Cover photo by Igor Stevanovic

Want to learn how to take better photos, but don’t know where to start? Or maybe you feel like you have some basic photography skills, but don’t know what new technique to try next? Whether you are learning your way around a DSLR for the first time, or whether you want to expand your repertoire, there’s something out there for you.

Read on for 9 great ways to learn photography.

1. Take an online class.

Curious to try out a new style of photography? Or maybe you just want to learn from a photographer you look up to? There are countless courses available online on every topic imaginable.

The best part is that for many, you can take the class at any time from the comfort of your own home. Many also come with videos or content that you can review and refer back to as much as you want.

Two great resources with a wide selection of classes are Creative Live and Lynda.com.

There are also plenty of great free online courses. Check out Strobist for tons of info on the (sometimes intimidating) topic of lighting. Start with Lighting 101 to learn the basics, then move onto more complex techniques.

Marc Levoy’s Lectures on Digital Photography are also worth checking out. This Stanford professor has both lecture videos and written content on learning photography available on his website. There is no previous knowledge of photography required, so it’s a great starting point.

2. Take a workshop in real life.

Online is great, but nothing beats watching someone show you a technique in person.

How to find a workshop? Look up photographers you admire, and check their websites to see if they have any upcoming events. Many photographers offer photography courses and workshops of their own, or they may be participating in larger events.

Some of the best experiences come from references. Ask photographer friends about workshops they’ve taken—chances are, they’ll have something to recommend for you (or tell you what they would avoid).

Other great places to look are local photography clubs, arts organizations, and museums. And of course, schools—check out universities, colleges, and community colleges near you. If you don’t want to or can’t commit to pursuing a full program or degree, that’s not necessarily an issue—many offer continuing education classes as well.

Itching to go somewhere new? Consider planning your upcoming vacation time around a workshop experience. Popular workshops include Summit workshops, Maine Media Photography Workshops, and Santa Fe Photographic Workshops.

Or wait for the workshop to come to you! Scott Kelby has touring workshops on topics like how to make the most of Lightroom.

So—how to pick from all the options? Think not only about the specific skills you want to improve, but the style of workshop you’re looking for. How much hands-on time do you want? Do you want to commit to a recurring course, or just a one-time session? What are you looking to get out of it? Testimonials and reviews (check for ones on outside sources!) can give you a pretty good idea of what to expect.

3. Listen to a new podcast.

It might seem weird to be learning about photography from a medium that has no images, but there are some great photography podcasts you shouldn’t miss out on.

Some 500px staff favorites worth checking out include On Taking Pictures, This Week in Photo, and The Candid Frame. It’s a good way to get a regular dose of photography.

4. Read photography blogs and news regularly.

We know you love 500px ISO ( 🙂 ), but we also want to give a shoutout to all the other great photography blogs and websites out there. Bookmark blogs to check on the daily for new pieces on photography, whether it’s news, stories, or photography tutorials.

Here’s just a sample of what’s out there:

  • Petapixel has articles on everything from photography in the news to tutorials you should check out.
  • Looking for gear reviews? Digital Photography Review has a ton—and more are added all the time.
  • FStoppers. See what’s new, or search for articles by category—there’s stuff on everything from food photography to portraits.
  • Want more business and behind-the-scenes content? Try A Photo Editor.
  • See what’s trendy on the EyeEm Blog.
  • Want insights into the “psychology of photographers”? Check out The Phoblographer.

5. Join a Reddit conversation.

Not sure what you want to read about—but know you want to chime in on the conversation when it gets interesting?

Check out Reddit’s photography section to browse questions from people all over the world. You’re guaranteed to learn about something you may not have even thought to look for before.

6. Check out YouTube videos.

YouTube can be fantastic if you have a specific question you want answered instantly—especially when it comes to something like Photoshop, where a visual walk-through really helps. It’s also a great way to discover tips, tricks, and techniques you may not have even considered searching for.

Here are a few channels to check out:

  • PHLEARN will help you master Photoshop and Lightroom, whether you want to get started with the basics or focus in on something super specific.
  • Serge Ramelli also shares tips on Lightroom and Photoshop.
  • Thomas Heaton teaches landscape photography tips and tricks—and has tons of on-location videos.
  • B&H Photo (a camera store) walks you through photography gear but also features videos on different photography techniques as well as insights from pros.

7. Join a local photography group/meetup.

Learning from other photographers is great—but how do you find the other photographers?

Join a local photo club or group, check out Meetup for photography related stuff in your area, look up local organizations, or ask a friend in photography for their recommendations. Apple is now also holding photo walks if you want to play around with mobile photography. Or, if you can’t find what you’re looking for, start your own group—you’re not the only one looking for people to take photos with.

Photography groups are also good ways to practice giving and getting critiques. Read this article for a primer on critiquing.

8. Look at lots and lots of photography.

It’s hard to know what you want to learn if you don’t know what you want to learn in the first place. There’s tons of websites and apps for viewing photos, but don’t limit yourself to your computer screen or smartphone.

Visit museums (keep an eye out for discounts—some have free or discounted admission on particular days). Pop into galleries and exhibitions if you run into them. Browse through books to discover the kinds of photography you want to learn how to do (check out these recommended titles). There’s no shortage of places to get inspired.

9. Learn by doing.

The best way to get better at photography is the same as for most other things—practice. Get out there and start taking photos. Don’t like what you see? That’s ok—just try again. After all, there’s always more to be learning.

What are your best tips for learning photography? Share them in the comments below!