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Photo School: Top Educational Resources

Credit: Sunyu Kim from Pexels 
Hamid Amirani - 9.05.19

Whether you're brand new to photography or have years of experience, learning is an ongoing process. Photographic education doesn't end at shutter speeds and apertures. For the skilled photographer, technological advances mean keeping apprised of the latest cameras and lenses. For the novice, workshops, tours and tutorials open up a world of knowledge and experience.

So let's take a look at essential educational resources that will help you get the most out of your hobby or profession.


Your camera's user manual is good for getting the hang of the basics, but what if you want a deeper understanding of aperture, ISO and depth of field but explained simply and concisely? That's what The Missing Pages does, a "juiced-up User Guide" written by former Minolta vice president and photographic expert Jon Sienkiewicz, who has decades of experience in the industry.

Jon Sienkiewicz

The Missing Pages is for those who usually rely on Auto settings or who want to get the most out of their cameras without being overwhelmed by the technical aspects. Each section includes a “For Nerds Only” component for folks who want to take a deeper dive technically. 

A handy resource to go alongside this is Photo Tips by the acclaimed lens manufacturer Tamron, which provides guidance on accessories and lenses, as well as advice from world class professionals on specific subject areas like travel, nature and food photography. 

Credit: Tamron 


If you're someone who likes to stay informed about the newest cameras and lenses, then Imaging Resource is your go-to source. 

Credit: Imaging Resource 

Founded by David Etchells, an electrical engineer by training, scientist by inclination and photographer for almost 50 years, the website doesn't just have product reviews, it also carries interviews with photographers, engineers and executives, many of them interviewed by Etchells himself. It also keeps on top of new developments on a daily basis, such as Nikon's new DSLR. The Firmware Friday section lists the latest firmware updates. 

DP Review is another great source of product reviews. It also provides mini-competitions it calls Challenges and has an immense, multi-category forum for registered members to discuss all things photography.

Credit: DP Review 


For those of you who want to take photos while learning from the best, there's a dazzling array of workshops led by camera mavens encompassing every conceivable genre, from nature and wildlife to portraiture, weddings and fall colors. 

Format has compiled a list of what they regard as the “21 Best Photography Workshops in The World.”

Credit: Format 

If you want to learn portrait photography, they recommend New York-based expert Andrew French, whose work has appeared in Town & Country, Food & Wine and Esquire, among others. At the time of writing, he has six upcoming workshops. 

For travel workshops, Format highlights National Geographic for their expeditions to beautiful, exotic and remote locations under the guidance of a NatGeo photographer. Forthcoming tours include the Galápagos Islands, Antarctica, Bhutan and Costa Rica. 

And don't forget that two of the photographers profiled right here on Cecilia also run workshops. Ami Vitale, a world renowned master in the field of wildlife and nature pictures, is running a workshop in the Amazon rainforest in March 2020. 

Fellow award winning wildlife expert Karine Aigner leads a South Texas ranch workshop in 2020 (exact dates TBD) for youths aged 12-18 and, for the first time, adults as well. 


Perhaps you prefer to learn via online tutorials. PetaPixel has a rundown of the best free online courses for complete beginners as well as more skilled image makers. 

Credit: PetaPixel 

For example, if you want to familiarize yourself with Adobe Lightroom, they suggest the YouTube videos by Anthony Morganti. 

Creative Live offers both free and paid courses on all aspects of photography, boasting 929 classes and 1.43 million students. 

Digital Photography School provides tutorials, courses, e-books and tips, including guides such as "Achieving the Perfect Starburst Effect" and "Equipment and Camera Settings You’ll Need for Better Moon Photography," and courses such as Landscape & Nature Photography and Lightroom Mastery.

There's no shortage of YouTube channels dedicated to photography and it can be tricky to choose which to view. Canadian photographer Peter McKinnon has 3,899,953 subscribers to his channel, where he imparts his advice and expertise on everything from editing your shots and how to make objects float in your photos to avoiding beginner mistakes. 


If you have an inkjet printer, Canon Creative Park should be your destination where you can use their templates for "3D toys, stunning calendars, scrapbook pages, holiday cards, hanging decorations, reproductions of famous artwork and much, much more."

Credit: Canon 

You don't need a Canon printer to use their templates, although they do also offer premium content for owners of Canon models. 

If you want to take your passion for photography to the next level and create a home for your artistry where you can sell to customers, SmugMug offers a range of plans from Basic to Pro comprising templates and designs to customize your own website. 

Credit: SmugMug 

The Pro plan enables you to build your brand with your own domain name, right-click protection for your images, and e-commerce-optimized galleries.

So, if you are just embarking on your photographic odyssey or you have years of experience but are always seeking to expand your skills, there’s a treasure trove of resources and opportunities out there to help you on your journey and to remind you that the best thing about photography is it’s the adventure that never ends. 

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