The Best Online Photography Classes And Courses [FREE + PAID]

Taking an online photography class is one of the best ways to greatly improve your photography. While having access to a personal mentor might be the only thing better, it’s not something that’s really possible for most of us and even then online photography courses offer a lot of advantages.

Lately, a lot of platforms have sprung up offering classes and even on the established websites, the number of courses can be overwhelming.

So in this post, I gathered some of the best online photography classes and courses available, both free and paid and for all kind of levels.

Happy learning!

Free Online Photography Courses

Strobist

Strobist

Price: Free
Topics: Photography

When David Hobby started strobist.com in 2006 he never imagined it would turn out to be this big of a success. But that’s what you get when you create an entirely free online photography course dedicated to using off-camera flash.

Not long after, Strobist was named one of the “25 Best Blogs of 2010” by Time Magazine and turned into the go-to destination for amateur and pro photographers who wanted to learn more about lighting with small flashes.

A big reason is that David Hobby is very good at explaining technical lighting techniques in an easy to understand way.

To date, over four million photographers have taken his original Lighting 101 course on Strobist and it remains a great free resource about using artificial light.

Over the years he expanded on that original course with Lighting 102 and Lighting 103 that go into more depth. The series of walk-throughs called On Assignment is also incredibly valuable.

And if you’re looking for advice about what to buy, he also has you covered.

Highly recommended!

If you want more lessons from David Hobby, he also has online training videos available on Lynda.

Ditch Auto – Start Shooting In Manual By Jerad Hill

Start-Shooting-Manual-Course

Price: Free
Topics: Photography

Cambridge In Colour

Cambridge-In-Colour-Photography-Courses

Price: Free
Topics: Photography

Cambridge in Colour less a course but more great resource with very in-depth tutorials, suitable for beginners and experts.

The tutorials are highly visual and interactive, and range from “Understanding Depth of Field” to subjects as advanced as “Understanding Diffraction: Pixel Size, Aperture and Airy Disks“.

Everything is organized into 5 topics:

  • Concepts & Terminology
  • Using Camera Equipment
  • Editing & Post-Processing
  • Color Management & Printing
  • Photo Techniques & Styles

The good thing is that all the lessons are “concept” oriented, so independent of camera brand, editing software or gear.

Reddit Photo Class

Reddit-Photoclass

Price: Free
Topics: Photography

This “Intro To Photography” class originally appeared on Reddit back in August 2010 and ran for a month on /r/photoclass.

Created by Alex Buisse (who is also a great photographer) the idea was simple: 30 posts (lessons) about the basics of photography. From “What Is A Camera” to “Tripods” and “Composition”, mixed with assignments to get you from theory to practice.

No prior knowledge is needed to take any of the lessons, so it’s a perfect course for absolute beginners as long as you know which end of the camera to point at the subject.

If you are already a good photographer you’ll probably know most of this although you might pick up some new things along the way.

All 30 lessons are immediately accessible so you can go through them on your own pace.

Annie Leibovitz Teaches Photography (Masterclass)

Annie-Leibovitz-Teaches-Photography-Masterclass

Price: $90
Topics: Photography

In this first online class by Annie Leibovitz, she teaches you about her shooting process, how to create concepts and work with subjects, and she talks about her influences like Robert Frank and Richard Avedon.

However, she is not a technician, so don’t expect a “do this” or “underexpose by 3 stops” course.

This Masterclass with Annie Leibovitz is made of 14 videos (just under 3 hours total) each with a short accompanying PDF.  Go also get access to a class-dedicated forum.

Most of the videos are interview-style with Annie, providing a look into her mindset and great for photographers interested in ideas more than technical details.

If you don’t have $90 for this class, or you think you don’t like it you can also take a look at her documentary or pick up one of Annie’s many excellent books. (I recommend At Work which is an in-depth retrospective of her career in which she details many of her most famous pictures.)

Clickin Moms

Clickin-Moms-Photography-Courses

Price: $10/month – $60/year
Topics: Photography, Post Processing

Clickin Moms is mainly a vibrant community of (primarily) woman that discuss everything from learning how to take better photos to editing pictures.

In this regard, it’s mostly aimed at moms (not surprisingly) who want to document every moment of their children and that want to do it beautifully.

As a member, you’ll get access hundreds of tutorials covering all skill levels and to the heart of Clickin Moms: the forum. With millions of posts and more than 15.000 members its a wealth of information and educational resources, as well as a great place to socialize and network.

They also host contests and challenges that help you up your photography game.

In that way, Clickin Moms is obviously a great source for supportive help on anything photographic.

Click Photo School

click-photo-school

Price: $25 – $300 
Topics: Photography

Click Photo School is actually another educational website from the same people behind Clickin Moms above.

They work a little different though, with Click Photo Shool centered around 100% online workshops. And where Clickin Moms targets parents who want to capture their children, Click Photo School is more for all kinds of photographers.

During one of these workshops, you’ll receive the course material (mostly PDF and/or videos) each week.

Once you sign up, you’ll also get access to a course forum that is open 24 hours a day so that you can learn on your own schedule, and interact with the instructor of the workshop to get answers on questions.

PHLEARN

PHLEARN-Online-Photography-Courses

Price: $8.25/month – $99.95/year
Topics: Photography, Post Processing

When it comes to Photoshop tutorials, there are plenty of websites out there. But, Aaron Nace’s PHLEARN is probably one of the best when it comes to learning advanced post-processing techniques.

With over 1,600,000 YouTube subscribers and customers in 149 countries, it is the number one Photoshop and Lightroom (and photography) tutorial website in the world.

With more than 500 tutorials it has evolved over the years into a massive resource for any photographer that wants to expand their post-processing.

Each lesson is relatively short and can be watched in one go, and they are easy to follow as long as you have a basic grasp of the concepts being discussed.

As a subscriber, you’ll have access to all the tutorials and you can watch them as many times as you want across any of your devices.

CreativeLive

CreativeLive-Photography-Classes

Price: $8.25/month – $99.95/year
Topics: Photography, Post Processing

CreativeLive was started in 2010 by Craig Swanson and Chase Jarvis (one of the most successful commercial photographers of the last couple of years) as an online space to share their knowledge about photography.

Today, CreativeLive is much bigger than just a photography educational platform. Over the years it also added business, design and video sections but, by far, photography is still the biggest part.

With nearly 10.000 hours of carefully curated and produced content, taught by the top names in their respective industry, CreativeLive has turned into the world’s largest live streaming online education platform.

They also work with a very specific model:

  • First, they broadcast their classes live as an online classroom and, most often, in front of a live audience of about 15 people that ask questions to the instructors. These live streams are totally free.
  • During these live broadcasts, you can interact with the teacher by posting questions and comments.
  • Afterward, if you want to take any of the courses at your own pace, you must purchase the course.

A couple of suggested classes:

Food Photography School

Food-Photography-School

Price: $299 – $499
Topics: Photography, Post Processing

If you’re interested in food photography, the Food Photography School is the best online photography course available.

Making food look tasty can be tricky.

That’s why Dana (the creator of the courses and food photographer at the very popular minimalistbaker.com) created more than 130+ video lessons.

As a bonus, you also have the option to get the artificial lighting course and the phone photography course. With these, you’ll learn how to take great food photographs while the weather isn’t great (or at night) and how to use your phone if you don’t have a fancy camera.

Skillshare

Skillshare-Classes

Price: $15/month – $99/year
Topics: Photography, Post Processing