Photo Contest Insider Blog

10 of the Best Free Online Courses for Photographers

September 22, 2016

With the emergence of online photography courses, photographers can learn everything they need to know about their craft from the comfort of their own home. Thankfully, gaining additional education in this field doesn’t have to be a costly exercise, as multiple platforms are now releasing short but helpful online courses which won’t cost you a cent.

Today, I’ve rounded-up 10 of the very best of these, and they cover a wide variety of photography-related content. So whether you’re looking to gain knowledge about post-processing, composing an image or even lighting, there’ll certainly be something for you below!

The Basics of Photography: The Complete Guide by Lifehacker:

Let’s start with the basics! If you’re looking to learn everything from how your camera works to composing your photos and editing them, then this is the course for you. There are 5 parts to this free online course, along with additional resources for further understanding of each lesson. The other great news is that this online course is available all-year-round so you can complete it at your own pace. You can find out more here.


Intermediate Photography Course by

If you’re beyond the basics when it comes to operating your camera and understanding various elements of photography, then you’ll be pleased to know that offers a free online course aimed at intermediate photographers. This isn’t your average short course, however, as these guys have provided many valuable and in-depth lessons about everything from sunset photography, focal length and pop-up flash, to travel photography, black and white photography, and how to capture images in winter. Even if you’re just looking for a refresher course about your craft, then this is certainly something to consider. Find out more at this link.

Your Road to Better Photography by Udemy

This free course from Udemy contains 10 lectures and a total of 31 mins of video content. The teacher, Corey Reese, is a Celebrity Photographer & Cinematographer, and he’ll be covering everything from shooting in natural light, to understanding aperture, and using shutter speed to create long exposure shots (among other topics). Check it out here.


Lighting 101 by Strobist

This is an extremely popular free online course which teaches you everything you need to know about setting up and working with lighting in order to improve your photography. Each lesson is mostly text-based with accompanying images, but it really does cover the material in an in-depth but easy-to-understand way. View it at this link.

Photoshop & Lightroom for Photographers by Udemy

Any photographer will agree that being able to use Photoshop and / or Lightroom for post-processing of their images is extremely important. It’s one thing to be able to know how to capture the perfect image, but another thing to actually be able to edit it effectively! Thankfully, this free online course delves into both of Adobe’s popular programs and so far over 61,000 students have enrolled, proving that this course is certainly a popular one. The course contains over 55 lessons and its content is divided into 4 chapters. There’s even a bonus chapter full of non post-processing photography tips! Check it out here.


The Art of Photography (PHOT) by Dr. Shane Hulbert at RMIT University

Fancy broadening your understanding of contemporary photographic art through a free and short university-level course? There are 4 intriguing modules, each containing 10 videos, 9 quizzes, and 1 assessment. You’ll learn about light through lenses, photography’s evolution, the digital darkroom, and the relationship between visual language and creative photography. This course requires approximately 2 – 4 hours of study per week and the total video time for this course is approximately 4 hours and 2 minutes. Find out more at this link.

Professional Family Portraits with Kirk Tuck by Craftsy

Craftsy usually sell online courses, but they have one free photography course option which will still prove to be useful. This course will help you to learn essential skills for successful family photo sessions with toddlers, mature adults and groups. Students will receive 4 HD video lessons with anytime, anywhere access, along with a downloadable list of Kirk’s preferred gear, an hour and a half of close-up instruction, and answers from Kirk and fellow classmates in the virtual classroom. Check it out here.


CreativeLive’s Free On-Air Photography Classes

CreativeLive is another platform which mostly sells online courses, however they have a free section titled ‘On-Air’ which lets you listen to a chosen course at no cost whatsoever. Currently, students can tune-in to ‘Location, Posing, Execution’ for free, however in just a few days’ time other photography-related classes will be airing, such as ‘Manual Mode Made Simple’, ‘Family Pet Photography’, and ‘Posing 101’. You can check out all upcoming on-air classes here and don’t forget to RSVP to the ones you’re interested in so you can receive email notifications to remind you when it goes live! You can view more info at this link.

Commercial Photography: Still and Moving Image by Norwich University of the Arts from FutureLearn

This free online course from FutureLearn is designed to help current or aspiring commercial photographers get to grips with new media and moving image photography. It’s another one of those awesome University-level courses which is available completely for free, and this course is aimed at people who are already working in commercial photography, either as photographers or assistants, and want to develop their skills. Check it out here.


Overcoming Self-Doubt and Finding Confidence as a Photographer by

Over the past few weeks I’ve also been developing a free 7-day online course designed for photographers who find that they lack confidence in their work and are unsure about what steps they can take to bring their photography career to a whole new (and successful) level. It launches next week (1st September 2016) and will cover a wide variety of topics such as photography goal-setting, assessing your work, how to have a successful online presence, collaborating with inspirational creatives, and a lot more. There’s also an array of bonus material (such as checklists, email scripts, and worksheets), as well as free access to a supportive photographer Facebook group. If you’re interested in finding out more, you can click here.

There you have it – 10 of the best free online courses for photographers! Why not take advantage of these incredible resources and take part in at least one during September? Remember, you can never be too educated, especially when it comes to a topic that you’re extremely passionate about 🙂

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