Online Photography Courses and Self-Studying Photography
Our individual path as photographers can dip and swerve in so many directions, just like riding the tone curve while adjusting shadows and highlights! You may enjoy photography as a hobby, or you may be seeking online photography courses because you’re interested in building professional skills and techniques to make it your career. There is no set or specific path you need to follow as a photographer, it’s completely up to you whether you make an income, grow your client list, sell prints or simply enjoy the creative process of capturing beautiful photos.
Photography courses come in just as many variations as the career itself so it’s important to determine which course or learning experience will suit you best!
Are you struggling with camera settings?
Do you want to start a photography business but don’t know where to begin?
Are you selling prints but not making any sales?
Maybe you’re wanting to work as a photographer but can’t find clients?
Keen to get published but don’t know what format to send your work to a magazine editor, or how to pitch?
There’s a photography course or resource out there created just for you! It’s a matter of finding it and committing to making the changes, implementing the advice and taking a chance on your creativity.
Personally, I’m a big advocate for creative development and learning that involves getting outside with your camera and learning as you explore genres, techniques and how to use your camera. Finding online photography courses that challenge you and shares ideas you can take into the field and photograph is always going to be beneficial!
Whether you learn best in a classroom environment, via textbooks or eBooks, Youtube videos or self-study online photography courses, let’s take a peek at what the benefits are of learning photography online.
01 – Staying up to date with a fast paced industry!
As a photographer you are always learning, staying up to date with programs, equipment, client expectations, products and services. Keeping your creative, business and technical knowledge up to date is essential! Even professional photographers who have worked in the industry for years will tell you they’re still always learning. There’s no ‘end’ in photography, only more techniques, more ideas and more creative concepts to work on. As gear progresses, so do the creative possibilities you can offer your clients or produce for fun. Taking a photography course that challenges your current abilities is a wonderful way to take that next step as a photographer.
02 – You can find a specific online photography courses to suit your needs
There are countless photography courses available to pursue, my advice is to find one that help you achieve exactly what it is you’re looking to improve or develop. If you’re struggling with Lightroom, rather than searching for a ‘Photography Editing Course’, find a course or resource that only focuses on Adobe Lightroom like Christian Hoiberg’s Complete Guide to Lightroom Classic so you aren’t paying for unnecessary content you may already know or isn’t relevant to you. My course, The Print Store Launch Pad, is solely developed to help photographers looking to sell prints, create an online store/website or print professionally for clients. Throughout the course, I share everything you need to know about curating collections, preparing image files for printing, dropshipping, working with print labs, global logistics, creating a website and online store, opening an Etsy store, the sales process, marketing and so much more! While all that sounds ideal for someone hoping to create a side income as a photographer, if you’re simply hoping to improve your creative skills, this isn’t the course for you! It’s about searching, browsing course options and connecting with the person offering the course! I believe it’s important to connect with a photographer before learning from them too. You want to be sure you enjoy their style and approach to photography before committing to joining their course! Do they have years or experience or are they just offering a basic course in the hope of making some money?
Always research the photographer, the course outcomes and assess whether it will be beneficial to your path in photography. I love receiving messages from people considering my courses as it gives me a chance to take a peek at their photography, it allows me to see which course may be helpful to their goals and then I can follow as their photography improves once they work through the course content!
02 – Challenging your Creative Mind
We can get stuck in a rut sometimes and the best way to get out of it (in addition to a walk in nature!), is trying something new. If you’re a landscape photographer and are bored of the same scenes, visit somewhere new and attempt a new photography technique to try and boost your creative thinking. A creative course that offers challenges and new ways of capturing a scene will only benefit you in the long run as you pursue your goals as a photographer. Within the self-study program ‘The Creative Photography Course‘, I have a workbook dedicated to creative composition, prompting new ways of framing a scene and also how to really ‘see’ a scene before you even life your camera. I’ve found it so fascinating to hear from course participants about just how much these composition challenges have helped them improve their photographs. Small adjustments, fresh ideas, new ways of composing or approaching a scene and taking the time to think about how and why you want to photograph is so important as a photographer.
