Learning Online

On Thursday 7th January, I gave a presentation to the club about opportunities for improving your photography by learning online.

Here is a summary of the presentation:

There are great opportunities for improving your photography and image processing by using some of the many thousands of online resources. Whether you want to sign up for an annual membership of an online education website or simply watch a free video on YouTube, whatever the area of interest there is bound to be a resource available in a format which works for you.

Some of the different types of resources are:

  • Education & Training Websites
  • Photography Tuition Websites
  • YouTube Channels
  • Software Websites
  • Photography & Software Forums
  • Individual Photographers’ Websites
  • and of course, Google

Education & Training Websites

The following is a list of some of the better known learning centres. Some of these do more than just photography, so you might find a section on graphic design, business management or whatever.

Creative Live Free to view live events, purchase individual classes afterwards General creative subjects incl photography
Lynda.com General learning site with many subjects Standard £15 p/m, Premium £23 p/m
Kelby One Photoshop, Lightroom, Photography, Design & Video $20 p/m or $200 p/y (£135)
PHLearn For image processing tutorials Some free, others priced individually
Udemy General learning site which also covers photography Individual Course Prices (at time of writing many are reduced to £9)
The Photographer Academy UK Based Photography Learning Website Academy £49 / Academy Pro £99 / Academy Business £199
Digital Tutors General Learning site which includes Photoshop & Lightroom courses Basic $29 p/m, PLus £49 p/m

Creative Live is a great site, provided you have time. Their courses are first offered live and you can register and watch for free, however, the courses run for maybe 2 or 3 days at a time so you might have to be available for three evenings for five or six hours each evening to catch it all. The courses are available for purchase afterwards, they have some great tutors.
I have been a member of both Kelby One and The Photographer Academy and can recommend them both. The Photographer Academy is UK based and if you were considering membership here, I would suggest the £99 Academy Pro. The difference between the memberships is that the more you pay the more videos you can access. With the basic membership you may find the available tutorials a little limiting, though they do have a vast amount.
Out of all the sites I would probably opt for Kelby. They have a large range of very talented tutors, probably more well known (to me at least) than the Photographer Academy, and for that reason if I were to choose just one membership site, it would be Kelby.

Photography Learning Websites

The following are some other sites, some of which have been recommended by members of the club:

PhotoKonnexion Article based photography website free
The Image Academy Diploma Courses in Photography Prices vary from £240 – £595, occasional discounts can be found
PetaPixel General photography site with some tutorials free
Julieanne Kost Videos on Photoshop & Lightroom Free
Stuck in Customs Photographer Trey Ratcliffe’s website with various tutorials Free tips and guides
Digital Photography School Tips, guides & tutorials free
Learn Photo Editing Some very good Photoshop tutorials, although limited in number they are added to occasionally $27 one-off
Photoshop Cafe Some free guides with some paid-for courses on Photography & Photoshop Free section, paid section average around $50 a course

The above sites are great to dip in and out of, their guides and videos are often reasonably short and sweet so you don’t have to invest the same amount of time you would with the earlier education sites.

YouTube

YouTube is packed full of photography and image processing software tutorials. It helps if you can find someone who knows what they are talking about as the quality can vary.

Here are some YouTube channels which most of club members have been using:

Photography Forums

Forums can be a great source of knowledge and inspiration. If you have a question or a problem, you can post it in the forum and, chances, are, you can get a reply within a few minutes from someone who knows how to solve it.
You need to find the right forum to fit with your expectations and personality. Some can be judgemental and confrontational, with people finding offence or wanting an argument at the drop of a hat, others can be very friendly and supportive with a great community spirit.
You can find general photography forums or ones that are aimed at a specific interest, for instance there are forums for most manufacturers or camera types.
My personal recommendation would be the Photography Forum at the top of the list. I’ve been a member for several years and it is generally a very friendly and supportive site, especially to ‘newbies’.

Photography Forums
Talk Photography
Photography on the Net
Nikonians
Pentax Forums
Rangefinder Forum

Software Websites

Most of the software providers will have tips, tricks, guides and tutorials available on their websites. They are often great places to checkout when you get a new piece of software or a plugin and want to get up and running quickly. Indeed, some of the software installers will take you directly to their tutorial website on installing them onto your computer.

Adobe TV
Nik Google Collection
On1 Learn
Imagenomic Plugins

Podcasts

Finally, we’ll have a look at some podcasts. You can listen to these on the go on your mobile device or download them for later perusal. They come in the form of little TV or radio programmes which you can keep on your phone or tablet.

The Grid
We Shoot Fuji
Nik radio
Lightroom Killer Tips

Summing Up

So, I hope that this presentation has given you some ideas to explore the potential for improving your photography by using some of the many resources available online.
If you want to soak up as much as possible and can afford a subscription to one of the bigger sites, you’ll get access to some of the best photography and software teachers available. You can usually take out a monthly subscription which you can cease at any time and most sites offer a discount if you pay annually. Some of them have a free trial period during which you can see what’s available and decide whether to invest your cash.
If you don’t want to commit to that expense, you can purchase individual courses as and when you need them. Or if you don’t want to go into the same depths as the courses cover, then just use one of the many free resources.
Whatever your financial circumstances, there is plenty of stuff to keep you occupied and help you to become a better photographer.

Finally, if you have any comments or suggestions for additional links for this page, please let me know.

Garry Neesam

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