A career, a passion, and even a chance to make an impact–photography courses are now offered through online learning platforms, like LinkedIn Learning, helping students study photography in new and affordable ways.
For some, holding down a full-time job, taking care of a family, or simply having a packed schedule raises barriers. For others, the sheer cost of most photography courses means they may never try to further develop their skills, or explore photography in the first place.
Perhaps that’s why the recent announcement of over 16,000 free courses for current Duke University through LinkedIn Learning stirred excitement. But while it’s a great opportunity for current students, of course, it’s fairly limited in its scope. In fact, while I acknowledge that college courses are quite expensive and students have a financial burden already, they also are more likely to have a little room to try out a photography course in the first place.
The good news is that you can still take affordable courses through LinkedIn Learning, whether you’ve never taken a photography course before or you’re a budding expert, hoping to refine your skills for your own projects or even your own business.
In this brief guide, I’ll tell you what you need to know about online photography courses if they’re worth it, and my picks for the best beginner, intermediate and advanced courses on LinkedIn Learning.
Our online photography courses worth it?
Whether or not online courses are worth it depends on your expectations. When we’re looking at open source courses through platforms like LinkedIn Learning, it’s not equivalent to getting a two or four-year degree. But not only is a degree not needed to use photography in your personal life but it may not even always be needed for careers.
Online courses through LinkedIn Learning by no means are a one-way ticket to a career, but they have helped introduce you to a topic in a far more affordable way and may encourage you to try courses you otherwise wouldn’t be able to. I also love that courses are self-paced, so you can learn on your own time.
I recommend seeing online courses in photography as ways to decide whether a field of study is right for you, refine your current skills, and possibly help you enter fields that may not require a formal degree program.
What are the best careers in photography?
Now, while I have asserted that taking online photography courses through LinkedIn Learning, you can see these courses as helping you gain some useful skills– not only for your personal life but also for professional reasons.
There are countless ways you can use photography in your professional endeavors– from careers with digital photography front and center to journalism, and even real estate. These are just a few of the highest paying and popular careers using photography.
This is a broad category that includes photo editing for just about any industry you can imagine. From websites and newspapers to advertising and much more, photo editing is needed for a wide variety of environments, making it versatile, although not as highly paid as some other options.
Wedding photographers sometimes work with a group, but also often own their own business. Wedding photographers, of course, will have to work late hours but get paid fairly well per hour. While wedding photographers may have to deal with more fluctuations in workflow, there are many potential perks.
Real Estate Photographers
Real Estate Photography is a fairly practical career and can make a comfortable salary, however, that salary is dependent on education status, as well as certification. As it sounds, the main role of such photographers is to take photos of homes to be placed on the market, but direct and sometimes more aerial shots.
Journalists & Editors for Publications
There are countless ways in which photographers can work in journalism– from photojournalism to editing and more. But more and more. I see jobs posted asking not for a certain degree, but skills and experience. Even for everyday reporters, having photography skills gives you an edge, as many smaller publications prefer daily reporters to have the ability not only to write but also provide their own photos.
Commercial/ Industrial Photographers
In this same category is what is called commercial photographers– which is where taking photography courses can be complemented with the best business courses. This broad category includes providing, and working with, images for advertising, social media, marketing campaigns, machines, and more.
Are Linkedin Learning courses worth it?
LinkedIn Learning, formally known as Lynda, is synced with the professional networking site, LinkedIn, and is respected as a source of fairly comprehensive, high-quality online courses, not only for photography but in just about any discipline you can imagine, including business and even online graphic design courses.
Touted itself as a supplier of free courses for academics, government institutions, and corporations as well, LinkedIn Learning has a solid history of using professional software, updated approaches, and does occasionally partner with prominent news and educational organizations.
All courses are delivered via video lecture, with quizzes and additional resources. While not as immersive as some platforms, they’re a decent option for learning in a stress-free, low-cost way, and well structured.
Overall, reviews from customers are a bit above average, citing the quality of the material– it’s just important to select the best, and most useful, courses that the platform offers.
How much do LinkedIn Learning courses cost?
