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Tim has been interested in photography for many years. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Biology and a Master's in Environmental Science. Writing nature articles allows him to combine his interest in photography and nature into one medium.

Three Online Learning Resources for Photographers (Part 1): BetterPhoto.com

Choosing to Learn Photography Online

I purchased my Canon T1i shortly after they became available several years ago. I had some experience with film SLR’s and with digital point and shoot cameras, but knew next to nothing about Digital SLR’s. The first few days after the purchase, I was trying to use the thing and realized the only setting I could figure out was automatic – I would set it on auto and hope for the best. On a trip to a local park, I saw a dove in a tree, attempted to take a photo of it, and all I had in the LCD screen was some very sharp tree limbs and a very blurry bird.

I really had a desire to learn how to use this mysterious little black box. So, after I returned from the park, I went online and started researching photography training and education. I looked at several local courses, but nothing really fit my schedule. I had purchased a couple of books, read some of them, but nothing was gelling in my aging brain. I decided that I needed a course that was both flexible and that could hold my hand through the initial learning curve.

Finding BetterPhoto.com

Continuing on with my search from there, I found a website that matched my needs exactly – BetterPhoto.com. It had all of my requirements and the price was reasonable, although a little on the high side. Betterphotoworks by offering several four and eight week courses (and now some longer courses) at various levels with many different instructors. You can choose everything from the basics of a specific camera to how to handle wedding photography to how to photo a moose, and everything in between. Their number of courses and high level instructors are impressive.

My Experience with BetterPhoto.com

So far, I’ve taken two classes with BetterPhoto. In both classes, my instructors sent a weekly lesson that included a write-up of a specific topic and an assignment. There are also other students in the class that you can communicate with and discuss various topics. Students have a specific amount of time to read the lesson and submit the results of the assignment (usually a week, but it varies and the instructors are typically flexible).

Then the hard, but most important part comes – the instructor critiques your and your classmates’ assignments and posts the critiques to your class website. It’s a great learning experience to read not only critiques of your work, but critiques of your classmates’ photos as well. Also, the instructor will usually list some of the photos as “Photos of the Week”. It was a huge thrill when I (finally) had my photo listed as one of the weekly “winners”.

Basic Camera Course

My first course at BetterPhoto.comwas with Peter Burian and was entitled “Mastering the Canon EOS Digital Rebels”. For me, the course was great because it not only covered the basics of photography, but also was specific to my family of cameras. By the end of the four week course, I had gone from being totally intimidated by my camera and barely understanding how to turn it on to shooting photos in full manual mode. Taking Mr. Burian’s class was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my photo adventure.

Sports Photography Course

My second BetterPhoto class was “Basics of Sports Photography” taught by G. Newman Lowrance. “Sports Photography” was another fantastic learning experience, but for different reasons than my first course. Mr. Lowrance challenged us to get out and start taking photos at rather intimidating venues. I had to step outside my comfort zone and even took photos at a minor league baseball game (which I’ll discuss in another article).

Conclusion

Overall, I found BetterPhoto.com to be an excellent resource for classes. They even have other programs, such as website hosting (my website is through their website program), contests (search my photos for badges from contests I’ve entered), forums, etc. All of these have worked out well for me and I’m planning now to take another class in the near future. If you are a new or advanced photographer, I highly recommend that you check out BetterPhoto.com.

Pros
• Easy to fit into a busy schedule
• Very knowledgeable and helpful instructors
• Other classmates to learn from
• Very targeted types of classes
• Other interesting programs
• Sometimes offer discounts on lessons and programs

Cons
• A little expensive (but worth it)
• Text based lessons instead of video (at least with my classes)Please Note: I am an affiliate for BetterPhoto.com. I search out good companies for affiliation, and BetterPhoto is an excellent company with an excellent series of products.

Put painful pics in the past

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