Taking an online photography class for beginners is among the best ways to skyrocket your photography skills in no time.
In this article, I’ve collected some of the best online beginner photography courses (and also ebooks) I reviewed.
These reviews are also part of a larger project we’ve done, a compilation of the 20 Best Online Photography Courses in 2020.Without further ado, let’s see what the best training products for beginners are.
This impressive, 6.5 hour-long video course is perhaps my favourite. Its aim is to bring you from a complete beginner level to a solid intermediate level.
Among others, it strongly focuses on the following genres:
- (Couples) Portrait photography;
- Landscape photography;
- Food photography;
- Fashion photography;
- Sports photography;
The highest emphasis is on portraiture.
Photography 101 is awesome in teaching several things. You will master manual mode, as well as learn to expose your images in all conditions and camera modes.
Approaching a scene with the right mindset is just as important. The course is successful in teaching how to set your mind up for any kind of photography.
In teaching composition, the course doesn’t take the common path of dedicating a separate chapter to it. Instead, compositional techniques and approaches form an integral part. Throughout Photography 101, you will learn at least as much about it as you would from a single dedicated section.
Another very strong point of Photography 101 is that it teaches you how to observe, control and modify light. This is something no other beginner course touches on in such detail.
The course, in general, is very detailed. It shows you all the little pieces of successful photography that many others miss out on.
It also has little to no inaccuracies, technical mistakes, and tongue-slips, which is something that lifts it out from the crowd.
It is one of SLR Lounge’s older courses, but still up to date in almost all respects. It’s authored and presented by Pye Jirsa.
For $99, this is an awesome choice.
For whom: beginners who are looking for a well-rounded course on photography, with a focus on portraits and controlling light.
This ebook is not a full-on beginner course, but it has a dedicated section for beginners. It’s easy to understand and provides great value.
The Photo eBook is one of the best guides on cityscape and landscape photography. It features impressive techniques, resulting in amazing images. While some parts are not fully up-to-date, its core content is extensive and elaborate, with great attention to detail.
Despite being an ebook, this product actually contains more details in some key areas than the previous two video courses. You’ll be equipped with pretty much all you need to know to be successful in the city and landscape niches.
I love it for its compactness, impressive imagery, friendly but professional writing style, and more. But while it’s compact, it is actually the longest photography ebook I’ve read so far, at 274 densely packed pages.
So, don’t expect it to be an overnight read, but it’s a rewarding one. Even if you’re a complete beginner, you’ll be able to create similarly stunning images in a short while.
Professionals often use the techniques in The Photo eBook. They are not simplified. For this reason, it’s perfectly suitable for beginners and advanced photographers alike.
Its other great selling point is its low price tag. While it’s not a video course, I still consider $39 to be a very good deal for such an awesome package of knowledge.
For whom: beginner to advanced-level photographers who want to dive deep into cityscapes and landscapes.
While this is not a beginner course, it has a firm place on this list. Learning compositional techniques is among the most important things a beginner should do. It doesn’t matter how well you understand the technicalities of your camera if you cannot put it to good use. This ebook is beautifully designed and written, with stunning images and truly valuable knowledge.
There are extra videos included in the package that showcase many of the principles taught in the book. It teaches you all the “rules” that every other ebook on composition does. But it also tells you how and when to break them. You can learn how to form your own style and how to manipulate your viewers’ eyes. It develops your subconscious vision in a way very few other books do. “Incredibly Important Composition Skills” gives you an awesome learning experience. It’s a joy to read and watch.
For this ebook, we have a special discount. Our readers can get it for $49 (50% off), at which I consider it to be an excellent deal.
For whom: beginner to intermediate photographers looking for a comprehensive, all-encompassing ebook on composition.
Photography 101 is a beginner course that promises to teach you how to take control of all the manual settings on your DSLR camera.
It walks you through a basic understanding of lighting and using flash. Then, it takes you along on a shoot to put everything into practice.
It also includes extensive sections on Photoshop retouching and Lightroom editing.
This course is one of the more expensive on this list, but if you like the style of presentation that’s unique to Lee of Fstoppers, it’s worth it.
You can get it for $99 normally, but at the time of writing, it’s discounted to $69.30.
For whom: for the amateur photographer wanting more out of their images.
The Photzy Snap Cards are printable cheat sheets to help you on the field or provide a quick way of learning.
These cards are designed to help you in live photography situations with quick summaries of the key things you need to know.
The Snap Cards are ideal for beginner and intermediate photographers looking to get more out of their work. You can use them as go-to guides for specific topics.
You need some fundamentals – but the cards are there as a reminder, a way to recap.
They are also quite cheap at $29. So, if you feel you need an on-the-field guide along a course, they’re an excellent and highly economical investment.
For whom: beginner photographers in search of an on-the-field, quick and easy guide.
This course is similar in scale and production to Photography 101. It’s presented by Mark Hemmings.
