Searching the web for any information is like trying to drink from a fire hydrant. There is so much information available it’s easy to get sucked in and overwhelmed. Then you can get lost down the rabbit hole trying to sort through trying to filter the good information from the bad.
I’ve spent enough time drinking from that hydrant and know where to go to get good information. The business model for photo based websites has changed. Everyone (including me!) is trying to pull viewers in with free content. There are different ways that this is accomplished, but in the end, there is a lot of good information to be had out there at no cost (and a lot of crap that they charge for). The one rule I had for this list is that everything had to be available for free (at least the first time it is available). Many of these are webinars. The great thing about webinars is if you miss them when they’re live, the hosts will almost always make them available to watch later.
So here’s my list of sites I find useful for learning about photography.
1. Photoshelter – yup, Photoshelter. And I’m not talking about using it for hosting stock images. Photoshelter has some great downloadable pdfs and tutorials on the business side of photography. Sometimes what I read helps me to affirm that I’m doing the right thing to attract clients. Sometimes what I read makes me think I am stumbling blind through the photo business. Either way, it’s good stuff.
2. Creative Live – Creative Live has some fantastic courses/workshops online covering both the creative and business side of being a photographer. They’re free when you watch live. If you want to watch it again later, the courses are usually about $100. They’re usually 2-3 days long, all day, and often over the weekends. I rarely have time to sit through (or sit still) for an entire course. Often I’ll work on my desktop and have it playing on my laptop. As a working professional photographer, I still often learn a lot of new stuff. And other times I get validated in my way of shooting/running a business by hearing it from other pros. There’s a wealth of good information to get learned from Creative Live, if you have the time.
3. Accidental Creative – Articles and podcasts on maximizing creativity and overcoming creative roadblocks.
4. X-Rite Photo – Yes, the makers of X-Rite monitor profiling equipment have great photo tutorials also. Here’s one on post-processing for landscape photography that I found worthwhile.
5. ASMP – The American Society of Media Photographers. Even if you’re not a member, ASMP will have webinars and tons of great information available.
6. Livebooks – This is my web host. Yup, my web host has tutorials, information, and great blog posts with information to help photographers. Here’s one I’m reading now about social media for photographers.
7. Freelancers Union – Not geared specifically towards photographers, but some very helpful information about making it as a freelancer.
8. Agency Access – Agency Access is an agency that also provides email, direct marketing and consulting services to photographers. But, of course they also have some good ideas about working with clients available through their blog posts, The Lab.
Notice a pattern here? Almost all of these sites are creating content (in this case trying to educational content) to bring potential clients to their site. Once you’re there, they hope you’ll buy something from them. Clever. But there’s a lot to be learned from these sites without spending a dime. Of course, they hope you’ll like what they have and buy some service or product from them.