A picture can convey a thousand words and that is the reason Instagram is so famous. But not everyone is a born photographer, you need to develop the skills. If you have exhausted your cash buying a high-end camera and cannot spend a penny more on learning the tricks of the trade, you are at the right place. We have compiled a list of seven of the best online photography courses that are absolutely free. The list is not exhaustive but from experience, we have found them to be the best in terms of content and explanation.
But before we proceed you must understand why taking a photography class is beneficial.
Benefits of a photography class
Photography is an extension of your personality; not everyone sees the same picture the same way. It is your chance to tell your side of the story with your pictures. But this is possible only when you can click pictures that are flawless and have all the necessary elements in the right amount. For example, too much of the white balance can mar or make a difference; knowing how to adjust this feature is important. And with so many courses available online you can learn everything from your own space in your own time.Yes,self-teaching is the best method, but what about the amount of time taken to learn. With a course, you learn the basics and then you can experiment with leisure.
- Practice makes perfect; as is the case many wannabe photographers lose interest in their cameras because they are not clicking enough. When you join a class, you are under pressure to submit assignments which requires you to shoot often. It is only when you keep at it can you hope to improve.
- Only in class can you immediately apply what you learned practically because you will have to submit an assignment. Only when you go about a task frequently will it register in your brain.
- When professional reviews your work and gives you feedback and suggestions on how to improve and what are the mistakes you have to avoid, you become a better photographer. Even your virtual classmates can give you valuable feedback on what to improve and what is good.
- Finally, most of the classes provide knowledge on post-processing skills also.
Here is an opportunity to develop your own unique style of photography.
How to select the best online photography course
Not all courses are suitable for all kinds of photographers. What your friend might find to be awesome might turn out to be boring and uninformative to you. hence, before you commit to any course go through the below pointers to help you decide which is the best course suitable for your specific skills and interests. Photography is a vast area and there are several niches that you can focus on improving.
1. Do they respond to feedback?
Since in this article we are focusing on online photography courses, we must look at specific problems related to this type of learning. You must go through the review of the course to know how the instructors respond to any queries or comments posted by you. wherever a dialogue is possible will be a good place to start because it won’t help you if you question that is unanswered even after attending a course.
2. Is the course flexible?
It is important to know if you can make up any classes if you miss the online classroom for whatever reason. You must also find out if you can complete the course in your time within a reasonable time period or stick to the class plan.
3. Duration of the course?
It is important to know what is the duration of the course and how is the material available. Can it be downloaded to any device or should you use only your computer?
4. What topics are covered?
Probably the most important part of any course is to find out what is the syllabus and what are the topics that are covered. It is also important to know if any required knowledge is essential to enroll in a particular class because some advanced classes will not make sense to a beginner. The course details must state the level of the course in clear terms.
5. Who is the instructor?
Read up on the customer feedback and reviews about the course to find out more about the instructor. A good instructor can keep the fire burning while a bad instructor will leave you more confused than when you started. Where does the instructor work? How many years of experience does he/she have? Look out for blogs or Facebook posts which will give you greater insight into the course and the instructor.
6. Access after completion of course
It is a common feature to be riddled with doubts once a course is completed. Find out if you can get some support even after the course is over or will they provide any resource material for reference.
7. What is the take-home knowledge?
It is important to understand what are the skills you will learn by the end of the course and how can you develop them further.
Seven of the best free online photography courses
Here we have listed seven photography course that is online and free.
1. The Zen of Photography:
Though this is a paid course, the readers of the NikonD3200News Blog will get 100% discount on the course and they will get it absolutely free. The course includes 13 Lessons with many supplemental resources about every aspect of photography from gears to selling your photos online, this course even cover smartphone photography.
- Lifetime access
- Can be accessed everywhere
- Cover everything about photography (History, exposure, composition, lighting, gears, …)
- Not enough guest lectures
- Not enough quizzes and some mandatory exams.
User reviews: Users found the course to be comprehensive and the response to queries very promptly. It is considered to be one of the best free online photography courses for beginners.
2. Basics of Photography: The Complete Guide
Here is a comprehensive and in-depth tutorial broken down into various sections for easy understanding. The guide explains in depth the working of a camera, its settings and even provides information on compositional techniques and how to edit photos in the post-processing stage. The guide is a great boon for any beginner, new to the field of photography.
- Comprehensive and in-depth knowledge
- Well explained
- Provides links to various resources.
- Some links are broken
- It is mainly textual with very limited videos.