You won’t pay per course, as is the case with platforms like Udacity. Instead, you can sign up for courses through one of two subscription plans, which provides full access to all courses on their platform, as well as course recommendations, downloadable lessons, practice quizzes, and a certificate of completion.
The annual subscription costs $19.99 a month, with the first month free. Of course, this locks you in for a full year.
The monthly subscription costs $29.99, as well as the complementary first month.
What are the Best Photography Courses on LinkedIn Learning?
To select the best photography courses online through LinkedIn Learning, I had some criteria I was careful to keep in mind. First, I made sure to select courses that were both interesting and had some practical implications. All of these courses can suit not only curious hobbyists but can translate to professional skills for different careers in photography.
Next, I selected courses that, for the most part, have also been enjoyed by other students, and provide nuanced but concise enough information. I wanted courses that covered their materials efficiently.
Finally, I’m including courses for all levels– beginner, intermediate, and advanced– so that, no matter your former experience with photography, you can take advantage of one of these great courses.
Best Beginner Photography Courses
Enroll in one of these courses if you’ve just started photography, have no experience, or have not done anything with photography for a long time. That said, while no former experience is required, I actually think some, such as the more specialized courses, like food and drink or wedding photography, are useful to more experienced photographers as well. These are among my favorite photography courses overall on LinkedIn Learning.
Intro to Photography
This course comes with eight-chapter quizzes and is a great overview if you are new and not sure where to start. It takes just under two hours to get through the content, making for a short but still fairly comprehensive beginner’s peek into photography. You’ll learn basic skills for digital photography, from camera settings to controlling focus, composition, and flash. You’ll also benefit from insights for editing photos and taking portraits. Enroll Here.
Photoshop Essential Training: The Basics
This course includes over six hours of content, covering all you need to know to get started with Photoshop. You’ll learn basic tools, how to use the Photoshop interface, and must-have skills like crop, editing, and transforming images. Learning how to retouch photos, use different layers, and make the most of the essential Photoshop skills makes this a comprehensive and approachable course. Along with video lectures, you’ll have one hands-on project, eighteen quizzes, and a certificate of completion. Enroll Here.
Learning Food and Drink Photography
This course is just under two hours and is suited for both beginners and intermediate photographers, with a focus on food photography– which can be used for both food and business industries, and even journalism. The laid-back course is a pleasant introduction to food and drinks photography, showcasing techniques for highlighting food shape, color, and texture. Led by food photographer Bill Robbins, this course is a great introduction to styling and staging photography for food and drinks. Enroll Here.
Learning Wedding Photography
This course is another easy-going course that requires about two hours to complete and provides a certificate of completion. Whether you’re a beginner or budding photographer, this course tackles what moments need to be captured, and even strategies to provide coverage for a wedding without being too disruptive. Topics covered include pre-production, required equipment, and post-production. Enroll Here.
Learning Real Estate Photography
Sitting shy of three and a half hours, this course teaches the basics of real estate photography, with a focus on greater efficiency for post-production, as well as digging into key issues pertaining to real estate. Led by Scott Hargis, an architectural photographer, this course also includes tips and tricks for photographs both inside and outside homes and commercial buildings and individual rooms. Enroll Here.
Best Intermediate Photography Courses
From more detailed specialties within wedding photography to applications for small businesses, real estate, and even building your own in-home studio, I love these intermediate courses for those who already know a bit about photography but want to learn the ropes for some more specialized professional applications.
Wedding Photography: Bridal Portraits
If you’ve already taken the introductory wedding photography course, or you have some experience, this more specialized course focuses on preparing and setting up for bridal portraits, from the perfect location and settings to lighting and more. The course takes a little under two and a half hours to complete, and also includes a little inspiration for creative ideas. Enroll Here.
Small Business Photography: From Research to Post Production
If you own a small business or are a manager looking for a way to improve your photography for marketing techniques, you may benefit from this online photography course, which takes a little under three hours to complete. Designed for businesses that don’t plan on hiring a professional photographer, the focus is on consistency for a professional look, even using just a smartphone camera. It also links to marketing and may go well with courses in social media. Enroll Here.
