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The Best Free Online Photography Courses and Tutorials →

The Best Free Online Photography Courses and Tutorials

Gautam Tambay · Jul 03, 2014


Given my interest in lifelong learning and skill-development, I often ask people which new skills they’re looking to learn. The most common response? “I want to be a better photographer”.

And for good reason! Few things evoke the instant emotional response a great photo does. It’s what made Instagram worth a billion dollars to Facebook.

For those of you who, like me, are looking to kick their photography skills up a notch, I’m curating a list of the best free online courses and resources I’ve found. So whether you’re a budding photojournalist looking toward a career behind the lens, or just a hobbyist looking to take better shots on your next trip, I’m hoping you’ll find something useful here!

I realize that this is by no means an exhaustive list, rather it’s a work in progress. If you know of other awesome free resources, share them in the comments and I’ll add the best ones to the list.

P.S. Huge thanks to the amazing /r/photography community on Reddit for helping compile this list.
Photography for Beginners

1. Introduction to Photography and Related Media: Video lectures from a semester-long undergraduate-level course at MIT. Covers the fundamentals of analog and digital SLR, film exposure and development, darkroom techniques, digital imaging, and studio lighting.

Level: Beginner | Duration: Self-paced | Always Available

2. Basics of Photography: The Complete Guide: A comprehensive resource for beginning photographers, compiled by the friendly folks at Lifehacker. Starts by explaining how a digital camera works and goes on to explain image composition, technique, and editing. Mostly in text format, interspersed with a few explanatory videos.

Level: Beginner | Duration: Self-paced | Always Available

3. Free Beginner Nikon Digital SLR Photography: This highly-rated course teaches you how to use all the buttons and dials on your camera (e.g. exposure, aperture, shutter speed and the mode dial) by doing rather than memorizing.

Level: Beginner | Duration: 2.5 hours | Always Available

4. Photography: Ditch Auto – Start Shooting in Manual: As the name suggests, a course for amateur photographers who have been using their DSLR or fancy Point-and-shoot camera in “auto” mode, but want to learn to unlock to it’s full potential.

Level: Beginner | Duration: 4.5 hours | Always Available

5. Karl Taylor’s FREE Photography Course: Among the most popular courses on Udemy (almost 50,000 students enrolled, hundreds of rave reviews). Instructor Karl teaches using a mix of videos and PDF fact sheets. In his words, all you need is “a camera and some enthusiasm”.

Level: Beginner | Duration: 2.5 hours | Always Available

6. A Complete Introduction to Photography (aka Reddit Photoclass): Reddit never ceases to amaze me! Alexandre Buisse taught this 30-part class to 7,000 Redditors a few years ago. Now archived on his website, this gem covers everything from gear to post processing. Great for those who prefer reading to watching videos.

Level: Beginner to Intermediate | Duration: Self-paced | Always Available

7. Strobist: Perhaps the most popular resource for beginners to learn how to use light and their flashes, especially their Lighting 101 course that many photographers swear by.

Level: Beginner to Intermediate | Duration: Self-paced | Always Available

8. Cambridge in Colour: A great site for beginners to browse tutorials and have their questions answered by a community of learners. And no, that extra “u” in “Colour” is not a typo — this is Cambridge, UK we’re talking about!

Level: Beginner | Duration: Self-paced | Always Available
Post-production and Specific Techniques

9. Using a Photographic Light Meter: A course for photographers who have just started using a hand-held light meter to determine exposure.

Level: Beginner | Duration: 2 hours | Always Available

10. Pixels After Dark: Shooting the Night: An outstanding talk by three-time Olympic photographer Jeff Cable on shooting images at night.

Level: Intermediate | Duration: 1.5 hours | Always Available

11. Getting Started with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5: A detailed series of video-lectures from Adobe on how to effectively use their Lightroom software to do everything from importing images to adding special effects and printing. The Adobe TV website has plenty of more great “how-to” resources for photographers.

