The University Network

Best Online Photography Classes And Programs

Mainly because our modern society lives off of visual elements, such as pictures or videos, photography is a skill required in many fields and industries, spanning from entertainment to publishing to even science. Whether you are seriously considering photography as a possible career or simply looking for a new hobby, you have a vast amount of resources available to you online. 

Our list of online courses and programs on photography comprises of basic to very specific fields of photography and, for some of them, all you need is a smartphone. Browse through our list and get ready to dive into your next hobby or launch a full-time career. 

Introductory Courses in General Photography

1. Fundamentals of Photography 

One of the most popular courses on Creative Live with more than 87,000 students having taken it, this course will help you lay a strong foundation for your photography practice. Before the end of the course, you will learn not only the technical basics of the camera, such as shutter speed, aperture, and image composition, but also how to plan, develop, and finalize your photography project. 

  • College credits: NO 
  • Price: $159 sale price ($199 original price), or $25 a month for the Creator Pass 
  • Financial aid or scholarships: NO
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: Approximately 24 hours 
  • Languages: English 
  • Vendor: Creative Live  

Note: Prices for all courses listed in this article are true on the date of publishing, but are subject to change.

2. The Photography Starter Kit for Beginners 

A lighter version of Fundamentals of Photography, but taught by the same instructor and offering as strong of a background as the course above, this course starts off with the basic concepts of photography, such as the shutter speed, ISO, and aperture, continues on to different types of lenses and image composition and mood, and finishes off with an intro to the post-processing workflow. You will be working on your DSLR camera. 

  • College credits: NO 
  • Price: $39 sale price ($49 original price), or $25 a month for the Creator Pass 
  • Financial aid or scholarships: NO
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: Approximately 4 hours  
  • Languages: English 
  • Vendor: Creative Live  

3. Photography Masterclass: A Complete Guide to Photography 

One of the bestselling courses on Udemy, this Photography Masterclass course offers a comprehensive guide to beginning photographers using any types of cameras, such as smartphones, Mirrorless, or DSLRs. Before the course ends, you will understand the basic photography concepts and different styles of photography, get familiar with shooting in manual mode, and know which equipment to use for different settings and projects. For those who are seriously considering a career in photography, this course also finishes with ways to start a photography business. 

  • College credits: NO – Certificate of Completion only 
  • Price: $12.99 sale price ($199.99 regular price)
  • Financial aid or scholarships: NO
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: Approximately 21 hours 
  • Languages: English with subtitles in English, French, German, Indonesian, and Italian
  • Vendor: Udemy  

4. iPhone Photography

If you are a complete beginner without any intention to invest in a gear yet, take a look at this Udemy course — another bestselling one — that teaches how to photograph using an iPhone, or a smartphone. This course will teach you not only the basic concepts of photography, such as image composition, depth of field and light, but also how to apply them, using a smartphone, and edit your photos, using Lightroom, a free editing app from Adobe available on both the App Store and Google Play. Before the end of the course, you will be surprised to find how much optimization was available on your smartphone camera, sitting right under your nose. 

  • College credits: NO – Certificate of Completion only 
  • Price: $12.99 sale price ($49.99 regular price)
  • Financial aid or scholarships: NO
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: Approximately 1 hours, 30 minutes  
  • Languages: English with English subtitles
  • Vendor: Udemy  

Introductory Courses in Specific Photograph Topics

5. Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide

Taught by an award-winning photographer, Brooke Shaden, this course is a comprehensive, start-to-finish guide to fine art photography. Following your instructor’s demonstration to creating a photo series from scratch, you will learn how to come up with and develop your ideas, tell a story through a series of photographs, scout for locations, shoot and edit your work, pitch your works to galleries and agents, price your work and, finally, print your works so they look like art.  