Learning Aerial Photography with Drones
While a more niche course, aerial photography can be helpful for everything from real estate to business and more artistic endeavors. This course showcases how to make use of drones, capture still images, scout out locations, and even panoramas. In addition, it covers processing and techniques using professional photo editing software. I also love that it includes a project and takes just under four hours to complete– a balance of comprehensive but not too long. Enroll Here.
Real Estate Photography: Exterior at Twilight
Meant to be taken after you’ve already had an introduction to real estate photography, this concise course takes just over an hour to complete. While quite a niche, the techniques covered here– shooting at night, playing with both interior and outdoor lighting, and editing– are all quite helpful if you’re interested in this form of photography. Enroll Here.
Building an In-House Photo Studio
For anyone who wants to take up freelancing or even starting their own business, this one-hour course touches on the basics you need to know to get started. You’ll learn what equipment you need, how to create studios in even less than ideal circumstances, and the ins and out of effective lighting and interesting backdrops. Enroll Here.
Best Advanced Photography Courses
These LinkedIn Learning courses I recommend for someone who’s been studying photography or professionally practicing it for a while, but either want to brush up on their skills or learn more about photography itself. Courses in this category include techniques within photoshop, project management, insights, and more.
Advanced Photography: Diptychs, Triptychs, and Aspect Ratios
This concise advanced photography course touches on aspect ratios, using multiple images, and composing in more nuanced ways. Other topics covered include splitting images and different composition types. I especially like that the course also includes practical ways to sell your work. This online photography course takes an hour and a half to complete, and like all courses through LinkedIn Learning, comes with a certification of completion. Enroll Here.
Project Management for Creative Projects
This advanced course, which includes the ability to count as credit towards LinkedIn Learning’s continuing education units, includes a practical implementation for starting and pursuing creative projects– linking not only to photography but also video and design. While not a must for everyone, I recommend this course for anyone who is a visionary but needs some clear direction for their projects. Directed and run by a business owner and creative professional, there’s information for full-time and freelance workers alike. The course includes just shy of three hours of content. Enroll Here.
Advanced Photoshop: Lookup Tables and Gradient Maps
Think you know everything you need to know about Photoshop? This advanced online course may change your mind. You’ll cover gradient maps in detail, as well as lookup tables, opening yourself up to powerful new possibilities for color correction, styling, and more. For someone who’s already well versed in Photoshop, this just under two-hour course includes a project and is a great way to take your photo editing skills to the next level. Enroll Here.
Insights on Long-Term Photojournalism Projects
Photojournalism is an incredible field– but it also comes with enormous challenges. This thoughtful but succinct course provides insights from Paul Taggart, a respected expert in the field who has covered events like the Lebanon War and Haiti in 2010 after a devastating earthquake. This course is not a how-to, but I had to mention it because of its inspiration, honesty, and realistic look at the field. Enroll Here.
Enhancing Underwater Photos with Photoshop
As one of the longest online photography courses on this list, at just under six hours of content, this is an advanced course that pairs well with anyone interested in travel photography, nature photography, or related disciplines. Taught by an experienced travel photographer, you’ll learn from Deke McClelland’s personal experiences and techniques to make photos more stunning, work with movement, make corrections, and develop vivid colors and stunning contrast. The course also tackles converting images for use in film and even GIFs and comes with a complementary project. Enroll Here.
Frequently Asked Questions
Answer: The best career in photography depends upon your unique skills and interests. Different career tracks have certain pros and cons, with some offering more creative flexibility and others more stability. Photojournalists, wedding photographers, real estate photographers, food and drink photographers, are all reasonable options. Some also combine photography with other fields, working within advertising, marketing, and more by enrolling in some of the best business courses.
Answer: One great aspect of LinkedIn Learning, formerly known as Lynda courses, is that you can download lessons and learn from your mobile phone using their Apple and Android applications.
Taking photography courses online is easy and stress-free through LinkedIn and can open you up to developing new skills and new interests.
Interested in learning photography but unsure about what learning platform to choose? Read our guide to the best online photography courses in 2021 or check out some of the best Linkedin Learning: