Beginner or advanced, you can get quality photo training online for Free Online Photography Courses.
Photography is not a skill that one is born with; it needs practice and perseverance to become a professional photographer. Gone are the days when you had to look for classes and sit with an expert in a classroom to learn an art form. With smartphones and so many digital platforms at your discretion, it’s all possible at the comfort of your home.
Whether you’re a beginning photographer, just getting to know your equipment and the basics of photography, or you’re advanced enough to nail the manual camera settings in every shot, learning about your craft (or hobby) is a lifetime effort.
There are fully interactive online photography courses that have made learning the art so much easier and hassle-free. The bonus here is that you can pause, rewind, and replay as many times as you want until you have perfected the lesson.
Fortunately, this list of best free online photography classes has something to offer photographers of every level, using all kinds of equipment from a DSLR camera to a point-and-shoot camera, and even those amazing smartphone cameras.
Most of the selections included in this list present the information via video courses. You don’t limit yourself to learning only through video, however, as there are a lot of useful tutorials online that are all text based. Check out any camera shop’s website (Adorama is a good one) or do a quick Google search for “free online photography tutorials” to find even more great learning materials.
So, if clicking breathtaking pictures is on your mind and you do not want to invest a lot of money initially, sign up for these Best Free Online Photography Courses in 2023 and start learning today.
Beginners to Advanced: Alison Photography Courses
- Short, but thorough classes.
- Wide range of information for all levels of photographers.
- Downloadable resources for offline reference.
- Classes are free (ad-supported), but certification requires a payment.
- Registration required to access free courses.
- Only a handful of photography courses offered.
Alison is an online learning destination that has much more than just photography courses on Online Photography Courses, but the ones they do offer span the range from beginner to advanced. For example, Introduction to Digital Photography, Diploma in Digital Photography, and Digital Photography all cover differing levels of training and include modules that teach everything from composition techniques to exposure, focal length, and reading histograms. All classes also offer the option for a digital, print, or framed certificate.
For the New Newbie: Intro to Photography Class (r-photoclass)
- Very thorough.
- Course author is a highly regarded, award-winning photographer.
- Lots of illustrations to help students understand the point of the lesson.
- No video, which for some students is a better way to learn.
- The class doesn’t appear to be repeated live any longer.
If you’re just starting out in photography, start here. This text-based class is one of the most thorough you’ll find for the newbie with little to no photography information for Free Online Photography Courses. Originally, it was created in response to a Reddit request. At one point, the course was repeated live through the r/photoclass subreddit, where students could get feedback from the course and interact with other budding photographers, but it appears the last time the class was run live was in 2017.
For Specialized Photography Courses: Skillshare
- Classes that go beyond the basics of photography.
- Resources and class projects help improve learned skills.
- Message board community so you can connect with other photographers.
- Some of the best courses are hidden behind a paywall.
- Finding free classes can be challenging if you don’t have a direct link.
You may have heard about Skillshare in association with other types of learning, but the site actually has a good selection of specialized photography courses, some of which are free. For example, Nightscapes: Landscape Astrophotography; Frame a Great Shot: Exploring Photo Composition; and Lifestyle Photography: Everyday Storytelling in Photo & Print are just a few of the classes you can expect to find.
Basic and Unusual Classes: Udemy
- Each section of the course is divided into short videos, usually less than 10 minutes.
- Free resources (like ebooks) included with some courses.
- Some courses are hidden behind a paywall.
- The cost of courses that aren’t free can get very expensive.
Udemy is a well-known online learning site that features all kinds of classes, including a little more than a dozen photography classes. They have the basics, like the Introductory Photography Course, but you’ll also find some classes at Udemy that you won’t find anywhere else, like Green Screen Photography. You can also Learn Landscape Photography or how to get started in Street Photography.
Unique Classes for Photographers: CreativeLive
- A few interesting & unique classes.
- Student Work area that allows students to upload their own photos based on the lesson.
- Offers some mobile photography classes, as well as DSLR.
- There don’t appear to be projects or assignments.
- Even free classes require sign-up.
- Some classes require a paid membership to access.
If you’re an intermediate or advanced photographer looking for information that’s slightly different from what you’ve seen elsewhere, you should check out CreativeLive. The site offers regular courses that stream live online almost everyday. They also have a selection of pre-recorded classes that delve into unique topics. For example, In Focus: Can We Be Objective Observers? addresses how to engage with subjects and In Focus: Starting a Personal Project can help you get started on your own photography project.
Another Beyond-the-Basics: Lectures on Digital Photography
- Lessons help you really understand what works in photography, and way.
- Review and discussion of famous historical photographers.
- Includes assignments and applets to increase learning.
- The course is no longer active or maintained, so there is no feedback on completed assignments.
From Stanford University, the Lectures on Digital Photography class is a basic class that goes way beyond the basics. This 18 lesson class takes students through optical effects in nature, depth and perspective, sampling and noise, and much, much more. It’s taught by Marc Levoy, who is a Professor Emeritus at Stanford and a Principal Engineer at Google, so expect the subject matter to get deep into the computational side of photography.
Single Focus: Professional Family Portraits
- The course layout is easily accessible.
- Single skill focus allows for in-depth learning.
- Portrait photography equipment cheat sheet.
- You have to register (free) for the Bluprint site to access the course.
- There’s a projects area, but no written instructions for the project.
If you’re interested in portrait photography, Kirk Tuck’s free class on Bluprint focuses entirely on how to capture great portraits. You’ll learn about everything from lighting and engaging with subjects to props and posing, and post-processing tips that make portraits pop.
For Intentional, Focused Learning: YouTube
- Huge variety of photography tutorials.
- Ability to build your own photography course and access as many different teachers as you like.
- Lessons available for both DSLR and smartphone photography.
- Not all teachers are suited for video.
- No lesson plan for cohesive photography courses.
- No assignments or projects to leverage to practice new skills.
You’re probably on YouTube several times a week, but did you stop to consider that it might be a great source for Free Online Photography Courses? It is. There are some fantastic photographers out there that are willing to share everything they know with you. You just have to find them.
One thing to keep in mind about YouTube is that the videos hosted there are less like full-blown classes and more like short(-ish) tutorials. Videos average 15 minutes to 2 hours long, but usually only focus on a single aspect of photography.
Not Exactly Free: LinkedIn Learning
- Classes all have a certificate that can be added to your LinkedIn profile or printed.
- Classes are professionally produced by dynamic instructors.
- Very large selection of courses.
- After free trial, courses are charged individually or through an annual subscription.
- No projects or assignments to practice newly learned skills.
LinkedIn Learning not offer free courses for Online Photography Courses, but you can usually get a free trial that will allow access to all the courses on the site for 30 days. During that time, you can take as many courses as you can finish. And most of the photography courses can be completed in the allotted 30-day trial.
The courses on this site are worth the time it takes to sign-up for and cancel the free trial (or the cost of a subscription — there a lot to learn here). You’ll find courses from the basics through nearly every aspect of photography you can think of from mobile photography to learn how to create great head shots, photography as a storytelling tool, kids photography, and creative photography techniques.
More Free Online Photography Courses
Most of the selections included in this list present the information via video courses. You don’t limit yourself to learning only through video, however, as there are a lot of useful tutorials online that are all text-based. Check out any camera shop’s website (Adorama is a good one) or do a quick Google search for “free online photography tutorials” to find even more great learning materials.