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Online Course Recommendations please

Discussion in 'Beginner's Corner' started by Cake88, Aug 29, 2021.

  1. Cake88

    Cake88 New Member


    I would be grateful for any guidance for which online course to do, I have had a strong interest in photography all my life but want to start a beginners+ guide towards higher a level and with the intention to look at pursuing in a career.

    I have seen some courses with the Photography Institute, BAPH, IOP, Open University etc.

    Would really be grateful for any help or guidance please.

  2. Chester AP

    Chester AP Well-Known Member

    Articles in AP have suggested that very few people can make a living out of photography as a career anymore, and many organisations no longer employ their own photographers and instead rely instead on smartphone pictures taken from social media websites where they avoid any costs (even though the images should be the copyright of the photographer).

    Other Forum members may have experience of formal study courses, and will probably offer advice. But if you already have a digital camera, and a lot of enthusiasm, you can take hundreds (or thousands) of shots and learn from experience. I don't know exactly what you mean by 'beginners+', but to me it means moving beyond automated camera settings and learning how to adjust them yourself so that you have more control over the image, and can try to get results that may allow you to develop a personal 'style'. If this is correct, the website below may be a place to start (it has been recommended by other Forum members in the past). It's free to use, so if it's not what you want you won't have wasted any money.


    A subscription to AP might help a lot too - lots of stuff in it may give you ideas or help with technical stuff. Just remember that spending a fortune on the latest models reviewed in it won't make you a great photographer.
  3. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    This is very true, Photography as a business was in decline long before the advent of the digital camera, the smart phone and the internet. With those innovations, 90% of the market that was served by professional photographers has disappeared.

    If you want to get into photography as a business, study business. Taking the pictures is the easy part; finding customers, selling your product, getting paid and keeping HMRC happy are far more important and far more difficult for most people.

    If you want to practice photography as a hobby, that's entirely different and this is the right place to ask all your questions about Amateur Photography.
    RogerMac likes this.
  4. EightBitTony

    EightBitTony Well-Known Member

    Really which courses depends on what you want to learn, are you already artistic, with a strong feeling of the kind of art you want to create, but just want to understand the technical aspects of photography, or are you looking for a course that can introduce and teach you photography while also teaching you about art. Or, do you want to just get the technical stuff done so you can start a wedding photography busienss (which despite the commentary above, still seems to do very well for those people who take it up)?

    i.e. when you say 'as a career' what do you mean? General photographer, family portraits, fashion, product photography, weddings, events, landscape photographer who sells calendars and makes youtube videos, etc?

    The various courses will have syllabuses targetted at different outcomes, an Open University course might teach you the art behind photograph and some of the technical aspects, but it won't help you run a wedding photography business, etc.

    For generally just improve your skills, without worrying about formal qualifications, find a youtube photographer who does the kind of photography you like, and see if they do any tutorial stuff. For example, if portraiture is your think, then Matt Granger makes great videoes, and sells complete online courses,


    If you're looking at travel photography, then James Popsys has some decent advice and how to's



    There's also SkillShare, which I hear good things about, which has structured lessons in all kinds of things including photography.

  5. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Hi, the others have said it all really.

    To my mind courses (at an advanced level) fall into three categories: improve your own photography, academic study, and commercial photography. For the last one the photography bit is not as important as the business bit. A course provider should have contacts with business allowing some degree of work experience and ability to build a portfolio. My overwhelming impression is that folk who are "making it" as a career have found a niche in demand and demonstrated excellence. Also most have other income streams, such as teaching with emphasis on recreational photography for amateurs.

    The Societies of Photographers ( a broad coming together of professionals and the most common "niches" https://thesocieties.net) is quite active. I think they offer training of sorts. I got onto their mailing list by booking to go to a free event, to which I didn't go in the end.
  6. Cake88

    Cake88 New Member

    Thank you all, really appreciate your replies.

