Best Online Photography Courses

Updated on June 16, 2022
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Are you passionate about photography? Want to turn your hobby into a career? If you think about it, that’s a pretty brilliant idea since your passion can eventually bring you money. And you can easily accomplish this with the best online photography courses available on the web.

TitleMeta ScoreDifficultyDurationPlatform
Photography Basics and Beyond: From Smartphone to DSLR Specialization
by Peter Glendinning
Certificate
96
Based on 4.7K ratings, and 101.5K students.
Difficulty: Beginner
Duration:
96 hours
Platform: Coursera – Review
Rating: 4.9/5
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Photography Course Online
by Upskillist Staff
Certificate
96
Based on 3M students.
Difficulty: Beginner
Duration:
1 hours
Platform: Upskillist – Review
Rating: 4/5
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Photography Techniques: Light, Content, and Sharing
by Peter Glendinning
Certificate
96
Based on 1K ratings, and 1 students.
Difficulty:
Duration:
1 hours
Platform: Coursera – Review
Rating: 4.9/5
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Photography Masterclass: A Complete Guide to Photography
by Phil Ebiner
Lifetime Access
Certificate
94
Based on 58.3K ratings, and 293.3K students.
Difficulty: Beginner
Duration:
25 hours
Platform: Udemy – Review
Rating: 4.5/5
Visit
Outstanding Composition: How to blow away your audience
by Thomas Leuthard
Lifetime Access
Certificate
88
Based on 1.4K ratings, and 27.2K students.
Difficulty: Beginner
Duration:
6 hours
Platform: Udemy – Review
Rating: 4.5/5
Visit
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Photography Overview

First, you have to learn everything about it, from why and where to learn photography, which tools to master, to what are some possible job options and career opportunities. So, let’s begin!

Best Way to Learn Photography

In this day and age, learning online has never been easier. Thanks to the easy access to the internet and numerous online learning platforms available, anyone can start learning and gain new knowledge from the comfort of their home. In fact, as a result of the many benefits it offers, online education is all the rage now. Luckily, you can also learn photography on your computer, sometimes without spending a single cent, as plenty of platforms offer their best online photography courses for free.

On the other hand, if you are looking for a more traditional way of learning, you can always enroll at a university or college and earn a degree. Alternatively, you could attend photography academies, workshops, or clubs and get formal training. However, all of these usually last longer compared to online courses, and of course, you have to pay for them, sometimes a fortune. That said, you’d better go with online courses.

Why Learn Photography

Photography has become one of the most in-demand skills of the 21st century mainly because of the inclusion of cameras on mobile phones and the affordability of digital cameras with impressive specs. What’s more, not to mention social media and photo-sharing apps and the current generation’s liking for taking and cherishing photographs.

If you are an aspiring photographer, you could develop serious photography skills and turn your hobby into a lucrative job. Precisely speaking, salaries typically start from about $11 and go up to $42 per hour, depending on your skill level and years of experience. On average, the salary for a photographer is around $20 per hour, which makes around $42,000 per year in the U.S. Worth considering, right?

Perks of Being a Photographer

Apart from the noteworthy salary, there are other pretty rewarding advantages of being a professional photographer. Here are some examples:

Opportunities to be Creative

Photography allows plenty of opportunities for expressing your creative nature. And successful ones are well paid for doing that. Qualified and experienced photographers know how to showcase the beauty and emotions of random objects and people. Whatever you ask them, they deliver.

Different Types of Photography

Once you choose to start your photography career, you will be able to try several specific types of photography and preferably opt for one to specialize in. For instance, you could do wedding photography, magazine photography, sports photos, etc. The options are endless.

Numerous Travel Opportunities

Some photographers are commonly asked to photograph people, objects, or places at different locations across the globe. That’s an excellent chance to explore the world and travel. Plus, you don’t have to think about expenses as everything is covered by the person who hires you.

Wide Exposure and Publicity

Those with a unique set of skills are widely praised in national and international publications and media. People recognize their work, and their publicity constantly increases, leading to new work arrangements and higher salary rates.

Great Job Satisfaction

At last, professional photographers have all once started as photography enthusiasts who then turned their passion into a profession. This means they all started exploring the industry as a hobby and simply loved what they did. So, they have high levels of job satisfaction.

Photography Trends for 2022

Like in any other industry, you have to follow the latest trends to succeed in photography. Trends are often mentioned in the best online photography courses. Hence, we’ve comprised the following list explaining the popular trends that will make their way into 2022.

Minimalism and Surrealism

Although both minimalism and surrealism are classic terms, you will definitely hear them a lot in the coming year. Briefly put, minimalism eliminates the unnecessary and brings the composition to extreme spareness and simplicity. On the other hand, surrealism adds an extra creative touch and a bit of the other world and the subconscious mind.

Use of Vivid Colors

In 2022, vivid colors like lime green, Kelly green, sunset orange, saturated yellow, etc., are all trending hues. Just think of how bright, and super-saturated colors and neon lights can make your work pop off. They will be used everywhere, from brochures, catalogs, magazines, and fashion, to website design to attract attention.

