Try These Free Online Photography Classes

Category: Photography

A long-time AskBob reader asks: 'I really 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?' Well, yes! There are some awesome (and free) online photography classes. Read on...

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...

• 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. Some lessons are free, and others are paid.

Free Online Photography Classes

• 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.

•  With Udemy's Introduction To Photography Course you'll learn the basics of how your camera works, 10 tips for framing up great photos, the rule of thirds, and what to look for in a background. The instructor also delves into what makes photos come out brighter or darker, how to control exposure, and camera terminology.

•  This free 2-3 hour Introduction to Digital Photography course from Alison promises take you beyond the "auto" setting on your digital camera, and get you one step closer to taking the perfect shot. It includes an introduction to the basic features of digital cameras, and a guide to different styles of photography such as landscape photography, street photography, and wildlife photography. Alison is one of the world’s largest free learning platforms for education and skills training, offering courses in Technology, Language, Science, Health, Humanities, Business, Math, and Marketing.

•  If your primary camera is an iPhone, check out Apple's How to Shoot on iPhone tutorials. There are tips and techniques to take great iPhone photos with light and shadow, how to shoot with depth control, how to shoot a timne-lapse video, how to use burst and panographic modes, and tips for great selfies, close-ups and action photos.

Free College Courses in Photography

M.I.T. offers some photography classes as part of its Open CourseWare initiative. Introduction to Photography and Related Media covers the fundamentals of analog and digital camera operation, film exposure and development, darkroom techniques, digital imaging, and studio lighting. Photography and Truth is more philosophical than instructional; discussing the uses, functions and meanings of still photographs; and how they shape and are shaped by politics, economics, and society.

Stanford offers Digital Photography, which provides an introduction to the scientific, artistic, and computing aspects of digital photography. You'll learn how to take good pictures with digital cameras, and how to manipulate them with software. Topics include lenses and optics, light and sensors, perspective and depth of field, sampling and noise, and the camera as a computing platform. The course also delves into the history of photography and highlights the work of some famous photographers.

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.

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

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Most recent comments on "Try These Free Online Photography Classes"

Posted by:

Ken H
15 Aug 2019

Personally I have found the
to be totally worth the fees. They also send you simple lessons for free if you sign up for their email.
The guy is from Latvia and has been taking iPhone photography since the iPhone 4 if I remember correctly. He is constantly updating his courses to keep up with the latest models and these updates are included when you join, but makes the lessons accessible to owners of earlier models.
You can find examples of the students' photography at:
The Founder Emil Pakarlis has posted some of his work here:
PS I have no financial ties to the school other than as a subscriber and (unfortunately) get no kickbacks for my recommendation.

Posted by:

16 Aug 2019


You just barely touched the subject of free photography courses. My two favorites are:

I have about 30 others.

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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Try These Free Online Photography Classes (Posted: 15 Aug 2019)
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