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Online Photography Courses and Their Worth

Updated on May 23, 2013
To do or not to do a photography course online?
To do or not to do a photography course online?

In this article I do not give a review to any particular photography course, but rather using one as an example to express my opinion on the subject. Information in this article is addressed particularly to the people who aspire to learn photography and are interested to know how much doing an online photography course would teach them and whether it’s worth the money.

I remember well the day I decided to buy myself a DSLR (Canon 450D) and become a professional photographer. I had a passion for photography and wanted to make a business earning money with what I love to do. Aren't we all dreaming about the same? My aim was to learn how to use DSLR camera and take good, technically correct images. To bring this plan into life, I was suggested to apply for a photography course online to study in the convenience from my own home.

Is it worth it doing an online photography course?
Is it worth it doing an online photography course?

Following the suggestion, I did a research on Internet and narrowed my choice to two courses. Those courses were pretty similar in what they had to offer, even the fee was the same, but eventually one of them won me over by looking more professional and trustworthy. I downloaded a prospective to get a preview of the system of the course and it all looked good which reassured me even more. To be honest, the fee was rather high (I could buy myself another Canon 450D for this money), which nearly put me off, but believing that it’s the only way to become a professional photographer, I went forward with my plan. Now I know better...

After applying for the course and paying the fee I started my study. The structure of the course was looking like this: I needed to download a lesson, read the material, complete an assignment, send it to my tutor, my work would be marked, mistakes explained and then I was allowed to move on to the next lesson.

What it's like doing an online photography course
What it's like doing an online photography course

I should admit, at the beginning my results were a hit and miss because I knew literally nothing about DSLR. Photography terms like aperture and shutter speed were a completely new language to me, so I really was learning from scratches. With time however, I began to feel more confident in what I was doing with my camera and by the end of the course I really felt that I gained some information from this course.

Why only some information, because for a beginner like me, I needed much more detailed explanations and more visual examples. The thing is what seems to be obvious for an experienced photographer doesn't look the same to a beginner. Therefore lack of sufficient amount of images to support the information given to me as a student was disappointing.

The tutor who was signed up to work with me would always answer any questions I would ask him in emails, but answers were so short and lacked of details that most of the time I was left feeling confused anyway. After a few attempts to get more detailed information from my tutor I gave up and instead was using the Internet to find more information to be able to complete the assignments. The more times I searched, the more surprised I became by the amount of information available online about photography.

Can I make money after doing an online  photography course?
Can I make money after doing an online photography course?

What made me pleased during the course was that it kept me motivated and helped me to keep my study at a certain pace. The course was planned for six months, but I was so keen that I finished it within four months.

By the time I finished the course I had some knowledge about photography and a bit of practice, but looking at it now, I realise that I was far away from having enough knowledge to become a professional photographer. It might sound naïve but I did believe that in six months after doing the course I would know enough to start making money with photography. Time proved that it takes much longer than six months to achieve this, so keep it in mind.

The last, but not least I want to mention that the piece of paper I got after finishing the course is worth nothing as it doesn't even have a serial number, or a watermark, it doesn't look like a real document I could provide on demand and that was very disappointing.

Online photography courses and their worth
Online photography courses and their worth

As a conclusion I want to give a summary on the information above with pros and cons of doing a photography course online so you could make your own conclusion:


1. Convenience of studying from home.

2. Keeps you motivated.

3. Tutor answers your question.

4. Your work is revised and is given a marked.


1. High fee.

2. Information is not broad.

3. The same information is available on Internet for free.

4. Certificate without any value.

Altogether, I wouldn't say I regret doing the course, neither I would call the money I paid for the course completely wasted, that would be unfair, but paying such a high fee doesn't seem to me a reasonable price for the amount of information and service I received.

Hope the experience I shared with you will help you to make up your mind whether it is worth it doing an online photography course.

Have you done a photography course online?

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    • Dina Blaszczak profile image

      Dina Blaszczak 4 years ago from Poland

      @sallybea Yes, I guess combining a course with magazine is a good option :) Thanks for the comment! ;)

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 4 years ago from Norfolk

      I enrolled in a free course with Practical Photography magazine's Camera School. It has really helped me to better understand my camera settings. For the price of a magazine, I think it has been good investment for my photography.

    • Dina Blaszczak profile image

      Dina Blaszczak 5 years ago from Poland

      @suzzycue That's right, it's good to try something new, that's why I'm here, writing hubs to see where it will take me ;) Thank you for reading!

    • suzzycue profile image

      Susan Britton 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      You sound a little bit disappointed. I've bought stuff off the internet on how to make money, but I was lucky when I realized it was not for me or I did not have enough computer experience to do it, they did refund my money no questions asked. So I stopped doing that.Your photo of the tulips is great so you have learned something and now you know you can research and get advice for free. So I think if you have an interest in something is ok to try something new. You never know it could be just the thing you are looking for.