well. 

Is it okay with you if we submit previously created work for critique? Or do we have to do the assignments each week?
I would prefer to evaluate only the results of each week's assignment, as the goal of this course is to stimulate you to make fresh images, based on ideas discussed in the class. The idea is to use your home area, or wherever you might be traveling, as your 'destination.' However, I know that weather, job changes, and life can get in the way of photography, so if you need to, you can submit previously created work. 

© Brenda Tharp 

© Brenda Tharp 

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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