Top 10 online photography courses

Written by chloe lewis
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Online photography courses are available for a range of skill sets, from beginner to the professional. These programs vary in price from free to a few hundred dollars per course and provide a range of flexibility and additional resources.


Offers 80-plus courses in photography arranged in a variety of categories, including fundamentals, digital, composition and Photoshop. Courses last either four or eight weeks. Instruction is provided via e-mail instead of via live chat, so there is considerable flexibility in participation. Although its courses aren't free, BetterPhoto offers feedback from instructors and a structured weekly program. The company also boasts a money-back guarantee.

School of Photography

School of Photography offers seven online courses: Basic, Digital Imaging, Freelance, Wedding, Glamour, Landscape and Black and White. Basic and Digital Imaging are suggested for beginners, whereas the remaining five courses require some photography knowledge. Special offers are available when taking multiple courses. The school offers a free night photography lesson on its website.

New York Institute of Photography

There are three programs: Complete course in professional photography; Adobe Photoshop for Photographers; Fundamentals of Digital Photography. Although NYIP is the most expensive of those in this list, the school offers physical curriculum in addition to the online course. These additional materials include teacher-on-tape guides, illustrated texts, student adviser and audio analysis of student photography. NYIP offers a 21-day money back refund and allows you up to three years to complete the course.

The Perfect Picture: School of Photography

Perfect Picture breaks down its courses into four categories: Beginner/Intermediate; Intermediate/Advanced; Making Money in Photography; Digital Darkroom. Each week, class participants download that week's lesson, and the student has 10 days to complete the assignment. Photos from the assignment are then uploaded, and the professor reviews and forwards along his critiques. Students also receive video tutorials on the basics of Photoshop so as not to waste time providing basic tips to ensure all students are at the same level. A full money back guarantee is available, although requirements for the refund vary depending upon the course.

Icon Photography School

Icon offers a single two-week course. Each lesson takes one day to complete, and each assignment is graded and feedback returned to the student. There are a total of 14 assignments, including finding inspiration from the masters, using your camera's automatic settings, advanced photography composition, creating your portfolio and being published. The course ends with a final examination. Beyond the course materials, Icon offers articles on photography schools, photography as a career and camera reviews. Icon also publishes an online art magazine monthly, and instructors recommend photos from the final examination to be published in the magazine.

Learn to Take Great Photos

Great Photos offers basic courses, but also specialised courses, such as courses on collages, frame dynamics and design, sunset silhouettes and an entire series of courses on horse photography. The horse series lasts four weeks. Most of the courses also have a "materials only" option that provides for self-directed learning for the same subjects that are instructor-led. Beyond the scheduled course list, the company also offers on-demand tutorials, which are much shorter and more concise tutorials. These are fully self-directed and do not offer feedback.


CreativeTech offers a 10-week photography course a few times per year. The course is limited to 1,000 participants and fills up quickly. The courses vary by subject matter; courses are offered in Adobe Photoshop, Dreamweaver, InDesign, Illustrator and Fireworks. Each lesson is 60 minutes of instruction followed by 30 to 45 minutes of Q&A. The courses take place at the same time each day. Beyond the 10-week courses, CreativeTech also offers an array of online webinars at various times and on a variety of topics.


These courses are all available on the website, on-demand. The courses are geared more toward beginners and offer courses in three categories: Beginner photography tools; getting started with photography; beginner's Photoshop. The tools courses offer instruction on using tripods, photographic film and lenses. Courses are also available on exposure control, photography 101, light and the photographer's eye and layers in Photoshop. Many other articles are available for skills from beginner to advanced, including tips and techniques with equipment purchasing and photo editing. Further, there are articles and interviews for many types of professional photographers, including hints for breaking into the industry.

Digital Photography School

Although this school is designed into a series of articles and less based on coursework, it is still a valuable resource. The website offers three sections: Tips and Tutorials, Camera and Equipment and Post Production. Each section contains many articles on a variety of subtopics, and the user can view articles by most recent, popular or featured. Users can upload their own photographs; there is also a community forum.

Fodor's Travel Photography

From one of the most trusted names in travel guides, Fodor's offers free online courses focusing on the nuts and bolts of travel photography. These topics include lighting, techniques, classic vacation shots, composition rules and man-made, the natural world and people. Fodor's also offers photo contests and features winning photographs in its travel guides.

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