Best Online Photography Courses | Not to miss in 2021
2 January, 2021
With so many online courses out there to choose from, it can be hard to know which ones are actually the top courses. That becomes even more apparent when we are looking for a course on a specific topic like Photography.
That’s where we have stepped in and put together the very Best Online Photography Courses for you to learn with. Whether, you’re a complete newbie to photography, a holiday shooter or you want to know more about setting up your camera for the perfect photo. We have rounded up the best photography courses from top platforms like Masterclass or Skillshare and many more.
You may be still asking yourself; What’s included in the course?, Will I receive a certificate?, Which course gets you the most for your money?
To answer all these questions and help you choose the Best Online Photography Course. I’ve created this in-depth review.
Table of Content
With literally 1000’s of Online Photography Courses to choose from it may leave you feeling a little overwhelmed on how to decide on the right one. So, we have broken the review into Photography scenarios like ‘Best for Beginners’ or ‘Alternative Photography’ to really help you find what it is you are looking for.
So let’s delve into this in-depth review and help you choose the Best Online Photography Course for you.
Best Online Photography Courses
If you are in a rush and don’t have time to read the full review, then no worries as I have put together the top recommendations based on various photography related scenarios.
Learn the basics of HDR, setting up your camera and shooting photos along with editing tips.
The first 5 chapters of this course are free
Best for Beginners
Introduction to Photography
LinkedIn Learning brings you the course Introduction to Photography taught by Ben Long, a photographer and teacher. This course is designed strictly for beginners, providing you with a solid set of skills and tools to explore the world of photography.
LinkedIn Learning Introduction to Photography
This course is made up of a 1h 52mins video broken up into 8 chapters along with an introduction and conclusion. The introduction and some parts of chapter 1 are available for you to watch for free. The video chapters range from Cameras and Lenses, Exposure and Light Meters to Portrait basics and more. Along with the video lessons are chapter quizzes and you will earn a certificate of completion when you finish the course.
Price: $29.99 (+VAT) or a Monthly Subscription: $29.98 or Yearly Subscription: $19.99
Duration: 8 video chapters plus introduction and conclusion (1h 52mins)
Designed strictly for beginners
Access on tablet and phone
Certificate of completion
Course released in 2015 may be outdated for some
Course may seem a little expensive to buy individually
Skillshare brings you this course Fundamentals of DSLR Photography taught by photographer Justin Bridges teaching an introductory photography class to learn how to manually balance shutter speed, aperture, and ISO to achieve perfect exposure.
Skillshare Fundamentals of DSLR Photography
This course is 1hr 19m and consists of 12 lessons with an introduction video to watch for free. The video lessons range from preparing to shoot, studio demonstration to editing tips & tricks.
Price: $29 (discounted off original price $199 )
Duration: 12 lessons (1hr 19m)
Easy to follow
Clear and simple instructions for beginners
Instructor has an engaging and inviting personality
CreativeLive brings you this course with John Greengo to help you master the technical basics of the camera and form an understanding of the kind of equipment you need. The course has an emphasis on quality visuals and experiential learning.
CreativeLive Fundamentals of Photography
This course consists of 107 video lessons (24h 30m) with a trailer, introduction and the first 2 lessons you can watch for free. The video lessons range from camera types, lens system, shutter system to exposure modes, camera movement and much more. You will also have 12 PDFs of class material which will accompany the video content.
Price: $79 (discounted from original price of $199 ) or you can buy the creator pass ($39 monthly or $129 annually)
Duration: 107 video lessons (24h 30m)
Ideal for beginners
Course covers so many topics
Commitment of time
More expensive compared to other courses
Could be overwhelming with amount of topics covered in this course
Skillshare brings you this course Photography Essentials – Understanding the Basics taught by Sean Dalton, a Travel and Lifestyle Photographer. This course focuses on all the essential information you need to know to capture the perfect shoot. You will be able to take away tips and tricks to establish yourself as a proficient photographer.
Skillshare Photography Essentials – Understanding the Basics
The course is 1h 30mins consisting of 13 lessons. The video lessons have a free introduction and then move to the paid part of the course consisting of camera setting, focus, composition, lighting, photo editing tips and much more.
Price: Monthly Subscription: $15 or Yearly Subscription: $99
Duration: 13 lessons (1h 30mins)
Clear and simple view on foundations of photography
Udemy brings you this course Beginner Nikon Digital SLR (DSLR) Photography to learn how all those buttons and dials work on your Nikon DSLR. You will begin to learn how to see your images in a more sophisticated way, like a professional photographer.
Udemy Beginner Nikon Digital SLR (DSLR) Photography
The course includes 1 hour of on demand video with 1 downloadable resource and you will earn a certificate of completion. The introduction and exposure video lessons you will be able to access for free. The video lessons range from the aperture exercise, the mode dial and the shutter speed exercise. This course is for absolute beginners and someone who has some knowledge of how a camera works.
