Best Online Photography Courses

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Contributor, Benzinga
October 15, 2020

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Photography can be a fun hobby or a rewarding career choice. If you want to stand out among those who enjoy snapping and editing photos, you want guidance from a professional who can show you the ropes. 

An online course is a great way to learn the basics or advance your knowledge. You can find course options for all skill levels and budgets. You shouldn’t have trouble finding a class that fits your needs without breaking the bank. 

Here’s Benzinga’s list of best online photography courses

Quick Look: Best Online Photography Courses

Here’s a sneak peek at the best online photography courses: 

What Makes an Online Photography Course Great?

With so many online photography courses to choose from, how do you know which are best? Be mindful of these factors as you explore and narrow down your options to find the best fit. 

Led by an Experienced Photographer

The best online photography courses are taught by professional photographers with experience shooting in different settings. But it’s not enough for them to only shine in the field. 

An instructor should also have the ability to teach fundamental photography concepts in a way that’s easy to comprehend. Check an instructor’s biography and read reviews from past and current students to gain additional insight into his or her professional experience and teaching style. 


Regardless of your budget, there’s an online photography course for you. Decide on an amount you want to spend and only consider classes that don’t exceed this figure. If you’re strapped for cash, you can begin with a free course and move on to paid options as you free up funds. 


You want a self-paced online photography course. Life is busy, and the last thing you need is what feels like an instructor forcing you to meet strict deadlines that don’t quite work for you. 

Online Photography Courses for Beginners

Start with these introductory courses if you want to become a professional photographer or pursue photography as a hobby. 

1. Photography 101 by LinkedIn Learning


Who it's for: Beginners

Price: Included with the monthly membership 

This introductory course from LinkedIn Learning teaches the fundamentals of digital photography and covers everything you need to excel as a photographer. 

Photography 101 spans a little over 2 hours and entails these modules: 

  • Carry and Hold a Camera Like a Pro
  • Stabilize the Camera
  • P is not for Perfect
  • Settings in the Real World
  • Push Your Buttons
  • Control Your Auto Focus
  • Flash 
  • Change Your Point of View 

Instruction is provided through video lessons by photographic storyteller Joseph Linaschke. Each module also includes a chapter quiz to identify areas where you fully grasp the material or may need to spend more time. 

There’s no cost to enroll if you have a monthly LinkedIn membership. Not yet registered? Sign up for a 1-month trial to access the course for free. 

Enroll now

2. Cameras, Exposure and Photography by Michigan State University 


Who it's for: Beginners

Price: Free

Offered by Michigan State University, Cameras, Exposure and Photography is a 16-hour course that discusses the essential functions of digital cameras and what qualities to look for when searching for a camera to purchase. It’s the first installment in the Photography Basics and Beyond: From Smartphone to DSLR Specialization. 

Here’s what you can expect to learn while enrolled:

  • Welcome, Overview and Fundamentals
  • Camera Capabilities: Differences and Similarities 
  • Setting Up Yourself and Your Digital Camera: Menus, Settings and Baggage! 
  • Picture Decisions: The Vantage Point and Frame 

The class is taught by Peter Glendinning, professor of art, art history and design and Mark Valentine Sullivan, associate professor in the Music/Innovation Hub. 

Enrollment is free. 

Enroll now.

3. Introduction to Photography by LinkedIn Learning 


Who it's for: Beginners

Price: Included with the monthly membership 

Also presented by LinkedIn Learning, Introduction to Photography is a 1-hour course that caters to beginners who want to acquire solid foundational knowledge on the tools and skills you need to excel as a digital photographer. 

It’s led by photographer and senior editor Ben Long and consists of 8 core segments and chapter quizzes on the following topics: 

  • Cameras and Lenses
  • Camera Media Cards and Configuration
  • Exposure and Light Meters
  • Composition Basics
  • Portrait Basics
  • Additional Shoot Considerations
  • Camera Controls and Best Practices
  • Post Workflow and Outflow Basics 

Grab a free seat in this course with a monthly LinkedIn membership, or you can enroll for free if you sign-up for a 1-month trial. 

Enroll now

Intermediate Online Photography Courses

Have some photography experience under your belt? These intermediate courses can help you move beyond the basics and level up your skills. 

4. Photography Techniques: Light, Content and Sharing by Michigan State University 


Who it's for: Intermediate students

Price: Free

Photography Techniques: Light, Content and Sharing is another stellar offering from Michigan State University. This intermediate course is also a component of the Photography Basics and Beyond: From Smartphone to DSLR Specialization. 

Also facilitated by Peter Glendinning and Mark Valentine Sullivan, this course teaches you the essentials of lighting and how it can be leveraged to capture and edit captivating photos. The lessons are categorized into 4 segments: 

  • The Content of a Photograph
  • Light Fundamentals 1.0: People, Places, Things Under Ambient Light
  • Light Fundamentals 2.0: People, Places, Things Under Controlled Light 
  • Finishing Pictures: Options for Showing and Sharing 

Expect to spend 21 hours working through the course material. 

