Hoping to broaden your vistas of knowledge without leaving the friendly confines of home? We feel you–learning is great, people and pants not so much. Here’s a list of ten online educational courses (of various prices, levels, and points of emphasis) which come highly recommended by the Resource staff. Even though no one will be watching, please try to stay off your smartphone–for the sake of education.
- For the Prestige-Seeking Beginner
Hoping to “explore the artistic aspects, scientific foundations, and techniques of digital photography,” but refuse to do so with any institution that lacks an outstanding, hundreds-years-old track record of academic excellence? This is the course for you. Offered by Harvard University both in-person and online, “Exposing Digital Photography” seeks to impart to students an “understanding of the scientific basis of photography…to improve their photographic technique…and to effectively use photographic software tools.” Taught by Dan Armendariz, and covering topics such as: quality of light, exposure control, depth of field and aesthetics, this 12-module course is expected to take about 10-15 hours depending on your speed in completing assignment. Best part: it’s free, and lectures can be watched at your own convenience.
- For Sharpening Your Portrait Skills
Sue Bryce is a giant in the field of portrait photography; she’s also a highly entertaining personality able to make you feel like a welcome guest in her home. Right now she’s offering–through Sue Bryce Education a subscription to unlimited courses for only $35/month (or $299 for the year) but get this…first month is only $7.
With over 17k thriving students thus far and counting, her class has the Resource seal of approval. All in all, she’s offering a heckuva lot of content with over 200 courses plus every Tuesday Sue teaches a live streamed class for members only. Throughout the process, she’ll teach you “posing, shooting, marketing, selling, and everything else you need to know to run a successful contemporary portrait photography business.”
- For Mastering Lightroom
In an offering from CreativeLive, PhotoShop Hall of Famer Ben Willmore promises to help you “make the transition from” following step-by-step guides to “‘Ah-ha! I finally GET Photoshop!’” With 24 full HD video lessons ranging from thirty-five minutes to an hour-and-a-half, his class has had 40.8K students, with 135 reviews giving it a score of 99% satisfaction. For a limited time only, this class is also 50% off ($99 from $199). Offering downloadable content and mobile capability, this class is perfect for on-the-go learning.
- For Getting the DL on HDR
Udemy, the online learning platform, is offering four levels of tutorials on HDR, the increasingly popular imaging technique which is becoming a must-know for the professional photographer. Nicely aggregated by Photographycourse.net, these range from “HDR Photography for Beginners” to “Mastering HDR Picture Making” and “The HDR Masterclass.” Each is currently on sale for $10–from a typical price of $30 or $50 depending on level–and features three hours of on-demand video, the purchase of which includes lifetime access. The classes can be accessed on mobile and come with a Certificate of Completion. This way everyone will know you’re one of the good HDR’ers.
- For Those With Deep Pockets
Want to take an online course but afraid it won’t be legit enough? Look no further, the New York Institute of Photography’s “Professional Photography Course” has got you covered. For $764, you get six units of course material ranging from “Your and Your Equipment” to “Professional Pathways,” all taught in HD video available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They also provide a platform for fellow students to communicate, a professional mentor to help you through the process, and the availability of purchasing all of the course materials in printed form as a reference library. Students are given 18 months to complete the course, and receive a CPP (certified professional photographer) license upon doing so. As per former student Tanuj Kumar: NYIP is the “best course for a full understanding of professional photography.”
- For The Aspiring Solopreneur
Sometimes you gotta spend money to make money. Case in point: NYIP’s “Business for Photographers,” a 5 unit courses covering such topics as “What is Marketing” and “Sizing Up The Market–Your Market.” Just like NYIP’s above course listing^, videos are available 24/7 and students are given 18 months for completion. Graduates are eligible to become PPA certified (Professional Photographers of America). At $552 upfront, or $764 on layaway, this course is sure to (hopefully) pay for itself.
- For The Would-Be Light Expert
Strobist, the “world’s most popular resource for photographers who want how to learn to use their flashes like a pro” (Resource pun unintended), offers on its website a text-based course entitled Lighting 101. With accompanying photographs and an easy-to-understand progression from “First Steps” to “Hard Light” and more, the course is entirely free and extremely comprehensive. Perfect for focusing in on specific aspects or reading through on a rainy day, Lighting 101 can get you started, provide a pre-shoot a brush-up, or help you test your aging knowledge for its modern-day accuracy.
- For the Auteur
“The Art of Photography,” a 40-video, 4-module course taught by RMIT University professor Dr. Shane Hulbert, is designed to “broaden your understanding of contemporary photographic art.” It’s perfect for the creative photographer who has harnessed their skills and is looking to better understand their place in history so as to creative more relevant work. Perhaps even more appealing to the artistic mold, it’s completely free. With over 91k students thus far, the course has a 4.5 star rating out of five. It also ends just in time for Christmas (December 19), but enrollment ends soon (November 20), so get going!
- For The Photographer Who Doesn’t Want to Get Left Behind
Norwich University of the Arts wants to help you “get to grips” with new media. Aimed at aspiring/currently practicing commercial photographers, their online course “Commercial Photography: Still and Moving Image,” is a four week program which explores the various avenues photography has taken alongside improved and unique technology. It covers, for example, CGI, animation, mobile, and moving image photography. This all in the service of “find[ing] out how to create work that is new, exciting, and individual.”
- For The Photographer Too Shy To Show Their Work
“What’s stopping you?” begins the headline of this free, 7-day ecourse offered by the Editor of Whim Magazine. “The answer,” it follows, is “self-doubt and a lack of confidence in your own work.” They intend to “banish” that doubt, helping you to learn to have confidence in your work through a week’s worth of programming covering such topics as: defining your own measure of success, staying inspired, overcoming setbacks, and increasing your online presence. Further, they provide a 21-page printable workbook, 50 free educational resources, an email script, and “fun worksheets” to “get you thinking.” To use their own words, “what are you waiting for? ;)”