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Becoming a lifelong learner ensures that you constantly improve and grow. It makes life more exciting and full of new territory to conquer. 

Photography is one area of art that has enjoyed a renewed interest, thanks to the increased clarity of phone cameras and the popularity of photo-sharing apps and sites. 

Can You Take Photography Classes Online?

If you’ve always been interested in learning photography skills but didn’t have the time to commit to an actual sit-down or on-site course, perhaps an online course can help get you started. 

You may wonder if it’s even possible to take a course where you would be doing the exercises on your own.

The good news is that, yes, you can take online photography courses! Just make sure you follow the instructions in full detail, and also make use of the community feedback feature if the course comes with one. 

Free Online Photography Classes

Here is a list of the best online courses that you can take for free to brush up on your photography skills:

1. Introductory Photography Course

Price: Free

Taking this Introductory Photography Course on Udemy will help you to grasp the basics of photography, letting you maximize the full power and potential of your camera.

You will also learn the top 10 tips for taking great photos, as well as what makes photos come out brighter or darker, equipping you with all you need to get started in photography. 

2. Basics of Photography: The Complete Guide 

Price: Free 

This free course by Lifehacker comes in 5 parts, covering such topics as your camera’s settings, composition and technique, and even editing images. The lessons come in clickable links and it also comes with a downloadable printable PDF. 

3. Fundamentals of DSLR Photography 

Price: Free

Fundamentals of DSLR Photography will teach you everything you need to know about using your DSLR camera. New York City photographer Justin Bridges teaches you how to balance aperture, shutter speed, and ISO to take the perfect photograph while sharing his own personal recommendations for gear and settings. 

4. DSLR Photography II: Understanding Lenses, Focal Length & Shooting

Price: Free

In this second part of his Fundamentals of DSLR course, Justin Bridges will teach you how to use different lenses for landscape, street photography, and portraits, as well as how to balance exposure with these lenses. He also shares easy editing tips to make your work even better. 

5. A Crash Course in Photographic Composition 

Price: Free

This Crash Course in Photographic Composition by New York City photographer Frank Wang will teach you how to create photographs that are visually compelling by learning photographic composition. You will learn about geometry and lines, as well as how composition works in order to put the perfect photograph together. 

6. Documentary Photography and Photojournalism 

Price: Free

This archived Documentary Photography and Photojournalism course by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Open Courseware will expose you to the work of the great photojournalists and documentary photographers.

It will help you hone your ‘eye’ for photography as well as your skills, as you embark on your own photo documentary project. 

7. Professional Family Portraits

Price: Free until 4/16 

Professional photographer Kirk Tuck teaches this online Professional Family Portraits course by sharing advanced strategies for taking family portraits.

You will learn how to convert any setting into a professional-looking studio, and how to create the lighting you need whether you are shooting indoors or out with the use of affordable items like umbrellas and foam core. 

8. Professional Diploma in Photography 

Price: Free with registration 

This online photography course from Shaw Academy will guide you through the basics of photography, while also training you to master working with your camera. This 4-week long course will also serve as a pathway to an EQF Diploma. 

9. Jared Polin: Basics of Composition

Price: Free

Jared Polin’s tutorials, available for free on YouTube, are not only entertaining, but incredibly helpful for aspiring photographers.

You can get a feel for his style by checking out his video on the basics of composition below.

10. David Molnar Your Photography Mentor 

Price: Free

David Molnar’s entire website is dedicated to teaching you everything you need to know about photography. Topics include mastering your camera settings, editing like a pro, shooting professional-quality portraits, and capturing stunning landscapes. The step-by-step courses will help you become a great photographer in no time. 

Paid Online Photography Courses

If you are already intermediate level in photography, you may want to invest in paid courses to improve your skill further. Here are some of the best paid online classes in photography:

11. Photography Masterclass: A Complete Guide to Photography

Price: $199.99 discounted to $13.99 

This Photography Masterclass by Udemy will teach you the best ways to photograph different scenarios, ranging from portraits to landscapes and wildlife, among others.

