As a beginner photographer, we don’t always have a killer budget to invest in education. I found some very useful tools over the years that helped me along the way without breaking the bank. Here are 5 totally FREE options to improve your photography skills!

1) YouTube

This is such a powerful one. We have access to thousands of hours of free content right at our fingertips. Everything is in there. I can’t tell you how many times I looked for video tutorials and how many times I found the answers in a matter of seconds. There are hundreds of great channels of great quality content you can subscribe to. Here are some of my favorites:

Irene Rudnyk : She is a young and great portraiture photographer. Even if my style is far from hers, I really enjoy seeing her behind the scenes, all the tips she gives, her curiosity and her incredibly charming personality. I can’t imagine someone NOT wanting to be her friend.

Made by Mighty : This channel is packed with graphic design tutorials, hand letterings, logo design and animation. It is not purely related to photography but if you are like me, chances are you love to add effects and text to your images – and are not too sure about how to get the result you want.

PiXimperfect : This guy is a genius at Photoshop and a genius at teaching people. He is obviously very smart and skilled and knows exactly how to make his tutorials clear and really helpful.

2) Specialized websites

I have a special folder on my web browser called “Continuous Learning” that includes quality websites I can refer to when I need ideas. Skylum‘s video gallery is not only amazing to learn how to take full advantage of Luminar 2018 and Aurora HDR 2018 software but is also filled with creative techniques and inspiration. I also love Photoshop‘s tutorials page where you can find anything including photography and design videos for beginners and experienced level creators. Another great one on my list is ThinkTAP Learn. They have a great deal on their membership option but they also do have a Free Photo Classes and a Free Video Classes gallery with in-depth video tutorials. This is pure gold. Of course – you saw this coming! – my personal favorite has to be Photofocus, especially the “Business” category, where I find tons of great information to help me grow my brand.

3) Assisting/shadowing

There’s no better school than watching and helping someone that has more experience than we do. A few months ago, I’ve had the great pleasure to do an internship with Photofocus author Mr. Vanelli. Believe me, I’ve learned more in three weeks with him than I did in my last three months of school. Nothing beats the experience of being in the field in real-world situations. Reading stuff is great, but practice is the key. The real deal is outside, with real gear and real people. Ask photographers and/or friends you admire in your area. Trading your time and help for experience is a great investment. Plus you’ll meet tons of new people. The worse that could happen is they’d say no. Which would really be horrible, I know.

4) eBooks

Some people are just giving away their information for absolutely nothing and some of them will in exchange for your email address. They’ll know how to reach you in the future you but since you are interested in their content this is a good compromise. Just type “Photography eBooks” on Google and TONS of free stuff will come out for every kind of photography you can possibly imagine. Pick the ones you are interested in and read it in your spare time (which means at the toilet for some of us. But hey, do you know how much time an average human spends time on a toilet during his life?)

5) Online Classes

Once in a while when I have free time, I love to stop by Creative Live’s On Air Classes. This section offers free streaming classes, including Money & Life, Photo & Video or Art & Design topics. The only downside of this 0$ option is that you have to be available exactly at the specific time the class is airing to watch it.

BONUS!

As photographers, we have MUCH more to learn than the “how to press the shutter” part. Here are great topics worth looking for in our research of knowledge:

• Social Media (because we are in 2018)

• Entrepreneurship (if we want to make a living out of photography, we’ll have to sell something to someone)

• Lighting (natural light, strobes, studio, accessories, soooo many, many things to master)

• Editing (the techniques and editing software are always improving and changing – we have to keep up!)

• Typography (always a good complement to our craft and so interesting)

• Photography (obviously, improving basic skills is always relevant)

• Self Help content (chances are if we become a better person we would probably become a better photographer, too)

Having limited budget does not mean having limited resources. The Internet is a gold mine and offers high-quality content for those who are willing to dig a little bit. This is what I’ve been doing for the last few years. It helped tremendously and I hope this will also help you. Feel free to share your favorite links in the comments, I’d love to grow my toolbox too!