One thing is for sure; the internet has every kind of photography knowledge.
But the problem is, with countless resources popping up, picking the right choice might feel like looking for a needle in a haystack.
This begs the question; where is the best place to learn photography online?
Before we answer that question, there are a few things worth pointing out.
First, online photography schools are either free or paid services. Paid platforms offer premium services and are run by highly skilled professionals.
That’s not to say subscription-free schools are bad. It’s just that sometimes free things can’t offer much.
Keep reading to unfold more.
Non-paid places where you can take photography classes online
The internet has a lot of free lessons on photography.
Expert photographers have YouTube channels and blogs dedicated to teaching both basic and advanced principles of photography.
If you are dedicated and orderly, you can use all that free information to your advantage.
Let’s look at a few reliable websites that teach photography for free:
1. Lighting 101
Photography begins with light, right?
As such, taking lighting lessons is mandatory for anyone who’s dipping their toes in the world of photography.
And guess what, Strobist’s Lighting 101 course is the best resource to look into. It digs all the way to the bottom so learners can ensure their photos come out fine.
The site also runs assignments as well as adverts regarding some of the upcoming events in the photography world.
If you are done with Lighting 101, feel free to proceed with 102 and 103 without paying a cent.
Do you hope to dabble in family portrait photography someday soon? If that’s the case then you need to visit Professional Family Portraits.
It’s a website that is dedicated to teaching photographers an intermediate course in family portraits.
Again, this is an intermediate course which means learners must have a good grasp of the basics such as lighting, composition, and post-production.
The platform has lessons divided into 5 comprehensive videos and provides class materials.
Besides the lessons, you are also advised on how to properly position families for stunning portraits, how to deal with kids, and anything that helps you capture memories that will remain treasured for years to come.
3. Ditch Auto
“…and start shooting in manual.” That’s the mantra behind Ditch Auto, a website run by a wedding photographer maestro, Jerad Hill.
He has over 6 years of experience photographing weddings and says that when you switch to auto cameras, you basically lose control of them.
So if you are someone who dearly wants to grasp the ins and outs of DSLR photography and shooting in manual, Ditch Auto is the place to frequent at.
The education offered covers other camera aspects such as ISO, shutter speed, and aperture.
If you sign up on the website, you get access to extra resources such as Photoshop lessons and how to leverage social media and WordPress to skyrocket your business.
Many platforms (especially free ones) can confuse beginners by arranging lessons poorly.
So we would suggest newbies start over at Reddit’s r/photoclass.com room. It covers all the basics from the gear, exposure, focus, post-processing, and vision.
There are a total of 30 lessons only. So maybe you should begin there before trying other educational sites.
You can hop over to Lifehacker’s Night school to strengthen your introductory education in the world of photography.
They stock a 5-part beginner course that teaches the basics such as how a camera works, settings, composition, and image editing.
There’s also a resource section that points learners to other photography resources and websites.
Unfortunately, Lifehacker’s lessons are in print text and not video. Reading can get boring fast.
6. Pop Photo
Consider Pop Photo, also known as Popular Photography, your number one online resource for everything photography.
It’s full of both introductory and in-depth tutorials for newbies and seasoned pros.
The site also runs fun contests to not only encourage learners to participate but teach them interactively as well.
The website covers recent news concerning photography.
This might be beneficial to individuals who would like to always stay up-to-date with current events.
This is an online community where photographers meet to discuss everything photography.
Every day, the site has over 20,000 active users who are eager to expand the limits of their camera knowledge.
The tutorial section of the site is stocked with hundreds of courses that touch on everything from camera equipment, concept, and terminology to color management.
New articles and tutorials are added to the website frequently to keep readers up-to-date with the photography realm.
In case you have a question, you can post it in the forum and members will answer you satisfactorily.
Cambridge in Color also has sections on books and tools that recommend the latest entrants worth checking out.
MIT is a highly respected educational institution. Every ambitious person would probably be over the moon at an opportunity to school there.
Thankfully, their OpenCourseWare section is occasionally pumped with live lectures attended by their students.
It also contains an introductory course to photography for beginners.
The course is a well-structured video lecture that teaches the fundamentals of working with both digital and analog SLR camera bodies.
The study also touches on other core photography lessons such as lighting, darkroom technique, digital imaging, and black & white photography.
Paid platforms where you can learn photography online
You are possibly wondering, why go for paid photography lessons when YouTube is full of free tutorials? Well, let’s clear that out first.
Free content isn’t necessarily of poor quality.
However, most people would dole out freebies, hoping you would connect with and trust them enough to buy their premium services.
Secondly, free websites will mostly teach you what to do and lock how to do it under their premium offers.
