Learning to Shoot Photographically, with Bill Fortney

Combine the art and craft of photography to see your subjects in a whole new way and create breathtaking images.

Renowned photographer and author Bill Fortney is back, this time with an artist’s point of view of photography. Combine the art and craft of photography to see your subjects in a whole new way and create breathtaking images. Discover what’s visually exciting by working hard, practicing a lot, and having fun, resulting in artistic photographs that really tell a story. You’ll be grabbing your camera and shooting the moment you’re finished with this inspiring course!

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Course Lessons:

Lesson 1: The Art and the Craft (Duration 10:22)

Understanding the technical side of photography, the craft, will allow you to capture an image, but coupling the craft with your vision is what enables you to create art. In this first lesson we'll focus on some of the fundamentals of the craft, but the rest of the class will be devoted to the art.

Lesson 2: Two Types of Light (Duration 18:52)

There are two types of light: specular and diffused. Learning how to recognize the properties and characteristics of each type of light will inform you of the photographs you can make in a given scene.

Lesson 3: How to Compose an Image (Duration 24:11)

How do you create a photograph that says something to the viewer? The answer is to tell a story. The key to telling a good story is to remove all distraction and distill out only what is essential, and then arrange the remaining elements in the strongest manner possible. That is what composition is all about.

Lesson 4: Dominant Element (Duration 14:41)

When creating a photograph, you need to determine what is the most important thing in the scene, and then make that your dominant element. Is it a color, a symbol, a shape, a person, a relationship? Make your decision and then make that your dominant element, and everything else either supports it or is removed.

Lesson 5: The Art of Extraction (Duration 09:34)

The art of extraction is seeing the photograph within the photograph. Start with a wide view of the scene and then move in tighter and tighter, honing in on important detail each time.

Lesson 6: Telling Your Story (Duration 10:01)

There are many ways to tell your story. Can you include people in the scene to provide a sense of scale? How are you choosing to render motion? Are you using depth of field to support the dominant element in your story? All of these and more are techniques a photographer can use to say something to the viewer.

Meet Your Instructor: Bill Fortney

Bill is one of America's premier photographer's specializing in Landscape, close-up, nature, Americana, and travel. In his 44 year career, Bill has been a High School teacher and football coach,…


  1. By far one of the best all around courses on all aspects of digital photography !!! A must for either the beginner or the seasoned veteran !!!! A WINNER !!!!!! mhstein

  2. Bill did a very good job. He always does. I wondered why you listed the class as "Learning to shoot photographically" when Bill called it "Learning to see photographically". I thought his description actually made more sense. Again, I enjoyed the class.

  3. Loved this class. This is a great class that I will recommend to anybody first starting out in photography. So many fundamental aspects of photography are discussed with great examples. I will probably also make plans to watch it over again myself on a regular basis just to keep these teachings in the forefront of my mind. Also love the personality of Bill Fortney. Not a "showy" guy but has a great spirit about him which really encourages you to follow his example. Thanks for posting this class.

  4. I loved this course by Bill Fortney. Very easy to understand and to the point. And the photographs used as examples really helped cement the information in my mind. Thank you, Bill, for sharing your expertise on Kelby Training.

  5. Good general information but "Suggestion of Thirds" is a bit lame. Rule of Thirds is not a new concept and is very valid in photography and art so why not use the term rather than dance around it and make excuses for not using it?

  6. Just wanted to say thanks for the great courses which are all fantastic. I have to say though the most recent one with Bill Fortney, Learning to shoot photographically is nothing short of suberb. Thanks Bill and thanks to the Kelby Team.

  7. That was awesome Bill, thank you. Professionally delivered training, with great transition between topics that only a seasoned lecturer is mindful of. Great images to prove the point, but not when the video zooms out such that the photograph looks washed out. One solution might be to split the screen so that one can continue to view the lecturer while the photograph is also zoomed in alongside.

  8. The course was very well presented. , I found, that what it did for me was to get me back to the basics.... sometimes we just need that, to get us grounded once again. We all know it is the little things that can make the the shoot successful. Thank You, Spike Nagel

  9. I really can't explain how Bill Fortney pulls off the best Kelby training video so far. The gentleman doesn't even hold a camera and taught me more in one video than many put together. It seems that Fortney somehow gave us 42 years of experience in such a short amount of time. He explains what it is your looking for as a successful artist and how to best keep the subject interesting. I remember when I first started shooting I wanted to learn what camera is he using and what are there settings. Well Photogs, save yourself alot of grief and time and learn what it takes to take a great photograph such as leading lines and shapes before you learn those settings. And Fortney as many others have said the same thing shoot shoot shoot. The main difference between the beginner and the pro is about a half a million shots.

  10. Great simple class. Explores the fundamentals of good composition in a simple and clear manner. Bill is fantastic! Kelby Training has DEFINITELY helped my photography and post production skills. Thanks so much and keep up the good work!

  11. Hi Team, I loved this course and I know I will use the things that Bill talked about when I go out to take photos tomorrow. Thanks to Bill and the Team at Kelby Training. On a more general note, while I love the Photoshop techical courses I am getting so much out of these composition type courses, eg the Ric Sammon and Scott's. Happy to more of this type of course. Its good fun and I learn heaps. Thanks again, the subscription is worth every cent.

