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10 Best Photography Courses to Take in 2022

From wedding to wildlife, and studio to outdoor – with these best photography courses, we’ve got you covered.

We all have taken a photo at some point of time or the other, be it on a DSLR or simply a phone. Whether you’re a noob or a pro, photography is nothing new. Remember the last selfie you posted on Instagram, or your daughter’s wedding that’s still nostalgic in your album?

Before you proceed, I’d like to introduce you to the popular photo editing software, Adobe Lightroom, used by professionals. If you want to make your photos look dramatic with pro editing, check out our Adobe Lightroom BCG.

In this article, I’ve selected the 10 best free and paid Photography online courses for you from the 1.1K+ Photography courses on our catalog by following a well-defined methodology that you can find below.

But if you want to jump straight to the results, here are my top 10 picks. You can click on a course to jump to the corresponding section:

Course Workload In Brief
1. Master Photography | 26Hr Complete Guide Includes Workbook (Udemy) 28 hours Our top pick for the best online courses to learn photography, best suited for beginners
2. Photography Masterclass: A Complete Guide to Photography (Udemy) 25 hours Best for starting out photography with minimal gear, instructor of some of our best courses
3. Wedding Photography Behind the Scenes (John Branch IV Photography) 2-3 hours Free tutorial straight out of a real wedding from beginning to end, raw and live.
4. What Every Photographer Should Know About Lenses (Envato Tuts+) 2-3 hours Best free course for photographers who want to know which lens is best for them and why
5. Fundamentals of Photography (CreativeLive) 24-25 hours Goes beyond learning photography and delves into the philosophy of goals and vision
6. Exploring Photography with Mark Wallace (Adorama) 50 hours Longest free photography course on the list, great for intermediate photographers
7. Photography Tutorials (Tony & Chelsea Northrup) 16 hours Best free course aimed at advanced learners, features professional photographers
8. Photography mini courses by Justin Bridges (Skillshare) 2-4 hours Compilation of two photography courses, best taken together for the full experience
9. Master Your Craft (Adorama) 18 hours Free online course to learn photography with a focus on portraits and posing
10. Wedding Photography Tutorials (Adorama) 7 hours Great free course on wedding photography with multiple instructors and experts

What is Photography?

Even though it does not need an explanation, photography, in simple words, means taking photos using a camera. To quote photographylife,

Photography is the art of capturing light with a camera, usually via a digital sensor or film, to create an image. With the right camera equipment, you can even photograph wavelengths of light invisible to the human eye, including UV, infrared, and radio.

Adobe classifies photography into 28 different types and styles. Some of the common ones are:

  • Portrait photography
  • Wedding photography
  • Commercial photography
  • Travel photography
  • Event photography
  • Fashion photography
  • Sports photography
  • Wildlife photography
  • Architectural photography
  • Food photography

Why are Photography Skills Important?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median hourly wage for photographers was $18.73 in May 2021, whereas employment of photographers is projected to grow 17 percent from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations. More information on wage statistics can be found here.

The median annual wage for camera operators, television, video, and film was $49,230 in May 2021, and that for film and video editors was $62,680 in May 2021, whereas the overall employment of film and video editors and camera operators is projected to grow 29 percent from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations.(U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).

According to IBISWorld, the market size of photography in the U.S. is $10.1 billion in 2022. AnythingResearch states that in 2020, the Federal Government of the United States spent a total of $15,889,472 on Photography. It has awarded 100 contracts to 49 companies, with an average value of $324,275 per company.

Moreover, a research by PR Newswire has shown that the global digital photography market, which is growing at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 7.4% during the forecast period, is expected to reach $149.98 billion by 2026.

What is My Experience with Photography?

Ever since I was a child, my dad (a civil engineer) had encouraged me to learn photography. I’ve learned from him as he took photos during Durga Puja, vacations, family weddings, and even at home. I’ve used several DSLRs and lenses, and I’m fairly confident in my photography skills.

I have always been inspired by National Geographic. Their style is raw, stands out from the rest, and every picture tells a story. Someday, I’d love to see them work, if not work with them.

