Whether you got a new camera for Christmas or you’ve had one for a few years and never taken the time to really learn how to use it, this is a great time of year to start learning more about photography. There are loads of sites and tutorials online that can help you improve your skills for free, which is pretty cool. Unfortunately, with so many photography tutorials available, it can be hard to know where to start. Today I’m sharing the 5 best free websites I’ve found for learning how to use your camera and improving your photography.
1. Click it up a Notch: This blog is a great place to start if you want to learn how to shoot on manual. The site includes TONS of amazing tips and tutorials, from beginner to more expert. My favorite parts:
- There’s a guide to your photography journey that is a step-by-step list of the most helpful tutorials on the site, in a logical order so you know where to start and where to go next
- project 365 linkup and support (photo a day)
- regular “critique me” features where readers can submit photos and share construction critiques
2. I Heart Faces: another photography blog with lots of great information. What I like best:
- hundreds of tutorials in different categories, such as camera lessons, lighting, posing, photoshop, elements, and more
- monthly photo challenge
- community photography inspiration – inspiration photos centered around a theme, like these fun Halloween photo ideas
3. Digital photography school: I see this site more as a resource for looking up answers to specific questions as opposed to a place to start, because the amount of information can be overwhelming. However, when you do have a specific question, this site has it covered. I especially love:
- the illustrated posing guides for women, children, couples, families, and more. It’s hard to find great posing guides for free, so this is a huge resource.
- lots of info & reviews about specific camera, lenses, and other photography gear
- lots of technical tutorials about post processing, etc.
4. Simple as That: this blog is not completely photography focused, but it’s a beautiful blog with consistently lovely photos that has regular photography features. I especially like:
- a variety of photo checklists to give you ideas and inspiration. A big part of photography is seeing the normal in a new way, and these checklists are a big help when you want to takes, but aren’t sure what to photograph.
- the simply photography series where guest photographers share beautiful images along with favorite tips & tricks
- a new series for 2015 – one year to organized photos (so you don’t get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of photos on your hard drive)
5. It’s Always Autumn: Ok, time for a little shameless self promotion. I’ll tell you straight up that I’m not the best photographer around (I certainly don’t consider myself a pro), and my blog doesn’t have the exhaustive number of tutorials you’ll find elsewhere. However, you will find something here you may not find other places: things you can do right now, on AUTO, to improve your photos, even if you’re not ready to jump into the world of f-stops and ISO. Most photography tutorial sites start by teaching you how to shoot on manual, which is good: once you master manual mode you’ll be able to get great photos consistently. However, learning to shoot on manual is a pretty big investment – it takes time and practice to get it right. If you don’t have that time today, there are other things you can do to improve your photos right now. My tutorials all focus on easy, beginner tips you can employ to improve your photos without pulling out your camera manual or memorizing terms. Here are some of my most popular photography tutorials:
- how to set up a DIY photo studio in your own home
- best DIY photography backdrops
- the secret to a better portrait
- the secret to a better black & white photo
- 8 steps to better photos on auto
- tips & tricks for photographing toddlers: how to get a genuine smile, how to get them to sit still & look at you
- tips for better photos of your new baby in the hospital
- 5 part intro to newborn photography series
- how to save a dark or underexposed photo
So there you have it – 5 great FREE resources to help you improve your photography this year. Good luck!
***One last note: there is so much free photography info online that you really don’t need to purchase a photography course. However, one nice thing about courses is that all the info is laid out in a really easy to understand way that progresses from one step to the next, so taking a course can save you time and make sure you don’t miss important things early on in the process. If you’re interested in a beginner photography course, I recommend Photography 101 from Shoot Fly Shoot. It’s a fantastic online video course that walks you through the steps you need to start shooting on manual. There’s lots of great info presented in a straightforward manner in 10-20 minute video clips you can watch whenever you want – I wish I’d taken this course when I started out. Click through any of the links in this paragraph to sign up, and I’ll receive a percentage of your enrollment fee – thanks!***