Landscape photography can produce some of the most stunning nature…
Photography is a deceptive vocation or avocation, simultaneously simple and incredibly complex. On the one hand, all you need is a camera (which most of us have in our pockets at all times thank to smartphones) and something to point it at. On the other hand, simply looking at some of the photos taken throughout history makes it obvious how difficult it is to take a really good photo.
The technological revolution of the smartphone and other digital photography technology hasn’t really made it easier to navigate the bewilderingly huge range of equipment, hardware, and software that make up the photography ecosystem. In fact, the march of technology has made it even more complicated. Add to that the depth of understanding required to master photography’s theory and practice and you have an art form that takes more than a creative mind and some free time to truly master.
The good news? That same technological revolution has made it easy to find free resources on the Internet that can teach you everything you need to know to begin pursuing photography, perfect existing skills, or take your photos to the next level. We’ve collected here fifty free resources on the web in several categories so you can begin – or further – your education at your own pace.
If you’re just starting out, or need a refresher on something, these sites offer the fundamentals you need.
Digital Photography School
Whether you’re just starting out and need basic instruction, or a little more advanced and looking to expand your horizons, this site has a broad range of topics to fill every educational need.
The Photography 101 series of articles has just about everything a beginner photographer might need to grapple with the fundamentals.
About.com maintains a large overview of information, how-tos, lessons, and general interest articles that any photographer would find useful.
We all need a little inspiration sometimes, just a little push of creativity that pushes us to excel.
These curated collections of photographs by legendary photographers of the past and celebrated artists from the present will get anybody’s creative – and competitive – juices flowing.
World Press Photo
If you’re looking at photojournalism as a career, this site will inspire you to keep at it with the winning images from the annual World Press Photo Contest and interviews with working photojournalists, perhaps doing the sort of work you see yourself doing.
National Geographic Photography
Still one of the touchstones of beautiful and historic photojournalism in the world, National Geographic is where most photographers wish to see their work someday.
Cambridge in Colour
If you need to better understand the technical aspects of digital photography, such as sensors, histograms, or autofocus and the like, these dry but informative tutorials are ideal.
Luminous Landscapes has been a starting point in many photographers’ careers – it’s one of the oldest and most-respected online photography resources around, filled with dense technical information.
Depth of Field Master
If you’re interested in landscape or architecture photography, you absolutely must have a firm understanding of depth of field – and very few beginning photographers do. This site explains it all in great detail, and even provides depth of field tables you can print out.
Sometimes it’s best to get your lessons from a working professional, and Ken Rockwell does a great job of giving you the practical side of education.
Canon Professional Network
Obviously very Canon-centric, but filled with a lot of practical tips and lessons from advanced amateur and professional photographers from around the world.
Canon Digital Learning Centre
Also branded by Canon, but the information, tutorials, and advice from working professionals is still invaluable.
If you happen to be using Nikon cameras, the information on this site will be absolutely vital to improving your technique and your photos.
Pentax User Magazine
Specifically geared towards owners of Pentax cameras, and filled with awesome information, tips, and tutorials specific to those cameras – but also with a lot of general information about the art and profession of photography.
Very technical stuff about the gear and cameras we use in pursuit of our art and profession – the LookUp tool allows you to search on your gear and get a lot of technical information and tutorials specific to the model.
Once you graduate from the camera that came with your phone, you start to think about the right gear to use for your own artistic and professional goals – but where to start? These sites give you the basic info you need to start shopping for the right gear for you.
Digital Photography Review
This is probably where every photographer should go first when buying new equipment or seeking to get the most out of the gear they already have. Just about every piece of equipment in existence is reviewed here in fine detail. An absolute must in every bookmark list.
Not quite as comprehensive as DPR above, but still filled with plenty of detailed and well-researched reviews on a broad range of photography equipment.
Photography and Photoshop Technique
Practical Photography magazine and Digital Photo magazine maintain this site jointly, and whether or not you read the print versions this site is always filled with fantastic tutorials, how-tos, and explainer pieces that dig into digital photo manipulation and processing.