Udemy Photography Masterclass: A complete Guide to Photography
The course includes 22 hours of on demand videos with 63 articles and 1 downloadable resources and a certificate of completion. The video lessons range from exposure and composition to lighting and flash photography. You will have assignments to complete along the way and a full lifetime access to the course so you can go back and rewatch the course material as many times as you like. You will receive a certificate of completion at the end of the course.
Price: $14.99 (86% discount off original price $104.99 )
Masterclass brings you this course by Annie Leibovitz who teaches you her philosophy: how to develop concepts, work with subjects, shoot with natural light, and bring images to life in post-production.
Masterclass Annie Leibovitz Teaches Photography
The course consists of 15 video lessons (3h 4m) with a class trailer and sample of the course you can watch for free. The video lessons range from portrait photography, studio vs. location to the technical side of photography. A downloadable workbook accompanies the video classes with lesson recaps, assignment and additional resources. You will also have access to the Hub which is a social forum for you to network with other learners, where you can send your work in for critique and ask questions.
Price: $180 annual subscription (All-Access Pass) or $15 a month for the subscription
Duration: 15 video lessons (3h 4m)
Well renowned teacher
Engaging video content
Focus on portrait photography
Not very technical
Skills and techniques are described vaguely
At times feels more like an interview than a learning course
CreativeLive brings you this course by Sue Bryce that is the all-in-one portrait photography class that teaches you posing, shooting, marketing, selling and everything else you need to know to run a successful contemporary portrait photography business.
CreativeLive 28 Days of Portrait Photography
This course consists of 85 video lessons (58h 35mins) with a trailer to watch for free. The video lessons range from Year One in Business, Posing Couples to Shooting into the Backlight. All content can be accessed offline with lifetime access all which you can view with your iPhone or iPad.
Price: $29 (discounted off original price $199) or you can buy the creator pass ($39 monthly or $129 annually)
Udemy brings you this course Learn Landscape Photography by Ray Salisbury that looks at landscapes and teaches you how to plan and implement coastal landscape shoots. It will help you learn to go on location with more confidence and knowledge to capture beautiful scenes.
Udemy Learn Landscape Photography
The course is is 1 hour long that consists of 7 short lessons with a preview video of the course. The video lessons consist of introduction, camera gear and settings, composition and resources.
LinkedIn Learning brings you this course The Practicing Photographer taught by Ben Long photographer and teacher. Each instalment focuses on a photographic shooting scenario, a piece of gear, or software technique. After watching a video instalment you are inspired to pick up your camera (mouse or smartphone) and try out a technique.
LinkedIn Learning The Practicing Photographer
This course is currently (38h 11mins) with numerous video instalments. I say currently as this course is a little different from others as it is an ongoing series that is constantly being added to. Current instalments include Choosing a camera, shooting without a memory-card, working with reflections and many many more. Instead of viewing this as a course it is more like a resource that you can keep referring back to and picking up the instalments that are relevant to you.
Price: Monthly Subscription: $29.98 or Yearly Subscription: $19.99
Duration: Currently (38h 11mins) Ongoing series
Highly recognised instructor
Wide range of topics covered
Focus is for you to try out the technique after watching
If you wanted an individual course with a start and end this is not it
Masterclass brings you this course by Jimmy Chin who takes you on location to teach you techniques for capturing breathtaking shots. You will learn different creative approaches for commercial shoots and editorial spreads.
Masterclass Jimmy Chin Teaches Adventure Photography
The course consists of 20 video lessons (4h 10m) with a class trailer and sample you can watch for free. The video lessons range from On location climbing photoshoot, portraits and natural light to gear: camera, lenses, power and storage. A downloadable workbook accompanies the video classes with lesson recaps, assignment and additional resources
Price: $180 annual (All-Access Pass) or $15 a month for the subscription
Night Photography: You Can Shoot Stunning Night Photos
Udemy brings you this course Night Photography: You Can Shoot Stunning Night Photos to learn how to shoot amazing night photos. The course is created by 3 experienced photographers Phil Ebiner, William Carnahan and Sam Shimizu-Jones. You will learn how to shoot light trail photos with the equipment needed. You will also learn how to edit night photos to make them look even better.
Udemy Night Photography: You Can Shoot Stunning Night Photos
The course includes 2 hours off on-demand video with 11 downloadable resources and full lifetime access. The welcome and explanation to the course is free to access, so you can get a taste of what is to come. The on-demand video lessons range from night photography demonstration to editing night photos. The course is created for beginners but can also be a good follow up from Photography Masterclass: A complete Guide to Photography.
Duration: 2 hour of on-demand videos
Variety of techniques and editing stages
A little pricey
Lacking in content
Big focus on editing the photos with Lightroom and Photoshop
iPhone Photography: How to take Pro Photos On Your iPhone
Skillshare brings you this course iPhone Photography: How to take pro photos on your iPhone taught by Dale McManus that teaches you everything you need to be a professional digital photographer with nothing more than an iPhone You will learn how to take stunning photos by utilizing shot composition and how to create depth in your photography.
Skillshare iPhone Photography: How to take pro photos on your iPhone
The course is 51 minutes long with 19 digestible video lessons consisting of a free introduction which then moves to the setup to shot composition and editing of your photos. This course will help you if you want to develop an impressive portfolio or social media account(i.e. instagram).