Besides that, I am a Guided Project Instructor and a Beta Tester at Coursera, having tested many courses before they’re officially launched. I have taken over 50 online courses in various subjects.

My experience as an online learner and teacher has given me some perspective on what to look for in an online course. I used my experience to evaluate each course in this list.

Find your next course on Class Central

Course Ranking Methodology

I built this ranking following the now tried-and-tested methodology I used in previous rankings (you can find them all here). It involves a three-step process:

  1. Research: I started by leveraging Class Central’s database with 100K online courses and 200K+ reviews. Then, I made a preliminary selection of 1.1K+ Photography courses by rating, reviews, and bookmarks.
  2. Evaluate: I read through reviews on Class Central, Reddit, and course providers to understand what other learners thought about each course and combined it with my own experience as a learner.
  3. Select: Well-made courses were picked if they presented valuable and engaging content and they have to fit in a set of criteria and be ranked accordingly: comprehensive curriculum, release date, affordability, ratings and enrollments.

The end result is a unique selection of courses that combines a decade of Class Central data and my own experience as an online learner to try to get the best of both worlds. So far, I’ve spent more than 13 hours building this list, and I’ll continue to update it.

Course Ranking Statistics

Here are some statistics regarding this course ranking:

  • Combined, these courses have accrued over 441.6K enrollments.
  • 6 courses are free or free-to-audit and 4 courses are paid.
  • The most-represented course provider in the ranking is YouTube, with 6 courses.
  • All 10 courses are in English.
  • The Photography subject is followed by over 13.7K learners on Class Central, and accounts for over 10K courses in Class Central catalog.

So without further ado, let’s get to my picks for the best Photography online courses.

1. Master Photography | 26Hr Complete Guide Includes Workbook (Udemy)

Chris Parker, instructor

My first pick for the best Photography online course is Master Photography | 26Hr Complete Guide Includes Workbook on Udemy.

As Chris Parker says, this course is perhaps the best course to learn photography on Udemy. He is an experienced photographer who will walk you through the 4 key components of photography: equipment, light, composition, and editing. Once you’ve mastered them, you’ll see your photos improve drastically in front of your eyes.

What You’ll Learn

In this course, you’ll learn how to take back creative control from your camera, the instructor’s secret weapon for nailing the Exposure in camera, his creative decision process for choosing specific camera settings, and understand the 4 key secrets to successful photos.

Then, you’ll learn how your camera’s tonal range limitation can affect what you want to create and how to overcome it, the difference between soft and hard light, and why you may want to use one over another, and the 4 easy steps to mastering Exposure.

Finally, you’ll learn an often overlooked camera setting and see light in a, well, different light, how to read a Histogram for perfect exposures every time, use Composition for better photos, and the first lens you should buy and why.

How You’ll Learn

The course is broken down into 38 sections. The sections range from about 5 minutes to a few hours of work. Concepts are taught through a combination of videos, readings and assignments.

Provider Udemy
Instructor Chris Parker
Level Beginner
Workload 28 hours
Enrollments 38K
Rating 4.8/5.0 (1K)
Certificate Paid

Fun Facts

  • Parker has a 4-hours long free course on YouTube covering the fundamentals of photography: camera settings and modes, lenses, light, composition, and editing.
  • He has over 30 years of experience as a professional photographer.
  • He teaches photography, Photoshop, Lightroom, and GIMP on Udemy and on his YouTube channel, Parker Photographic.

If you’re interested in this course, you can find more information about the course and how to enroll here.

2. Photography Masterclass: A Complete Guide to Photography (Udemy)

William Carnahan, instructor

My second pick for the best Photography online course is Photography Masterclass: A Complete Guide to Photography on Udemy.

Whether you use a smartphone, mirrorless, or a DSLR, after taking this course, you’ll not only be able to take amazing photos but will also be able to sell them. Even if you have little or no experience with photography, you’ll still be able to create profitable images that stand out.

What You’ll Learn

In this course, you’ll learn how to take amazing photos that impress your family and friends, how the camera truly works, so you can take better photos using manual settings, and photograph in different scenarios like family portraits, landscapes, aerial, product, wildlife, and much more.

