Free Online Photography Classes

Category: Education , Photography

I want to learn more about photography, but I don't have the time or money to take classes at the local community college. Are there any free photography courses online that I can explore at my own pace?

Learn Photography With Online Classes

Many people want to move beyond amateur point and click snapshots, and the reasons are varied. Perhaps you have your eye on a career as a photographer, or you're interested in selling stock photography. Maybe you just want to take better photographs of birds, your kids, or the sunset.

Whatever your reasons for wanting to sharpen your photography skills, you can take advantage of some excellent websites offering free online photography classes. Here are some places where you can begin your quest to become a better photographer...
Free Online Photography Classes

  • is one of the most prominent and comprehensive sources of photography education. It includes lessons and tutorials covering the basics of film, optics, cameras, and lighting. Lessons on Web page layout and digital photography are also available. Novices and professionals will find course materials relevant to their needs. The site is ad-supported, so all of the lessons are free.
  • bills itself as "the online library of digital photography." Its free online lessons are organized in short chapter-like formats covering the choosing of digital photography equipment; the basics of using a digital camera; and ways to display your digital photographs.
  • NewBrightApples is a community for shutterbugs. It has an online photography school that includes business advice such as "how to open a portrait studio." There is also a community forum where photographers can trade information; classified ad section; and a blog full of tip and examples.
  • TribalCog is a travel-related site that offers free photography tips geared for tourists. There is an introduction to the basics of photography; tips on buying the right camera; advice on caring for cameras, lenses, film, and other accessories; photographing people and landscapes; creating a documentary; and technical subjects like lighting and light meters.
  • is a pay site offering over 300 digital photography lessons. But it offers free lessons as a sampler of its curriculum. Topics include creative techniques for night photography; making selections in Photoshop; shooting indoor portraits; how to use umbrellas to manipulate light; and other useful subjects.

Free College Courses in Photography

M.I.T. offers a philosophical photography curriculum as part of its Open CourseWare initiative. Rather than how-to courses, this batch discusses the esthetics of good photography, photography's role in society and business, and other touchy-feely aspects of photography.

Clemson University offers an Introduction to Medium Format Photography free of charge. Medium format film is 6.5 cm wide and comes in rolls of 120 and 220 cm. Medium format requires less magnification than 35 mm film, resulting in sharper prints and less cropping.

Cornell University's Lab of Ornithology offers a free course in photographing birds entitled "Developing the Artist's Eye." It covers lighting, framing the image, composition, camera angle, and focus effects.

Many free online photography lessons require registration. If you provide an email address, you can probably expect to receive offers from the site operators and third-parties for cameras, film, lenses, tripods, processing services, and other accessories. To avoid getting buried in unwanted emails, consider using a "throwaway" webmail address on Yahoo or Hotmail.

Do you have a favorite online photography resource? Post your comment or question below...

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Most recent comments on "Free Online Photography Classes"

Posted by:

John T.
14 Sep 2011

Great suggestions and free photo learning sites! I have also used and love the depth of info there.

There is another excellent and quite popular photography education site I use that I'd like to share with other photo enthusiasts. Just like the others you list, it is all free and I have not had to register to get access to all of the photo tips, camera how-to's and lessons. Definitely worth checking out

I've found their articles and lessons quite easy to understand and I like the way they illustrate all the concepts with photos. I've picked-up a lot of techniques and it's really helped my photos look more professional.

Another site I've used is which is also free and has very good photo advice.

Isn't it great when you find things that are actually useful and truly free!

Posted by:

Frank Cizek
24 Feb 2012

Good list, & maybe you'd care to add this to it.

POTN,, is a pretty good free resource for people who are learning &
professionals & advanced amateurs who visit to help them out. While it also carries title text for "Canon Digital Photography Forums", it is in no way affiliated with Canon, except that person who makes the site available to the public owns one & most of the users there do too. But a lot of photography isn't camera specific so it works out well for everyone.

I'm one of the moderators & we work to keep the site family friendly & spammers & trolls don't enjoy a long lifetime there. It's a worth a look for anyone who needs timely help.

Posted by:

Corey Duplain
10 Aug 2017

I would like to make a career out of photography it would be interesting and exciting at the same time and to go to different places across the United States of America.

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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Free Online Photography Classes (Posted: 25 May 2011)
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