It promises to make you comfortable with your camera in all situations. It teaches you compositional rules, concepts, lighting techniques, and basic editing.
The course places a higher than usual emphasis on storytelling and visual communication. In my opinion, this one of its key strength.
Such skills are prevalent in street and travel photography. Naturally, these are the two genres that are highlighted the most.
Digital Camera Mastery’s other strong point is its practical approach. It’s very much scene based, so it has a well-established natural flow.
Observing and dealing with light is accentuated in this course as well. This skill is perhaps the most important one you can acquire in photography, so it’s a welcome feat here.
It gives you very firm fundamentals in photography. This includes mastering manual mode and getting familiar with camera settings, focusing, editing, and photo genres. Its video production is outstanding, too.
All this is really easy to understand from Digital Camera Mastery. Mark takes the time to explain everything well, but does so in an everyday language, with no technical talk you can’t understand.
For $99, it’s a compelling choice, priced in line with most comparable beginner courses on the market. It has some problems with attention to detail, but no major flaws.
Photography Pro’s Facebook community is the most vivid of all.
Overall, this is a well-rounded, comprehensive beginner course with no deal-breaking flaws.
For whom: beginner photographers looking for a comprehensive beginner course with a focus on travel and street photography.
This one is a hybrid, ebook plus video course. The core is the ebook part, but there are short videos interpolated with it, explaining some chapters in more detail.
It’s very logically structured and breathtakingly easy to understand. Illustrations are awesome, as well as the language and style the text.
It gets you to a point where you can instinctively use manual mode on your camera, and know all of its core functions.
This is great because if you know your tool well, you can concentrate on creating images more.
However, there’s not a lot more coverage here. There are no chapters about using other gear, basic compositional techniques, or popular genres of photography.
Yet, it comes at a price of $99, for which you can buy more serious and complete video-format courses, such as Digital Camera Mastery or Photography 101.
For whom: beginner photographers who want to understand their camera.
Photo Shortcuts is a video course for beginners with some basic knowledge. It aims to provide guidance in a handful of specific photography scenarios.
Overall, it’s a nice product. It teaches the key points and gives you an understanding of what genres you can pursue in photography.
Its production is great, and it’s shot in the beautiful location of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.
I loved its production quality, as well as its approach to light and controlling light.
However, it has a recurring issue of being imprecise in the details. There are hardly any chapters without oversimplifications or technical inaccuracies. Also, its price is high at $199.
Still, if you’re the type of photographer who has solid basic knowledge, and your main goal is to broaden your horizon, it’s worth checking out.
For whom: beginner to intermediate photographers who want to learn the basics of most photo genres.
We also happen to have a fantastic video course aimed at beginners. Check out our course, Photography for Beginners here. Use the coupon code bestbeginner10 at checkout for a 10% discount!
|Title / by|
Total Score (100)
Value for Money (20)
Ease of Learning (15)
Production Value (15)
Learning Support (5)
|Full Review||Buy Now|
|Photography 101 by SLR Lounge||Total Score (100): 86||Value for Money (20): 18||Coverage (20): 15||Accuracy (20): 18||Ease of Learning (15): 13||Production Value (15): 15||Uniqueness (5): 2||Learning Support (5): 5|
|The Photo eBook by PictureCorrect||Total Score (100): 86||Value for Money (20): 20||Coverage (20): 17||Accuracy (20): 17||Ease of Learning (15): 12||Production Value (15): 15||Uniqueness (5): 5||Learning Support (5): 0|
|Incredibly Important Composition Skills by Photography Concentrate||Total Score (100): 84||Value for Money (20): 19||Coverage (20): 17||Accuracy (20): 18||Ease of Learning (15): 15||Production Value (15): 13||Uniqueness (5): 2||Learning Support (5): 0|
|Snap Cards by Photzy||Total Score (100): 73||Value for Money (20): 15||Coverage (20): 16||Accuracy (20): 14||Ease of Learning (15): 12||Production Value (15): 11||Uniqueness (5): 5||Learning Support (5): 0|
|Digital Camera Mastery by Photography Pro||Total Score (100): 71||Value for Money (20): 15||Coverage (20): 15||Accuracy (20): 13||Ease of Learning (15): 12||Production Value (15): 12||Uniqueness (5): 0||Learning Support (5): 4|
|Extremely Essential Camera Skills by Photography Concentrate||Total Score (100): 64||Value for Money (20): 9||Coverage (20): 13||Accuracy (20): 15||Ease of Learning (15): 12||Production Value (15): 12||Uniqueness (5): 3||Learning Support (5): 0|
|Photo Shortcuts by Photography Pro||Total Score (100): 63||Value for Money (20): 10||Coverage (20): 12||Accuracy (20): 10||Ease of Learning (15): 12||Production Value (15): 12||Uniqueness (5): 3||Learning Support (5): 0|
If you’d like to see how these courses measure up against all other training products we’ve reviewed, head over here.