  12. Bill Fortney put on a terrific presentation. He was rather like an old friend, which made his class much more enjoyable. I was pleased to find that many of the things he teaches I already do, but that only reinforces me to continue to use them. Great presentation.

  13. Great course! I only wish that the video director had been more familiar with the program. Too often we see shots of Bill, when he is talking about an image we should be seeing on the screen.

  14. I thought the material and skill of the instructor was outstanding. I highly recommend this series of lessons. This was my first program to experience and I can't wait to learn more.

  15. This is a great course. I love listening to Bill. And I appreciate his ability to always incorporate his faith in his work. What a great witness! I enjoyed the fast pace and the many photos he used to make his point, especially the side by side images.

  16. Thank you so much for Mr. Fortney's wonderful video. Extremely interesting and the presentation was flawless. I sort of see this video like a classic movie, that you can watch over and over and never get tired of it. I truly enjoy this man's calm and down to earth way of presenting. I WILL recommend Kelby Training to friends with the same passion. Thanks!

  17. Thank you so much for Mr. Fortney's wonderful video. Extremely interesting and the presentation was flawless. I sort of see this video like a classic movie, that you can watch over and over and never get tired of it. I truly enjoy this man's calm and down to earth way of presenting. I WILL recommend Kelby Training to friends with the same passion. Thanks!

  18. This Course was great! I truly enjoyed being able to both listen and see a great photographer's view on shapes and lines, which happen to be a part of my own photography which needs work. I am less intimidated by composition after hearing Bill talk about it. Greeat tips abound in this presentation. Best money I spent getting online w/Kelby Training! Thanks.

  19. I loved this class!! A lot of great information given in a straight-forward and simple way. Why make things hard to understand when they can be explained as simply as this was? I got a lot of information I will be able to use the very next time I am shooting. Thanks!!

  20. I felt this was an excellent course. It was a very informative and productive way to cover topics we have all heard but not necessarily in the applied way that Mr. Fortney did.

  21. Excellent training and exactly what I was looking for when I bought my membership. This video has that classroom feel and the tips and illustrations go along way to making the instructors point stick. Looking forward to Bills other videos. I Highly recommend this series of videos.

  22. Very interesting. It was my first look at your sight and I really enjoyed the instructor...Bill Fortney. He was articulate and very easy to understand and follow! It made me decide to sign up for more classes! Great job!

  23. This is good solid course with wonderful information that is extremely instructive. Bill presents his information in a way that keeps you glued to the screen as he patiently explains. A MUST SEE for anyone new to photography, these are lessons will you use every time you pick up your camera. For seasoned photographers it is a perfect reminder to help keep us on track! Thanks Bill !!!

  24. I really enjoyed this class. It was to the point and concise. I had an idea I was on the right track with my photography, but this course not only confirmed it, it expanded my knowledge by a country mile. Thank you so much for these lessons. The subscription is paying for itself 10 fold already. Kind regards, Mark Patten

  25. I always enjoy Bill Fortney classes and this one is no exception ... I just love all the classes in Kelby Training. But what has been quite annoying is the quality of video feed of Kelby Training. The video does not have a buffer feature (where I can start and pause the video and come back to watch after it is fully buffered). The video feed frequently drops and I cannot start where it dropped me off, instead it takes me back all the way to the beginning. This happens across all my devices, PC & iPad ... I have seen far too many similar complaints about this on your iPad application plus I have an 8mb broadband service and I know for sure it is not my internet connection ... please Kelby Training do something about your this ... your subscribers deserve a little better than this and I don't think it is asking too much.

  26. This is a wonderful instructor. He explained a lot of things I already do but did not know why I did them. This really helps a lot. This was my first full course with one instructor and would recommend Mr. Bill to anyone. Emily R.

  27. The content was very good. I like the topic and the concepts articulated in the training. Mr. Fortney definitely has a good eye and skill.

  28. This course was amazingly well constructed. Bill did a beautiful job explaining everything in a both interesting but thorough manner. He included both technical as well as artistic detail to help the viewer become the best photographer possible. I'm probably the most novice of novice photographers but this course made me realize how much intuition I really have when it comes to composition. LOVED THIS COURSE!!

  29. I'm just starting out. I truly enjoyed his class! Several times throughout, I kept thinking how helpful and specific his training is. Mr Fortney brought it all to life for me. Thank you! Excellent!

  30. I loved my first course with Kelby Training. The instructors was very informative, but easy to follow. Unfortunately, the last two chapters of this lesson was not available online. I look forward to this correction so I can complete the course in the future.

  31. Although the instructor was quite good, more attention could have been devoted to editing the series' videos. Several times during the course you would hear the instructor's voice talking about "this" or "that" part of the image, but since we could not see what he was pointing to, we are left in the dark.

  32. This was one of the best classes on taking better pictures! So many things are now obvious that I didn't consider. I have struggled with subjects and composition, but now have a new and renewed desire to do better. I now see why my photos have disappointed me. I can't wait to get out tomorrow. This one class has made my membership worthwhile! Not that I haven't learned from all of them!

  33. Bill is such an amazing artist, and he explains everything very well and naturally. He has an excellent taste for his subjects and color. One of the best videos on kelbytraining.com!

  34. Thank you for letting Bill say God Bless at the end of the course. This shows you are a company that is built on integrity and is willing to let people be themselves and not tell them what to say. Bill has the best courses on your site.

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