There are, fortunately, many different outlets for the artistic soul. Photography is one of those outlets, and with Smartphones, digital cameras, and old SLR’s, it seems that anyone can learn the ins and outs of the art and possible profession. Being a photographer can mean a lot of things:
- Being a photographer might mean that a person takes pictures, like family portraits, in an effort to enjoy taking pictures, and to help pay the bills.
- Being a photographer might mean working as a journalist, documenting news stories. These pictures could end up in newspapers, magazines, on-line, or just about any place journalism can happen.
- Being a photographer might mean taking pictures, framing some of those shots, and presenting them to other people as art. Like many people who are artists, being involved in photographic art for a living can be difficult; can require a lot of luck, and most of all perseverance.
- Being a photographer is more likely to require a little bit of all of these things at some level. The efforts of taking pictures, and learning how to take the best technical photo possible are important not only for a photographer to make a living, but also as an outlet for artistry.
What to Look for in Online Photography Courses and Degrees
One of the advantages of living in the 21st Century is that solid and valuable degrees, even in a technical field like photography can be taught online. Imagine the advantages we have compared to what someone in 1990 or earlier had to go through. By clicking on a mouse and typing in a web-address, we can be transported to a classroom without needing to commute, and we can often do so without it interfering in other responsibilities such as a job or family.
When evaluating what you need in an online photography degree, begin by deciding what you want from that degree. Not every online course is the same as every other online course. There are “pay” online courses, and there are “free” online courses, but generally, whether free or pay, good online courses have several things in common.
- The speed of instruction is correct. In person, a teacher can look at the students and determine that too m any of them are near tears, or about to blow a gasket, so the instructor can slow down. This is more difficult to determine while online, so read comments from former students to ensure the class is neither too fast nor overwhelming, and that it isn’t so slow that the student loses interest. Also, ensure the course doesn’t have a history of busy work.
- Good online courses should use more than online lecture, more than just video, more than still shots of good and bad photos. Good online courses should use a variety of media to get a point across, including reading, video, and certainly examples of good and bad photography, and better yet, what makes those photographs good or bad.
- A reputation for including good content. Even if an online course is free, wasted time by taking a bad course must be worth something and must be something that should be avoided. How expert is the person teaching? A good way to see if the course or degree program is worthwhile is to ask a professional photography to look at it and tell you their opinion.
- Self-directed learning is important. Photography programs all have a certain amount of art involved in them. It is important that projects some other assignments are up t the student. Then it is important that the teacher provide some sort of feedback. It is difficult to get better if you don’t receive constructive criticism. If you make the same framing mistake when taking a picture, then it is because no one has told you that it is wrong. Feedback is imperative for a successful class and program for photography.
- A sense of connection, not only with the teacher(s), but also with other students. Knowing that someone else is going through the process with you can make a big difference in whether you will complete the process or not. Knowing that the teacher is human and understands something about what you are going through can make an experience more bearable.
- Opportunities for more. A good program will introduce students to ideas and maybe people who will provide opportunities to learn more after the course or after the degree program have ended. Growth potential not only makes a person a photographer, but it makes them someone who will be a lifelong learner in the art of photography.
- Freshness. Don’t take a course that was created in 1990, tweaked a little to be taught on line—in 2005, and basically hasn’t been touched since. There are new artists to study. There are new photographs in the newspaper every day. Find a course or degree program in which new concepts and visions are going to be shared.
Top Rated Online Photography Programs and Courses
This program has more than 200 courses in photography and more than 100 courses on Photoshop. There are also courses that teach people interested in graphics about how to put photos in web design. Kelby Training covers everything from composition, lighting, and many other important parts of taking a good photograph. The cost is $25.95 a month or $200 a year.
Don’t be confused, but the guy who presents the material to students at Lynda is Ben Long. He teaches users what lenses to choose for different purposes, both to focus on creativity, and focus on the quality of the picture. There are over 2,100 courses available at Lynda, with 20% of those focused on photography. The entire catalog of courses at Lynda costs $25 a month or $250 a year, or, for those who want access to the catalog and project files, the cost is $37.50 a month or $375 a year. These project files will allow photographers to receive feedback on projects.
CreativeLIVE is a free course. All of the courses used for these photography classes are recorded live in a studio, and if you watch them live, they are free. However, if you miss a course for some reason, you can watch it for $99 per course. An example of a course is one that tells you how to start your own studio business. That course has 28 segments that range from 30 minutes long to 4.5 hours long.
Digital Photography School
This program is by a blogger/photographer named Darren Rowse. He has asked professional photographers, and people who just love photography to write about taking pictures of food. The course if free, but students may be hungry after every lesson.
Udemy offers several photography classes, range from about $300 to $39. An example is a course called Photography Master Class. This course offers 202 lectures over 10 hours of video set for all levels of students. The course description says that students will learn how to take amazing images and sell them, whether the student uses a smart phone or a DSLR camera. There have been 103 students (of nearly 9800 who have taken the course) who have rated this photography master class and the average rating is 4.5 stars out of 5.
There are many opportunities to find photography courses that will help you learn how to be a better photographer and perhaps even make a career of it. Find the right course for you and see where it leads.