You’ll also learn how to compose images beautifully with basic photography rules, light your subjects with flash and natural lighting, edit your photos like a professional, make money with photography, and take better photos with your smart phones.

How You’ll Learn

The course is broken down into 40 sections. The sections range from about 30 minutes to a few hours of work. Concepts are taught through a combination of videos, readings and assignments.

Provider Udemy
Instructor Phil Ebiner, William Carnahan, Sam Shimizu-Jones
Level Beginner
Workload 25 hours
Enrollments 307K
Rating 4.7/5.0 (60.5K)
Certificate Paid

Fun Facts

  • This course is a bestseller on Udemy.
  • Carnahan is a cinematographer and photographer, who shoots and directs commercials and weddings, and also manages his production company, Will Call Cinematic.
  • Ebiner is a top-rated Udemy instructor, with 2M+ students.
  • He has also been featured in Class Central’s Adobe Photoshop BCG, Adobe Lightroom BCG and Canva BCG.

If you’re interested in this course, you can find more information about the course and how to enroll here.

3. Wedding Photography Behind the Scenes (John Branch IV Photography)

John Branch, instructor

My third pick for the best Photography online course is the free course, Wedding Photography Behind the Scenes, offered by John Branch IV Photography on YouTube.

Get ready for a journey as John Branch takes you through a real wedding and how he photographs it professionally. Through his lenses, you’ll experience every moment of the wedding, from the beginning of the day through each and every event, and see how you too can take professional wedding photos.

What You’ll Learn

You’ll begin the course by learning about the gear the instructor is using, KEH camera, and how he takes photos of different moments in a wedding such as start of the day, bride flatlay details, dress shot, groom flatlay details, bride makeup, and bridesmaids robe shot.

Then, he photographs the bride getting in dress, first look with father, groom getting ready, first look, couple portraits, bridesmaids portraits, groom solo portraits, bride solo portraits, reception details, groomsmen portraits, ceremony, mid day backup, and family Portraits.

Finally, you’ll end the course by taking a look at the full bridal party portraits, reception intros, father’s opening speech, speeches, first dance, father daughter dance, mother son dance, soul train line, cake cut, reception part, sparkler exit, and how to deliver your wedding images.

How You’ll Learn

The course is broken down into 38 videos. Each video involves about 3 to 5 minutes of work. Concepts are taught through video lectures only.

Channel John Branch IV Photography
Provider YouTube
Instructor John Branch
Level Beginner
Workload 2-3 hours
Certificate Not available

Fun Facts

  • Branch is not only a wedding photographer but also a musician, artist, and dancer!
  • He shares his work and passion with 30k+ followers on his Instagram.

If you’re interested in this course, you can find more information about the course and how to enroll here.

4. What Every Photographer Should Know About Lenses (Envato Tuts+)

Dave Bode, instructor

My fourth pick for the best Photography online course is the free course, What Every Photographer Should Know About Lenses, offered by Envato Tuts+ on YouTube.

Are you a photographer who wants to learn more about lenses? If so, then you’re at the right place. Starting from basics to premium features, you’ll explore all kinds of lenses, their pros and cons, where to use them, and watch them in action as Dave Bode takes photos with each one.

What You’ll Learn

In this course, you’ll learn about focal length and field-of-view, aperture, what a bad lens looks like, stabilization, coatings, and focusing motors, standard zoom lenses, wide angle zoom lenses, medium telephoto zooms.

You’ll also take a look at telephoto lenses, super zoom lenses, the good and bad of prime lenses, fish eye lenses, the right lens for portrait photography, compress for composition, and macro lenses.

How You’ll Learn

The course is broken down into 16 videos. Each video involves about 10 to 20 minutes of work. Concepts are taught through video lectures only.

Channel Envato Tuts+
Provider YouTube
Instructor Dave Bode
Level Advanced
Workload 2-3 hours
Certificate Not available

Fun Facts

  • Bode is a video and audio production expert in NY.
  • He works as a camera operator, editor, inventor, motion graphics designer, recording engineer, and studio musician.
  • In early 2011, he started his own business, bodemedia.tv to provide free resources for people so that they could create great videos.

