No course is 100% perfect for everyone. It’s more about choosing the right beginner photography course for you, rather than what’s the ‘best’ one out there.
And it will require a bit of research...
I guess that’s why you’re here reading this blog, am I right?
Well then let’s get down to business in chatting about what you should be looking for in a beginners photography course.
Taking into account that I have over 25 years of experience in photography, and the fact I run my own courses, I feel like I’ve got a good idea of what makes a great course.
I’ve been fortunate enough to work with photographers who have all levels of experience. They also have a variety of reasons for picking up a camera in the first place… whether that is because they want to make a career out of it, or just try a new hobby.
The feedback I then get from them is invaluable. It really helps to paint a picture of what they are trying to achieve and which methods work best for them when learning photography.
To start with I’ll share my perspective on being a beginner photographer. Then I’ll fire away with some all important questions to uncover what it is you’re really looking for in a beginners photography course.
Get your thinking cap on!
What does being a ‘beginner photographer’ really mean?
I personally think everyone is a beginner in one way or another. Photography is so vast and you are continually learning - I know I am.
Now you may think you are perhaps at a more intermediate level, maybe you’ve had a camera for a while and taken loads of pictures.
But have a think about whether you really know what you’re doing. I’m talking about whether you understand how your camera works past turning it on and setting it to auto. Do you know about lighting and composition, do you know how to alter the exposure, do you even know why all these things are important?
If you answered no, then I’d say yes, you’re definitely at a beginner level and would really benefit from an introductory course.
Now, say you take the most amazing photos of your dog, you do it all the time and you’ve really mastered how to work with him / her. Perhaps you’ve even learned how to work with different lighting, compositions and some manual settings on your camera.
This is great, you’ve probably learned some really good fundamentals of photography. Now how comfortable would you be doing landscape photography, or shooting portraits, weddings, architecture or wildlife in action?
Different genres require a different way of thinking. Yes the fundamental concepts and techniques are similar, but understanding how to work confidently with them in different ways can require going back to basics.
It really comes down to what you are trying to achieve and what a particular course has to offer. Don’t be afraid to look at ‘beginner’ level courses, even if you feel you’re at a more intermediate level.
5 questions to determine what you need from a beginner photography course
1. Have you watched any live webinars, video tutorials or attended any courses before?
You may already know more than what you think you do, or you could have picked up some bad habits.
Also how did you get on with that way of learning? If it worked really well for you then you’ve got a great starter for 10 when it comes to looking for the next step.
2. How do you best learn?
Reading / listening / demonstration / practice. Do you prefer 1:1 or group sessions, in person or online - maybe a bit of both.
It’s probably a combination of the above - especially when it comes to something as physical and action related as photography.
The saying practice makes perfect is probably one of my favourites, and it is so relevant in photography.
You should also consider whether you are good at homework, or whether you need constant prodding to actually go and do what you’re being told to.
Being aware of your learning preferences is crucial when researching courses. Any good course should explain the method of teaching.
Are they offering 1:1, does it have collaborative live group sessions, do they set homework tasks, can you ask questions as you go etc.
3. What time do you have available?
Whatever course you sign up to, you’ll need to commit some time.
So it’s a good idea to evaluate what this looks like, before you find something that sounds fantastic but realistically you just can work into your schedule.
4. What do you want to get out of it?
It’s a really good idea to have some goals in place.
Going into a course with a “I’m happy to learn anything” outlook is ok, but it will mean that even if you do learn something, deep down you probably won’t feel that accomplishment.
Plus, it's hard to determine what your next step should be. When learning a new skill it’s wise to focus on specific areas to cultivate, otherwise you might find yourself in a jumble of average ability for longer than necessary.
So I suggest starting with a short list of goals. Once you’re up and running that list will grow and so will your expertise!
Here’s some examples:
- Learn about composition
- Understand the different settings on my camera
- Move away from auto mode to manual
- How light affects my pictures and the best way to use it
- What lens should I be using?
- How to be more confident and get more creative
- Learn the fundamentals of a genre of photography new to me
5. What budget do you have?
This can be a tough one… you’re trying to figure out what investing in your photography education is worth.
Let me be straight with you - if you’re looking for a beginners course and photography as a whole is pretty new to you, I would advise to dip your toes in the water a little bit first.
Don’t go for anything that will break the bank, you can invest more as you go.
If you jump in at the deep and it turns out the course isn’t right for you, but financially you can’t afford not to do it, then the relationship you’re building with this artform is getting off on the wrong foot.
A beginner photography course worth considering
Now I’m going to plug my own course. I’m not ashamed to do so, as I do think it's worth your consideration.
I’ve been running my Masterclass in Photography for a while and I get great feedback, which has allowed me to alter and shape it into a course that really works.
If you answer yes to any of these questions, keep reading:
- Upgraded your camera, but photos still not great?
- Do you shoot loads hoping for a 'good one'?
- The scene was great, but your photo isn't?
- Soft fuzzy photos a problem?
- Don't understand what 'good light' is?
- Do you want to feel proud of your photos?
My course is designed to help you:
- Feel in control of your camera. Stop 'hoping' for the picture to turn out great
- Know how to get the "Wow Factor" and stop people in their tracks
- Achieve beautifully composed, well lit and exposed images
- Be confident and feel creative no matter what you're photographing
- Save money for shooting at great locations - instead of spending on useless gadgets
- Feel a sense of pride in your work and that you really put your all into it
I spread the course over 5 weeks so you don’t get overwhelmed, and you’ll get 16 videos with worksheets and exercises to help you practice. You can simply complete it online or download what you need to keep with you.
As with all my courses I approach it in a non-techie manner, keeping out all that confusing jargon and ensuring that even the most beginner level student can understand.
Plus, I offer a 100% money back guarantee - I’m only happy if you’re happy!
Invest in the Masterclass in Photography Course and become a confident and creative photographer.