  • College credits: NO 
  • Price: $159 sale price ($199 original price), or $25 a month for the Creator Pass
  • Financial aid or scholarships: NO
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: Approximately 29 hours  
  • Languages: English 
  • Vendor: Creative Live  

6. Portrait Photography Fundamentals

This course goes in depth on the four foundational elements of portrait photography: lighting, posing, composition, and post-processing. With this course, you will be learning directly from Scott Robert Lim, one of the world’s experts in portrait photography who has won many awards, such as the prestigious 2009 WPPI’s (Wedding and Portrait Photographers International) Kodak Award and an Accolade of Outstanding Photographic Achievement awarded by one of the world’s largest photographic societies. 

  • College credits: NO 
  • Price: $79 sale price ($99 original price), or $25 a month for the Creator Pass 
  • Financial aid or scholarships: NO
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: Approximately 10 hours  
  • Languages: English 
  • Vendor: Creative Live  

7. 28 Days of Portrait Photography 

One of the most popular classes on Creative Live, this course teaches you not only the basic concepts of portrait photography, such as posing, shooting, connecting with subjects, but also how to get into the professional field. This course offers a very nice mix of both the shooting and business sides of a portrait photographer. While this course should be good for those determined to take photography into a full-time career and a business, it may contain hours of irrelevant information to hobbyists. 

  • College credits: NO 
  • Price: $159 sale price ($199 original price), or $25 a month for the Creator Pass 
  • Financial aid or scholarships: NO
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: Approximately 58 hours 
  • Languages: English 
  • Vendor: Creative Live   

8. Food Photography

Taught by an internationally acclaimed commercial photographer, food stylist and New York Times columnist, Andrew Scrivani, this course teaches you how to prepare your food before you shoot, know which camera and lighting gear to use, and edit your photos in post-production. You will also gain career-related insider tips from both Scrivani and a special guest, Shauna Ahern, a popular food blogger and author. 

  • College credits: NO 
  • Price: $119 sale price ($149 original price), or $25 a month for the Creator Pass 
  • Financial aid or scholarships: NO
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: Approximately 14 hours 
  • Languages: English 
  • Vendor: Creative Live  

9. Editorial Portrait Photography for High School Seniors

Teaching specifically on school editorial photography, this course teaches how to prepare your photoshoot, know which lighting gear to use, use light to create dynamic, direct posing and connect with subjects, and edit your work. Taught by Dan Brouillette, an editorial photographer who worked for renowned magazines like the ESPN, Time, and The Wall Street Journal, this course will help you bring out the most creative and personalized sides from your subjects. 

  • College credits: NO 
  • Price: $79 sale price ($99 original price), or $25 a month for the Creator Pass 
  • Financial aid or scholarships: NO
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: Approximately 11 hours 
  • Languages: English 
  • Vendor: Creative Live  

10. The Art of Nature Photography

Taught by Art Wolfe, a published author of more than 80 photograph books and whose images appeared in major magazines, such as National Geographic Magazine and Smithsonian, this course teaches on how to find subjects, know which lenses and composition to use for different types of shoots, and weave a story through your work. Although focused specifically on nature, this course has very similar goals as those of Fine Art Photography. Before the end of the course, you will be able to not only take photos of nature, but also make them into art. 

  • College credits: NO 
  • Price: $39 sale price ($49 original price), or $25 a month for the Creator Pass 
  • Financial aid or scholarships: NO
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: Approximately 5 hours 
  • Languages: English 
  • Vendor: Creative Live   

11. Night Photography: You Can Shoot Stunning Night Photos 

One of the bestselling courses on Udemy, this Night Photography course teaches you how to take an astounding night photo. The instructors filmed this course actually out in Joshua Tree National Park, showing you exactly what you need to do to shoot your own night photos. Before the end of this course, you will learn what gears you need, what and how to prepare before going to take night photos, basic concepts like shutter speed, aperture, and composition, and how to apply them to photograph the night sky. Note that this course can be used by beginners, but prior knowledge of basic concepts can be beneficial. 

