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Which online photography course is best?

Photography is a fulfilling hobby and, for some people, a great way to make extra money on the side or as a full-time profession. However, if you’re just getting started, finding the best online photography course can be tricky. After all, there are many things to consider, such as the required skill level and types of photography covered in the course. If you’re a beginner who’s interested in learning photography starting from the basics, check out the Complete Photography: 21 Courses in 1 [Beginner to Expert] on Udemy.

What to know before you buy an online photography course


When it comes to taking a photography course, there are countless topics available. Some courses teach you how to set up and operate different types of cameras, including the one on your smartphone. Others focus on how to create a full composition.

More comprehensive or advanced courses take a deep dive into core concepts of the art as well as the types of lenses you should use based on the types of photos you want to take. There are also courses that teach you how to modify photos through graphic design programs or expert-level techniques on taking photos in poor lighting or fast-paced environments.

Ask yourself what it is you want to learn before signing up for a course. If you’re not sure, make a list that includes every aspect you can think of that might be interesting. For example, you might want to learn the technical side of camera work and angles, or you might want to focus on taking crisper images. Once you have an idea of what you want, check the course’s online syllabus to see if it’s the right fit for you.


Some online photography courses teach only theoretical concepts, but many require students to have at least a basic camera. Generally, the requirements will be listed in the description of the courses or in a separate online tab. Even if the course doesn’t require a camera, it’s a good idea to have a smartphone or a basic DSLR camera so you can practice what you learn and hone your skills.

Besides equipment, you might also need to have an understanding of the fundamentals of photography before taking a course. Some online instructors build several courses on one another, meaning they’ll expect students to understand the previous source material before taking a more advanced course. That said, you can always try out different courses until you find one you really enjoy.

Time commitment

Learning photography takes some time and practice. The course should indicate how long it will take, on average, to complete. However, most courses don’t usually account for practice time, so be prepared for that.

Websites like Udemy will list the total amount of lectures, individual sections and total duration of the course. Length varies by course, but many photography courses will be five hours or longer. On the plus side, you can usually go back and listen to previous lectures as often as you’d like and on your own time.


Most online courses are in video format, though some will have downloadable PDF files or audio files you can listen to instead.

What to look for in a quality online photography course


Many online courses, including photography courses, indicate the level or difficulty just below the title or on the main page. Levels usually range from beginner to intermediate to advanced. Some courses are kid-friendly and go over simpler concepts in a more relaxed, fun way. Read through the course details prior to purchase to make sure it’s right for your current skill level.

Modules and lessons

Coursera and Udemy, as well as similar online educational sites, have a section where you can look at the course content broken down into modules and lessons. Each module will usually refer to a key concept and be further broken down into bite-sized lessons that flesh out that concept.

For example, if you’re taking a basic photography course, the first module might be about navigating a camera’s settings and features. Within that module, there could be separate lessons for settings, features and so forth. Read through the different modules and lessons to get a better understanding of the entire course.


Depending on the platform, there might be a certification or college credit available with the photography course. However, most sites will require payment or membership first. If you’re interested in taking a course so you can advertise your skills on a professional site such as LinkedIn, a certificate could be great for your profile or resume.

How much you can expect to spend on an online photography course

Some courses on Coursera are free or come with a free trial, but they won’t include a certificate. If you want a certificate through this platform, expect to pay $59 a month. Udemy courses cost $10-$200.

Online photography courses FAQ

How else can I learn photography?

A. Read books or watch YouTube tutorials on photography and camera operation to supplement your skills. More importantly, get out there and start practicing. You can also join or form a group and work together to improve your skills. If you want to be challenged more, consider getting a professional mentor to teach you more advanced photography techniques and concepts.

What equipment do I need for photography?

A. If you’re just starting out, you should have a suitable camera, tripod, camera bag and a few lenses for taking different types of photos in different lighting. You can find a decent entry-level camera with a lens kit that includes an 18-55 millimeter lens and a standard zoom feature.

What are the best online photography courses to buy?

Top online photography course

Complete Photography 21 Courses in 1 Beginner to Expert

Complete Photography: 21 Courses in 1 [Beginner to Expert]

What you need to know: This massive online course provides a comprehensive take on photography and features multiple sections that will educate you on the key concepts of photography.

What you’ll love: This course covers everything from photography basics to learning HDR photography and Adobe Photoshop. It also teaches different types of photography, including landscape and portrait. Along with this, there’s a module about the different ways to earn money through photography. 

What you should consider: It’s a long course with over eight hours of videos, but it does come with lifetime access. The audio is low at times.

Where to buy: Sold by Udemy

Top online photography course for the money

Cameras, Exposure, and Photography

Cameras, Exposure, and Photography

What you need to know: Designed for beginner photographers, this course breaks down the basics of taking photos and preparing your camera for future shoots.

What you’ll love: With around 19 hours of content, this course features separate readings, quizzes and videos. It’s the first course out of five, so it sets the foundation early on with lessons on camera settings, vantage points and framing your photos.

What you should consider: The quizzes are simple, and the course is primarily aimed at beginners.

Where to buy: Sold by Coursera

Worth checking out

Learn Landscape Photography

Learn Landscape Photography

What you need to know: If you’re interested in a brief course about landscape photography, then this course is right for you.

What you’ll love: With 45 minutes of content, this online course teaches the basics of landscape photography. The course is separated into sections, including one on camera settings and another on how to create a composition.

What you should consider: Those who take the course should already have a DSLR camera and understand the basic settings and features.

Where to buy: Sold by Udemy


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Angela Watson writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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