If you’re interested in this course, you can find more information about the course and how to enroll here.

5. Fundamentals of Photography (CreativeLive)

John Greengo, instructor

My fifth pick for the best Photography online course is Fundamentals of Photography on CreativeLive.

Taught by seasoned photographer John Greengo, this course will help you master the technical basics of the camera and understand the kind of equipment you need. In this course, you’ll learn something more than just taking photos – to think about your ultimate goals and identify areas for growth.

What You’ll Learn

First, you’ll learn about photographic characteristics, camera types, viewing system, lens system, shutter system, shutter speed basics, shutter speed effects, camera and lens stabilization, camera settings, drive mode and buffer, and sensor sizes.

Next, you’ll learn about pixels, ISO, focal length, angle of view, fisheye lens, tilt and shift lens, subject zone, lens speed, aperture, depth of field (DOF), lens quality, light meter basics, histogram, dynamic range, exposure modes, and sunny 16 rule.

Then, you’ll take a look at exposure bracketing, exposure values, focusing basics, auto focus (AF), focus points, focus tracking, manual focus, digital focus assistance, shutter speeds depth of field (DOF), DOF preview and focusing screens, and lens sharpness.

You’ll also learn about camera movement, advanced techniques, auto focus calibration, focus stacking, camera accessories, lens accessories, lens adaptors and cleaning, macro, flash and lighting, tripods, cases, natural light such as direct sunlight, indirect sunlight, and mixed.

Next, you’ll explore in shooting sunrise and sunset light such as twilight, cloud and color pop, silhouette and starburst, and golden hour, light management, flash fundamentals, speedlights, built-in and add-on flash, off-camera flash, off-camera flash for portraits, and advanced flash techniques.

After that, you’ll learn about editing set-up, importing images, organizing your images, culling images, categories of development, adjusting exposure, removing distractions, cropping your images, composition basics, point of view, angle of view, subject placement, and framing your shot.

You’ll also take a look at foreground, background and scale, rule of odds, bad composition, multi-shot techniques, pixel shift, time lapse, selective cloning and noise reduction, human vision vs. the camera, visual perception, and visual drama.

Finally, you’ll end the course by learning about the elements of design, texture and negative space, black and white and color, the photographic process, working the shot, and what makes a great photograph.

How You’ll Learn

The course is broken down into 107 lessons. Each lesson involves about 5 to 30 minutes of work. Concepts are taught through a combination of videos and readings.

Provider CreativeLive
Instructor John Greengo
Level Beginner
Workload 24-25 hours
Enrollments 134K
Rating 99%
Certificate Paid

Fun Facts

  • Greengo is an award-winning photographer specializing in outdoor and travel photography.
  • He leads photographic adventures with group tours, and they have been to Bhutan, Cuba, Turkey, Jordan, Morocco and East African Safari!

If you’re interested in this course, you can find more information about the course and how to enroll here.

6. Exploring Photography with Mark Wallace (Adorama)

Mark Wallace, instructor

My sixth pick for the best Photography online course is the free course, Exploring Photography with Mark Wallace, offered by Adorama on YouTube.

In this extensive course, professional photographer Mark Wallace will show you the best tips and tricks for shooting portrait photography, editing your photos, and fun tutorials to improve your creativity and technique, so that you can take your photography skills to the next level.

What You’ll Learn

This course is packed with technical and practical tutorials where you will learn everything from how to shoot photography in a studio using the right lighting, position of the camera and model, using program mode, choosing the right lens, creating soft light, fill flash, high contrast, to more practical applications of those techniques.

You’ll also learn tips for editing your photos, starting from powering your workstation to hands-on practice with Lightroom (21 tutorials) and Photoshop (3 tutorials). We will also dive into some basics of video editing in 6 parts.

Finally, this collection also provides plenty of fun tutorials that will help you create interesting results and help you develop your technique for more abstract subjects such as: creating rays of light in the studio, shooting portraits in the rain, macro mode, shooting in a bad location, and much more.

