If you’re looking to get better at nature photography, there’s an amazing universe of internet resources available—many of them free. Case in point: I subscribe to a weekly e-newsletter from the respected photographer Art Wolfe, and about a week ago, the email carried an announcement of an upcoming online critique session he’s offering. Next Monday, Nov. 27, from 9 a.m. to noon Pacific time, he’ll be looking at user-submitted images and talking about what he thinks works in each one, what doesn’t, and how the image might be tweaked in Lightroom or Photoshop to maximize its potential. Anyone is welcome to watch, and he’s doing this for free.
(I won’t be able to watch it live, as I do have a day job! But I paid 19 bucks—very reasonable, in my mind—in order to watch it later on my own time. From the website, I can’t quite tell if that $19 “watch it later” option is still being offered, but you should take a look.)
I don’t know if I’ll submit an image in hopes that Art will critique it. It’s not required. And to me it doesn’t matter—I know I’ll get a lot out of it just by listening to him critique other people’s images. It’s a great way to learn.
It got me thinking about how many other internet resources are available for photographers who want to learn. Below are 10 of my favorites:
1. Digital Photography School. Operated by an Australian named Darren Rowse, this site is a huge repository of articles and tips on all aspects of photography, as well as gear reviews and Photoshop/Lightroom instruction. You also can subscribe to a weekly e-newsletter of tips.
2. Photography Life. This site was founded by Colorado-based Nasim Mansurov and is the collective work of a dozen photographers who contribute articles on a range of topics (e.g., photographing birds in flight). Someday I’m going to tackle their Ultimate Wildlife Photography Tutorial. The site also offers very thorough gear reviews. If there’s a camera or lens you’re thinking about buying, you can geek out for hours reading their assessment of it.
3. Lynda.com. Home to video courses on photography, design, web development, PowerPoint, and lots more. You can watch a single video or an entire course. This site isn’t free, though Penn State has a subscription that makes it free to all faculty, staff, and students.
4. NatureScapes is a multifaceted resource for nature photographers: They offer photography trips, plus have an online store, discussion forums, and an articles section. (This is the site that published my article on St. Paul island some weeks back.) There’s an article by Nikhil Bahl, for example, on tips and photography gear for a trip to Iceland; I intend to read that before I go to the Antarctic in January, as I suspect some of the advice will be helpful there as well.
5. Tim Grey is a photographer and “photo educator,” focusing mostly on Lightroom and Photoshop help. He has a free series called Ask Tim Grey, which you can access online or via daily emails (I’m signed up for the latter), and a for-fee video training library called GreyLearning, which I haven’t yet explored.
6. Matt Kloskowski is a photo educator whom I heard speak at NatureVisions earlier this month and liked a lot. I’ve only started to explore his site, but the videos I’ve watched so far on Photoshop techniques have been really helpful.
7. I met Jess Findlay earlier this year when he led a photography workshop in Ecuador. He’s a young, immensely talented photographer based in British Columbia, and he’s a delight as a trip leader. His YouTube page doesn’t have a huge number of videos, but there are a few on there that have helped me a lot.
8. The Ecuador trip was offered by Glenn Bartley Nature Photography, and Glenn himself has a lot of good advice to offer, both in his articles and his videos. I’ve bought one or two of his e-books as well. I’m looking forward to going on Glenn’s photography trip to Brazil’s Pantanal region next July.
9. I’ve been on two trips so far with Costa Rica-based Foto Verde tours, run by Greg Basco, and I’ve also bought several of his e-books. He doesn’t have a lot of articles online, but he does have a free e-book called “Top 11 Tips for Eye-Catching Nature Photos” that you can get here.
10. Steve Perry has some articles and videos (mostly aimed at Nikon users) that I’ve found helpful. I think it was one of his videos that helped me learn back-button autofocus, and I found it helpful to be able to watch his video review of the Nikon D500 before deciding to buy it.
In addition to these, there’s also good info to be found at B&H Explora, B&H Event Space, the Adorama Learning Center, and Adorama TV, among many others. And several of my photography friends are big fans of Scott Kelby’s KelbyOne, which is available through an annual subscription. I’ve been tempted to subscribe, but I figure I have so much else available to me for free, and I’m barely keeping up with that.
So those are some of the resources that have helped me. What are some of your favorites?