I have had many influences on my path to specializing in family photos. In the past 10 years there has been an explosion of online photography resources. When I first picked up a camera 20+ years ago, the only way to learn was by taking a course at school. Today, the resources available to photographers is simply astonishing!! You can now access FREE instruction on the internet from the best photographers in the world. Crazy! On the flip side, the huge volume of information out there can be a bit overwhelming, especially for a newbie photographer. Furthermore, when there's so much information out there, it's easy to spend too much time at the computer learning and not enough time practicing. It's great to have a solid knowledge base, but the real learning happens when you're out there taking lots of pictures and putting that knowledge into practice.
CreativeLive is an AMAZING resource for photographers. It was launched in 2010 by commercial photographer Chase Jarvis. I could seriously binge on CreativeLive all day long. The content is incredible and the courses are delivered by world class photographers (Like Sue Bryce, Roberto Valenzuela, Tamara Lackey and Lindsay Adler!). I love the format. The courses are broadcasted on the internet live to an audience of real students for FREE! All of the "On Air" content is free, which includes live and re-broadcasted content, with the option to buy courses and watch and re-watch them at your own pace. It can be a little pricey, but they have great sales all the time. Keep your eye out for the 19 classes for $19 sale, incredible value!! I often use the "on Air" content to get a taste for a course and the instructor, to see if it's something I would like to invest in. If you love photography, then you have to check out CreativeLive!!
Lauren and Rob of Photography Concentrate is an absolute gold mine of information for photographers of all skill levels. They have tons of free content on topics such as composition, photo editing, tips on how to improve your photography and the business of photography. I love reading their articles! They are fun, well written and easy to understand. Lauren and Rob are Canadian too...which makes them even more AWESOME!! Their passion for photography and teaching absolutely oozes out of their content. They also have a cool YouTube channel that's definitely worth checking out. I have learned so much from Lauren and Rob and highly recommend their website. Sign up for their Club and get the content emailed directly to your inbox!
This is where I go to nerd out on all things photography. Improve Photography has an insane amount of material on it's website. It has 100's of FREE articles on topics such as landscape photography, portrait photography, post processing and gear. They also have a section called IP Plus. For $20 a month you have access to 195 video tutorials and 281 presets. You can also upgrade your IP Plus to receive mentoring from professional photographers such as Jim Harmer (founder), Nick Page, Erica Kay and Brian McGuckin. My personal favourite are the fantastic Improve Photography podcasts. I especially love Portrait Session and Photo Taco.
Lynda.com is a really great learning platform that provides courses on business, software, technology and creative skills. It boasts over 700 photography courses, with topics ranging from photographic foundations, camera and gear, post processing, portraits and lighting. Where Lynda.com really excels in my opinion is in the realm of post processing, with their high quality, easy to follow tutorials on Lightroom and Photoshop. This isn't a free learning platform however, with plans starting at $20 a month. I have recently learned that the Burnaby Public Library offers full access to the Lynda.com database to Burnaby resident card holders. Check out your local library to see if they have the same set-up.
Okay, so this one may seem weird as I'm not a Mom, but this website is clickin' awesome! Especially for learning how to photograph kids and families. Clickin' Moms is divided into four 'Sister Brands': Click Photo School, Click Magazine, Click & Company Store and Click Away Conference. Click Photo School runs online workshops where you can either do 'Full Participation' or 'Study Along'. In the full participation ($300) workshops you get the full interactive online experience and critiques from the instructor, whereas the study along ($150) gives you access to all the materials without the interaction and critique from the instructor. Click Photo School also offers "Breakouts". For $50, these tutorials generally consist of a PDF and a set of videos. I have personally done a few of these and found them to be of incredible value, especially for the genre of family photography. My personal favourite Breakout is by Erin Brant, check it out!