03 – Learn faster and apply immediately with online photography courses
Enrolling in online photography courses can provide the necessary push to learn and put the lessons into practice right away. I’ve always found that if I enrol or pay for a course, I’ll be ten times more likely to actually do the work than if I buy a book and tell myself I’ll read it one day. That day rarely comes, anyone else with me!? With the ability to move documents and resources across our devices, learning photography online is now so much easier. We can download a workbook on our computer, copy it across the cloud and have it with us on our phones while photographing landscapes in the field. Having a workbook on hand while you’re attempting a new camera setting or creative technique can be a great boost to motivation. Read, re-read and then test the settings right then and there! I’ve had a few students from The Creative Photography Course take Workbook 02 and 03 with them on adventures, learning how to photograph natural light in various ways while having the notes and challenges in their pocket stored safely on their phone. I’m still blown away that something I write can be taken anywhere, you can of course access any of the free photography guides in The Wandering Lens archive if you’ve got wifi/signal too. My free photo tips series called ‘Setting the Scene‘ has some handy posts if you’re shooting in various outdoor conditions!
04 – Join a community of like minded photographers
Learning via online photography courses sounds like it might be a tad isolating? Wrong! With the world connected now more than ever, most online course providers will have a network available to join as you read or study. Some online learning portals have a chat option, or you may be invited to join a group via Facebook, Whatsapp for example. With both of my self-study courses, I invite participants to join ‘The Creative Core‘, a Facebook Group that has members from all over the world. I’m so excited to watch this group grow together, share ideas, news, updates and am hoping it will become somewhere we can all support each other in our creative endeavours.
05 – Give your creativity or career a boost of inspiration and motivation
Over the years I’ve enrolled in many business development courses and various creative courses in subjects like watercolour painting, map drawing and product design. Even just taking that step to enrolling feels like a hit of motivation suddenly takes over. When I first studied communications and journalism, the boost of inspiration I received from simply opening the textbooks was so thrilling. I get the same inspiration by geeking out on a new editing program manual or when my camera has a new tool available in the menu and I need to find a way to use it. Signing up, buying the book, enrolling in the course – it could be the best thing you can do for yourself and your photography career.
We all make excuses to avoid doing things because they’re too expensive, too hard, beyond our abilities or too time consuming. Of course personal commitments, work, supporting a family, the cost of living and the fact that time just seems to go faster these days can mean we can’t commit to reading through course materials for 8hrs a day. But even just 20 minutes can make a huge difference! Start small with an eBook and work your way up to a course to see if online learning is for you.
Do me a favour- If you enrol in a photography course online, download the workbooks and course content as soon as you can. Save it somewhere safe, have it available across all of your devices and try to schedule in time to read or apply the creative advice. Make it a habit to open a course workbook instead of Instagram! If you’re out for sunset and want to challenge yourself, open your phone and flip to the chapter on natural light to try something new. If you’re trying to set up your new store and feel stuck, flick to the chapter on branding (in The Print Store Launch Pad) to focus on another area of your business!
Online Photography Courses – Learn with Lisa from The Wandering Lens
Since I’ve mentioned above that I love hearing from people considering my courses, I want to ensure you’ve got a direct link to what I teach and how you can reach me and chat!
First up, you’ll find my work on Instagram via @the_wanderinglens and you’re welcome to DM me so I can see your work.
I currently offer 2 x self-study photography courses:
The Creative Photography Course – designed to guide you through the creative process of improving your photography, working with natural light, creating editing workflows, finding your niche, developing a portfolio and also tips on the various ways you can work as a photographer, get published and more!
The Print Store Launch Pad – Created for photographers ready to sell prints and develop a side income stream and creative business. It’s for you if you want to sell prints online, create an Etsy store, sell prints at a local market, commercially or work with retail clients!
You can also purchase both courses in ‘The Big Creative Boost Course Bundle‘ for a discount too.
I look forward to hearing from you if you wish to chat about my online photography courses, or even get advice on other courses offered online – always happy to chat and hear from anyone interested in pursuing photography 🙂
Travel and landscape photographer from Australia who is far more comfortable in a pair of flippers than heels! Having worked for publications such as Lonely Planet, Wanderlust and the Sunday Times, Lisa founded The Wandering Lens to share destination guides to the worlds most photogenic places and outdoor experiences.