    To summarise - I have been very keen taking photos throughout my young life right until now, as a hobby. I love shooting anything i think is a good shot - people especially - both portrait and especially unknowingly to them, from different perspectives, funny/sad/emotional moments but also I love to capture landscapes, cities, London life, photos that tell a story especially - but anything in fact really where I see a good photo opportunity. Friends and family have always asked me to take photos at weddings, christenings, events, even just an everyday get together etc. Either as the 'extra' photographer at weddings as I capture many hidden moments sometimes missed but also for smaller events I have provided my services as the main photographer frankly because I enjoy it. As much as I like wedding photography, I do not think this is enough for me.

    I would like to be given assignments to capture photos of things as required - is there such thing?

    I did a diploma course almost 15 years ago, it was the wrong time. Different times now and I feel great hunger to learn exactly what a camera can do in terms of apertures etc from the start. I know the basics but feel I want to start from the beginning and develop exceptional knowledge from here. I know photography is underpaid and oversaturated industry but I love it.

    I have thousands of images on my smartphone as it has been easier to use this whilst raising a busy family. It has reignited my love of photography and people continuously encourage me to do more with my skills, I see things others do not necessarily see, different moments, different angles and viewpoints, and continuously feel a great need to capture, like many other good photographers. My phone is continuously in my hand to capture that moment.

    I work in the big Corporate world in London - whilst this pays ok it really does not ignite me. I am aware photography with the use of smartphones especially is perhaps dying, however I feel photos are still needed in life.

    Perhaps I would like to do this as a side and see where it gets me, private clients, corporate clients, stock photography - would like to submit my photo and attempt to sell online especially.

    So back to a course - I was looking for something that would teach, encourage, push me to learn by following some sort of syllabus. I want to be confident enough to properly use a camera and try and somehow make better use of my current skills. I think I just need some guidance where to start building my knowledge again, will take a look at the links kindly provided, hugely appreciate your responses and guidance here!

    Apologies for the long reply!
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2021
  7. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic Well-Known Member

    Absolutely A thorough knowledge of Business is far more important than a knowledge of Photography. Though all knowledge can be put to good use.
    Learning how to set up and run a business is the way to go. You can learn the technicalities of photography as needed.
    I studied photography in the 50's it was far more hands on than courses today. I already knew just about all the technical stuff before I started on it. however I learn a lot about Graphics and Graphic art and mechanical printing and the publishing industry, which proved very useful in my later career.
    It was very hard to pick up the Business side.

    Most photographic Businesses fail, or not even get off the ground. This is never through lack of knowledge of Photography. It is though a basic lack of business skills and people skills. Spend you money in these areas. And your spare time honing your Photography.
  8. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Well yes, but "given" probably isn't the right word. Photographers with appropriate track record might be invited to submit proposals etc. Staff photographers (of which there are few) might get told - "The Times" usually has a column once a week in which one of its photographers talks through a picture assignment and how they went about it.

    I'd note that a lot of demand today is for video as well as or instead of stills photography.

    From what you describe of your experience I'm a bit surprised that you can't "properly use" a camera photographically speaking*. The hard photographic bit is the composition for which you need an eye for a picture and the innate skill to be in the right place at the right time. If you are unsure then you can get some critique by posting in the Appraisals part of this site. The most 'skill' bit to my mind is judging exposure in difficult lighting conditions but mirrorless cameras can now give you exposure preview even with that. They are also very good at depth of field preview because the electronic viewfinder doesn't go dark when the lens is closed down. Digital SLRs offer review and histogram information which is a slower process but still a lot better than film. Recording raw files also allows exposure corrections to be made in post processing, although this takes time.

    Post-processing is something that some small training, followed by a lot of practice, might be useful.

    *Cameras today can be complex bits of kit but they all still open a hole of chosen size for a selected length of time and record the results on a medium of chosen sensitivity to light.
    EightBitTony and John Farrell like this.
  9. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    In my experience, the best way to learn the "photography" part of commercial photography is to study what's been published, choose one story or image as a paradigm and then try to produce your own version of the original - but NOT a carbon copy! Repeat this a few hundred times with lots of different prototypes and you'll end up with an eye for an image and the knowledge of how to achieve that image.
  10. Cake88

    Cake88 New Member

    Thank you all, very valuable advice taken on board .

    PeteRob yes I should be more advanced, highly agree .. however a few life events changed my priorities and path during the last few years but I would like to get back on track now.

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