If you love photography and want to take some stunning pictures, you should not only have creative flair but also a keen eye for detail. However, there are several facets of photography that you can learn, for instance, how to use your camera, how to take photos in different kinds of lighting and even how to edit your photos in software to make your images look stunning and dramatic. You can learn many skills that can take your photography and pictures to the next level.
If you want to improve your photography skills, then here is our review of some of the best online courses for photography that you can teach you some amazing skills and techniques that can really help you hone your photography skills.
Top 10 Best Online Photography Courses
These are the best online photography courses on the web, thoroughly reviewed to ensure that you find the perfect fit for your needs and skill level.
Photography Basics and Beyond: From Smartphone to DSLR Specialization
First, on our list of best online courses photography which is available on the Coursera platform, the Photography Basics and Beyond course is offered by Michigan State University. The beginner level course is a self-paced course that will take around 7 months to complete. The course is taught by Peter Glendinning, Professor of Art, Art History and Design and Mark Sullivan, Associate Professor, Music and Innovation Hub.
The Specialization covers a wide range of basic principles of photography and you’ll learn about controlling the exposure, basics of composition and creativity to create photographs with your DSLR or smartphone that you always wanted.
The Specialization comprises of 5 courses:
- Course 1: Camera, exposure and photography
- Course 2: Camera control
- Course 3: Principles of photo composition and digital image post-production
- Course 4: Photography techniques – light, content and sharing
- Course 5: Capstone project (For the capstone project, you’ll develop a portfolio of photos according to your requirements, whether expressive or practical and share the feedback with your peer students).
When you subscribe to the course, on completion of the Specialization along with the capstone project, you will get a Certificate of Specialization for the Michigan State University and also get significant discounts on photography accessories, equipment and membership benefits via the program partners such as Gary Fong, Fracture, Lume Cube, LensPen, Gyst, Pixsy, Think Tank, PhotoVideoEdu.com, Lensbaby and Photo District News.
Cameras, Exposure, and Photography
The Cameras, Exposure, and Photography course is Course 1 of the Specialization, Photography Basics and Beyond: From Smartphone to DSLR Specialization. The duration of the course is around 17 hours and is taught by Professor Peter Glendinning and Associate Prof. Mark Sullivan.
The course will provide knowledge and confidence to discover the features and functions of your camera vs other digital cameras. You’ll learn basic digital camera functions and be able to go more than the technical aspects and learn to take exciting photos. You can also discover useful equipment, accessories, camera bags, etc. You will take photographs and if you are subscribing to the Specialization, then you can upload the pictures on the gallery and interact with your co-learners.
The 4 modules of the course comprise of:
- Overview and fundamentals (9 videos, 7 readings and 5 quizzes)
- Camera capabilities – similarities and differences (10 videos, 1 reading and 6 quizzes)
- Setting up yourself and your digital camera — menus, settings and baggage (7 videos and 4 quizzes)
- Picture decisions — vantage point and frame (7 videos, 3 readings and 3 quizzes)
Photography Techniques: Light, Content, and Sharing
This is the Course 4 of the Photography Basics and Beyond Specialization, which consists of the final elements of the introduction to the basics of photography and prepares you for the capstone project. This course is also taught by Professor Peter Glendinning and Associate Prof. Mark Sullivan and will take approximately 16 hours to complete.
The syllabus of the course consists of 4 modules, which covers:
- The content of a photograph (7 videos and 4 quizzes)
- Light fundamentals 1.0 – people, places and things under ambient light (5 videos, 1 reading and 4 quizzes)
- Light fundamentals 2.0 – people, places and things under controlled light (12 videos, 1 reading and 7 quizzes)
- Finishing pictures – options for showing and sharing (12 videos, 3 readings and 3 quizzes)
Photography Techniques: Light, Content, and Sharing
Fundamentals of DSLR Photography
The next on our best online courses photography list is the Fundamentals of DSLR Photography, an introductory photography class taught by the photographer Justin Bridges, which is on the Skillshare platform. This 1 hour 19 minutes course consists of 12 lessons and is ideal for beginners and intermediate level photography enthusiasts. The course teaches you how you can balance the aperture, shutter speed and ISO of the camera manually to get the perfect exposure.
The lessons are very easy to understand and show you how you can:
- Balance the aperture, shutter speed and ISO in the manual mode.
- Control the background blur through the aperture.
- Blur and freeze motion through shutter speed.
- Edit photographs in less than 5 minutes.
The course also offers insight into Justin’s favorite camera settings, gear that is must have and budget recommendations. At the end of the course, you will have the know how of how to master the camera settings and shoot in the manual mode for complete control and click professional photos.
The course is for 1 hour and 19 minutes and consists of 12 modules:
- Understanding Your DSLR
- Shutter Speed
- Balancing the Exposure Triangle
- Preparing to Shoot
- Studio Demo
- Shutter Speed (deeper dive)
- Aperture (deeper dive)
- ISO (deeper dive)
- Tips and Tricks of Editing
- Buying Cameras and Lenses (Bonus)
Mobile Photography Basics for Instagram Success
The Mobile Photography Basics for Instagram Success class is available on Skillshare is taught by Tyson Wheatley, the renowned Instagram photographer. The course teaches you the ins and outs of smartphone photography which enables you to build your photographs, followers and brand on Insta.