Price: Monthly Subscription: $15 or Yearly Subscription: $99
Duration: 19 lessons (51mins)
Short and digestible segments
Great examples to learn from
Courses need to be updated with the newest iPhones
CreativeLive brings you this course with Ben Willmore to help you master photoshop and use this software to help you edit and enhance your photographs. This course will give you the tools to master adobe photoshop.
CreativeLive Adobe Photoshop CC: The Complete Guide
This course consists of 21 video lessons (25h 10m) with a trailer and introduction of photoshop to watch for free. The video lessons range from making selections, using layers, colour adjustments, retouching images and much more. As well as video content there are 70 pieces of class material to accompany your learning.
Price: $39 (discounted off original price $99)
Duration: 21 video lessons (25h 10m)
Classes flow well
Compliments well with Fundamentals of Photography course
At times overly detailed
Outdated version of photoshop
Class resources aren’t always referenced as to when to use in the video lessons
LinkedIn Learning brings you this course Photoshop 2020 One-on-One Fundamentals taught by Deke McClelland, a world-renowned Photoshop expert. This course is the first of a three-part series, to help you master the fundamentals of photoshop. This course has been completely updated for Photoshop 2020.
This course is (12h 50mins) of video content that is broken into 15 chapters. The introduction and the first part of chapter 1 is available for you to preview. The video chapters range from cropping and straightening photographs to adjusting brightness and contrast, retouching portraits and much more.
Price: Buy this course $39.99 (+VAT) or a Monthly Subscription: $29.98 or Yearly Subscription: $19.99
Duration: 15 video chapters plus introduction (12h 50mins)
Most updated version of Photoshop 2020
30-day-refund guarantee if you buy the individual course
Certificate of completion
Part 1 of 3 video courses (may feel you have to commit to all)
If you aren’t convinced yet by any of the paid Photography courses mentioned in this review, then no worries as I have researched some of the most popular free online photography courses out there.
Introductory Photography Course
Udemy brings you this course Introductory Photography Course with the first 5 chapters of video content for free(the full course consists of 10 chapters). Each video lesson is divided into easy-to-understand explanations from basic camera setup and composition, to aperture, shutter speed and much more.
Udemy Introductory Photography Course
This course is aimed at beginners all the way through to enthusiasts. As I mentioned before, the first 5 parts of this course are absolutely free. They consist of the following;
Intro & Background – Photography Course – Part 1 (13:22)
Basic Photography – Photography Course – Part 2 (12:45)
Composition – Photography Course – Part 3 (16:50)
Exposure – Photography Course – Part 4 (20:33)
Aperture & Depth of Field – Photography Course – Part 5 (17:21)
Keep in mind that with any free courses with Udemy you will only have access to the online video content, which means you cannot direct message the instructor, be involved in the Q&A or receive a certificate of completion.
Note: Something that is worth keeping in mind, is that on all paid Udemy courses have a 30-day money-back guarantee. So if you do financially commit to a course and it isn’t for you, you will still receive a full refund. Check out all of Udemy’s courses here.
Intro to HDR Photography: Shooting and Editing High Dynamic Range I Learn with macphun
Keep in mind that Skillshare offers about 10% of its courses for free which is around 2,000 of its total amount of courses. It does mean the selection of courses is limited along with its features, especially if you are looking for a specific topic within photography. At the same time we can’t really complain too much when it is completely free.
Note: That if you can’t find what you are looking for within the limited free courses. You have the option of signing up for either the monthly or yearly subscription which gives you a 1-month (sometimes 2-month) free trial. This will give you access to Skillshare’s 25,000 courses and features.
CreativeLive CLTV: Photo & Video
CreativeLive offers something a little different from the standard free classes or courses. It has classes which are live streamed that you can access for free. To check out which classes they offer for Photo & Video(see image below) you just need to select this option.
CreativeLive CLTV: Photo & Video
You will be able to see which classes are being offered for the weeks to come, by checking out the Upcoming (see image below). All you will need to do is to RSVP and you will receive a reminder when they’re live on air.
CreativeLive CLTV: Upcoming
Note: If you can’t find what it is you are looking for in the CLTV live classes. There is always the option to purchase the monthly or annual creator pass and if you aren’t satisfied with the first week you have a 7-day refund policy. This will give you access to CreativeLive’s 1500+ classes.
Final Thoughts: Best Online Photography Courses
Hopefully, this detailed review on the Best Online Photography Courses has answered some of your questions and pointed you in the right direction as to what it is you are looking for. But let me conclude on the most important parts of this review;
Please note that all the prices of these courses are from when I wrote this review, which can mean prices may change due to different offers and discounts being offered.
Please, leave a comment below if you have any questions and I’ll do my best to help you out.
Hey. I am Catherine and have been working as a freelancer for many years now and I believe that you are in charge of your own destiny. If learning a new skill or having a career change is something you want to do, then there is no better time than the present. If you have a question please feel free to ask me anything or leave me a comment.