The great thing about this course is that you don’t need a DSLR camera: you can use a smartphone to learn the foundations, and later on decide to invest in higher-cost equipment if you wish.

12. Your Road to Better Photography 

Price: $19.99 discounted to $13.99 

Say goodbye to relying on your camera’s Auto mode after taking this course! Your Road to Better Photography will teach you how to use aperture, shutter speed, and ISO to be in full creative control over each photo that you shoot. For this course, you will definitely need your own DSLR to get the full benefits of the training videos. 

13. Basics of Digital Photography 

Price: $40.00 discounted to $19.99

Master the features of your camera through this Basics of Digital Photography course by Rick Allred. Learn how to find the best light and even shoot successful photos in different light settings, including the challenging low light and harsh sunlight. You will also discover the potential uses of zoom, telephoto, and wide-ange lenses. 

14. Bring Details to Life with Alien Skin 

Price: $39 per month or $149 per year 

In Bring Details to Life with Alien Skin, instructor Sue Bryce teaches you how she uses the Alien Skin software, now renamed to Exposure Software, to enhance her work. Sue Bryce is a master photographer, illustrator, artist and anthropologist. Through this class, she shows how to use effects inspired by film. 

15. Portrait Photography Bootcamp

Price: $89 or $13/month 

Lindsay Adler teaches this Portrait Photography Bootcamp in which you’ll get to learn all you need to know to take the best portraits.

You will study camera selection, accessories, selection, lenses, and lighting, and even posing and directing your subjects, ranging from individuals to groups. The great thing about this course is that it starts at the very beginning to give you a foundation for the different styles of portrait photography. 

16. Photography Basics and Beyond

Price: 7-day Free Trial or $49 per month after trial ends 

Photography Basics and Beyond allows you to use a DSLR or a smartphone camera, teaching you to master exposure and composition.

You will also get to explore creative and documentary concepts to make the most effective photographs. This course covers a wide range of principles in photography, including camera control, creativity, and composition. 

17. The Elements of Effective Photographs

Price: Free 30-day trial on LinkedIn Learning; $29.99/month for monthly plan or $19.99/month for annual plan to access all courses

Pulitzer-nominated photographer Natalie Fobes teaches The Elements of Effective Photographs to take viewers not just into her studio but also on location to see how different elements come together for an effective photo. You will learn compositional elements to guide you, and understand the role of light and color in a photo. 

18. Annie Leibovitz Teaches Photography Masterclass

Price: Masterclass All-Access Pass

World-famous photographer Annie Leibovitz, whose photographs are featured in magazines like Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair, teaches this photography Masterclass. She covers important topics like portrait photography, creating concepts, and working with light, among others, while taking you through a case study of a photoshoot for Vogue.

19. Jimmy Chin Teaches Adventure Photography Masterclass 

Price: Masterclass All-Access Pass 

National Geographic photographer Jimmy Chin’s Masterclass by bringing you on location for a climbing photoshoot and an outdoor portrait session. He also tackles important principles of narrative, as well as his strategy for working with commercial clients. 

20. New York Institute of Photography Professional Photography Course 

Price: $699 discounted to $549

Graduates are eligible for certification by the Professional Photographers of America (PPA), an important benchmark in the field of photography.

This online course by the New York Institute of Photography is a complete program that will teach you the secrets of lenses, lighting, and exposure.

You will be trained on correct composition while learning how professional photographers are able to make an effective shot no matter the conditions.

You will also get an introduction to different genres in photography, including nature, wildlife, landscapes, portraits, weddings, still life, and studio, among others. 

Online Courses on Photography

Whichever online course you want to take from this list of classes on photography, remember that nothing beats actually applying what you learn by constantly practicing.

Start taking photographs and sharing your work with your friends and network, and join local photography groups. Get feedback from other photographers, and constantly strive to improve your work.

Did you find this post helpful? Let us know in the comments below! 


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