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Online Photography Courses?

  • Online Photography Courses?

I recently took a online photography course I found on Groupon. I have never taken any photography classes in the past, and I always felt that some formal training may benefit me in the long run. When I saw the advertisement, I immediately decided to give it a try. I was hoping that, by seeing how professional photographers approach the subjects and having them review my photos, I could really benefit from this experience. I had high expectation for the class, and was optimistic about the outcome.

My optimism was reversed within a week. It seems to me that in the class, the instructors provide very little instructions, and the reviews they write for the photos submitted by students contain too much personal preference and not enough professional assessments. Besides, the examples they showcase while describing photography principals are rather mediocre.  Sometimes an experienced student may produce photos that are more stunning and interesting than they could. I guess it is true that you get what you pay for, but this was not what I was expecting.

I’m not saying that all the online courses providers are like that. There are plenty professional photographers out there who offer very useful online lessens, but they are usually pricier due to popularity. Also, I really believe that it will help a lot more if you spend more time taking pictures instead of listening to others telling what you should do. Your photography should be about your preference, not someone else’s. You don’t need to pay someone a hundred dollars just to get him to tell you that he prefers your subject interacting with the environment instead of looking straight at the camera.

There are many resources other than those online photography courses, and many of them are either free or are more cost effective. First of all, you may try joining some online photography forums. There are many online communities where photographers help others by providing suggestions and sharing knowledge, and membership is free just like any other online forums. You may also find many free tutorials, in the form of text or video, that were put together by photographers who are passionate about this field and are willing to help. Finally, you always have the option to purchase books written by reputable, experience photographers. A good book may cost a lot more than an online course, but you will get a lot more information and examples than what online courses offer.

By the way, Jim Harmer from is one of my favorite photographers in the photographer community. He is professional, creative, and he makes great tutorial videos. I can’t tell you if the courses he offers are any good because I have not taken them, but I’ve seen most of his videos and I can tell you that he knows how to shoot great photos. If you know of any great photographer communities or have taken any online photography courses and are happy with them, please share your experience by leaving comments below.

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