It’s free to register. 

Enroll now

5. Camera Control by Michigan State University 


Who it's for: Intermediate students 

Price: Free

Camera Control delves into more advanced camera settings to ensure you get the most out of your digital camera. The lessons cover exposure modes, lens options, light metering, shutter speeds and so much more. 

This free intermediate course is also co-facilitated by Peter Glendinning and Mark Valentine Sullivan and includes 4 modules: 

  • Welcome, Overview and Fundamentals 
  • Elements of Camera Control 2.0: The Lens
  • Elements of Camera Control 3.0: Depth of Field
  • Picture Decisions 

Each module features video lectures and supplementary readings to ensure you fully grasp the material. You will also be tasked with taking a series of quizzes to test your comprehension.

Enroll now

How to Be a Commercial Photographer

All Levels • 201 videos • 19.7 hours
How to Be a Commercial Photographer
securely through How to Be a Commercial Photographer's website

6. How to Be a Commercial Photographer by Udemy 

Who it's for: Intermediate students 

Price: On sale 

Considering a career as a commercial photographer? This highly rated course takes the guesswork out of what it really takes to excel in the field. 

Instructor Charlie Borland draws from his 35 years of experience as a commercial photographer to bring you valuable nuggets of wisdom. You’ll discover how to develop an impressive portfolio, build your client roster with ease and demand $1,000 to $5,000 per day when working on projects. 

Register today for full lifetime access to 190 lectures jam-packed into 19.5 hours on-demand video, 1 article and 43 downloadable resources. You’ll also receive a certificate of completion when you reach the finish line. 

Have access to a digital camera, a lens, lighting equipment and a computer when you sign up. You should also have a basic understanding of cameras, photography fundamentals, equipment and Adobe Photoshop.

Enroll now

Advanced Online Photography Courses

Experienced professional photographers will find these courses useful. 

7. Advanced Photography: Flash by LinkedIn Learning 


Who it's for: Advanced students 

Price: Included with the monthly membership 

Also led by photographer and senior editor Ben Long, this course dives into studio lighting and how you can use it to create the desired lighting you’re seeking without Mother Nature’s help. He also includes real-life shooting simulations to demonstrate these techniques in action. 

Advanced Photography: Flash is divided into these segments: 

  • How to Think About Light
  • The Aesthetics of Lighting
  • How to Use a Flash Meter
  • Bare Lights, Reflectors and Flats
  • Softboxes and Umbrellas
  • Real-World Lighting
  • Buy a Flash or Strobe
  • Shop for a Flash
  • Shop for Studio Strobes 

The course is available at no cost to you if you’re a monthly LinkedIn member. Not yet registered? You can sign up for a 1-month trial and access the class for free. 

Enroll now

Photography Masterclass: A Complete Guide to Photography

All Levels • 343 videos • 22 hours
Photography Masterclass: A Complete Guide to Photography
securely through Photography Masterclass: A Complete Guide to Photography's website

8. Photography Masterclass: A Complete Guide to Photography by Udemy

Who it's for: Advanced students

Price: On sale 

Presented by Video School Online Inc., this Udemy bestseller is the perfect course for if you want to advance your skills and boost your earnings. 

Photography Masterclass: A Complete Guide to Photography features detailed instruction on exposure, composition, camera anatomy and settings, editing, focus and depth of field and all sorts of camera equipment. There are also modules on landscape, product, sports and action, wildlife, night,  time-lapse, event and wedding photography. 

Take advantage of the promotional pricing on this course by enrolling today. You will get instant access to 22 hours of on-demand video, 63 articles and 31 downloadable resources. 

Enroll now

The Ultimate Photographer

Expert • 62 videos • 5.9 hours
The Ultimate Photographer
securely through The Ultimate Photographer's website

9. The Ultimate Photographer by Udemy 

Who it's for: Advanced students

Price: On sale 

The Ultimate Photographer is an ideal course for advanced photographers who want to level up their skills. It’s led by seasoned photographer Emanuel Pontoriero and offers lessons on composition, using flash and lighting. 

The registration fee includes full lifetime access to 62 lectures condensed into 4 hours of on-demand video and certificate of completion when you finish the course. 

Enroll with confidence knowing the course is backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee if you’re unsatisfied for any reason.

Enroll now

Find the Best Online Photography Course for You

Searching for the best online photography course doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Start by considering options from our top picks. They are led by seasoned photographers who share their secrets for success in the field and the courses are affordable and self-paced. 

You can get started right away even if you’re on a tight budget and work through the material when it’s convenient. 

Southern New Hampshire University Online

SNHU Online Offers:

  1. Flexible schedules
  2. Affordable tuition
  3. Online tutoring
  4. Access to electronic research materials
  5. Specialized academic advising
  6. Supportive online community

Learn more at SNHU.