Almost anyone can pick up a camera and call themselves a photographer; but having the ability to conceptualise, shoot and edit incredible images is never as simple as that. Luckily, whether you’re just starting out or are already a seasoned professional, there is no shortage of online resources and tutorials to help improve your photography skills.
From learning how to use high-level editing software to developing a deeper understanding of lighting techniques, it’s never a bad idea to improve your craft. But, with so many options available, finding truly valuable online resources and courses can take a lot of time and effort. So we’ve created a list of some of our favourite video series, podcasts, websites and more – just to help you get started.
Back in 2010 Alexandre Buisse was asked by a few users on Reddit to create a “quick introduction to photography class” – nine years later it has become one of the most useful and accessible resources for newbie photographers looking to gain a better understanding of everything from manual focus to post-processing and gear. Originally taught as a 30-part series, Alexandre now has the entire original syllabus archived on his website. Plus he still runs a live course on a dedicated subreddit once a year, which you can check out here.
For those wanting to upskill in particularly niche areas like, say, shooting the milky way or improving your time-lapse footage then DIY Photography has got you covered. Aimed at a range of skill levels, you won’t find any general photography guides here, but you will discover very useful tips to help you resolve some of the more tricky photography issues you’ve been trying to overcome.
Marc Levoy isn’t just a digital imaging pioneer, he’s also the Principal Engineer at Google and a Professor at Stanford University – where he taught digital photography from 2009 to 2014. In other words, he’s pretty darn smart. So when he decided to upload his entire photography course online, complete with challenging assignments to help you progress, it was no surprise that it quickly became known as one of the best free photography courses online.
In fact it’s so popular that occasionally the Google Drive hosting the course refuses to allow people to access it, which is why all the videos are now also available on YouTube – don’t forget to use the handy course schedule Mark created if you end up viewing the classes this way. Assuming neither photography or programming experience from his students, Mark describes the course as “an introduction to the scientific, artistic and computing aspects of digital photography”, with a vast array of topics including lenses, optical effects in nature, computational photography and composition.
The Candid Frame podcast is one of the longest running photography podcasts around – and for good reason. With over 400 episodes under his belt, presenter Ibarionex Perello is an absolute expert at putting his weekly guests at ease and really diving into their experience in the world of photography. Two episodes that will resonate with anyone either struggling with self-doubt and/or those wanting to make photography their career are number 281 and number 178.
The first is with career reinvention expert Pat Pattison, who speaks candidly about finding creative ways to fulfil yourself. The second is more like a monologue in which Ibarionex himself talks about some of the most important lessons he’s learned from the many interviews he’s conducted, as well as revealing his own strategies for coping with fear and self-made barriers. Also, for street photography enthusiasts episode number 415 with the unbelievably talented William Albert Allard is a must. You can find all our favourite podcasts for improving your photography skills and knowledge here.
Udemy isn’t strictly a photography website but it does offer over 1,500 courses on different aspects of the subject. If you’re ready to dive right in and learn as much about photography as possible then the Photography Masterclass: A Complete Guide to Photography is a reasonably priced course that is highly regarded. Or, if you’re looking for something more advanced, classes like Photography: The Ultimate Guide to Using Off-Camera Flash is an excellent option for intermediate photographers that are keen to move on from their pop-up flash.
When it comes to learning about post-production there’s no better resource that Phlearn. Covering all sorts of subjects, like mastering blending modes or learning how to create a parallax effect in photoshop and after effects, the platform offers over 600 tutorials and plenty of them also happen to be free.
A photojournalist for over 25 years, David Hobby often found himself in situations where he had to make the best out of some bad lighting situations. So, in 2006, he decided to start writing about how he was able to achieve such great results while dealing with such sub-optimal conditions, and only two years later he launched the Strobist and began providing what many in the industry consider to be the ultimate collection of free resources relating to the use of artificial light.
There’s a handful of resources you can use to improve your photography skills, of course, the best way to improve, is to do, so soak up some knowledge and get shooting.