It’s natural for someone who loves photography and the outdoors to focus on taking a lot of photos out in nature, or even to pursue a career as a professional landscape or adventure photographer. Becoming a skilled outdoor photographer takes a lot of practice, both in learning how to use your gear and in developing composition and shooting techniques.
One great way to develop those skills as a beginner, or maintain them as a professional, is to gain inspiration and knowledge from other photographers. And just like the digital camera and smartphone have opened up a mass of interest in photography, the amount of resources out there to learn more about photography is also plentiful.
Here are 10 helpful online photography courses from Skillshare that every outdoor photographer should consider taking. Skillshare is an awesome online learning community where you can learn from skilled photographers, illustrators, graphic designers, marketers, and much more. And right now you can sign up and get 2 months of premium photography classes for free!
If you just bought your first DSLR or are still shooting in auto, this is the perfect photography course to start with. Becoming a good outdoor photographer requires you to first understand the gear you’re shooting with. In this class you’ll learn how to balance your shutter speed, aperture and ISO for ideal exposure, control your background blur with aperture, quick editing tips, as well as go-to camera settings and essential gear for your camera bag.
Patagonia photographer Jeff Johnson shares his techniques and tips for capturing all of the in-between moments during adventure and extreme experiences. Learn about the best practices for showing up prepared, capturing the action, and displaying the passion behind the story in your images. This is a great class because it focuses on topics that aren’t necessarily the center of why you’re out shooting, but these types of photos help you establish a unique perspective for whatever adventure you’re on.
Finding great light is many times the most important aspect of creating a beautiful photo. Knowing how to capture that same light with proper exposure is a skill that’s developed throughout a photographer’s career. This simple photography course focuses on learning to shoot with the manual settings on your camera, focusing on aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. Even if you’re an experienced outdoor photographer, going back and reviewing the basics every once in a while is a good habit to get into.
Some photographers will tell you that they spend more time in front of a computer editing then the do out in the field shooting. One big reason a photographer gravitates towards the outdoors is because they love being out in nature. So the thought of spending more time inside than out can be a bit demoralizing. This is why becoming an expert in the software you edit your photos with, like Lightroom, is important, because it means you will have more time doing what you love.
Taking photos of wildlife can be tricky and requires a lot of preparation, practice, and patience to get a few good images. Although it’s pretty impressive seeing photographers go out into the wild and capture portraits of massive beasts or hard to find animals, anyone can find a place to find wildlife where they live. This short class walks through some of the skills necessary to take great photos of animals in your own backyard. Learn about proper settings on your camera for the best shots, how to gain the trust of certain wildlife, finding the proper shooting locations, and how to showcase the best looks and emotions of the animals in your images.
With digital photography and social media giving everyone the chance to become an active photographer, it’s becoming more difficult promote a unique perspective. Besides the importance of developing your photography skills and topics to shoot, working on your own editing style in programs like Lightroom will help you stand out from the crowd. This class will help you understand techniques and sources of inspiration that can be used to become more talented and creative in your photography editing.
Astrophotography itself is a difficult skill to master. The proper techniques for capturing incredible night skies is something that photographers work on constantly, even if they’re creating the best images out there. There are many ways to shoot the night sky, and this photo course covers nightscapes, the combination of astrophotography and landscape photography. You’ll learn the bare essentials for your first astrophoto shoot, the importance of a good plan, where to find the best skies, and incorporating landscapes into your compositions. Although this course does cover beginner skills, they do introduce techniques and camera settings that may help seasoned professionals create better images.
This straightforward class, taught by Toronto-based photographer and professional photo retoucher Mike Sidofsky, will go over his unique editing style of time-blending. Essentially you’ll learn how to take and combine multiple exposures of a scene that were taken at different times. The software used in this course will be Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Photoshop, and the plug-in Color Efex Pro.
Adventure photographer Chris Burkard explores on-location techniques and tips for capturing incredible landscape photos. From working with lighting at different times of the day to incorporating subjects into your landscape, this photography course will help you take your outdoor photography to the next level.
This is another great course to take from Chris Burkard as it focuses on techniques and tips for taking beautiful images of vistas, mountains, and adventure experiences with a smartphone. He’ll show you the pocket lenses he uses while shooting, editing workflows on mobile, and tactics for creating great compositions in the outdoors.
These are a just a few of the thousands of online courses that are offered on Skillshare by other professionals. We personally find this to be an incredible resource for learning and cultivating a variety of photography skills. The classes are not only educational, but extremely engaging and inspiring as well. Check it out yourself! Sign up today to get access to Skillshare’s 17,000+ premium classes for free for 2 months – we are sure you’ll find something worth your while!