Lectures and Presentations

Steve Gettle is an inspiring and entertaining speaker. Each year Steve presents his lecture series at various regional and national photography conventions and gatherings. He is available to speak with your group on a variety of photographic and creative topics. Depending on the size of your group, sponsorship funds may be available to bring Steve in to give a presentation to your organization.

New for 2020 – Zoom and GoToWebinar presentations are available

Educational Programs

Building an Image
*Note our most popular program has been completely updated for 2021

Most great images are not spontaneous. They are more often well thought out and carefully crafted, taking in to consideration such things as what you choose to include in the frame, lighting, the background, your chosen perspective and many other elements. In this talk, Steve goes through his entire process. From seeing and identifying the image to choosing the message, and the step by step progression of building the final composition.

The Art of Visual Language
One of the greatest things about photography is its ability to communicate something to the viewer. Your images are very powerful tools which have the ability to reach out and touch people, crossing all language and age barriers. Every color, line and shape you choose to include in your final image has an emotional effect on the viewer. During this presentation, Steve will talk about how all these different elements within your image can more effectively communicate your chosen message to your audience.

*** Just Released! Light on the Land – Landscape Photography
The world is filled with scenic splendor. Learn how to create stunning images of the land. We will not only cover techniques to photograph the grand sweeping vista, but also move in close and look at creating portraits of the details in our natural world: from intimate forest scenes, to flowers and the beautiful patterns present in the natural world. Learn how to “see the picture” and how to find order and create beauty in the chaos.

New for 2021! Bird Photography – Beyond the Basics
Creating photographs of the birds of our world is a fun and challenging pursuit. In this course, we will go beyond the basics, learning tips and tricks to take your bird photography to the next level. Attendees will learn how to properly use fill-flash, how to use many different types of blinds, as well as how to build a backyard bird photography studio. Participants will learn why you don’t need a $12,000 lens to make a picture of a bird.

***Now Available! Caught in Motion – Photographing Action
Want to learn how to go beyond simply making static portraits of your subjects? Technological advances have now made stop action photography accessible to virtually every photographer. This all new program starts off with using just your camera, natural light, and auto-focus for subjects on the move such as birds in flight and running animals. We will discuss special exposure techniques for action, acquiring initial focus-lock, tracking your subject, optimizing your auto focus, and the creative doors opened by adding a simple infrared trigger system and much more!

***Coming Spring 2022! Life on Four Legs – Photographing Mammals of our World
From Elephants to Field Mice and everything in between – mammals are a rich source of photographic inspiration around the world. Beyond the photographic techniques, you will learn how and where to find these endearing subjects. We will focus on moving beyond basic portraits of these animals to capturing action, family-life, and beautiful “animalscapes” showcasing animals in their environment.

A New World Opens – Macro Photography in the Field
In this talk Steve will speak about how to use basic equipment to make beautiful images of things in the realm of the small: from the size of a butterfly to as small as a tiny flower. He will cover the specific equipment needed for this type of photography. He will also discuss the specialized techniques used in this challenging genre of nature photography such as maximizing depth of field, controlling light, controlling the background and using flash. This program has a special emphasis on working macro subjects in the field.

Moving in Closer – Advanced Macro Photography
Look into the eyes of a dragonfly. See the scales on the wing of a butterfly. Gaze into the dew drops on an spider’s web. A beautiful new world opens up when we move in beyond 1:1 (1:1 = a full frame shot of a nickel). During this course we will explore the exciting world of more extreme macro photography. You will learn how to use special techniques and equipment to peer into the world of the truly tiny. We will explore some simple things like extension tubes and close-up diopters to get in close, as well as more specialized techniques and equipment like microscope objectives and focusing rails. We will also discover the creative doors kicked open through the use of focus-stacking and high-speed flash.

Frozen Moments – The Exciting World of High-speed Flash Photography
With the advent of digital photography it has become increasingly difficult to show people something new and different. High-speed flash allows photographers to stand out from the crowd. Photographing subjects and situations such as Hummingbirds in flight, frogs frozen mid-leap, a honeybee hovering above a flower, we are able to see and show others moments in nature that we otherwise miss. Participants will learn how to use off the shelf electronic flash for true high-speed photography for these subjects and so much more more. Attendees will also learn how to add a high-speed trigger system and even an electro-magnetic shutter to create a whole new world of exciting imagery!

