fMany people assume that you need a formal photography education to become a professional. However, online classes and websites dedicated to teaching photography make it entirely possible to learn all of your skills without setting foot in a classroom. Personally, I’ve never taken a formal photography class and have still managed to shoot professionally for nearly 4 years. Instead, I learned by doing and took a ton of online photography classes. The most important part of becoming a professional photographer is learning how to run a successful photography business, which is what this blog as a whole is about. Teaching specific photography skills isn’t quite my niche at the moment. Thus, this blog post will describe the best websites to learn photography.
Whether you are just beginning photography or a seasoned veteran, there is always room to further develop your photography skills. Most websites below will have a good mixture of basic 101 photography classes, as well as advanced courses that build on fundamental skills.
Which resources you choose to further your photography skills depends largely on personal preference. All of these resources vary according to what you want to learn, your learning style, and in some cases, the best personalities that inspire you. As a visual learner, I prefer a mix of video tutorials with written resources I can reference afterward. Thus, Creative Live has been my main platform of choice. I also enjoy the fact that Creative Live courses are taught by real, renowned photographers whose work I admire, and many courses give you a behind-the-scenes look at how they work.
Free Online Photography Tutorials
YouTube is a treasure trove of free information. If you do a simple search for “photography classes” on YouTube, you’ll have thousands of results. The tricky part is weeding out the most effective and relevant YouTube photography videos for you. In this sense, it can be difficult to find quality, consistent photography lessons on YouTube. Thus, I recommend YouTube videos for looking up very specific questions you have about photography. But if you’re seeking a more structured online learning environment, scroll down to the Online Photography Classes section.
Fro Knows Photo – Jared Polin
Entertaining yet educational, Fro Knows Photo is an online publication with a series of video tutorials and product reviews. Jared has a strong personality that you might find entertaining or annoying. Again, it’s personal preference. He posts updates constantly, I recommend subscribing to his YouTube channel to learn the basics of photography and more as you acquire new skills.
- Five Minute Portrait: Full Shoot
- The Truth About Photography: Telling it like it is to photography students
- Photography Tutorial: Aperture and F-Stops Explained
For more straightforward yet highly informative content, Adorama TV is a great option for free YouTube inspiration. Subscribe to their channel and tune in when you need a boost of creativity.
Videos Organized by Skill Level
- Balancing Flash with Low Ambient Light
- Low Key Portraits: Take and Make Great Photography with Gavin Hooey
- Digital Photography 1 on 1: Using Natural Light
Other Photography YouTube Channels
Online Photography Classes
If you love structure and want a series of organized classes, these are some of the best websites to learn photography. While they aren’t free, the skills you can learn are worth the investment.
Lynda.com Photography Courses
When I first sought to learn basic photography skills, I turned to Lynda.com, as it was one of the only online options at the time. Indeed, Lynda’s online tutorials taught me the basics of using my camera and processing photos in PhotoShop in a matter of weeks. Today, Lynda continues to thrive as an online education company, and they were recently acquired by LinkedIn.
Topics include photography, business, and even software development. Their photography department has 697 courses and 30,369 video tutorials covering a variety of topics including retouching, lighting, gear and cameras, and photography foundations. Monthly memberships start from $25 a month for access to all of their content. The nice part is you can easily cancel when you don’t have time to use the site and resubscribe later. Want to give Lynda.com a test drive? Get started with a free 10-day trial.
Launched in 2010, CreativeLive is a new online education platform that is also one of the most modern in terms of its approach. CreativeLive gives instructors a live studio audience of students who also appear on camera. Students are invited to ask questions and sometimes even participate in the instructor’s demonstrations. While the segment is being recorded, it is also broadcast live online, and anyone tuning in can view it for free. Later, the course is edited and available for purchase online. Once you buy a CreativeLive course, you have unlimited access to it forever.
Besides its different pricing model, I love CreativeLive because they always enlist notable, respectable photographers to teach courses. After all, it is co-founded by photographer Chase Jarvis, so he teaches occasional courses or enlists some of his well-known colleagues to do so. It’s a unique experience to watch photographers you admire deconstruct their creative process and teach techniques as they go.
Recommended CreativeLive Classes
- Free Live Classes
- Wedding Photography Bootcamp
- Mastering Outdoor Photography Fundamentals
- Beginning Photography Bundle
- Mastering People Skills
- The Portrait Photography Bundle
Free Photography Blog Resources
Digital Photography School
One of the largest free online publications dedicated to teaching photography online is Digital Photography School. Subject matter ranges from camera basics to advanced post-processing techniques and more. There is also a very strong emphasis on beginner-friendly articles. DPS publishes several new articles every day, so there is always new content to explore. Today, I am honored to be a contributor at DPS as it was one the resources I used to teach myself photography.
Strobist – Learn Off-Camera Flash
Another totally free online resource that completely changed the way I shoot today is Strobist. Originally intended as a hobby blog, Strobist retains a very simple design format. However, it is packed tons of valuable information centered on how to use your camera flash. Use the quick start Lighting 101 and Lighting 102 guides and you can be up and running within a day.
Over To You
What do you think are some of the best websites to learn photography? Let me know in the comments below!