Everyone’s trying to learn photography these days, which is great because photography is such an amazing creative outlet. One way to learn would be to take these online photography courses (both free and paid), but there’s a less daunting option available: YouTube videos.
YouTube is a wonderful way to gain a wide variety of knowledge, whether that means computer programming, drawing comics, or even basic DIY skills. And while it’s nice to know that there are hundreds of channels dedicated to photography lessons, the good ones often get buried in the noise.
If you’re a newbie photographer who’d rather not waste time sifting through the vast ocean of YouTube, don’t worry. I’ve already done a lot of sifting myself and I’m here to share with you the best channels I’ve found to date.
Out of all the photography teachers I’ve tuned into on YouTube, Mike Browne is my absolute favorite by a longshot. His may not be the most popular name (yet!) and the production quality won’t blow you away (though it’s gotten better over the years), but the content on his channel is unmatched.
What’s so compelling about Mike Browne? His method of teaching. Instead of going the traditional route of lectures and personal anecdotes, he employs a “teach by doing” style that provides insight into every step that’s taken when shooting a photo.
As he looks through the viewfinder, he explains how he’s adjusting his exposure and why he’s making said adjustments. He explains the thought process behind his decisions for framing and composition, and nothing gets cut out or edited. It’s practical, which is why it’s so effective.
B&H Photo is one of the biggest and most well-known names among all photography resources. On their website, you can buy almost anything related to photo and video: lighting setups, audio equipment, camera accessories, presentation tools, etc. But that’s not all.
When you hop onto their YouTube channel, you’ll see that they have a massive playlist of Event Space videos. Event Space is a series of free lectures and workshops aimed at bringing photography knowledge to the masses. This playlist consists of 250+ full lectures that can be watched free of charge.
This is top-notch content that exhibits the wisdom and advice of photography experts from all over the world. They cover topics that include but aren’t limited to composition, lighting, portraiture, weddings, street, abstract, and even how to land clients as a freelancer.
As the name suggests, The Art of Photography is a channel with a dual mission: to teach newbies about the technical aspect of photography (e.g. process, techniques, composition, etc.) without neglecting the history and artistic nature of the practice.
In fact, while The Art of Photography is an excellent resource for technical growth, some of their most interesting videos are the ones that delve into the lives and backgrounds of famous photographers like Ansel Adams and Harold Feinstein.
The underlying mindset is that historical context and historical development make it easier to understand and grasp why things are the way they are today. If you divorce the two, you end up wasting a lot of time and effort reinventing wheels.
While the Snap Factory channel hasn’t uploaded a new video in the last year or so, there’s a wonderful archive of content that’s just as helpful, informative, and relevant as any video that may have been uploaded yesterday.
In particular, you should check out the playlist called Digital Photography: One on One. This series works with a Q&A format: viewers send in questions and each episode tackles the topic of a given question. The videos are short — usually around 15 minutes, never longer than 30 minutes — so they’re quick to consume but dense in material.
If you could only choose one YouTube playlist to watch for learning photography, this would be a top contender. Don’t skip over it.
Scott Kelby is the founder of Kelby Media Group, an organization that provides creative education to those who want to become creative professionals, with a primary emphasis on photography and Adobe Photoshop. You can find them on the Kelby One channel.
Their style is to give away all of their knowledge, secrets, and shortcuts, which is most evident in their playlist called Photography Tips & Tricks. The beginning episodes cover basic topics like proper lens selection and exposure techniques, but the later ones move onto more advanced material like post processing and workflow.
Once you’ve exhausted these channels, continue your free photography education with these DSLR camera tips. If you want to pursue a more social approach, you may also want to connect with top photographers on Google+.
Are you an absolute newbie with zero experience? Great! I recommend buying used camera gear online to keep your investment low until you know that it’s the right creative outlet for you. Just make sure that you look for the right things and avoid the warning signs.
Any questions? Know of any other YouTube channels that teach photography? Share them with us in the comments below!
Image Credits: Man With Camera Via Shutterstock