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15 Best Websites To Learn Photography (Free and Paid)

best websites to learn photography

Studying photography can be difficult, with much of this being driven by how difficult it can be to grasp many of the fundamentals. While there are a variety of in-person classes that can allow students to learn these easily and engagingly, these can often be expensive and challenging to work into a schedule.

Many people have turned to online photography courses to overcome this, as they can be budget-friendly, if not free, while also allowing students to take them at their own pace. With the wealth of available options, many people may struggle to find the best websites to learn photography.

There are a few that stand out much more than their competition.

1. Popular Photography (Free)

Popular Photography is geared toward budding photographers who are looking for help with specific issues. As a result, it’s become somewhat of an online hub and community that offers a variety of how-to guides focused on various aspects of photography.

These are spread across composition, lighting, and even the gear that beginners should think about purchasing. This has resulted, in many people taking advantage of the free resources that it offers.

Popular Photography, or Pop Photography as fans have come to call it, also provides a variety of regular videos that vary in scope and topic as much as its how-to guides.

  • While there aren’t any courses on here, the how-to guides that Popular Photography offers are highly recommended. It’s YouTube channel also includes a variety of helpful tips and tricks.

If you’re looking for somewhere to keep up to date with the ever-changing photography landscape, then this is it. With the wealth of resources that the website offers, there’s something for everybody, regardless of how skilled you are with your favorite camera.

2. Geoff Lawrence (Free)

Geoff Lawrence has been seen as something of an expert in photography for years. Through this, he’s been able to create a tutorial and tip website that covers everything that a budding photographer will need to know when starting.

The lessons on offer are helpfully broken up into sections, including the basics of photography, the more advanced forms and types of images, and everything in between. While the number of these are still relatively small, the website has begun offering video tutorials in many of the areas that the rest of the site covers.

Video editing tutorials are included in all of this, which may not be the case on other websites. Similar to the rest of the Geoff Lawrence website, this is broken down into several easy to digest areas.

Recommended Course: The Basics

  • There are a wealth of choices here, but it’s recommended that you start on Geoff Lawrence’s section on ‘The Basics’ before moving on to advanced issues.

This is one of the more thorough online photography websites around, especially when it comes to free ones. All of the topics that you’ll want covered when you’re learning photography are done in-depth, which means that this is a wise choice to start with and use as a reference.

3. Digital Photography School (Paid)

Digital Photography School offers a wealth of options when learning photography, with students able to choose from a variety of niches. These are aimed at people across skill levels with courses covering different subjects, such as portraits, landscape photography, mastering night-time shots, and more.

These are complemented by the range of ebooks that Digital Photography School offers to maximize the learning experience. While many of these courses and ebooks are paid, there are a variety of free articles that photography students can take advantage of.

While the majority of courses are focused on improving a student’s photography skills, there’s also a section dedicated to gear, which can prove to be helpful for many as their confidence grows.

All of this is coupled with a forum where learners can exchange tips and help, which has made it a valuable resource for many beginners.

  • Although it’s targeted at photographers at an intermediate level, 31 Days to Become a Better Photographer is recommended.

Digital Photography School provides one of the better communities to learn photography in. Alongside the helpful articles and courses that it offers, the support from other learners on the forums can prove valuable for people taking up photography.

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4. Udemy (Paid)

As an educational marketplace, Udemy offers a considerable number of courses and has had over seven million people enroll in them. Alongside the likes of business, marketing, and design courses, among others, photography has been one of its standouts.

While learners will have to pay for these, they can be much more affordable than other online marketplaces while offering a high standard of learning. Teaching is done by industry experts who have years of experience in the field and who are more than capable of helping students understand the complicated parts of photography.

Students will be able to find classes on almost any subject, with many of these also focusing on specific niches within the category. This could lend itself well to people picking up photography who may consider expanding on this in the future.

With how competitive the online educational marketplace is, it can take quite a lot for one to stand out. Udemy has been able to do this in spades, and there’s a reason why people are flocking to it. If you’re looking for a flexible and affordable photography course that you can fit into your schedule, this is a strong contender.

5. Best Photo Lessons (Free)

While there are a variety of lessons on offer with Best Photo Lessons, it’s the regular tips and guides that it provides that have made this a go-to place for many budding photographers. Though many other websites can get much more in-depth with certain classes or courses, they still leave many areas untouched.

Best Photo Lessons compensates for this by offering a practical approach to learning photography and improving over time. The 12 basic lessons that the website offers is enough to get many people taking photos with ease, although many may find them lacking when it comes to taking certain shots.

