Online photography courses have become exceedingly popular over the years as classes and courses shift to online platforms. In this digital age, you can find just about any course you want online. But with something hands-on like photography, it can be a bit tricky.
How do online photography classes work? Online photography classes allow you to learn at your own pace and can be taken anywhere. Online courses typically consist of a mix of lectures, reading, teacher-led examples, and submitting projects online for feedback. You will still learn the core values of photography but in a fully remote setting.
There are plenty of places to choose courses from as well as a wide variety of different types of photography that you can learn. Finding the right class as well as understanding how they operate can be a fun and exciting process. Read on to see the tips you'll need to get started.
What You'll Learn in an Online Photography Class
While every course will be different, there are some standards that most general photography courses will cover. It all depends on the type of class you are looking for and what you want to get out of it. Later in this article, you'll be able to see the different types of courses and photography.
Here are a few general items that you can expect to find in many broad photography classes:
- Video tutorials covering different skills and troubleshooting.
- Opportunity to complete photo projects from home and submit online for review.
- Sharing your work to get feedback from peers.
- Understanding the business aspects of photography, how to market yourself, and make money.
They may also get you thinking about some of the other aspects that you could be interested in seeking out. A well-rounded course will offer not only to teach you the art of photography but also how to turn photography into a career or a lucrative hobby.
The Benefits of an Online Photography Class
Photography is an art form. It is meant to be creative, fun, and an expression to show others the world you see through your lens.
But that doesn't mean there isn't a huge technical element that must be mastered. Having a natural eye for lighting and capturing beauty are skills to possess when going into photography. Classes are what help bring out that talent and bring it to the photo.
Expect to better understand some aspects of photography after an online class and more.
When you take a class, you expect to become well versed in the subject matter, which should help open employment opportunities in itself.
Photography classes will teach you technical skills, how to find your voice, and how to stand out in a field of other photographers.
Online courses can also offer you credentials. Many courses will result in receiving a certificate or credential of some sort that you can put on your resume. Throughout the course, you will also be taking photos that could be used to start a portfolio.
Lastly, you may even be able to make some great connections with other people taking the class online or your instructor. Never underestimate the power of networking through an online class.
Widening Your Skillset
The technical skills you will gain in an online photography course are invaluable. Reading manuals and the occasional helpful article will only get you so far in photography. You want to learn the ins and outs of your camera, the craft, and the art form.
Here are some of the specific skills and rules you will gain from courses:
- Settings such as aperture, shutter speed, and white balance
- Understanding and adjusting exposure
- Leading lines
- Balancing elements
Being able to learn as you go from the comfort of your home and gain valuable feedback and different teaching styles online is truly an excellent resource for any photographer.
Learning Photo Editing or Development
Depending on if you are interested in digital or film photography, you will also have the chance to learn about how to bring the photo to life afterward. Classes on either type of photography will typically get into these elements as well.
You've taken a beautiful photograph. It's the most pristine beach you've ever seen with a perfect sunset. But then you notice that a not-so-perfect garbage can rudely photobomb your shot. Taking the picture is only half the job.
Afterward, there is typically always some sort of editing to do, especially if you want to work fields like fashion, doing portraits, or wildlife.
Editing doesn't always mean you're Photoshopping things out or making major changes. You will learn the subtle edits that help bring your photo to life. This is an essential piece of digital photography that needs to be studied and mastered.
If you are more of a film photographer and you love the feeling of an old school camera in your hands (film camera section) and the process of bringing that image to a glossy page, you'll want to partake in film classes that include the development.
You will be able to learn how to operate in a dark room, or even create your makeshift darkroom at home. You will understand how the chemicals works, the order of everything, and what materials you will need.
The process of developing photos is genuinely unique and exciting to learn. For a photographer, learning how to bring those photos out of your lens and onto the glossy page yourself is a huge benefit.
Learning New Styles
You may sign up for a class knowing how much you love one style of photography. But you may exit that class learning about a whole new style that you never even knew about or thought of.
When you take general classes that cover a full spectrum, you get to learn about new styles and techniques that you wouldn't have otherwise learned from a book geared towards the style you like.
Taking an online class will help broaden your horizons while you learn.
Learning in an Online Photography Classes
Online photography classes are a great way to begin your career as a photographer or simply to ignite a newfound passion. The online format allows freedom in your schedule and the pace at which you'd like to learn.
For those looking to become professionals, it's easy to load up on as much information as you can handle so you can begin getting work quicker. But for anyone looking into it as more of a hobby, you can go at your leisure and pick courses that are not as intense.
Some people will always prefer being in a designated classroom where they are interacting with others and having face time with an instructor. That style of traditional learning will always be here. It is easy to ask questions, you can be hands-on, and it encompasses every type of learner.
Before taking any online class, it's wise to consider which type of learner you are:
- Visual – learn by seeing/watching.
- Auditory – learn by listening.
- Reading/Writing – learn by reading and or writing notes.
- Kinesthetic – learn by doing.
When you're in a classroom, you can easily learn using any of these styles. The nice thing about online classes is that they allow you the same opportunity. It's a common misconception that an online course will just be a teacher reading out of a book to you. But that seems kind of pointless, right?
Online photography classes allow the same types of learning but in different ways.