Level: Beginner | Duration: 3.5 hours | Always Available

12. Photoshop & Lightroom for Photographers: You’ve learned to use your camera and compose great pictures. Now make them look better! This highly-rated course teaches the two most popular software tools used by photographers to process and touch up images.

Level: Intermediate | Duration: 6.5 hours | Always Available

13. Create a Gorgeous Photography Site with SmugMug in 90 mins: Now that you have some great-looking pictures, use this course to set up a website to showcase them!

Level: Beginner | Duration: 1.5 hours | Always Available

14. Computational Photography: This Georgia Tech course talks about how computation affects various aspects of photography — from photo-editing to sharing. Knowledge of college-level mathematics, general physics and basic computer programming are recommended for this course.

Level: Intermediate | Duration: 4 weeks | Next Start Date: To Be Announced

15. Phlearn: All about Photoshop. This site has short explanatory videos on how to do specific things in Photoshop (e.g. watermark your images, remove tan lines). They have 450 free videos, and release 5 new episodes each week.

Level: Intermediate | Duration: Self-paced | Always Available

16. Anthony Morganti’s Video Series on Lightroom 5: This 40-part video series covers everything you need to know about Lightroom 5 — starting with the very basics, and going on to cover advanced topics.

Level: Beginner to Intermediate | Duration: 12 hours | Always Available

17. An Introduction To Tilt + Shift Photography: A detailed (and very popular) guide by Peter Hill on what the “Tilt + Shift” effect actually is, and how to achieve it.

Level: Advanced | Duration: Self-paced | Always Available
Photography in Society and as Art

18. The Art of Photography: This course from Australia’s RMIT University covers both the academic and practical aspects of photography. Instructor Dr. Shane Hulbert, an artist-academic whose work has been shown in Victoria’s National Gallery, covers photography as a visual art practice, explores the work of contemporary photographers, and introduces the idea of a “digital darkroom”.

Level: Beginner | Duration: 4 weeks | Next Start Date: April 28, 2014

19. Documentary Photography and Photojournalism: Still Images of a World in Motion: Want to be the next Steve McCurry? This MIT course for budding photojournalists course requires some prior background in photography, e.g. knowing the difference between f stops and T stops, and being able to find one’s way around a camera.

Level: Intermediate | Duration: 4 weeks | Always Available

20. Photography and Truth: This course from MIT’s Anthropology department studies photography as a medium of expression and its interactions with politics, economics, and social life.

Level: Intermediate | Duration: Self-paced | Always Available

21. History of Photography Podcasts: An archive of 15 weekly podcasts by Jeff Curto from his course at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. The podcast is accompanied with a video slide show of the photos in discussion.

Level: Beginner | Duration: 4 weeks | Always Available
Reference Resources and Advanced Materials

22. Digital Photography School: Very popular (360k Facebook likes!) free resource with lots of useful information, articles and tips. Especially bookmark-worthy is their page – Tips and Tutorials for Beginners.

23. Creative Live Photography: They live-broadcast a handful of free online courses each month. They also have a large library of pre-recorded courses, but these are usually expensive.

24. Tuts Plus Photography Tutorials: Hundreds of helpful articles and tutorials on pretty much any photography topic you want to learn about.

25. Lynda.com Photography Courses: Since it’s a paid resource ($25 monthly subscription), I wasn’t sure whether I should include Lynda.com in this list, but my professional photographer friends swear by their advanced tutorials. In any case, you could try them out via this free 7-day trial.

Since you’ve made it this far, you deserve an inspiring video! Check out this fascinating TED Talk by Swedish photographer & retouch artist Erik Johansson who creates “realistic photos of impossible scenes” by combining dissimilar photographs!

Have you taken any of these courses? What other resources have you found useful? Tell us in the comments below!

About the author: Gautam Tambay is the co-founder of SlideRule, an education website that searches the best online courses on any subject. Hundreds of thousands of learners worldwide use it to improve their skills in everything from photography to philosophy. This article originally appeared here.

