Documentary Photography: Capturing Places and People

Ami Vitale, Photographer, National Geographic

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6 Videos (35m)
    • Introduction

    • Project: Document a Place in 2 Photos

    • Shooting Sunrise

    • Equipment

    • Perspective

    • Shooting Sunset


About This Class

National Geographic photographer Ami Vitale takes you on an adventure to Venice Beach, California, sharing her documentary photography techniques. Immersion and relentless observation are key in Ami’s practice. She always arrives at a place before the sun comes up and revisits it again at sundown to capture the best photos, understanding the place through patience and persistence. Ami will take you step-by-step through her best practices of finding the beauty in a person or an experience, and telling a story through that. This class is great for aspiring photojournalists, professional photographers seeking inspiration, and everyone who seeks essential tips and zen habits for documenting the world around them.

454 of 459 students recommendSee All

I really love Ami's thought on being at a place for a long time and really sink in and captures the moments there. And also love her advice on sometimes to just take eyes off the camera and look what's around you and you may be amazed to see the great things happening behind you. I've had interest in documentary photography and this really helps me a lot on how to get started! :)
Ami has such a nice, delicate and soft personality, that you find listening her in awe. For me as photographer it is important to see how other professionals work and to learn from them, so learning from Ami was such a pleasure. Listening to her calm tone and voice, telling the philosophy on life and photography we both share was really special and proving that I am in a right path of life. Thank you!
This is a great class and I highly recommend it. She covers a lot about general shooting technique and gear. Also, the lesson on perspective is very insightful and inspirational. However, Ami is a world renowned award winning photojournalist and documentary photographer (and I haven't even read the bio on the side). It would be great to see her take us through even a basic, simple, easy to access story or essay idea from start to finish. From planning to shooting to editing the final images into a cohesive piece. And perhaps even some info about submission and presentation. Hopefully, she'll do another more advanced class.





Ami Vitale

Photographer, National Geographic

Ami Vitale’s journey as a photojournalist has taken her to 85 countries. She has witnessed civil unrest, poverty, destruction of life, and unspeakable violence. But she has also experienced surreal beauty and the enduring power of the human spirit, and she is committed to highlighting the surprising and subtle similarities between cultures. Her photographs have been exhibited around the world in museums and galleries and published in international magazines including National Geographic, Adventure, Geo,  Newsweek, Time, Smithsonian. Her work has garnered multiple awards from prestigious organizations including World Press Photos, the Lowell Thomas Award for Travel Journalism, Lucie awards, the Daniel Pearl Award for Outstanding Reporting, and the Magazine Photographer of the Year award,  among many others.