Internet Self Improvement

Learning Photography: 5 YouTube Channels to Become a Pro

Joel Lee 10-03-2015

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 The Best Online Photography Courses for Beginners Are you searching for online photography classes to join? Then take your pick from these excellent lessons. Read More (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 14+ YouTube Playlists To Watch & Learn Computer Programming Quickly With the advent and growth of YouTube and plenty of other high-quality video-sharing websites and tools like flashcard software, learning new things visually by yourself has never been easier. Since it never hurts to learn... Read More drawing comics Top 6 YouTube Channels For Learning How To Draw Comics YouTube is full of such tutorials for anything from a smiley face to complex characters, but many of them are hard to follow or just plain bad. How can you know which channels to focus... Read More , or even basic DIY skills Learn Basic DIY Skills Online With YouTube While DIY falls in and out of fashion depending on the state of the economy, individual styles, and the availability of professionals and materials, there will always be someone, somewhere keen to learn basic DIY... Read More . 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.

Mike Browne

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

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.

The Art of Photography

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.

Snap Factory

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.

Kelby One

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 5 Common Camera Lenses and When to Use Them Wondering what camera lens to use? Here are several common camera lenses, what they're good for, and when you should use them. Read More and exposure techniques 7 Key Photography Tips for Absolute Beginners These photography tips will help you take better photos, whether you're a beginner or have some practice already. Read More , but the later ones move onto more advanced material like post processing and workflow Edit, Enhance, Sync, & Share Your Photos With Adobe Lightroom For iPad Photographers who use Adobe Lightroom on their desktops can now edit and sync photos on the go with Adobe Lightroom mobile. It gives photographers another option for time-consuming post processing tasks. Read More .

Final Thoughts

Once you’ve exhausted these channels, continue your free photography education with these DSLR camera tips Hands On With Your DSLR: Best Camera Tips For The Amateur Photographer From Youtube There are umpteen resources on learning how to photograph. And believe me; it is as easy to get drowned in the quicksand of learning as it is to be buoyant with nuggets of wisdom. Photography... Read More . If you want to pursue a more social approach, you may also want to connect with top photographers on Google+ Learn Photography: Connect With Top Photographers On Google+ Communities Finding inspiration for photography is never a problem on the web. But even when we are taking in all we can, we shouldn’t forget the real-timeliness of social media and its natural give and take... Read More .

Are you an absolute newbie with zero experience? Great! I recommend buying used camera gear online Buying Used Camera Gear Online? Protect Yourself With These Tips Photography is a rewarding but expensive hobby. With the right mindset and the proper precautions, buying used photography gear online can be incredibly convenient, affordable, and safe. Read More 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 Buying A Used Digital SLR? Wait! 3 Things To Look Out For Buying a used digital SLR is a great way to save some money, but you should be aware of the risks involved in doing so. Read More .

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

Related topics: Digital Camera, Photography, YouTube.

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  1. Jan Smith
    September 26, 2018 at 6:33 pm

    I would watch Mike Browne just for his accent. :)

  2. warren
    August 7, 2018 at 12:26 am

    Chesla and Tony northrup. B&H and The art of photography are good too.

  3. John Grubb
    April 4, 2018 at 2:33 am

    Great list. I've been watching all of them for years. Snap Factory was the one that really got me started many years ago. I still follow Mark on his round-the-world motorcycle trip. Another one that I enjoy because he has some great ideas for going out and shooting as well as how to do it is Gavin Hoey on Adorama. I learned a lot from him too.

  4. Mick Eccles
    March 31, 2018 at 5:31 pm

    Surprised that Philip McCordall didn't make the list.

  5. Holly Black
    August 26, 2017 at 4:54 am

    I have high arches, long toes. I can play the piano, paint, clean , make meals and much much more with my feet. I've never met a person who doesn't like my feet and their abilities.
    Although if you want to talk badly and insult my long toes and capable feet this too is always welcome. I want to hear any opinion anyone has about my art by feet. I have arms and hands a face most consider beautiful because I'm a makeup and hair model but that's too easy been on the runway until I was at an age where I wasn't tall enough. I just want to show the world one of the ways I'm unique and that's doing hand stuff w my feet. I have nice shoes, dirty or clean socks/ stockings. Tell me what you want me too do with my feet and I'll show you my art at a fair price. ?

  6. Holly Black
    August 26, 2017 at 4:44 am

    I would like to sell art that I make perform and model with my feet. Very long toes wide feet high arches. I can play Mary had a little lab with one foot and write and draw and paint and clean with my feet. Very artistic and unique because I do have hands and am a makeup and hair model. But I choose to be artistic with my feet! ?

  7. Saikat
    March 11, 2015 at 3:17 pm

    Good selection. I absolutely love Mike Browne. Tony Northup is another good one.

    • Joel
      March 12, 2015 at 4:13 am

      I would watch Mike Browne even if I gave up on photography. He's so charismatic and fun, and you can feel the mature excitement in every word he speaks. Tony Northup's channel looks great too. Going to queue up a few of his videos now! :)

  8. Rob
    March 10, 2015 at 2:37 pm

    Nice selection! I'd also recommend checking out CreativeLive for some of their photography courses- I've taken a couple, and they're amazing.

    • Joel
      March 12, 2015 at 4:11 am

      Aw man, I visited this channel once a while ago but lost it. Been trying to find it for a while. Now here it is! Awesome. They have a lot of good stuff, definitely worth soaking up.

      Here's the link if any readers are interested: