Learning to Shoot Photographically By Bill Fortney

1 hr 27 min
Difficulty Difficulty Difficulty

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!

Video transcripts available with a subscription.

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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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, AP rep, Medical photographer, and Marketing Public Relations person. Bill was an official photographer for the Washington Redskins during his sp...

Bill's Courses


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  1. Profile photo of Mark Mark

    Possibly the best courses out there for learning any one of the subjects in every course through Kelby One! A1!

    Yes please Post my comment!

  2. Profile photo of Tim Wolfgram Tim Wolfgram

    Well put together and very informative —- Yes, please post my feedback

  3. Profile photo of Joshua Joshua

    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.

  4. Profile photo of lfsberaldo lfsberaldo

    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! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  5. Profile photo of Louis Berry Louis Berry

    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!
    —- Yes, please post my feedback

  6. Profile photo of jfaharo jfaharo

    This is a great course for anyone who owns a camera! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  7. Profile photo of linlan linlan

    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. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  8. Profile photo of ardo ardo

    Bill, you are very inspiring, thanks! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  9. Profile photo of Par Rasmusson Par Rasmusson

    Great instruction using terms that get you thinking. Made me want to grab my camera and run out and use what I had just learned! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  10. Profile photo of aylin Perez aylin Perez

    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. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  11. Profile photo of ramkram ramkram

    Very inspiring. Thank you! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  12. Profile photo of ljkrtjbtj ljkrtjbtj

    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! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  13. Profile photo of TracyT4i TracyT4i

    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!! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  14. Profile photo of Hobbes Hobbes

    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.

  15. Profile photo of efrouse efrouse

    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. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  16. Profile photo of evlens56 evlens56

    talented photographer easy to understand, enjoyable

  17. Profile photo of Ibelieve75 Ibelieve75

    Very Good! Really enjoyed his knowledge and how he teaches! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  18. Profile photo of ivansaracino ivansaracino

    Great course … thank you Bill for explain complex concepts in such an easy great way. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  19. Profile photo of rienzphotoz rienzphotoz

    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. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  20. Profile photo of omarpintodiaz@gmail.com omarpintodiaz@gmail.com

    What a joy it is listening to people who know what they’re talking about. They just don’t care about technicallities but the soul of real photography. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  21. Profile photo of AussieInLondonUK AussieInLondonUK

    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 —- Yes, please post my feedback

  22. Profile photo of JanGar JanGar

    Really great course. This course has opened my eyes to all the fun to be had and beauty to experience with photography. Thank you. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  23. Profile photo of Sundra Tanakoh Sundra Tanakoh

    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 !!!
    —- Yes, please post my feedback

  24. Profile photo of annejohnstone annejohnstone

    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! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  25. Profile photo of webbstock webbstock

    I thoroughly enjoyed this course. So much information, well presented and interesting. Can’t wait to attempt to put into practice. Thank you —- Yes, please post my feedback

  26. Profile photo of dempino dempino

    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. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  27. Profile photo of mdrumgool mdrumgool

    Really enjoyed the course! Lots of great information. Bill did a wonderful job of explaining how to shoot great photograohs!!! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  28. Profile photo of divmedic4 divmedic4

    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. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  29. Profile photo of dale357411 dale357411

    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!! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  30. Profile photo of jtuttle00 jtuttle00

    Great! All photographers at all levels need to see this lesson. Thanks for sharing your suggestions with me. JTuttle —- Yes, please post my feedback

  31. Profile photo of Cheryl Walker Cheryl Walker

    Very beneficial! great content. Well organized and clearly presented; great for beginner. Looking forward to more by Mr. Fortney! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  32. Profile photo of MonochromeB MonochromeB

    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. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  33. Profile photo of Suzanne Boudreau Suzanne Boudreau

    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! —- Yes, please post my feedback —- Yes, please post my feedback

  34. Profile photo of Suzanne Boudreau Suzanne Boudreau

    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! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  35. Profile photo of Bill Jackson Bill Jackson

    Wonderful course. Has been well thought out and prepared. Helpful information. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  36. Profile photo of cmann49 cmann49

    just an fyi, Cadillac mountain is far from being the largest mountain on the east coast. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  37. Profile photo of annalee57 annalee57

    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.

  38. Profile photo of mancini mancini

    Bill, you’re truly an inspiration. I very much look forward to more!

    Thank-you Kelby Training for such a wonderful resource. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  39. Profile photo of James Maddox James Maddox

    Great course… Loved it! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  40. Profile photo of Ronald Kirkwood Ronald Kirkwood

    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. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  41. Profile photo of Ruthann King Ruthann King

    Bill Fortney is without a doubt one of my most favorite instructors and/or photographers. Please keep him busy because I love watching his video workshops. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  42. Profile photo of Gregory Gregory

    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. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  43. Profile photo of gStrader Photography gStrader Photography

    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. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  44. Profile photo of ShaunWhite ShaunWhite

    I love this guy.
    He is an amazing person that has a mass of information in his head.
    Thank you for sharing on Kelby Training. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  45. Profile photo of Fotosfx Fotosfx

    I am aquinted with Bill Fortney through ISAP. He is a great and kind teacher, great class Bill!! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  46. Profile photo of Richard Briggs Richard Briggs

    Great class! More on compisition would be wonderful.. —- No, I’d keep it between us

  47. Profile photo of mzangroniz mzangroniz

    Thanks for the down to earth, direct approach. What a great course! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  48. Profile photo of dianne583 dianne583

    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. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  49. Profile photo of klwoods klwoods

    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! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  50. Profile photo of nosaj2 nosaj2

    I absolutely love all of Bill’s classes. his teaching style is wonderful. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  51. Profile photo of ebarrerajr ebarrerajr

    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. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  52. Profile photo of Spike Nagel Spike Nagel

    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 —- Yes, please post my feedback

  53. Profile photo of alexdelgadomd alexdelgadomd

    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. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  54. Profile photo of Ray Ray

    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. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  55. Profile photo of Chuck Almarez Chuck Almarez

    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? —- Yes, please post my feedback

  56. Profile photo of Sunny Sunny

    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. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  57. Profile photo of jaskirk jaskirk

    This course is like a breath of spring air in the middle of winter, you have to have winter but this was just plain nice and fresh! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  58. Profile photo of phillipsjosh2415 phillipsjosh2415

    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. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  59. Profile photo of Doug Dillon Doug Dillon

    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. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  60. Profile photo of Natalie Baig Natalie Baig

    I really enjoyed watching this course, very clear and easy to understand. Examples great. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  61. Profile photo of RonNikon RonNikon

    Very informative course, always enjoy Bill Fortney’s videos —- Yes, please post my feedback

  62. Profile photo of MonTobi MonTobi

    Great Class, Great Instructor, and in a manner/style that anyone to relate and learn from. Looking forward to the next one.

  63. Profile photo of Ken Driscoll Ken Driscoll

    Great course, great shots… I learned some, and confirmed what I know some all at the same time… thanks —- Yes, please post my feedback

  64. Profile photo of Mitchell Stein Mitchell Stein

    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 —- Yes, please post my feedback

  65. Profile photo of Peter Michael Peter Michael

    Great course! Loved how the subject was approached and how Bill Fortney delivered the information. —- Yes, please post my feedback

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