25 best FREE online photo courses

25 Best FREE Online Photo Courses

I started the New Year by looking for information that could be helpful to our clients and readers. One thing I always find myself interested in is learning about the art of taking photos. I went looking for topics I could learn inexpensively and came across this article that describes 25 photo courses that are…FREE!

What I like about many of them is that they are always available and quite a few are from university sources like the first one below.

Truth be known I’m not a very good photographer. I use my mobile phone for most of my shots. But in reviewing the recommended courses a few focused on things I believe can even help an amateur like me. Here they are:


For Beginners

Introduction to Photography and Related Media: Video lectures from a semester-long undergraduate-level course at MIT. Covers the fundamentals of analog and digital SLR, film exposure and development, darkroom techniques, digital imaging, and studio lighting.
Level: Beginner | Duration: Self-paced | Always Available

Basics of Photography: The Complete Guide: A comprehensive resource for beginning photographers, compiled by the friendly folks at Lifehacker. Starts by explaining how a digital camera works and goes on to explain image composition, technique, and editing. Mostly in text format, interspersed with a few explanatory videos.
Level: Beginner | Duration: Self-paced | Always Available

Cambridge in Colour: A great site for beginners to browse tutorials and have their questions answered by a community of learners. And no, that extra “u” in “Colour” is not a typo — this is Cambridge, UK we’re talking about!
Level: Beginner | Duration: Self-paced | Always Available

Strobist: Perhaps the most popular resource for beginners to learn how to use light and their flashes, especially their Lighting 101 course that many photographers swear by.
Level: Beginner to Intermediate | Duration: Self-paced | Always Available

This next course and the ones that follow are more specific.

Pixels After Dark: Shooting the Night: An outstanding talk by three-time Olympic photographer Jeff Cable on shooting images at night.
Level: Intermediate | Duration: 1.5 hours | Always Available

The Art of Photography: This course from Australia’s RMIT University covers both the academic and practical aspects of photography. Instructor Dr. Shane Hulbert, an artist-academic whose work has been shown in Victoria’s National Gallery, covers photography as a visual art practice, explores the work of contemporary photographers, and introduces the idea of a “digital darkroom”.
Level: Beginner | Duration: 4 weeks | Next Start Date: April 28, 2014 was when it was first offered and is still shown in the listing

Documentary Photography and Photojournalism: Still Images of a World in Motion: Want to be the next Steve McCurry? This MIT course for budding photojournalists course requires some prior background in photography, e.g. knowing the difference between f stops and T stops, and being able to find one’s way around a camera.
Level: Intermediate | Duration: 4 weeks | Always Available

I think you can see from these courses I’ve listed that there is quite a bit you can learn. Let me also tell you that one of the items offers a link to Udemy to learn to set up a smugmug photo website. Well, we here at dotPhoto also offer our members a photo website that’s FREE… and we’ll help you build it. You can learn about creating your dotPhoto website here:

You’ll have to become a member to take advantage of the website creation, but once you become a member… and it’s FREE to join… you’re welcome to compare the services and let us know what you think.

You’ll find all the recommended courses mentioned above and more at this address:

One more thing, at the end of the article there’s mention of a TED talk about “impossible” photography, but the link didn’t show up for me. If that happens to you here’s the link: https://www.ted.com/talks/erik_johansson_impossible_photography

Contact us if you like.
Walter Krieg

A guide to capturing photo dimensions & cropping

A Guide to Photography in National Parks… Vast Dimensions and Cropping

A while back we published a number of approaches to the “where and how” of street photography. The techniques that we reviewed were interesting and useful for the type of photography usually associated with cityscapes and the places we visit in cities. Since then I’ve been wondering about the types of photos we might take in open spaces where the view is wider and deeper.

This week I searched about and came across an article that focused on taking photos in the vast domain of National Parks. The lesson presented was directed at how to capture the dimensions of the views found there, and, as opposed to capturing personality, varying light settings and changing focus, the lessons were aimed at how wide and high to make the photos and when to crop them…a seemingly much different and appropriate emphasis on what to concentrate on.

However, as I read through the article I saw that there were ways of looking at the advice that would be appropriate for any type of photography. And our writer, Rebecca Latson, got me thinking more broadly when she shared this with us, “Focus and subject are the two keys. Are you happy with the original image, or would you like to place a little more emphasis on some particular item within your image?” That spoke to just about every photo I take.

