Photography is a deceptive art. At first glance it looks simple and straightforward: all you have to do is point your lens and click the shutter, right? But there’s a lot of theory and knowledge behind every beautiful shot — so much so that it can be overwhelming for the beginner.
Fortunately, there are plenty of resources on the Internet to help ease that learning curve, with Udemy establishing itself as a prime resource for quality photography courses. Many are freely available, a few that require paid access – here are some of the best ones to get you started.
Karl Taylor offers a lot of great advice on his YouTube photography videos, but did you know that he has a complete introductory course on Udemy for free?
This series of 22 lessons will take you through all of the basics of photography — including equipment, exposure, lighting, composition, and more — and has been specifically designed for those who have absolutely no background in photography. Absolute beginners should start here.
Once you’ve gone through Karl Taylor’s course, this is a great next stop. It covers some of the same material — equipment, exposure, lighting, composition, and more — but does so in far greater detail. Plus, learning the same material again will help solidify the concepts in your mind.
The extra level of detail makes this course a must-enroll for all beginners. In addition to photography basics, it explains the differences between composing shots depending on subject. It’s not a be-all-end-all course, but it does set a great foundation for learning more.
One of the photographer’s essential tools is the light meter. Despite its simplicity, the light meter is crucial for setting the proper exposure in a given shot. This 17-lesson series will introduce you to the light meter, explaining why you need it and how it works. By the end, you’ll be well on your way towards being a master of light.
Adobe Lightroom 5 Workflow (Free)
Adobe’s Lightroom is a popular choice of post-processing software for many photographers. It offers a quick and painless way to post-process your shots, allowing you to correct issues with exposure, apply interesting effects, and ultimately take your photos to the next level.
It’s a short course with only 11 lessons, but it’s enough to introduce you to the foundations and get you set up with proper workflow habits. If you use Photoshop for your RAW editing then the course is still relevant, as Lightroom uses the same Camera RAW technology found in its bigger brother.
Green Screen Photography (Free)
If you want to open up your potential for creativity, green screen photography is one way to do it. Though mostly seen as a technique for video, green screens can be incredibly useful for still images too.
This 23-lesson series not only teaches you how to set up and use a green screen but also shows you a few examples of how it can improve your shots.
After you’ve become familiar with the fundamentals and you’ve had time to practice the basics for a while, this is the kind of course you’ll want to help you push your skills beyond that mediocre plateau.
It’s a two-part course, but they’re both packed full of advanced tips for getting the most out of your gear and maximizing the potential of your shots.
A lot of people think that black and white photography is somehow easier than normal photography. After all, you don’t have to worry about things like color theory, right? Though true in a sense, the reality is not so simple.
This 20-lesson course will teach you what makes B&W photography so powerful, how to compose a B&W shot, and how to overcome some common issues that arise when people start shooting in B&W.
This course is awesome, especially for those who learn through hands-on practice rather than by straight lectures. In it, the instructor will go through 10 different examples of landscape photography, showing you the exact process that goes into taking the shot and touching it up in post-processing.
Even though the course is specifically about landscapes, the workflow and techniques learned can be transferred and applied to all kinds of photography, including night sky photography.
If you’re interested in specializing in portrait photography, this course may prove helpful. Though the 38-lesson series focuses specifically on family portraits, what you learn — positioning subjects, lighting setups, lens choices, camera settings, and how to touch up faces — can be applied to almost any kind of portraiture.
Basic Food Photography ($47)
Food photography seems simple, but if you’ve ever had it go wrong you’ll know your camera can turn a gourmet feast into something you’d find in a storm drain with the click of a shutter. This 29-lesson course will take you through all of the necessary steps for snapping the most exquisite photos of your dishes, starting with food styling tips and ending with smart post-processing of your images.
Also note that one simple trick for getting that professional food look is to create your own white photography background.
Other Places To Learn Photography
Udemy is a great resource for online photography courses but it’s not the only place to look. When you’ve exhausted what Udemy has to offer, we recommend checking out Creative Live, Lynda.com, Photography Tuts+, and even Reddit’s /r/photoclass.
Where did you go to learn about photography?
Image Credits: Photographer Silhouette Via Shutterstock, DSLR Gear Via Flickr, Light Meter Via Shutterstock, Green Screen Via Shutterstock, Better Photographer Via Shutterstock, Black & White Via Flickr, Sun Landscape Via Flickr, Family Portrait Via Flickr, Food Shot Via Flickr