June 17, 2014
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June 16, 2014
China-Malaysia developers plan 5,000-acre man-made island off Johor - Business News | The Star Online →

Published: Monday June 16, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Monday June 16, 2014 MYT 8:30:54 AM
China-Malaysia developers plan 5,000-acre man-made island off Johor

by ng bei shan
Yuen(pic): ‘We are still very confident with Malaysia’s fundamentals

Yuen(pic): ‘We are still very confident with Malaysia’s fundamentals




SEMENYIH: The property slowdown in China and Hong Kong is not a deterrent for China’s property developer Country Garden Holdings Co Ltd.

The company, together with Johor’s economic development arm, Kumpulan Prasarana Rakyat Johor (KPRJ), have planned for a development over 5,000 acres (2,023.43ha) of reclaimed land in a project spanning more than 30 years.

The project, which will include a man-made island, will be near the second link in Johor and a study on the matter was done more than a year ago.

In an interview with StarBiz, Country Garden’s regional president for Malaysia project Kayson Yuen said the China-based company had studied the mega project, known as “Forest City”, for more than a year before it decided to invest in it.

“We decided in the investment because the land cost was reasonable. I cannot remember the exact price but we have committed towards the project,” he said.

Yuen also stressed that the slowdown in China did not have any impact on their overseas ventures.

“This is because we are able to collect a bigger deposit for our projects in China and this helps with cash flow,” said Yuen.

In March this year, StarBiz reported that the Hong-Kong listed company was joining hands with KPRJ to build a massive man-made island near Pendas, Johor, for luxury homes.

“This will be a massive mixed development and the investment and commitment shows our confidence in the Malaysia market,” he said, adding that it had hired local contractors for the reclamation works and engaged an Australian consultant who had reclamation experience at Sentosa Island, Singapore.

The man-made island that had started works, however, raised eyebrows due to environmental concerns, among others.

Country Garden intended to announce the project in March but held it back due to the incident of the missing flight MH370.

Yuen conceded that the aviation mishap, which involved many passengers from mainland China, had affected sentiments of home buyers from that country but he was quick to acknowledge that the political rapport between China and Malaysia was strong and would help bring back relations to normalcy in time.

“It is only a matter of time before the confidence level of Chinese buyers recovers. We are still very confident with Malaysia’s fundamentals,” he said, adding that the company had studied this new market for a long time before penetrating into the country.

Malaysia is Country Garden’s maiden overseas venture. But it is no stranger, having made headlines with its massive project in Danga Bay, Johor, that is estimated to have a gross development value of RM18bil.

In August 2013, Country Garden attracted attention when it announced the sale of 6,000 out of its 9,000 units of condominiums on its development in Danga Bay. It attracted attention because a project of such a scale had not been seen in Malaysia.

It prompted allegations that the high take-up rate was due to huge discounts offered by Country Garden. There were reports that it even offered “buy-one-free-one” for its buyers from China.

Yuen rubbished speculation that the company employed a “buy-one-free-one” approach to lure buyers.

“People who made those claims do not have knowledge of the property market. There is no logic in it,” he said.

Apart from Johor, Country Garden also has projects in Selangor. In the Klang Valley, it plans to launch the project in Serendah with its 55:45 joint-venture partner Malaysia Land Properties Sdn Bhd (Mayland) this year.

The 67.58ha project has a gross development value (GDV) of RM1.5bil.

Its other project in Selangor is known as Diamond City in Semenyih. The RM2bil project, which was launched officially over the weekend, received overwhelming response with some 60% of the offered units sold.

Country Garden Properties (M) Sdn Bhd managing director Chai Keng Wai, who also represents Mayland, said he was confident that the remaining units would be fully taken up in “a few weeks’ time.”

He said people had booked most of the units since the soft launch of the project last year.

Prices for its link houses, bungalows and mansions range from RM378 psf to RM430 psf while built-up sizes start from 2,300 sq ft to 8,600 sq ft.

The first phase of Diamond City sits on a 40ha tract and counts a clubhouse, a Spanish-style commercial street and an infinity pool as some of its facilities. Its selling points include its Spanish-inspired design as well as ready-built show village and amenities.

Country Garden is one of the top 10 developers in China and has more than 20 years of experience in township development.

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