Drones

Though they appeared years ago, no trending list will be complete without mentioning drones, also called unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Even some inexpensive models provide excellent aerial photography capabilities, allowing you to take photos high from the sky. But, first, ensure you understand the rules, laws, and regulations applicable to their use.

Environmental Photography

In recent years, photographers have helped raise public awareness of climate change and how humanity is harming the environment. Whether they take photos of endangered species, rising sea levels, humanitarian crises, poverty, or drought, photographers change minds and remind us that we all have to do something to save our planet.

Video and Cinemagraphs

Last but not least, thanks to technological advancements like DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) and mirrorless cameras, you no longer have to have two cameras to record good-quality video footage and take decent photos. The new cameras allow you to switch between these two tasks in a second and make the most of the new powerful technology.

Photography Jobs

Photography jobs vary based on job outlook, and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the rate of self-employed photographers will grow by 10% by the end of 2028. In addition, while the BLS projects a decreased demand for traditional photographers, at the same time, it projects growing lucrative opportunities in commercial and drone photography.

That said, you must specialize in the right type of photography to succeed in the field. In short, here are the most in-demand and well-paid photography jobs:

Photojournalism

Known as news photography, photojournalism is one type of photography that is always in demand. These photographers take photos of current events, people, and places, for print news and television networks. And, you should often travel to different places.

Portrait Photography

Working with a great range of clients is what it takes to be a portrait photographer. You may be hired to take school, wedding, newborn photos, or whatever special occasion. Sometimes you may even have to travel to another location which increases the number of travel opportunities.

Fine Art Photography

Fine art photography is a style of photography developed by an artist with a distinctive method of creating photos. In general, such photographers aim to either publish or exhibit their work as these photos are purely designed for aesthetic and imaginative purposes.

Commercial Photography

Buildings, landscapes, products, etc., are all objects for commercial photographers who work with numerous clients to create images for catalogs, brochures, advertisements, etc. In addition, aerial imaging, or drone photography, is frequently part of commercial photography.

Fashion Photography

Finally, here’s the right type of photography if you are both a fashionista and a photography enthusiast. You could easily blend your two passions and start taking photos for fashion campaigns, shows, and editorial projects, while closely working with renowned designers, advertisers, and editors.

Photography Tools

Want to succeed in the photography industry? Then, you will need a bit more than passion. We are talking about having the right software tools and equipment that will ease the process of creating stunning photographs. You will also come across these tools in the preview of the best online photography courses. So, let’s get started!

Popular Photography Software Tools

Photo editing software won’t only fix your photos but also inspire your creativity. However, not every software is suitable for every photographer as the needs vary based on the type of photography. In general, these are the software tools you should master:

Adobe Photography Plan

The Adobe Photography Plan is mainly what every photographer needs as Photoshop and Lightroom are included, and it is a great value for money. Photoshop has a clean and user-friendly interface, while Lightroom is great for image organizing, non-destructive editing, effects, and raw processing. In addition, it comes with cloud-based storage making your photos available everywhere. The software can run on Windows and Mac and costs $19.99 a month with 1TB included.

Capture One

Although it looks expensive, $24 a month or $170 a year, Capture One is the closest rival to Lightroom, offering the utmost raw processing, tethering, editing tools, and layer-based local adjustments. It now features HDR and panorama merge, which are highly effective and natural-looking. Furthermore, it works in a single window with a highly-customizable set of ‘tool tabs’ and works on both Windows and Mac.

DxO PhotoLab

Here’s one solid all-around photo-editing software available for Mac and Windows, especially if you look for superb raw processing, excellent automatic lens corrections, and X-Trans files support. On the other hand, the Photo Library is a long way from Lightroom, i.e., quite basic and primitive, and the Elite version is quite expensive, i.e., $219 – a one-time payment. Plus, DxO PhotoLab isn’t a suitable program for beginners.

Affinity Photo

If you need a cheaper alternative to Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator for working on existing images, Affinity Photo offers layers and filters for striking effects. In addition, it features impressive editing tools, additional overlay packs, panoramic stitching, etc. You can also work with SVG file format and PSD files. It doesn’t come with a subscription fee, only a one-time extra-low payment, and offers a 90-day free trial. It supports Windows, Mac, and iPad.

Luminar

Let’s have a look at Luminar AI and Luminar Neo together as one product as they share lots of things. Precisely speaking, tech, tools, and approach included in the AI are also notable in the Neo version, so we can conclude that the first is a precursor of the latter. Luminar is perfect for customizable workspaces and non-destructive workflows and offers a wide selection of filters and tools, such as the AI Sky Replacement filter or portrait enhancement tools. Everything you’d expect an all-around editor (for Windows and Mac) to offer.

Photography Equipment Tools

Moving on to equipment tools, we understand that deciding what to get can be really overwhelming, especially if you are a beginner. For that reason, we’ve come up with the following photography equipment list to help you purchase the essential items you need.

Camera

Your first photography purchase should, of course, be a camera. In the past, buying a camera was easy as your decision typically just revolved around price. But these days, with all the technical jargon, terms, and camera parts, making a decision can be intimidating. In summary, there are five factors you should consider, including image quality, ergonomics, size, lenses availability, and model age.

Prime Lenses

Next, as soon as you get your camera, you should consider buying prime lenses. In general, most cameras come with a standard lens kit, but they just can’t be as good as a simple prime lens in terms of quality or versatility. And regardless of the lack of an adjustable focal length, prime lenses offer exceptional photo quality and portability.

Speedlight

A light to spare is what every photographer can find in handy. Luckily, you can easily illuminate whatever scene you need quickly and effectively using a speedlight. What’s more, you can sync it directly to a camera’s shutter, and it will produce a powerful flash of light that lasts less than a second. In short, a speedlight is what every photographer, including beginners, needs.

Tripod

If you are serious about becoming a photographer, spending money on a decent tripod is definitely worth it. Above all, it will allow you to take advantage of long exposures and low ISOs without worrying about motion blur. Just ensure you find the right type providing enough strength and stability while being lightweight and practical to carry around.

Memory Cards

Furthermore, don’t forget one of the essentials – a nice set of memory cards. The truth is, if you don’t have a memory card, you cannot take any photos. So, consider buying them a priority. Also, think about how you will store and keep them as they are pretty small and easy to lose without proper storage. That said, invest in a memory card case holder where you can safely keep them.

Rechargeable Batteries

In the end, it’s never a bad idea to get some extra batteries and chargers designed for your camera. Run-of-the-mill AA batteries are helpful to have as they can be used to ensure your other tools like speedlights, syncs, and remotes, work properly. By doing so, you will make sure that you can shoot all day long without worrying about dead batteries.

Photography Career Opportunities

Equipped with adequate education and experience, photographers can start careers in several different fields like print and broadcast media, publishing, and motion pictures. The truth is, photography work is needed in almost every industry which is why the career is and will always be in demand. So enrolling in one of the best online photography courses is always a good idea.

Also, regardless of the specialization chosen, a professional photographer should focus on improving education, increasing experience, and building a solid portfolio to succeed in the field and be sought by employers and clients.

Getting formal education isn’t always needed as your skills matter most. Instead, just ensure you keep track of the latest trends and technology advancements and make sure your tools and equipment are updated regularly.

At last, don’t forget that you can open your own studio or become a freelancer. Indeed, 60% of photographers are self-employed, so the idea is certainly worth considering. First, however, ensure you improve your customer service, marketing, and communication skills because you have to build a strong brand around your name.

Photography Prerequisite

With high-quality cameras on smartphones, anyone can assume that they can be good photographers. Still, as photography has become more popular, demand for high-quality photos and those who do it professionally has also increased.

So, what are the photography prerequisites to set you on the path of becoming a professional photographer? First and foremost, you have to have a good eye and be creative. That’s indeed the crucial prerequisite. Without artistic vision, you aren’t likely to succeed in the world of photography.

As already noted, you don’t need a special degree. Instead, just practice your passion daily and take some of the best online photography courses to gain the critical skills for photographers, which may often include technical knowledge and understanding of cameras, light, and shade.

Finally, as photography is both art and trade, you also have to improve your communication skills. It simply goes without saying that communication is a must when creating and building connections and relationships with clients. Thus, pay attention to soft skills, too!

Best Photography Online Learning Platforms

Here are the best online platforms for learning Photography. You can find out everything about these online learning platforms by reading our in-depth review.

PlatformRatingSummary
Skillshare
Rating: 4.3/5
Summary
Skillshare is the the platform where you up your creative skills.
Review
Coursera
Rating: 4.9/5
Summary
Coursera offers University-level courses, accredited certifications, and has one of the biggest learning communities.
Review
Udemy
Rating: 4.5/5
Summary
Udemy is an online learning platform with the largest number of courses.
Review
MasterClass
Rating: 3.7/5
Summary
MasterClass gives you the opportunity to learn skills from world-class instructors.
Review
LinkedIn Learning
Rating: 4.3/5
Summary
LinkedIn Learning will help you learn in-demand skills and move up in your career.
Review

Where to Learn Photography

The bottom line, there are skills you should master if you want to stand out from the crowd. Luckily, as education increasingly moves online, you can now earn a certificate in numerous photography specializations by attending some of the best online photography courses and programs.

Learning photography online isn’t as time-consuming as formal training, and you can learn wherever you want, at any time you want. Also, it doesn’t necessarily require lots of money to learn online, as is the case with traditional education.

So, where to learn photography online?

The internet is full of courses, but you need the best online photography courses and platforms to gain the knowledge and skills required quickly and effectively. Platforms like Coursera, Udemy, LinkedIn Learning, Masterclass, and Skillshare, are great options for you to start your online journey. All of their courses are taught by experienced experts, and some even offer accredited certification.

Therefore, don’t wait and hone your skills now!