Inspirational Keynote Presentations

A Wilderness Year
Imagine a meadow at sunrise. Fog rolls across the grasses. Mountains rise and wilderness appears. We are taken into the quiet place of nature where we become present and nature unfolds. In this 30 minute multimedia program, Steve will take you on a journey through the four seasons. Celebrate the vibrancy of summer, the colors of fall, the crispness of winter and the emergence and rebirth of life in spring. Steve will take you on a visual feast with hundreds of images from across North America set to music that compliments the imagery and awakens the senses.

New for 2021 – Finding Your Own Unique Vision
Throughout our journey as photographers we continue to grow. Most of us start off simply drawing a rectangle around a pretty part of the world and pushing a button. Then we move into wanting more control, to have the ability to use different lenses and settings to realize our own creative vision in our images. Then the next step is many of us will begin to emulate other photographers as we work toward ultimately finding our own unique photographic style. In this program Steve will use many behind the scenes images to illustrate his own personal journey in nature photography as he searches to find his own unique vision.

The Art Of Nature Photography - A One-Day Seminar


Join Steve for an intensive one day nature photography seminar. Steve will share the knowledge he’s gained from over thirty years experience creating stunning images of the natural world. During this seminar, we will cover all aspects of nature photography, from capturing grand sweeping vistas, to the tiny world of macro photography. We will also discuss how and where to photograph the beautiful flora and fauna of the natural world.

Attendees from beginners to advanced shooters will learn tips, tricks, and techniques to help them take their photography to the next level. The entire seminar will be illustrated using hundreds of Steve’s images which highlight and reinforce the topics being discussed.

Fund Raising Opportunities

Is your organization looking for a fun and easy fund raiser to generate revenue for your camera club or group? How about joining forces with Steve to host an “Art of Nature Photography” seminar in your area.

More info (49.21 KB)

From past hosts

“Working with Steve Gettle is a “win-win-win” situation. Bringing Steve in for a program is a quality addition to any venue or event, and raises important revenue that supports other programming efforts. And he’s easy to work with to boot. Participants in his seminar “The Art of Nature Photography” found him informing, entertaining, and more than meeting their expectations. For the Center, our reputation for offering quality programs was enhanced; and the financial folks who watch our bottom line were thrilled. We’ll be bringing Steve back”

Art Weber, Director, The National Center for Nature Photography

From past attendees

“I have attended three of these seminars in the past year or so and to be honest I wasn’t sure I was going to learn anything new but I was sadly mistaken. You really opened my eyes to what it means to 'make' a photograph instead of 'taking' a photograph.“

“It was like going to see a great magician and then having him show you how to do all the tricks after the show. I believe my photos are really going to improve after your seminar.“

Todd B, Flint, MI

“When it comes to teaching nature photography with a digital camera you are destined to be this generations John Shaw.”

Bob J, Toledo, OH
An overview of the topics covered

Equipment for Nature Photography

Learn what equipment you need for the different types of nature photography. This section will help you to buy the right equipment the first time.

  • Camera bodies
  • Lenses
  • Tripods/tripod heads
  • Electronic Flash
  • Camera Bags
  • Filters and other accessories

Get the exposure you Want Every Time

Understand how your camera sees light. Learn how to shoot perfect exposures every time. You will also learn how and why to read the histogram and more importantly how to bend it to your will.

  • Exposure theory
  • The different exposure modes and when to use them
  • Understanding the Histogram
  • Exposure Compensation
  • Controlling Depth of field
  • Shutter speed and motion effects
  • jpeg vs raw shooting
  • ISO’s effect on exposure
  • How exposure affects the image

It’s All About the Light

Attendees will learn about light and how it affects the final image. You will also learn how to read the light, and how the light should affect your choice of subject matter.

  • Quality of light
  • Direction of light
  • Color of light
  • Filters to control light
  • Flash and fill flash

Composing Stunning Images of the Natural World

We will focus on the many elements that make up the composition of a beautiful image. In this section, you will learn how to use balance, symmetry, and visual harmony to create pleasing compositions.

  • The “rules” and when to break them
  • Finding the picture
  • Working the subject
  • Visual paths
  • Vertical vs horizontal
  • Balance
  • Pre-visualization
  • Positive and negative space
  • Shooting panorama’s

Different Types of Nature Photography

In this section, we will discuss in detail all of the different genres of nature photography as well as when and where to find subject matter to photograph.

  • Mammals
  • Birds
  • Reptiles and amphibians
  • Landscapes
  • Plants and flowers
  • Macro
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