As a self-taught travel photographer I completely understand what it’s like to feel the overwhelming sense of intimidation the first time you pick up an expensive digital SLR camera. It seems like there’s more buttons and dials than you could ever imagine, and its cryptic terminology goes right over your head.
You’ve probably seen stunning travel photos on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest and yearn to create masterpieces like that.
But how do you learn this seemingly magic art?
Is there a spell book that only photography wizards posses?
Nope. It just takes time, dedication, practice and…
Or if you can’t find one to cast an enchantment on you, an expert photographer willing to give you their time is the next best thing.
However, most seasoned travel photographers I know are extremely busy. They’re in high demand, gallivanting around the world on exciting projects. This makes tying down a teacher all that more challenging.
And even if you could, it would cost thousands of dollars for their time. What’s the alternative? Seeking out a traditional local photography course which would cost hundreds (or thousands) of dollars and take up considerable time, potentially encroaching on your job and lifestyle.
But what if you didn’t have to seek an all-mighty oracle. What if you didn’t even have to leave the very chair you’re sitting on right now?
That sounds pretty good to me.
My good friend and award-winning travel photographer, Laurence Norah from Finding The Universe, has teamed up with well-known travel blogger Nomadic Matt to release a series of modular online travel photography courses.
Over the last 7 years I’ve read hundreds of photography articles and watched hours upon hours of photography videos in my quest to become the most powerful wizard in the world (or at least a darn good travel photographer). That information has been spread over dozens of websites in a piecemeal fashion.
So when I heard about Laurence’s new course I was curious if that could transform a lowly apprentice photo enthusiast into an all-powerful photography professional? I put it to the test and this is what I found.
This is the starting point for any kind of course. Laurence has travelled the world for years capturing beautiful photos and working with clients like Panasonic. His work speaks for itself. But beyond that, he’s very relatable, accessible and is able to communicate both simple and complex photography concepts with great ease.
Photography is such a broad topic, but this course does a very good job in covering a wide range of subjects from the very basics (like how does your camera work), through to post processing and even how to make money from travel photography.
The course is split into 5 modular mini courses. This makes the rich course content easy to digest, at a pace set by you. There’s no rush or pressure. And since the course is online, you can go over the same material again and again until you get it – there’s no flunking.
Very clear, concise “key takeaways” are itemised at the end of each lesson. So you know exactly what skills you’ve learned.
I won’t go into too much detail about the specific topics covered, you can see that on the photography course website.
Most of the course material is in the form of text and photos, with a sprinkling of videos. In addition, homework assignments can be downloaded in a print-friendly PDF format.
A 30-page “field cheat sheet” document is provided as part of the course which you can print and take on the road with you. But I suggest saving a tree and just copy it to your phone or tablet for offline reading later.
What About Camera Gear?
Are you thinking of buying a new camera or lens? Laurence has included detailed recommendations for different budgets and photography styles – whether you’re a beginner, intermediate or advanced photographer, you’re covered. But what makes this course so compelling is that just about anyone can learn photography – even if you only use your smartphone. In fact, an entire unit (with 3 lessons) is dedicated to mobile photography. So you can benefit from this course without shelling out for an expensive camera.
As you progress through the course, there are a number of homework assignments. This encourages you to put the theory you learned into practice. And practice makes perfect. In addition, you can send your homework to Laurence who will personally review it and provide tailored feedback. Have a question? Just ask Laurence. This element of the course sets it apart from anything else you’ve come across before.
And when you just need a sounding board, course registration includes access to an exclusive Facebook group with other participants so you can see how they’re going and share ideas. Laurence puts out mini photography challenges on Facebook each week to help motivate you to become a better photographer.
To get the most out of this photography course, here’s my best tips:
1. It helps to have a digital SLR camera – not essential, but you can have more control over your images.
2. Take your time – there’s no rush. Don’t try to read through all the content in one day, it will fry your brain. Just do one lesson at a time and put your new skills into practice before moving ahead.
3. Make use of the Facebook group and direct email access to Laurence. Don’t be shy, Laurence won’t bite. I wish I could have asked for advice from a world-class travel photographer when I started out.
4. Don’t forget the interviews. The course includes 4 interviews with expert travel photographers, so make the most of the experience they provide too (interviews available in audio format and transcripts).
5. Start now. By the time you take that big international trip you want your photography skills to be honed. The sooner you start learning, the sooner you can create magical images that will impress your friends, family and even yourself.
The Bottom Line
I receive questions from my readers and followers on a regular basis asking how they can take photos like me. I used to say it takes time and practice. Now I just point them towards this amazing travel photography course, which will hold their hand step-by-step through 33 lessons.
I just wish I had this photography course 4 years ago. It would have saved so much wasted time and avoided confusing, conflicting advice.
So whether you just want to dip your toe into photography, take your hobby the to the next level or pursue a career as a professional travel photographer, everything you need is now only one click away.
Price: from US$9.99
Where to buy: superstarblogging.nomadicmatt.com