Where Ms. Latson then takes us is through two distinct methods we can employ to get the most from our shots, Landscape vs. Portrait modes as we take the photos, and the use of a cropping tool once we have them.

First let’s take a look at using Landscape vs. Portrait.

First a landscape view.


And now the same scene in Portrait mode


I think that both have attractive features and emphasis. How do you feel?

Next let’s take a look at the results of cropping. First without cropping.


And now the same photo cropped.


It looks to me as though the emphasis in the uncropped photo is on the breadth of the mountains and the lake in front while on the cropped photo the focus is on the sun topped distant hills and the clear blue sky, a different emphasis. Yet both have their appeal.

Ms. Latson offers other examples of the two styles and her suggestions and reasons for both. See for yourself.

The article can be reached through the link below.

Let us know what you think.

Walter Krieg

Impressive and unusual photography collections

Impressive Unusual Photography Collections, and How to Create Them

Here at dotPhoto we subscribe to many regular publications, notices and updates that cover a truly wide range of photography topics. And although I personally look forward to reviewing many of these publications, I’ve become a bit skeptical of the claims they often make in their headlines. Superlatives are everywhere. You’ve probably noticed yourself how often terms like “the best”, “the finest”, “the greatest”, and of course “awesome” are used to grab your attention. It’s gotten to the point that I pay very little, if any, attention to the headlines and titles of articles. So I smiled the other day when an article I was reviewing had a link entitled “The Ultimate Photography Roundup”. Then I started reading…

I don’t know about “ultimate” but I have to admit to being very impressed with a number of the unusual collections and the tips they offered on taking these types of photos. I’m going to share five collections I genuinely enjoyed and think there’s a good chance you might enjoy at least a few of them as well.

The first type of photography to view is High Speed Photography which seems to freeze time. A few samples and the link for you to see more follow…



You’ll find the link entitled Celebration Of High-Speed Photography in the reviewed article points to https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/11/when-time-freezes-50-beautiful-examples-of-freeze-photography/ where you’ll see beautiful examples of high-speed photography.

Next we’ll take a look at a type of photography I never before experienced, Tilt-Shift Photography. Tilt-Shift Photography is a process in which a photograph of a life-sized location or object is manipulated so that it looks like a photograph of a miniature-scale model. Here’s what it looks like and where you can see more.



The link in our article, 50 Beautiful Examples Of Tilt-Shift Photography, takes you here. https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/11/beautiful-examples-of-tilt-shift-photography/

Next we’ll take a look at Motion Blur Photography. Motion Blur is frequently used to show a sense of speed.



Our parent article has a link to 45 Beautiful Motion Blur Photos. It takes you here:


Next we take a look at photos where smoke plays a big role. Some subjects you go looking for and others you create yourself.



See more in the link in our article entitled Smoke Photography and Smoke Art which takes you here: https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/10/celebration-of-smoke-photography-and-smoke-art/

And finally another unusual type of photography covered in the main article is Macro Photography. Macro photography is the art of taking close-up pictures that reveal details which can’t be seen with the naked eye.



I hope the quality of the photos above gives you some idea of why I was impressed with these out of the ordinary types of photos. The main article referenced here can be seen at: https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/04/the-ultimate-photography-round-up/

It also points out impressive examples of Black and White Photography, Night Photography and a few others. But I thought I’d let you visit the article and explore those collections for yourself.

Let us know what you think.

Walter Krieg

Celebrate the new year around the world

New Year’s Eve – Midnight Around the World – Photos from 2015

Searches for New Year Photo Articles led me to an article that captured photos of New Year’s Eve 2015 from many, many places around the world. I’ll show you a few right here, and I truly believe you’ll find the photos in the article enjoyable and educational as you see how other nations ring in the New Year.

Let’s start with a photo from our own NY Times Square as the fireworks go off! This photo is from Andrew Burton and Getty Images.


Next we’ll look at how they welcome the New Year in London a few hours before our celebration in New York begins. This photo is by John Phillips and Getty Images for Unicef.


And for one more tempting photo let’s take a peek at what it looks like in a country that’s about as far from the Western World as one can get. We see Fireworks light up Hong Kong’s skyline. Our photographer is Philippe Lopez for AFP and Getty Images.


The article and more brilliant New Year’s eve photos can be reached through the link below.