The duration of the class is for 46 minutes, where Tyson explores Brooklyn, DUMBO, capturing photographs of street scenes, people and landscapes. He also shares tips on how to take unique photos, editing in apps and the ways by which you can establish an Instagram aesthetic and also reflect your personality. At the end of the class, you will have the skills and tools to capture great photos that are shareable on Instagram.
The class consists of 12 lessons which include:
- Basics of shooting with your smartphone
- iPhone photography accessories
- Image capturing apps
- Snapseed app
- VSCO Cam
- Photoshop Express, Afterlight, SWRT and TouchRetouch
- Sharing strategies
- Storytelling strategies
- Editing in Instagram
Street Photography: Capture the Life of Your City
This class on Street Photography is taken by trashhand, a popular photography teacher on the Skillshare platform, in association with VSCO. The 1 hour and 24 minutes class is ideal for intermediate level photographers.
In the class, trashhand shares some insights on his favorite techniques for street photography. Whether you’re looking to improve your photography or bettering your skills for commissioned assignments with brands, the class on Street Photography will help to put you on the right path to achieving your photography objectives.
There are 4 main topics covered in the class related to street photography, while trashhand moves through the city of Chicago which relate to:
- Clicking authentic candid photos
- Making use of blur to convey motion
- Finding captivating angles for look-up shots
- Trying the photography techniques at night
iPhone Photography: How to Take Pro Photos on Your iPhone
This online photography class by Dale McManus, a professional photographer, videographer, award-winning YouTuber and the co-creator of the travel company, WANDR is available on the Skillshare platform. The 51-minute class has 19 lessons and will teach you how you can be a professional photographer simply using an iPhone or any other similar smartphone. The course offers all the basics of iPhone photography and many tips and tricks that you can use to make your photographs stand out.
The course is ideal for you if you:
- Are a beginner having little/no experience and want to become a good photographer without investing in expensive photography equipment.
- Want to develop an impressive portfolio or an account on social media like Instagram.
- If you want to make digital photography into a career.
Some of the things that you’ll learn by taking the class are:
- Taking stunning pictures by making use of shot composition.
- Optimizing your iPhone camera settings and taking stunning pictures.
- Creating depth in your photography.
- How and why some of the best photographers use their photographs to tell stories.
- Utilizing the ambient light to ensure that your subjects are lit properly.
- Editing photos professionally in Lightroom.
- Tips and tricks.
Outdoor Photography: Shooting at Sunset, Sunrise and Night
This online class is taught by Chris Burkard, a photographer and artist who lives in Central Coast California. In the course, Chris takes you on location, explores the wilderness and also captures stunning pictures. The 1 hour 8 minutes course consists of 14 lessons.
In the course, Chris demonstrates how you get the best shots when you are not even looking for them and he also provides tips to ensure that you are ready to photograph the moment when it arises. The modules include how to work with the lighting at various times of the day, adding subjects into landscape shots and shooting long exposures. The course is ideal for both photography enthusiasts and pros and will help to take your photography to the next level.
The modules of the Outdoor Photography class consist of:
- Shooting into the sun
- Finding your inspiration
- Sunset I and II
- Night I and II
- Sunrise I and II
- Editing day time photos
- Editing night-time photos
- Final thoughts
Lifestyle Photography: Capturing Inspiring Visual Stories
Lifestyle Photography is an online class taken by Norway’s Marte Marie Forsberg, a self-taught lifestyle and food photographer. The class is for 20 minutes and consists of 7 lessons and is available on the Skillshare platform. The class is about how to capture a story and teaches the tactics and tools to capture daily moments creatively. The lessons cover the aspects of inspiration, shooting, styling and editing.
By taking the class, you’ll learn:
- Visual storytelling
- Creating your own story: Afternoon tea story
- Still-life photography
- Working with light
- Finding the story
- Food styling
- Using simple tools
- Focusing on the details
Fundamentals of Portrait Photography: Using Natural Light to Create Drama
Finally, on the best online courses photography list is the Fundamentals of Portrait Photography class by Justin Bridges, a portrait and fashion photographer from New York City. The 90-minute class on Skillshare contains 13 lessons and covers how you can create a stunning portrait by using light.
The class will teach you how to prepare your subject, settings and location whether you’re using an iPhone or a DSLR and enables you to develop your styling, composition and exposure skills. Justin also shares tips and tricks for editing your photos in Lightroom.
All through the class, Justin provides alternatives to all techniques used and makes the class ideal for people with varying levels of experience, as well as equipment. The class is suitable for photography enthusiasts and pros.
In the class, you’ll learn the following:
- Location and subject
- Mood and lighting
- Shutter speed and test shots
- Exposure and brick shoot
- Mirror shoot
- Backlit shoot
- Cropping editing
- Lightroom editing
- Dramatic effects editing
We hope that our guide on the best online courses for photography has helped you to decide which photography course is right for you. The best part is that all these courses are available online and are free of cost. These classes will surely help to transform your photography and offer greater knowledge and understanding of it.
If you want to discover more learning opportunities, then be sure to take a look at our list of the best online courses. Thanks for reading and as always, have a great day!