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When I first started photography, I thought I knew all there was to know. I had a nice camera, I had some cute subjects, I should be good, right? WRONG. I didn’t know manual mode was a thing at all. I didn’t know how important light was. And I definitely knew zero things about composition. Once I realized I has a lot to learn, my photography journey took off! And it all started with a simple (yet life changing) course!
I want to share with you my must take photography courses to help you expand your photography knowledge. Some of these courses I’ve taken myself, some of them I want to take, and one of them is my own!
The best part of ALL of these course are that they are 100% online, go at your own pace, courses! These are PERFECT for mom photographers or for busy photographers that don’t have time to sit in on a lecture at a specific time. Buy these courses and go through them at your own pace. The Clickin Moms courses are 4 weeks long, and do happen in those 4 weeks. But you get to keep the material and you can go back over it any time you need to.
1. manual exposure course
The first course I want to mention is a manual exposure course. When I took a manual exposure course, it literally took my photography to the next level (or two or three). I feel like my photography improved overnight just from exposing my images correctly in camera! It also helps you limit editing time.
Pro tip: If you do take a manual exposure course, I do recommend you have a lens that is not a kit lens (I REALLY love the Nikon 50mm 1.8 or the Canon 50mm 1.8), I tried to do a manual exposure course with a kit lens and it was really hard! Once I realized it was the lens and not me, I took off. The reason you’d want a lens that isn’t a kit lens is because the kit lens will change exposure as you change focus, making it really hard (and very frustrating!) to get exposure correct, especially when first learning! The two lenses I recommend are probably the cheapest lenses you will find for either brand, and they are absolutely amazing! The bokeh on these lenses is amazing. They truly are the best lens to buy first for either brand of camera.
The manual exposure course that I took that I absolutely love was from Clickin Moms and was taught by Lacey Myers. It was so good. I believe the instructors have changed since I’ve taken it (it’s been a while since I’ve taken it) but I’m sure the course work and ebook is still amazing and you will learn how to tackle manual exposure. It literally changed the way I photograph and I’ve never looked back! Worth EVERY penny!
2. learn basic compositions
Learning basic compositions took my photography to a new level, as well. I have to admit something, though: I am still working on improving my compositions. It has taken me quite a long time to see certain compositions and to use them in my own work! I still don’t use advanced compositions tools yet, I definitely want to take a class on it in the near future, though!
When I took the composition class called Foundations of Compositions from Clickin Moms, it was very eye opening. I was finally able to do more compositions than just the simple rule of thirds or center compositions. I learned all about scale, framing, color, leading lines, and so much more! If none of those made any sense, it might be time to take a course on composition! Also a little note, Susan Grimes is a friend of mine. Her photography work is amazing and she is a great instructor!
3. learn how to capture your everyday life and create art
Of course I couldn’t write a whole post about courses and not let you know about my own course! I created a course on How to Capture Your Everyday Life and Create ART. I poured my heart into this! In this course, I describe how I go about taking pictures of my daily life. I give you light examples, simple composition examples, how to get genuine smiles, and I also throw in a section on self portraits and your everyday life.
I also include 5+ editing videos and 5 exercises to help you think about how to go about capturing your images. The course is a 173 page PDF that you get to download and keep. Along with the videos. There are also a few other PDFs bonus downloads you get to keep! I don’t hold anything back in this course. I try to give you all the details and exercises you need to improve your pictures of your daily life.
4. lightroom and photoshop fundamental class
I have yet to take a Lightroom or Photoshop class. BUT! I did read a book about Lightroom and feel pretty confident in that. I want to read a book for Photoshop as well, just haven’t had the time to do that yet. I think it’s important to get familiar with the editing program you are using. Because shooting a picture is only part of the equation in digital photography. You need to know how to edit your pictures. Even if you like a clean edit (which is what I like to call my edits) you need to know the basics of your editing program! It’s really important!
When and if I find a Lightroom class that I love, I promise to come back to this blog post and update it with a link to that class. But for now, this is how I learned Lightroom.
There you have it, those are my must take photography classes. There are TONS of classes out there, but getting the basics out of the way first is a must! There are sites like Clickin Moms and Hello Storyteller that offer even more classes than just the basics. I have my eye on quite a few from there!
Even if you think you’ve got the basics down, you might want to review the course materials and see if anything in there stands out to you, that you might not know.
What’s a favorite course you’ve taken? I’d love to know in the comments below!
Alyssa (sometimes going by Aly) is a hobbyist photographer who loves to teach. Her love of photography started before she ever had any kids. Now a mom of two, she loves to photograph her kids, flowers, and landscape. She specializes in capturing her everyday life. She loves to teach fellow beginner photographers how to take control of their cameras and get the images they dream about getting.