Online Courses in Photography: Course Descriptions

Many colleges and universities offer non-credit, online courses in photography and photo editing. Students can learn about various traditional and digital photography techniques as well as how to use the Internet and e-mail to share photos. Online certificates and undergraduate and graduate degree programs in are also available.

Online Photography Courses

Photography courses vary from one school to another. Below is a sample of some photography courses that can be found online.

  • Traditional Photography Course: Students explore the traditional equipment and technical aspects of black and white and color photography by watching lectures and viewing demonstrations online. They learn how to shoot, develop and print photos as well as critically assess their own work. Topics include essential appreciation of line, color, shape, texture and space, along with the useful properties of light.
  • Digital Photography Course: This introductory course teaches students different ways to use digital technology to produce effective photos that move beyond ordinary snapshots. Students gain an understanding of the relationship of light, color and white balance. They learn about depth of field, shutter speed, aperture and various digital camera modes via online discussions.
  • Photoshop for Digital Photography Course: Once photos are captured, participants in this course discover how to employ Adobe's powerful Photoshop software to take control of the creative process. They use the program's sophisticated editing tools to enhance a photograph or correct its flaws. Students also learn how to add text and create art projects with Photoshop, as well as how to prepare photos for e-mail and Internet use.
  • Photographing People Course: This course provides students with an introductory look at taking photos of adults, children and babies. In addition to common close-up problems and various angles to use or avoid when photographing portraits or formal group shots, students learn to employ digital editing tools to touch up and improve the final product. Students also explore the use of imagery, mood and themes when devising photo shoots by interacting with their instructor and peers on chat or discussion forums.
  • Photographing Nature Course: Composition and lighting are the keys to effective outdoor photography. Students explore ways to exploit a camera's aperture and shutter speed to create exceptional photos of flowers, trees, birds, animals, water and landscapes. Since outdoor photography can involve subjects that are too distant or dangerous to shoot up close, telephoto lenses are also discussed in detail.
  • Wedding Photography Course: In this course, students will learn about working with couples, wedding planners, and other wedding party professionals to make the wedding photo process seamless. The course will also teach professional techniques, guiding students through composition, framing, light and other key photographic components for taking professional grade photos.
  • Business for Photographers Course: In this course, students will explore what it takes to make money by selling their work as photographers. How to identify a market for your photographs, attract and maintain clients and develop marketing skills will all be covered.
  • Photo History and Concepts Course: This course will introduce students to the history of photography via famous photographers and movements. Photographic theories will also be examined.

Program Information

Most online photography courses are offered as non-credit and personal enrichment classes through extension departments at universities and colleges. Upon completion of the course, students can enjoy photography as a relaxing or exciting hobby. Some go on to take advantage of their acquired skills to pursue professional endeavors, such as photographing weddings, portraits, babies and pets. Other freelance opportunities include working for magazines and newspapers, whether online or in print. For those with a professional interest in photography, various certificates, associate's, bachelor's and master's degrees are offered online.

Students should check with the program to see what type of equipment they will need; generally, students may need 1-2 lenses, ranging from 18mm to 200mm. Depending on the size of digital photos submitted for teacher evaluation, a high-speed Internet connection may be advisable. Some courses use advanced photography software, such as Adobe Photoshop, to enhance or edit class projects.

Individual courses are available online in photography, in addition to courses offered through online certificate, associate's, bachelor's and master's degree programs. Students will have the opportunity to study topics like the history of photography, digital photography and wedding photography.


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