The portable flash is often mystifying to newcomers; Strobist seeks to make its proper use a little more clear and to demonstrate the flexibility of this piece of standard equipment.
If you’re wondering why the portable flash is considered such an important piece of gear, let a professional photographer explain how he uses it every day in his work.
You don’t just fire up Photoshop and instantly master it. Check in here as the title suggests – that is, daily – for amazing insights into the true power of this incredible piece of software.
Apogee Photo Magazine
Something for everyone, including tutorials, interviews, articles, and reviews.
Photojojo concentrates on techniques and style, as well as offering inspiration pieces to keep your creative levels high.
Technique and gear is all very well, but we all need a sense of community as well. These sites offer insights to the human side of photography as a career, an avocation, and an art form.
The Online Photographer
Fascinating insights into the reasons behind equipment choices and the creative and mundane decisions photographers have to make on a daily basis.
You will learn at least one amazing trick or fascinating insight every time you visit this rich resource, filled with long reads on the deeper side of photography.
All Day I Dream of Photography
A fun, frothy resource for a less-technical but no-less interesting collection of photography-related think pieces.
Toy cameras aren’t the fad they were a few years ago, but they still have their adherents who love their simplicity and affordability. Here are a few resources where you can get the skinny on these straightforward tools.
Every toy camera enthusiast needs to visit this site on a regular basis for plenty of information, guides, and reviews at a very high level.
Four Corners Dark
You can learn about technique, gear, and the joy of using toy cameras (and other tools) and then hop over to their web store and buy everything you just read about.
No matter where you are on the professional/amateur scale, there’s always plenty to learn from professional photographers who take the time to share their experiences and their insights.
Chase Jarvis is one of the most successful and respected pros in the business, and his blog is a treasure of information and insight.
The Digital Trekker
Matt Brandon is one of the most celebrated travel photographers in the business, and his blog is a feast for anyone interested in the art and business of photography.
David duChemin is famous for his humanitarian photography work. At his blog he offers entertaining and fascinating thoughts on the art and business of photography.
Syl Arena maintains this online magazine and we all stand to benefit from his perspective and experience.
Tom Miles is London-based and offers specifically London-centric points of view that any aspiring photographer will find useful and interesting.
Digital Pro Talk
Social photography is a hard business to break into and get established in. David Ziser gives you the benefit of his experience.
Essays and articles written by working photographers from around the world that are educational, motivational, and inspire you to get more involved with the community of photographers around the world.
Interviews by Crash Taylor
Crash Taylor is not only an amazing photographer, he’s also a talented interviewer and has been interviewing professional photographers from around the world and in a variety of fields for years now. This site is an absolute must.
Other Useful Resources
Entering competitions is a great way to get some exposure, get some feedback on your work, and flex your creative muscles a little. Photo Compete always has a list of current competitions and details how to enter them.
A further list of competitions, including some run by major corporate sponsors like Sony and National Geographic – ideal for exposure.
Monetising our creativity isn’t always obvious. Photopreneur is a place where people share ideas on making some money from your work.
Models et al
You don’t need to be a big-time pro to need models, stylists and make-up artists for your shoots – here are some resources for finding them.
With models listed from all over the world, this site is a great resource for locating models and other services in your area, with the ability to drill down to your local area.
Purestorm offers access to models of all kinds, and also allows photographers to post casting calls and get responses instead of searching through listings.
As smartphones have made everyone into a photographer, the law has become more complex, and many police officers and officials are ignorant of it. Every photographer needs to be educated on their rights.
Photographers’ legal rights – UK
A quick but comprehensive overview of your rights with a camera in the United Kingdom.
Photographers’ legal rights – United States
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) provides all the basic information you need to defend yourself against ignorance – or malice.
Photographers’ legal rights – Australia
An overview of the legal issues facing photographers in public spaces in Australia.
If you’re looking for an audience beyond your own blog (and sometimes growing an audience is a challenge), then this great magazine will publish your photos and essays.