These Online Photography Classes Are Totally Free Right Now

Kristi Blokhin/Shutterstock
Kristi Blokhin/Shutterstock
Kristi Blokhin/Shutterstock

This is the golden age of taking artsy photos of your cat with the expensive camera you splurged on in an act of aspirational hobbyism. In fact, about a week ago, Nikon announced that its online photography courses will be free through the month of April, so you can now become an expert in all the camera settings that aren't ON and OFF.

And Nikon isn't the only visual authority handing out freebies -- it's actually a bit shocking how generous brands and organizations are being with their educational services right now, and how high quality those now-free services are, especially for beginners with dusty DSLRs. 

Below, we've compiled a list of the best free online photography classes currently available. Nikon's lessons cover topics like "exploring dynamic landscape photography" and taking that perfect photo of your cat while other courses focus on portraits and more. The free classes are about as endless as your camera's possibilities. Check 'em out: 

As mentioned above, Nikon recently announced that its 10 online photography courses, which usually cost between $15 to $50, will be free through April and the beginning of May. The Nikon School Online covers topics like dynamic landscape photography, the art of making music videos, and even pet photography. Having been around the online courses block, I personally believe Nikon offers the highest quality photography videos you can find on the web, or else the most structured and specific. To stream the courses, click the video at the top of the website, enter your name and email address, and start streaming immediately. 

Professional Photographers of America
The Professional Photographers of America organization usually only offers its 1,100+ online classes to paying members, but because "times are tough," in PPA's words, you only need to sign up for a free account to access the courses. Yes, there's a "Lucrative Pet Portraits” course for this cat portrait dream I am projecting onto you, but there are other exciting and spicy lessons as well, like “Find Your Black Sheep: How to Stand Out in a Flock of Photographers." 


KelbyOne is an online learning platform created by American photographer Scott Kelby. Right now he's hosting free weekly webinars and offering some of the site's most popular classes for free, as well as providing discounts on memberships. His free public webcasts cover camera basics that school viewers in practical matters, like proper photo backup techniques, and his online courses vary, touching on both editing and various genres of photography. 

Leica Camera AG is an international camera manufacturer that offers over 70 free online classes, with live seminars broadcast on its website every Sunday. These videos lean more towards *talks* with professionals than teaching you the basics of a specific skill. It's a great site for anyone who wants to really immerse themselves in photography culture and is ready to move beyond the bounty of beginner courses on offer elsewhere. Next week's Sunday broadcast will feature two photographers, Jennifer McClure and Juan Cristóbal Cobo, who will discuss their respective quarantine projects and potentially give ya'll some good ideas. I like Leica because the brand posts challenges on Mondays that have to do with the specific topic discussed in the Sunday course, and you can submit your challenge photos by using the #StayHomeWithLeica hashtag. 

The Japanese photography company Fujifilm has just launched a new campaign called Stay Creative At Home, which you can explore via the #FujifilmFromHome hashtag on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Each week the company will be sharing new tips, techniques, exercises and FAQ sessions with Fujifilm product specialists on its blog. Here's one post from last week called Pet Portraits to be Proud of

Adobe Photoshop
So you took a semi-decent photo of your lamp. What now? Instead of cheaply filtering the imagine with Gingham or Ludwig on Instagram, you should dive into Adobe Photoshop's free tutorials. They're totally free -- the website only requires that you make a free account before accessing them. I recommend starting with the "30 Days of PH" tutorials, which include lessons on retouching, collaging, cropping, and adding text. 

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Ruby Anderson is a News Writer for Thrillist.