Online photography courses are available for a range of skill sets, from beginner to the professional. These programs vary in price from free to a few hundred dollars per course and provide a range of flexibility and additional resources.
Offers 80-plus courses in photography arranged in a variety of categories, including fundamentals, digital, composition and Photoshop. Courses last two, four or eight weeks. Instruction is provided via e-mail instead of live chat, so there is considerable flexibility in participation. BetterPhoto offers feedback from instructors and a structured weekly program. The company also boasts a money-back guarantee.
School of Photography
School of Photography offers free tutorials and articles for student and professional photographers. Content includes exposure, creating photography portfolios, night photography, still life photography and focusing your camera. As of April, 2014, the School of Photography was in the process of redesigning their courses, which would be available soon. Previously, special offers were available when taking multiple courses.
New York Institute of Photography
As of April, 2014, there were five online courses: Professional Photography Course; Photoshop Course; Video Making Course; Marketing for Photographers; Beginner Photography Course. Monthly payment plans are available. NYIP offers a hard-copy curriculum in addition to the online course for a fee. These materials include teacher-on-tape guides, illustrated texts, student adviser and audio analysis of student photography. NYIP offers a 21-day money back refund and allows you up to three years to complete the course.
The Perfect Picture: School of Photography
Perfect Picture offers 4- and 6-week courses, including Understanding Exposure and Your DSLR, Mastering Canon Flash Photography, Travel Photography and Nature and Landscape Photography. All courses are taught by two instructors. Each week, class participants download that week’s lesson, and the student has 10 days to complete the assignment. Photos from the assignment are then uploaded, and the instructors review and forward along their critiques. Students receive free video tutorials on the basics of Photoshop so as not to waste time providing basic tips to ensure all students are at the same level. A full money back guarantee is available, although requirements for the refund vary depending upon the course.
Icon Photography School
Icon offers a single two-week course. Lessons have no deadlines, so students can work at their own pace. Submitted assignments get critiqued by the instructor. There are a total of 14 assignments, including finding inspiration from the masters, using your camera’s automatic settings, advanced photography composition, creating your portfolio and being published. The course ends with a final examination. Beyond the course materials, Icon offers articles on photography schools, photography as a career and camera reviews. Icon also publishes an online art magazine monthly, and instructors recommend photos from the final examination to be published in the magazine.
Learn to Take Great Photos
Great Photos offers basic courses, but also specialized courses, such as courses on collages, frame dynamics and design, sunset silhouettes and an entire series of courses on horse photography. The horse series lasts four weeks. Most of the courses also have a “materials only” option that provides for self-directed learning for the same subjects that are instructor-led. Beyond the scheduled course list, the company also offers on-demand tutorials, which are much shorter and more concise tutorials. These are fully self-directed and do not offer feedback.
Creative Live offers free photo and video classes, including Shooting and Selling Hybrid Photography, The Creative Newborn Photography Studio, Fundamentals of DSLR Filmmaking and Wow HDR Photography. Courses are video-based and are geared to both beginners and professionals. You must RSVP to participate. Creative Live also offers free online courses in art & design, music & audio, maker & craft and business & money.
These courses are all available on the website, on-demand. The courses are categorized as Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced. Photography tips and tutorials are also available. Beginner courses instruct in photography tools; getting started with photography and beginner’s Photoshop. The tools courses offer instruction on using tripods, photographic film and lenses. Courses are also available on exposure control, photography 101, light and the photographer’s eye and layers in Photoshop. Many other articles are available for skills from beginner to advanced, including tips and techniques with equipment purchasing and photo editing. Further, there are articles and interviews for many types of professional photographers, including hints for breaking into the industry.
Digital Photography School
Although this school is designed into a series of articles and less based on coursework, it is still a valuable resource. The website offers three sections: Tips and Tutorials, Cameras and Equipment and Post Production. Each section contains many articles on a variety of sub-topics, and the user can view articles by most recent, popular or featured. Users can upload their own photographs; there is also a community forum.
Fodor’s Travel Photography
From one of the most trusted names in travel guides, Fodor’s offers free online courses focusing on the nuts and bolts of travel photography. These topics include lighting, techniques, classic vacation shots, composition rules and man-made, the natural world and people. Fodor’s also offers photo contests and features winning photographs in its travel guides.
- DragonImages/iStock/Getty Images