The tips and guides section overcome this and addresses the questions that the majority of new photographers will have.

  • Best Photo Lessons’ class on balance is something that many people should take a look through.

When it comes to getting quick tips and help, there are few places better than Best Photo Lessons. With these pointers coming regularly, then there’s a significant amount of them to take advantage of and keep people coming back. This is definitely a photography website that you should keep an eye on.

6. (Free) takes aim at budding photographers who want to earn some income through the hobby and potentially turn it into a living. As a result, it offers more than the basics of photography and mastering the craft itself.

While these are covered, the website also looks at how to create a portfolio, marketing, and much more of the business side than students may find elsewhere. Each of the classes are broken down into easily understood how-to guides, which means that learners can get through and understand them quickly.

The site also offers a significant amount of inspiration for its students while they’re learning. This not only helps them to visualize putting theory into practice but also helps to highlight how specific changes can affect an image.

  • How To Start A Photography Business is something that many budding photographers should consider.

This is definitely one of the better photography websites for turning the hobby into a business. While this mightn’t be something that many who are starting to learn may want to take advantage of, it can be helpful should they decide to in the future.

7. Tutsplus (Paid)

Tutsplus is one of the larger tutorial websites on offer and features classes in a variety of subjects. While the wealth of choice that it offers may seem overwhelming, the site includes learning guides that can help students make their decisions on classes.

Students have the option of starting one of the learning guides and following through with it or diving head-first into specific classes. Alongside this, Tutsplus features a variety of supplemental ebooks and tutorials to help students learn.

With courses being spread out across videos and text, learning photography or any of the other subjects is easy to do. An active forum also means that students can take advantage of advice and tips from others who have been through the course.

Recommended Course: Adobe Photoshop In 60 Seconds

  • The Adobe Photoshop In 60 Seconds series is recommended for people interested in taking their editing skills to a new level.

For people interested in receiving a holistic approach to their photography education and might be interested in learning some skills in adjacent areas, this could be the place for you. The low price that Tutsplus has means that you’ll be able to take advantage of a variety of budget-friendly courses.

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8. Fstoppers (Paid)

Fstoppers has become one of the largest photography-focused websites around and attracts over 1 million visitors every month. While a large chunk of this is driven by the photography classes that it offers, much of it is driven by the photography business tips, gear reviews, and much more that people can take advantage of.

Instead of being just an educational website, it offers a much broader picture of how the skills a student learns fits into the larger photography world. With everything that it provides, Fstoppers has become a valuable resource to people who are looking to learn the craft and those who have already graduated.

Recommended Courses: The Hero Shot

  • The Hero Shot is a recommended course for anybody interested in product photography.

This is a resource that many budding photographers should take advantage of. While the cost of the courses can be much higher than others, students are getting a significant amount of value through the business tips, support, and gear recommendations that are offered.

Even if you don’t use the tutorials that are on offer, the reviews and tips that regularly appear on the site are worth looking through.

9. CreativeLive (Paid)

CreativeLive has become well-known in the past few years for bringing together a variety of experts in the field to put together the courses that are offered. The classes aren’t solely focused on photography, as students will be able to take advantage of Art & Design, Money & Life courses, and much more.

The website doesn’t just focus on delivering classes; instead, it has created a community where students feel welcome and can thrive in a supportive environment. The podcasts that CreativeLive makes available regularly can help many learners in their classes while also helping them see how the skills will be used in the outside world.

There’s also a section for companies to upskill their employees, with CreativeLive boasting that this can help them maintain a competitive advantage in the business world in the future. These have helped the website grow extensively over the past few years, and it boasts that it’s attracted 1.43 million students with over 900 classes across a range of subjects.

Recommended Course: The Fundamentals Of Photography

  • The Fundamentals Of Photography is a must-have for any budding photographer.

There’s quite a significant amount of choice of courses on offer for photography students. While this has typically meant that classes are of a lower quality than other places, this isn’t the case with CreativeLive. As such, this can be a recommended starting-off point for learners.

10. Picture Correct (Free)

Photographers are going to come across challenges while out on the field, with many educational facilities often not highlighting how these can be overcome. Picture Correct does, with this being done through both the tutorials that it offers and problem-solving articles that are practical and easy to understand.

Alongside this, it offers a large amount of inspiration for budding photographers, which is something that many learners might need. Picture Correct also provides an equipment guide that will ensure that learners at every level have the right gear for them.

The website takes article contributions from the community, which means that readers will be able to take advantage of hands-on advice regularly.

