5 Best Free Beginner Photography Learning Resources I’ve Personally Used
Updated: Jun 12, 2020
Let’s face it: there’s a ton of photography content online, including this blog on its hopeful mission. It’s not easy to get through thousands of pages in order to find a comprehensive course that you would enjoy. Also, there is a lot of bait content, pretending to be free but turning out to be actual advertising of a full-paid course of unknown quality. Overall, selecting a proper photography course can intimidate beginner users without anyone who could guide them through this mess.
In this situation, I’d like to introduce you to free resources that have helped me at the beginning of my journey. Follow them from the beginning to the end, even if some of them seem outdated. Remember, these were created by someone more experienced than you and is willing to share their knowledge for a minimal price.
Also, if you’re interested in joining a personalized course just for you, please contact me as I’m planning to open both online and offline courses for photography students. Cheers!
1. Digital Photography Exposed: Free Online Harvard Course
The Harvard Online Photography course is the best place to start. The lecturer, Dan Armendariz, covers all of the most basic topics with passion that will motivate you to keep learning throughout the course. The content covers not an only typical tutorial to light and exposure, but also important things which are often overlooked like file type and storage, or the theory of optics. Getting through the course will introduce you to all fundamentals necessary for every photographer.
2. Ansel Adams' books
I’d always known that Ansel Adams was a photography legend, but this book has also introduced me to his amazing writing. I recommend this book as a second step in your learning after you’ve gone through basic exposure rules. Why second? Because this book is a great testimony to the fact, that the camera device has been working on the same principles since Ansel’s time and before. Reading about the same phenomenon from the perspective of the past will help you understand better what’s going on inside the camera, and how to create more stunning images with it.
3. Digital Photography 1 on 1 with Mark Wallace
If out of whole great YouTube I could select only one series of tutorials it would be this. Started on Mark’s channel and then continued on Adorama, Digital Photography 1 on 1 continues throughout 240 (!) episodes covering all topics you could think of. Personally, I’ve used the course to learn how to work better with artificial lights and studio setup, and although I still prefer natural light over studio work, Mark’s tutorials were always there when I needed them.
I love Photoshop and I always recommend it over Lightroom. However, Photoshop’s functions are overly broad, and you need a tutor to narrow them down to photography-related stuff. Unmesh from PiXimperfect regularly uploads not only amazing tutorials that help you fix issues in your photos, but he also creates tons of basic contents for people just starting with photoshop. Also, he’s one of the best educators I’ve ever seen on youtube, patiently explaining every detail to his new viewers.
5. PPA videos
The problem with many online tutorials is that they don’t always come out from real-world professionals. Don’t get me wrong, I adore YouTube creators and follow all of them, but if you need a proper business-learning content, PPA is the place to go. I’ve watched nearly all of their videos for free during the COVID-19 pandemic, polishing my knowledge of photography-related branding, marketing, and sales process. PPA also offers photography tutorials with working experts you won’t find on other platforms.
These are five photography resources that I’ve personally used before. What resources have you tried using? Send me a DM on my Instagram and maybe I’ll make sure to share your opinions with others too!