Whether you are picking up a camera for the first time or are already a skilled photographer, taking a class can be a great way to expand your knowledge. Of course, it's not always possible to find the perfect photography class locally. Perhaps instructors aren't available in your area or maybe the timing doesn't coincide with your busy lifestyle. Luckily, these days there are endless online options that let you learn at your own pace.
You'll find a huge range of online photography classes for all skill levels and types of photography. While this is great in terms of choice, it can also be intimidating to browse. How do you know what's right for you? Most courses will have an online syllabus so you can see what each lesson covers and typically they'll be information as to whether they are aimed at novices, intermediate or advanced learners.
Another consideration will be time. How many hours do you want to invest? While the beauty of online learning is that you can go at your own speed, you might be looking for a quick crash course rather than an in-depth class. Either way, there's something for everyone. Some classes will have over a hundred lessons and come with supplementary materials, while others will take just a few hours to whizz through. This means that you can enroll in something completely tailored to your skill level and interest.
If you aren't sure where to begin, take a look at our list of online photography classes for beginners and experts. Each one of these classes will help you feel more comfortable with your photography and take your creativity to the next level.
Online Photography Classes for Beginners
Photography Masterclass: A Complete Guide to Photography (343 lessons, 22 hours total) – If you want a thorough introduction to photography, look no further. Three professional photographers teach this course, which moves from camera basics to learning the specifics of everything from portrait to smartphone photography. The class even comes with a 273-page notebook for those who like having information down on paper.
Fundamentals of Photography (107 lessons, 24 hours 30 minutes total) – Taught by outdoor and travel photographer John Greengo, this comprehensive course covers all the basics including how to pick the correct camera gear, how to shoot in manual mode, and learning to take advantage of natural light.
The Ultimate Photography Course – Beginner to Advanced (99 lessons, 10 hours total) – In addition to the lectures, this course also has 20 different projects that will help you grow your skills. If you want to get a deep overview of photography and gain experience in 11 types of photography, this is the right course for you.
The Beginner Photographer's Crash Course (24 lessons, 5 hours total) – Want to get a basic overview without investing too much time? This beginner's crash course is perfect. Over the course of two dozen lessons you'll learn about exposure, flash, white balance, composition, and how to take advantage of all the shooting modes that most cameras have—including landscape, macro, portrait, sports, and manual.
Fundamentals of DSLR Photography (12 lessons, 1 hour 19 minutes total) – Nearly 60,000 students have enrolled in this course, which will quickly allow you to get a handle on your DSLR. Shutter speed, aperture, ISO, how to get a balanced exposure, and basic editing tips are all covered in just over an hour.
Composition in Photography from A to Z (58 lessons, 7 hours 30 minutes total) – If you already feel comfortable with working your camera but need guidance on how to frame your photos, this class is a great place to start. You'll learn basic principles like the Rule of Thirds and Golden Ratio, as well as the way different lines can be used to create aesthetically pleasing photographs.
Online Courses for Advanced Photographers
The Ultimate Guide to Studio Lighting (39 lessons, 15 hours total) – Get instruction from a top fashion photographer about how to expertly light portraits and select the proper equipment for your needs.
Adobe Photoshop CC: The Ultimate Guide (21 lessons, 25 hours total) – Want to really dive into Photoshop? This online course is for you. Over the course of 25 hours, you'll not only master retouching and using layers, but you'll also discover how to troubleshoot and automate tasks for an easier post-production flow.
Make the Most of Instagram: Build Your Brand (8 lessons, 26 minutes total) – A good social media presence is essential for any creative. In a handful of lessons, you'll learn how to transform your Instagram into a vehicle that will build your brand as a photographer.
Perspective: Photography tools that make your pictures POP (9 lessons, 1 hour total) – Want to maximize your creative potential? Learn how perspective can add unparalleled depth to your images, no matter what type of photography you practice.
Elevate Your Photography – Master Composition (13 lessons, 1 hour 48 minutes total) – If you have the basics of composition down, it's time to get more advanced. By using 100 examples of great photography, you'll gain insight into what makes them successful and how you can apply those principals to your own work.
Foundations of a Working Photographer (25 lessons, 17 hours 30 minutes total) – Looking to make photography your business? Join editorial music photographer Zack Arias as he tackles some of the most common questions he receives about being a working professional. From working with different lighting to how to build your portfolio to lessons on marketing your business, this class hits all the right notes.
Jimmy Chin Teaches Adventure Photography (20 lessons, 4 hours total) – Learn more about adventure photography from professional climber, photographer, and Academy Award-winning film director Jimmy Chin. Not only will you discover the secrets of Chin's most famous climbing shoots, but he'll also give advice on how to pitch and work with clients, as well as lead a team.
Belinda Richards Teaches Adventure Photography (18 lessons, 2.4 hours total) – Ever wish you could capture a portrait of your favorite pup? Learn how to take a candid photo of your dog in a studio setting. Professional pet photographer Belinda Richards will walk you through the process of shooting an intimate portrait of your fur baby using her expert techniques. You will learn how to use your DSLR or mobile phone to photograph your canine as well as get an understanding of using studio lighting and editing.
Annie Leibovitz Teaches Photography (15 lessons, 3 hours total) – World-renowned photographer Annie Leibovitz shares the secrets of her legendary portrait shoots. You'll learn how she comes up with her creative concepts, her approach to studio photography, as well as gain an understanding of how she puts her models at ease. You'll also get an up-close look at Leibovitz's post-production process and learn more about the great photographers who influence her work.
This article has been edited and updated.
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