  • College credits: NO – Certificate of Completion only 
  • Price: $12.99 sale price ($99.99 regular price)
  • Financial aid or scholarships: NO
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: 2 hours 
  • Languages: English with English subtitles
  • Vendor: Udemy  

Advanced Level Courses in Specific Photography Topics

12. Street Photography: The Art of Photographing Strangers 

Taught by Ashley Gilbertson, an Emmy nominee street photographer and videographer, this course teaches not only general concepts, such as composition and different types of gears, but also skills required specifically for street photography, such as ways to approach strangers who may possibly be your subjects, capture subjects moving, and take pictures anonymously in public places. Note that this is not for beginners, but for intermediate level and up. 

  • College credits: NO 
  • Price: $39 sale price ($49 original price), or $25 a month for the Creator Pass 
  • Financial aid or scholarships: NO
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: Approximately 5 hours 
  • Languages: English 
  • Vendor: Creative Live   

13. Capturing Story in Portrait Photography 

If you’re bored with the same old portrait photographs, but want to engage your creative mind to tell your subjects’ stories, this course is made for you. Note that this is an intermediate level course, meaning you will not be going over basic concepts, such as depth of field or aperture. Instead, you will learn how to brainstorm and develop concepts for creative portraits and weave a client’s story through your work by playing with lighting, props, sets, post-production touch-ups, and more. 

  • College credits: NO 
  • Price: $79 sale price ($99 original price), or $25 a month for the Creator Pass 
  • Financial aid or scholarships: NO
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: Approximately 8 hours 
  • Languages: English 
  • Vendor: Creative Live   

14. How to Start a Photography Business

This course is nothing like a tutorial on how to take good pictures, but assuming you already take good pictures, is more like an entrepreneurship course, a guide to starting a photography business. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by everything you need to do to start a business, you will be guided through a 12-week plan, where you will tackle one task a day, such as researching competitors in your area, building short-term and long-term strategies, creating a marketing plan, and managing small business tasks like accounting. This is a special course specifically geared towards seasoned or new professional photographers who are hoping to start a one-person business. 

  • College credits: NO 
  • Price: $119 sale price ($149 original price), or $25 a month for the Creator Pass 
  • Financial aid or scholarships: NO
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: Approximately 16 hours 
  • Languages: English 
  • Vendor: Creative Live  

Introductory Programs in General Photography

15. Photography Basics and Beyond

Offered by the Michigan State University, this beginner program teaches the most fundamental concepts of photography, such as image composition and control of exposure. Regardless of the type of your camera, whether a smartphone or DSLR, this course will prepare you for both practical and creative works. 

  • Number of courses: 5 courses 
  • College credits: NO — CEU (Continuing Education Units)
  • Price: FREE to audit, but there’s a fee to earn and buy a Certificate
  • Financial aid or scholarships: YES
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: Approximately 7 months (suggested 4 hours per week) 
  • Languages: English with English subtitles
  • Vendor: Coursera 

16. Annie Leibovitz Teaches Photography

Taught by Annie Leibovitz, the first woman to be named chief photographer at Rolling Stone and the last person to take a portrait of John Lennon, this program shares the skills and insider tips from the very expert of portrait photography. This program teaches you how to develop creative concepts for shoots, work with subjects, work with natural light, use your environment well, whether studio or field, and bring images to life in post-production. Liebovitz will share her own experiences of photographing famous subjects, such as Whoopi Goldberg and Amy Schumer. 

  • Number of courses: 15 courses 
  • College credits: NO 
  • Price: $90/class OR $15/month billed annually for “All Access” pass
  • Financial aid or scholarships: NO
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: Unknown
  • Languages: English 
  • Vendor: Master Class 

17. Jimmy Chin Teaches Adventure Photography

Taught by Jimmy Chin, a world-renowned, award-winning photographer whose works were published on the cover of National Geographic, this program shares techniques and insider tips from the very expert of nature photography. Chin will take you on locations to show you his approach to outdoor shoots. He will also use his own work as examples to teach you the principles of narrative, skills to photographing landscapes, and editing for final products.  

  • Number of courses: 20 courses 
  • College credits: NO 
  • Price: $90/class OR $15/month billed annually for “All Access” pass
  • Financial aid or scholarships: NO
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: Unknown
  • Languages: English 
  • Vendor: Master Class