A friend of mine recently asked me about any photography training courses that I knew about. After doing some additional research on this topic, a popular topic on most discussion boards, I figured it would be a useful collection to post publicly.
I see all the training courses broken down into these categories:
- Photography Technique for different types of photography (landscape, wedding, event, etc.)
- Photography technical skills for learning more about your camera…how-to stuff
- Digital photography post processing skills…photo editing in Photoshop, etc.
Unfortunately, there are multiple sources for each of these type of courses. Just doing a Google search for this stuff isn’t valuable since the result is a high noise to signal ratio. So my list below is what I have come across in my travels. What is not listed are information sources that may also provide some tutorials (see my previous posting about Camera Information Sites). Also, these sources provide online or offline “classes”; they do not include sources that provide in the classroom training (that’s yet another posting…).
In my opinion, the first most important thing about training is what are the trainer’s credentials? There are a lot of trainers who I meet/seen/know, who learn right before they train. You’re not getting your money’s worth with them in general. The invaluable stuff you get from training is the industry and real world experience, the things you could learn over time yourself but get there faster by learning from those who have already been there. Typically, these places have trainer bios available…if they don’t, steer clear of them.
The second most important thing about training is how well someone performs the training. This is a much more subjective thing. Having been a trainer as well as attending training, everyone connects with the trainer in a different way. So, try different trainers and different courses and see what works best for you. They key is to just do it…even a bad experience taught you something, not to use that trainer/course again!
Disclaimer: this is not an exhaustive list, just a collection of my research to date. Also, a listing here doesn’t constitute an endorsement by me. My first or second hand experience with any of these courses is stated; if it isn’t then they are just a provide I know about but haven’t used.
- Software Cinema has a collection of courses for different photo editing software packages (PS CS2, PS Elements, Corell Painter) and a course on Photography Lighting. What I like about their offerings, is that they have DVD courses, online/on demand mini-courses, as well as well as in person training camps. Their trainers are all long term professionals and some are Adobe Certified Experts.
- BetterPhoto.com has an extensive set of online courses that cover the three major areas. These courses tend to be self-driven with scheduled assignments with feedback. They offer then during given windows, which means that they do have someone “teaching” the course. But it appears that most work is done online at your pace, with scheduled assignments that the trainer will critique.
- Luminous Landscape Video Journal is not a formal training course, but I know a number of people who enjoy landscape photography who found them very useful. They are more of a “photography tv show on dvd”, but there is some very useful information that is provided within different episodes.
- Adobe offers both Photoshop books and self-paced courses that cover the entire Photoshop family of products. Interesting thing is that no one from my photography circles has ever mentioned using any of the Adobe training or books…hmmm…
- Scott Kelby’s book The Photoshop Book for Digital Photographers is one of the books that I have sitting within arms reach of my digital darkroom all the time. This book walks you through most of the common things photographers will do with Photoshop. Scott also products a line of Photoshop videos which some friends of mine reocmmend highly.
I will try to update this list over time.
If you recommend any other training sources, please share them by posting a comment.