The visual aspect of online photography will be in seeing examples of photos, as well as seeing tutorials for the equipment itself. There will always be some sort of visual learning through online photography courses. The type of visuals you will receive will depend on the type of course.
Here are some examples of the types of visual learning you may experience:
- Examples of different techniques.
- Guided tutorials on how to develop film, use certain aspects of your camera, or troubleshoot/clean equipment.
- Examples of different types of compositions.
Instead of just seeing pictures or watching tutorials, this will all still be instructor-led. This means there will always be an aspect of auditory learning. Sometimes, there will be full lectures that don't even require visuals alongside. The instructor will have a laid-out curriculum that includes times where your only job is to listen and absorb.
Here are some examples of the types of auditory learning you may experience:
- Lectures on any photography subject.
- Live Q&A sessions where you can interact with the instructor, but also with your peers in class.
- Interviews or interesting clips from famous photographers advising on a subject matter.
When you think about learning photography, you don't exactly think about reading a book. It's a hands-on experience that requires engagement of different kinds. But the process of reading and writing down notes can still be extremely helpful.
Some teachers may have recommended reading books that they want students to read regarding certain subjects. Taking notes on that reading is a great way to make sure you're absorbing the information.
Here are some examples of the types of reading you may experience:
- Reading books about techniques and actual shooting such as exposure, finding lighting, getting creative, and finding your voice in your work.
- Reading on more technical subject matters such as equipment, getting started, and basics of photography.
For kinesthetic learners, online courses may seem daunting. It can be hard to stay engaged while you are not active around others doing the activity and receiving that feedback right away. But online photography classes require a lot of action. There are still plenty of opportunities to learn while you are doing it.
Here are some examples of the types of kinesthetic learning you may experience:
- Throughout the class, the instructor may have you try things from home as they are explained to you.
- “Homework” – where you will have an assignment and be required to submit before the next class.
No matter your learning style, there will be a great way to learn about online photography. These classes are meant to make it as easy as possible to learn everything that you would in person, but online and at your own pace.
Where to Find Online Photography Courses
Any simple search online will come up with results for photography courses, but there are some key things to look for. Finding the right class that is from a reputable organization or institution is critical.
Online Learning Platforms
Some companies are specifically designed to help you find online courses. These platforms will typically be an excellent place to start if you're unsure. They will come up with different class options across their platform that meet your needs.
These can be especially useful if you are looking for a beginner's course or for something very specific such as a course on developing film or learning how to use a digital camera.
Finding Specific Institutions Offering Classes
The other way to approach it will be through specific institutions or colleges that offer online classes. This will be a great way to find comprehensive, thorough courses with incredible instructors.
A lot of universities offer online classes, even if most of their students are on campus. You can be any age or skill level to take a beginner's course. More advanced courses may require a prerequisite class to be sure you are prepared.
Master Classes or Professionals Offering Their Class
Master Class has become an extremely popular platform to learn from the best of the best in just about every industry. You can learn about all of their classes through their website.
While Master Class teaches in a straightforward style that doesn't require repeat classes over a few weeks, it can be a great place to learn some core practices of photography. Iconic photographer, Annie Leibovitz, teaches a photography class through their program.
If you have a favorite photographer or you're hugely influenced by someone, it would be wise to see if they offer any form of online classes. Even if they don't, you may stumble upon a course that teaches specific techniques that they utilize.
Finding free courses isn't always the easiest. But if you are just dabbling in photography and aren't sure that you want to invest in it just yet, you can find some free options online that can get you started.
The Different Types of Online Photography Courses
Underneath the umbrella of “photography,” there are tons of different types you can choose to study. While most places will offer some sort of introductory course or a general photography course that touches a little on everything, others are more focused.
Getting started with a photography class can be an overwhelming task if you're not quite sure which direction you'd like to go in. Beginning with a general course that covers everything is a great place to start.
After you've gotten through a more basic class, you will have an easier time figuring out what comes next. There are many different types of photography to get involved in. Whether it is going to be a hobby, your side gig, or your career – you can easily find different courses to give you an immersive online experience.
Here are some of the most popular categories of classes you will find online:
- Home/Real Estate
Each niche has its own set of guidelines, tips, and skills that are required. Shooting a wedding is wildly different than shooting wildlife. Well, I guess it might depend on the wedding.
Everything from the equipment to the types of lighting to how you navigate a photoshoot will be different in all these different categories. If you have basic photography skills and you have taken some general classes in the past, you will be able to dive into any of these more focused classes easier.
If you have past training or experience, you may also find some habits that are tough to break. Not every style of photography will require the same thing. So, go into any class with an open mind.
You may be an expert in taking real estate photos that can make a cramped studio apartment look like a palace. But walking into a high energy, fast-paced, fashion shoot with a crew of 10 asking you about lighting setups is a whole different ball game.
Getting to know the different types of photography and finding out what is most interesting to you is an enriching process. You get to learn about many styles of photography while discovering what calls out to you.
Getting into Online Photography Courses
Online photography courses are a great way to learn at your own pace, from the comfort of your home, while still being able to be engaged. There are a variety of types of courses available online, as well as different styles that you can learn.
After seeing what can be involved with online courses, you may wonder how much online courses cost and whether they are worth the money or not. Look around and think about what you want to get out of the class. There will be a myriad of options waiting for you and your camera.