How You’ll Learn

The course is broken down into 292 videos. Each module involves about 10 to 15 minutes of work. Concepts are taught through video lectures only.

Channel Adorama
Provider YouTube
Instructor Mark Wallace
Level Intermediate
Workload 50 hours
Certificate Not available

Fun Facts

  • In his quest to visit every corner of the world, Wallace has traveled to over 50 countries (and counting).
  • He documents his journey through his photos and videos. You can follow Mark’s motorcycle adventures at MarkOnABike.com.
  • His website is a photo gallery displaying his work and life.

If you’re interested in this course, you can find more information about the course and how to enroll here.

7. Photography Tutorials (Tony & Chelsea Northrup)

Chelsea Northrup (left) with National Geographic photographer Ira Block (right)

My seventh pick for the best Photography online course is the free course, Photography Tutorials, offered by Tony & Chelsea Northrup on YouTube.

This course is made for experienced photographers. Even though you’ll also learn the basics, you’ll quickly move into more advanced topics, learning about different kinds of photography, getting pro tips, and even hearing from professionals such as Ira Block from National Geographic.

What You’ll Learn

In this course, you’ll learn about depth-of-field, bird and wildlife photography, bokeh, cleaning your camera sensor and lens, levitation photos on iPhone, photographing a protest, moon landscape photography, aperture, shutter speed and ISO, and landscape photography.

Then, you’ll explore cold weather photography and drones, star trails, the Brenizer method, flashes (strobes) vs. continuous lights, P, A, S, M, Tv, Av modes, back button focus, rule of doubles, long-exposure portraits, and cute puppy pictures.

You’ll also take a look at one-light portrait tips with Miguel Quiles, SD and micro SD card buying and using tips, aspect ratio, photo tips by National Geographic photographer Ira Block, wildlife photography, fashion photoshoot, street photography, and reflectors and diffusers.

After that, you’ll learn about dynamic range and stops. landscape photography, beauty dish vs. softbox, multiple exposures/double exposure, car show photography, photographing fireworks and birds, exposure compensation and spot metering, and photographing still life and waterfalls.

Finally, you’ll explore photographing kids, babies and children, creating an online photography portfolio, white background photography, raw vs. jpeg, night photography in a city, macro photography, photographing insects, christmas pictures, and group photos.

How You’ll Learn

The course is broken down into 109 videos. Each module involves about 5 to 10 minutes of work. Concepts are taught through video lectures only.

Channel Tony & Chelsea Northrup
Provider YouTube
Instructor Tony Northrup, Chelsea Northrup
Level Advanced
Workload 16 hours
Certificate Not available

Fun Facts

If you’re interested in this course, you can find more information about the course and how to enroll here.

8. Photography mini courses by Justin Bridges (Skillshare)

Justin Bridges, instructor

My eighth pick for the best Photography online course is a collection of photography mini courses offered by Justin Bridges on Skillshare.

Here are the two photography courses by Justin Bridges I have selected:

  1. Fundamentals of DSLR Photography
  2. DSLR Photography II: Understanding Lenses, Focal Length & Shooting

I kept these two photography courses together because they are short and go hand in hand. Taking them together will help you understand the whole picture and grasp the concepts completely.

What You’ll Learn

Fundamentals of DSLR Photography

In this course, you’ll understand your DSLR, balance the exposure triangle, prepare to shoot, get studio demonstration, learn about shutter speed, aperture, ISO, get editing tips and tricks,

and take suggestions on buying cameras and lenses.

DSLR Photography II: Understanding Lenses, Focal Length & Shooting

In this course, you’ll explore lens anatomy, understand focal length and field of view, learn about portrait photography, object photography, street photography, landscape photography, get editing tips and tricks, and take tips for buying lenses.

How You’ll Learn

The courses are broken down into 11 and 12  lessons respectively. Each lesson involves about 5 to 10 minutes of work. Concepts are taught through a combination of videos, external readings and projects.