They know it’s going to take you long to find top-quality (how to do it) info.
Even when you find a detailed and well-organized course, it’s usually after wasting a lot of time. It’s in such instances that one should consider paid services.
Plus, we all know we take something we paid for seriously, right? Of course.
With that intro out of the way, here is a list of some of the best-paid platforms to learn photography online:
Besides Coursera and EdX, Udemy is another online giant education hub, and possibly the best when it comes to niche topics.
As a marketplace for all kinds of knowledge, the site is perfect for both beginners and advanced professionals.
With millions of students enrolling each year, Udemy stands to be a top choice for someone who wants well-thought-out and structured lessons.
The classes can be expensive but usually worth the trouble. Plus, they throw in a few discounts every once in a while.
Digital Photography is not merely a place to take camera lessons. It’s also a community of photography lovers.
The platform teaches all aspects of shooting like lighting, depth of field, exposure, composition, and much more.
The website offers its lessons in the form of books, videos, tips, tutorials, and articles. Quite alluringly, some of their classes are absolutely free.
Like Udemy, Tutsplus is also one of the biggest educational sites on the internet.
Their lessons are arranged in such a way that students begin with guides and then transition later into main classes.
There’s an option of skipping the guides and jumping headfirst into the lessons.
Learning on Tutsplus is interactive. Learners can choose either video or text lessons depending on their wishes.
Furthermore, they provide additional eBooks and tutorials so learners can take in a lot.
Besides photography, the site also has stocks of lessons on web design, marketing, video, and much more.
Expert Photography, as the name implies, deals entirely with photography. It’s not a site that trades in everything like Udemy and Tutsplus.
So it is safe to say, the site might be the best place for those yearning for extremely detailed lessons.
This site teaches you the basics from lighting to understanding every aspect of your camera and other photography equipment.
Lessons are delivered in video format to help learners follow along easily.
The manner in which Fstoppers operate is really unique. They not only sell photography lessons but share tips and gear reviews.
So their traffic comes from both their free and paid offering. The site has millions of users worldwide and that’s an indication it is worth its salt.
Budding students can benefit a lot from Fstoppers in terms of the business tips, gear recommendations, and the support the service provides.
Unfortunately, their prices are relatively steep.
There are other highly reliable names out there where you can take online lessons on photography.
A few more examples include Picture Correct, Best Photo Lessons, SLR Lounge, and Photo.net.
Tips on how to learn photography online effectively
Reading on the internet is a totally different experience from attending a real-world classroom.
Here is how you can make sure your online lessons are fruitful:
Understand every detail of your camera
You are as good as the tool you use. This statement rings true no matter if your equipment is a vehicle or a camera.
To become a good photographer, you need to grasp all the aspects of your camera from the exterior dials to interior components like the aperture and image stabilization.
Follow lessons that are laid out in good order
One of the biggest problems with online courses is that some are not prepared by adept teachers and therefore lack proper structure.
Lessons should start with rudimentary details as they advance to cover sophisticated content.
Do not suffer from information overload-a syndrome that is common among many internet users.
Because of the sheer amount of knowledge, people fail to settle on one thing and keep moving back and forth.
If you find yourself unsure about a particular course, then perhaps you should go for paid ones.
We all stick to something we’ve spent on because the pain of losing our hard-earned money can be intensely discomforting.
There’s this saying from a boxing legend; to be the best, you first must beat the best. Hold your horses.
We are not saying you should conquer the best photographers out there.
Instead, we are suggesting that you follow them on their YouTube and other social media channels.
Subject experts frequently drop gold nuggets about the latest happenings in any given niche.
Such information can help you grow your career to another level.
Or even better, save you from making costly mistakes like investing in sensationally hyped gears (a very common occurrence on the internet right now).
Workshops are great events where one can easily acquire new skills. And the best part is, most of them are free.
Network with others
Whether you have acquired a lot of skills or not, it is imperative to join a network of fellow photographers.
Like-minded individuals have a lot to share and together, can guide each other into becoming better versions of themselves.
You don’t know any online forums for photographers?
Well, you can start with Cambridge in Colour, Reddit’s r/photography, Photography talk, or the photo Forum.
Create a portfolio
Your first drafts possibly don’t have a lot to offer in terms of quality. However, as time goes by, your photo shooting and editing skills will surely grow.
At that point, you’ll need to set up online portfolios on Flickr, Pixabay, and Pexels to showcase your work to a large audience.
You can also create your own website from which to host your work and attract potential clients.
There you have it—a list of the best places to learn photography online. We hope you’ve found a reliable site that can take you to the next level of your career.
Make sure to follow lessons that run in the order of increasing difficulty. That is, starting with the elementary and then transitioning to advanced material.