Let us know what you think.

Happy New Year!

Walter Krieg

New creative headliners take the musical stage

New Creative Headliners Take the Musical Stage this Year

2016 was a year of many losses in the music industry. David Bowie and Prince are two we all probably remember. But on the bright side there are many talented artists who can continue to offer good and maybe even great music.

Our featured photographer, David Valera, a well thought of professional in Los Angeles, specializes in music photography. In one of his recent articles we get a chance to follow him as he offers some of the music artists he thinks will keep us wonderfully entertained now and into the future. Here are two of his top ten from 2016.

We start with Jehnny Beth and the Savages from a show this past April at the El Rey Theatre. Mr. Valera believes this group to be one of the best live bands around now.


Our second photo is of someone that has entertained us for many years and can be seen as a bridge to the new era. It’s Grace Jones who, as Davis Valera sees it, at 68 years of age, is still pushing the boundaries of entertainment.


As we end 2016 and get ready for 2017, you can take a look at our photographer’s top choices here,


and see entertainers you may be hearing from for years to come.

Let us know what you think.
Walter Krieg

Rare sights from around the world

Sights From Around the World Not Often Seen Here

One of the great things about photography that we often take for granted is the view it can give us of our world. Coming across the articles and photos that follow opened my eyes and I thought you might be interested in these views as well. First we’ll look at other ways that people live that are completely different from our experiences here in Western Civilization.




Now we’ll take a look at members of the animal kingdom many of whom are not found here either.




And here we take a look at scenes around the world that we don’t see.




And finally we explore animals from right here that are thought to be endangered and who we rarely see and might not see much longer.




The photos above and in the referenced articles speak for themselves. And they tell us that there are many ways we can view our world. Photography gives us that opportunity. The views we’ve seen here let us begin to see how different many people, places and other creatures there are and the part they play in our world. I don’t know how you feel but I’m grateful for the Photographers and happy to view them from right here.

Let us know what you think.

Walter Krieg

The holiday season – photograph christmas lights

Capture the Holiday Season – Photograph Christmas Lights

If you’re anything like us here at dotPhoto you and your family members always take lots and lots of holiday photos. Most of the time our homes and families are the subjects and many of these photos are of the Christmas tree, opening presents and gathering around the dinner table. We wind up with many pictures that help us remember the gathering and the time we all shared.

In the few weeks before the family gathering we like to ride around town and look at all the decorations that folks put up. While we’re riding we stop to snap a few shots and then head home to sit around the table and look at them. We usually just take a leisurely ride and snap the photos without much thought. Some of the decorations we see are well done and could make great subjects for carefully taken photos. So this year I decided to get a little more particular and try to take photos that really capture the beauty and good feelings that these decorations give us. But before starting I decided to look into how expert photographers snap their outdoor holiday photos to get a few hints on techniques.

Here are three articles I discovered that focus on taking photos of holiday lighting decorations and these are what I mostly take photos of. I think these suggestions will definitely help me do much better this year…if I take my time preparing and shooting the photos.

Interestingly, the recommendations suggest taking some photos when there is still a bit of daylight. I hadn’t thought of that. The articles are all good and are presented here in the order I found them.

The first article by Noella Ballenger is entitled “Christmas Lights Photography – How To Capture The Season” and can be seen at http://www.apogeephoto.com/photographing-christmas-lights/. Noella offers some advice, on white balance, camera modes, shutter speeds and more. Here are two of her photos.



Our next article is entitled “How to Photograph Christmas Lights” and is written by the community at wikiHow. Here are two of their examples. They also offer eight suggestions for ways to take good Christmas light photos. See the article here, http://www.wikihow.com/Photograph-Christmas-Lights.



Our third article is entitled, “How to Take Great Photos of Holiday Lights”, and was created by the staff at the New York Institute of Photography. This article also offers good and easy to follow advice for snapping our holiday photos. Here are four things for us to consider:
• Turn off your flash unless you have a very good reason to use it.
• Use a fast ISO — we suggest ISO 800, 1600 or above.
• Avoid camera shake.
• Use a tripod…or, at least, brace the camera. Trust your camera’s built-in meter.

And now for two of their photos.



If we do a good job taking the photos we’ll upload them and print the best pictures on cards and other products and pass them around to family members and friends. They’ll like that.

Let us know what you think.

Walter Krieg