Provider Skillshare
Instructor Justin Bridges
Level Mixed
Workload 2-4 hours
Enrollments 145K
Rating 99% (5.4K)
Certificate Not available

Fun Facts

  • Bridges is a fashion and portrait photographer based in New York City.
  • He began his pursuit of photography as a college student studying finance and economics.

9. Master Your Craft (Adorama)

Pye Jirsa, instructor

My ninth pick for the best Photography online course is the free course, Master Your Craft, offered by Adorama on YouTube.

This course is for photographers not only looking to improve their photography skills, but also willing to go to the depths to learn about posing and even use editing software like Adobe Lightroom to make their photos the best.

What You’ll Learn

Below, I have grouped the videos into categories so that you can understand the main topics more clearly.

Portraits (19 tutorials): Urban portrait, parking garage portrait, dramatic portrait lighting, beach portrait, two-light portrait, street portrait, lighting a portrait with cheap umbrella modifiers, home portrait studio, natural light family portrait, dramatic portrait with natural light, couples portrait.

Posing (3 tutorials): Posing tips for men, maternity posing.

Composition (5 tutorials): Simple compositional rules on how to use depth of field, etc.

Exposure (5  tutorials): Long exposure tip, understanding exposure (4 parts series).

Light (20 tutorials): Creative light painting, mixed lighting, primary lighting patterns and their purpose, etc.

Flash (6 tutorials): Create natural light indoors with flash, using flash to create natural vs. dramatic imagery, motion into flash photography (2 parts), using off-camera flash and radio remotes.

Lightroom (6 tutorials): Learn tips and tricks to apply presets and get professional results with Lightroom.

How You’ll Learn

The course is broken down into 88 videos. Each module involves about 10 to 20 minutes of work. Concepts are taught through video lectures only.

Channel Adorama
Provider YouTube
Instructor Pye Jirsa
Level Intermediate
Workload 18 hours
Certificate Not available

Fun Facts

  • Jirsa is the founder and partner of SLR Lounge and Lin and Jirsa Photography, a boutique Southern California photography studio.
  • The team shoots over 300 weddings each year, with nearly 1,000 yearly client commissions.

If you’re interested in this course, you can find more information about the course and how to enroll here.

10. Wedding Photography Tutorials (Adorama)

Robert Evans, instructor

My tenth pick for the best Photography online course is the free course, Wedding Photography Tutorials, offered by Adorama on YouTube.

If wedding photography is your thing, then you definitely won’t want to miss out on this course. Featuring multiple instructors, including professional photographers and industry experts, you’ll learn everything you need to know in order to take better wedding photos.

What You’ll Learn

Below, I have grouped the videos into categories so that you can understand the main topics more clearly.

Posing Bride and Groom (9 tutorials): Posing a bride, speed posing couple, posing a bride and groom, pose ideas for a bride and groom, tips for posing your bride and groom, etc.

Portraits (5 tutorials): Shooting golden hour portraits, portraits at sunset, bridal portrait, celebrity wedding and portrait photography with Mike Colón, and portrait photographer Diana Elizabeth.

Lenses (3 tutorials): Must-have lenses for a wedding videographer, best lens for wedding photographers, review of the Canon 200mm 2.0 lens.

Tutorials by Robert Evans (6 parts): First look, reception, cocktail hour, ceremony, family photos, and consultation and engagement photos.Tutorials by Vanessa Joy (31 tutorials): Reception, posing a couple, bridal party, bridesmaid and groomsmen at a wedding, photographing a bride getting ready, nighttime photoshoot, creating a wedding album, etc.

How You’ll Learn

The course is broken down into 65 videos. Each module involves about 5 to 10 minutes of work. Concepts are taught through video lectures only.

Channel Adorama
Provider YouTube
Instructor Various
Level Intermediate
Workload 7 hours
Certificate Not available

If you’re interested in this course, you can find more information about the course and how to enroll here.

Archisha Bhar Profile Image

Archisha Bhar

I am a Generalist at Class Central and a Civil Engineer from India. Other than engineering, I take interest in art, music, computer, psychology and creative writing.

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