User reviews: Though users are disappointed with the broken links they all agree that the content is comprehensive and very informative and written in easy to understand manner.
3. Commercial Photography: Still and Moving Image
By spending 3 hours for 4 weeks you can hone your photography skills and look to join the commercial photographers league. This course aims at teaching the various aspects of still and moving images which will include filmmaking, animation, and use of CGI. You can also hope to learn the skills required for advertising, fashion and editorial photography.
The course is suitable for those at the intermediate level with basic photography skills in place.
- Learn from experts in the field
- Advanced skills for free.
- No certificate provided
User reviews: They like the professional approach and the sharing of knowledge from working professionals.
4. Professional Family Portraits with Kirk Tuck by Craftsy
If you want those pristine photos that adorn the walls of your home and those of your loved ones you must enroll in this course by Craftsy. Most of the courses on craftsy are for sale, but this photography course, luckily for you, is absolutely free. The course consists of quick tips on composing a shot and improving the lighting. You can learn on how to capture adorable pictures of impatient toddlers and group photos for family gatherings. The course consists of 4 HD quality video lessons that can be accessed anywhere anytime. You can also interact with your virtual classmates.
- Interact with virtual classmates
- Can download class resources
- Access the course on any device.
- Not conducted in a professional manner
User reviews: Many users found the techniques mentioned and the tips dished out to be very useful.
5. Lighting 101 by Strobist
Lighting is the main aspect of photography that beginners often get wrong. An immensely popular course that focuses mainly on working with light and all the related basics is the Lighting 101. It is a very popular free course taken by thousands of photographic enthusiasts regularly. Unlike several other courses, this course is based on text well supported by images. The course covers the topic in in-depth and the explanations provided are easy to comprehend. It is recommended that you do a basic photography course before taking this course for optimal benefit.
- Exclusively meant to understand lighting
- The text is well supported with images
- Teaches how to use flash effectively.
- Meant only for DSLRs and mirrorless cameras.
User reviews: Users feel it is a great site that deals comprehensively with the subject and provides in-depth knowledge to the learners with appropriate use of photos. It is considered to be one of the best free online photography courses.
6. The Art of Photography(PHOT) by Dr. Shane Hublert at RMIT University
Here is a university level course for absolutely free. Several thousand students have benefited from this course. Comprising of 4 different modules which in turn contain 10 videos, 9 quizzes and 1 assessment you can learn the basics of photography. By the end of this course you will understand about exposure and capture, the purpose and meaning of pixels, how to use all the key features in your digital camera, what is RAW And where must you use it. you will also gain knowledge on how shutter speed and aperture impact an image and what are the tools required for editing your image. Basically, this course lays the foundation for those who want to pursue further in this line.
The course is ideal for beginners and intermediates. The course will require 2-4 hours of dedicated study time. the total video content is 4 hours and 2 minutes. Dr. Shane Hulbert is an expert in this field and has the iconic Melbourne Now exhibition to his name.
- Well structured
- Challenging and interesting
- A few tips on photoshop are also provided.
- Basics of photography are needed to understand the topics better.
Users Reviews: Users find the course to be well structured and suitable for even beginners; they find Dr. Shane knowledgeable and understanding.
7. Free photography classes by Creative live
The creative life is an online platform that has a variety of courses on art and design, video, music, and audio that it sells regularly. But it also has a free section which is aptly titled – On Air wherein you can choose a course of your choice at no cost whatsoever. Photography is one such course that is offered in this free section. You can check the website to know more about the courses. A few subjects that will be aired soon include, “Manual Mode Made Simple,” “Family Pet Photography,” and “Posing 101.” It is important that you RSVP for courses you are interested in so that you can receive all notifications related to the topic of your choice and when the course goes live. These classes are suitable for beginners to intermediate.
Don’t forget to note down the time so as to not miss out on any class you take during the day.
- Lifetime access anywhere anytime
- Can be streamed on any device
- Need to wait for specific free classes
- You can attend only live classes.
User reviews: Users are very happy with the constructive criticism by the instructors.
Challenges for online courses
The biggest challenge is the lack of commitment. It is a sad reality that only when you pay will you show up. Hence, the reader is advised to not waste valuable money on paid classes unless they are very keen in pursuing further and gaining in-depth knowledge on the subject. Our predecessors didn’t have this opportunity to learn free; don’t waste it.
Don’t let your passion for pictures fizzle away. Enroll in any of these best free online photography courses and embark on your very own photographic journey. We would like to know if you attended any of these courses or have taken any course that deserves mention here. Please give your feedback in the comments section below.