  • The Photographer’s Guide To Saving Time is well worth a look.

Picture Correct can prove to be a valuable resource for many beginners, especially if they’re having trouble with specific issues that they may not get help with elsewhere.

11. Strobist (Free)

For the past several years, Strobist has been popular among the photography community, with much of this being driven by its extensive list of classes. These focus on a broad range of topics, including lighting, set-up, and much more.

Strobist also offers a variety of books focused on the subject, with the issues showing just as much range as the tutorials that the main website provides. Similar to the articles, these are well-written, informative, and can help a photographer take certain skills to the next level.

Recommended Course: Lighting Cookbook

  • Lighting Cookbook can be an essential class for every photographer.

For beginner photographers who are having difficulties with certain areas of the craft, then this could be an essential resource to take advantage of.

12. Cambridge In Colour (Free)

Cambridge In Colour has quickly become a popular learning hub for new photographers and attracts upwards of 20,000 people daily. While much of this is for the tutorials that it offers, a sizable portion of it is aimed at the forums.

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Alongside this, the learning platform makes a variety of tools and books available to students, the majority of which can prove to be essential in helping them learn.

Recommended Course: Color Management & Printing

While the tutorials are high-quality, the main reason for the website becoming increasingly popular is the forums. For budding photographers who have relatively obscure questions or problems, this could be the place to find help.

13. SLR Lounge (Free/Paid)

The SLR Lounge is one of the more premium options available for learning photography online. While there are a few free trials to take advantage of, the paid courses are well worth the cost.

These are spread out across a range of topics and photography niches, including weddings, nature, and much more, while also covering the intricacies of lighting and equipment. These are much more in-depth than many other websites, with is what many students have been taking advantage of.

  • If you’re just starting out in wedding photography, this is the perfect A-Z training you’ll need to launch and grow your business.

With how in-depth each of the tutorials and videos are, the SLR Lounge offers a much more advanced learning experience than many others. For beginner photographers who want to excel in the field, this could be the right choice.

14. Expert Photography (Paid)

Expert Photography is somewhat more limited in the courses that it offers, although this is because it primarily focuses on understanding the camera and its related equipment. In recent years, it has branched out somewhat more and include photo and video editing, and much more.

Recommended Course: Photography For Beginners

  • Photography For Beginners is a necessity when you’re starting the craft.

If camera work is one of the main problems that you have when you first start the hobby, then Expert Photography can be one of the recommended choices to learn with.

15. Coursera (Free/Paid)

Coursera is a well-known online learning platform that allows users to take advantage of classes from a variety of educational facilities. The versatility in colleges and universities is also highlighted through its courses and specializations, with photography being one of many.

While studying on the platform is free, you’ll need to pay to sit exams and receive accreditation. The paid feature is something that many budding photographers may be able to bypass, as they shouldn’t need to sit exams to practice a hobby.

Each course that the platform offers is designed like an interactive textbook, with a variety of videos, projects, and quizzes available. These help to keep students engaged while progressing through the class.

There’s also a significant amount of help and support available for learners, as they’ll be able to interact with teachers and other students while learning and progressing through the class.

  • The Photography Basics and Beyond: From Smartphone to DSLR Specialization, which includes a variety of courses.

Coursera is a recommended choice with much of this being driven by its reputation and the various courses that it has on offer. While it may be somewhat lacking in scheduling flexibility, it certainly overcomes this with the high-quality skills that it provides, regardless of class.

Your Turn

When it comes to finding the best websites to learn photography, you shouldn’t go wrong with any of the above. All of the recommended sites and courses offer unique benefits alongside the variety that you can expect from learning photography online.

To properly decide on which of the websites will best suit your needs, then you should give each of them a look to see what they have on offer. While a brief overview can always be helpful, many people may want to have a more in-depth look at each when they’re making their decision.

Many of the sites that I’ve mentioned offer great tutorials and courses for beginners, which means that they can be a smart choice when you’re first starting. However, only a few will allow you to take advantage of more advanced courses.

While the beginner’s tutorials and classes will be great for many of us, those who wish to get an in-depth education in photography will have a much more limited choice. This is something that may play a role in which one you decide to go with.

Nobody wants to start off learning with one website and then be forced to switch over to another once they’ve completed the starter classes. Take your individual needs and preferences into account when making a choice.

When it comes to the best websites to learn photography for beginners, any of the above will do. Put the time in to become informed about what each can offer you, and you’ll then be in the best position to decide which the best decision for you is. 

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