I bought my very first digital single lens reflex – aka a DSLR – in 2009. It was a Canon Rebel Xsi – a camera that Canon doesn’t even make anymore. I had learned basic photography skills in an art class that I took during my first semester of college to fulfill my art credit requirement and I was using a trusty old 35mm film camera. When you’re a starving college student, you quickly realize that film – while incredibly beautiful – is rather expensive. Between buying the rolls of film and paying for development, there really wasn’t room for a whole lot of mistakes. And let’s be real, the only way to learn photography is by making mistakes, learning from those mistakes, and practicing over and over and over again.
So enter my first DSLR. And with that came countless hours scouring the internet to learn more and more about the things I could do with my camera. For years, I’d spend all my extra time researching, practicing, and learning anything and everything I could about my gear, new skills, lighting, all the things that make you a good photographer.
Eventually, I decided that I wanted to turn my little hobby into a business. And so began a different type of research. And then I actually started a business and wanted to learn how to keep it fresh.
Basically… I’ve researched a ton. And if you’re a new or budding photographer, I totally get how overwhelming the learning and researching process is or heck, even where to start. So today, I’m sharing with you my favorite online educational resources for new photographers.
This site was basically my manual. There are endless articles on pretty much any topic you can think of. From camera skills, lighting, editing, it is a wealth of information. Anytime someone asks for a good resource while they’re learning photography, this is where I send them.
Another wealth of information and the best part: it’s by women for women. They also have Click Photo School, where you can take tons of online courses about pretty much any photography subject. I’ve taken a bunch of courses myself and always finish them feeling rejuvenated and motivated.
When I decided that I wanted to make my business legit – read: when I started taking money in exchange for a photo session – I knew I needed to protect myself and my little biz. The LawTog has two really great resources:
1) a blog with tons of information on protecting your business in different scenarios that you might encounter while running your business, and
2) lawyer-drafted contracts that you can purchase and use in your business. As an added bonus, there’s different contracts for different types of photography.
About a year and a half ago, I started to listen to the Goal Digger Podcast and follow Jenna on Instagram. I’ve found a lot of value in all of her content. If you’re looking for motivation and inspiration for running any small business (not just a photography business) she’s got you. Go have a listen and check out her blog.
An online forum that has tons of classes for photography, marketing, branding, other art mediums, anything you can think of really. There’s a monthly subscription for unlimited classes (I think). In total transparency, I only subscribed for a couple months. If you’re going to pay for a subscription, you have to have time to take the classes, otherwise, well you get the picture. I took a watercolor class, among others and I enjoyed it.
I originally learned how to edit my photos in Adobe Elements. I think you can still buy an Elements bundle. It was a really good starting program for basic hand editing. Eventually, I wanted the ability to use other editing resources and learn Photoshop more extensively, so I switched over to Bridge, Camera Raw, and Photoshop.
YouTube is your friend. I’ve watched countless editing videos and learned new editing skills from various channels on YouTube. Looking for a channel to get started? Check out Phlearn.
Alright, so that’s 7 resources for ya! If you’re just starting out in the photography business or just want to grow and challenge yourself as a photographer, check them out. Have a resource that you’d recommend? Drop me a note so I can check it out! I’ll continue to add to this blogpost as I discover new and helpful resources!
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