12 free photography courses and content to keep you busy during quarantine

Free photography courses and content to keep you busy during quarantine
(Image credit: Leica)

The current coronavirus crisis has left much of the world quarantined at home. So what do you do with all that time, locked down within the same four walls every day?

We've been putting together our own series of ongoing home photography projects, DIY equipment hacks, common Photoshop fixes and photography cheat sheets to keep you educated and entertained. 

However, some of the biggest names in the imaging and video industry have started doing their part as well. Some have started hosting informal online get-togethers, some are free hosting webinars, and some are even temporarily unlocking their online learning content. Some of the best online photography courses you will have to pay for – but there is a good variety of classes and tutorials available for free during the Covid crisis.

• Home photography ideas

We've looked through everything that's on offer from the big guns and put together a list of the stuff that's well worth your time investigating. So find a comfy chair and check out the best free courses and content to keep you busy during the coronavirus quarantine…

01 Nikon School Online: Free classes and Q&A

(Image credit: Nikon)

Nikon School is offering free content for both its US and UK portals, with the latter featuring a number of sessions that were due to be held over The Photography Show's original dates (before the show was postponed to 19-22 September). 

Nikon US has made every course on its Nikon School Online portal free for the month of April, including everything from a 41-minute speed light class with Joe McNally to a Chris Hershman class on creating music videos that lasts over an hour.

"Nikon’s mission has always been to empower creators," says the manufacturer. "In these uncertain times, we can do that by helping creators stay inspired, engaged and growing. That’s why we’re providing all of our courses free for the entire month of April. Let's come out of this even better."

Visit: Nikon School Online

Meanwhile Nikon School UK is moving online for the foreseeable future, with a range of free Q&A sessions and web-based versions of its most popular courses (which usually cost between £120-150). In addition, one-to-one sessions are now £100, costing just £49 for a bespoke slot tailored to whatever you'd like to discuss. 

Free courses include getting started with DSLRs, an introduction to mirrorless cameras, and a look at Nikon cameras, lenses and speed lights. 

Visit: Nikon School UK

02: #StayHomeWithLeica

(Image credit: Leica)

Leica Akademie USA has launched the #StayAtHomeWithLeica initiative, offering complimentary online talks in conjunction with a photo challenge on the @LeicaCameraUSA Instagram. Free courses include Family as Subject: A conversation with Ashly Stohl and Gus Powell and Stories Behind the Pictures with Dennys IIic – Sci-Fi & Beyond. 

"While we are currently practicing social distancing, we are connected over our common love of photography," says Leica. "The creative pursuit of photography is a daily exercise, and to ensure you're equipped with the tools you need during this challenging time, we're pleased to announce the #StayHomeWithLeica program.

"The program will feature online series of complimentary Leica Akademie talks with opportunities to connect through social media, virtual meet-ups at our Leica stores, and weekly Instagram photo challenges designed to nurture your passion for photography and foster our connection as a community while sheltering in place."

Visit: #StayHomeWithLeica / Eventbrite

In addition, Leica Akademie UK is offering a program of free Zoom-hosted webinars (okay, they're practically free as they cost a penny to register). Topics include everything from self-portraiture and creating a body of work at home to curating a photo essay and how to unify poetry and photography.

Visit: Leica Akademie UK

03 Canon Connected & Canon Live

(Image credit: Canon)

Canon has launched a pair of online initiatives to reach out to customers during this time. Canon Connected is a free content hub that's designed to be inspirational, educational and entertaining. Videos come from Canon ambassadors, filmmakers, experts and influencers across Europe, including Pulitzer Prize-winning Daniel Etter and 35-year professional sports photographer Eddie Keogh. 

The manufacturer has also launched Canon Live, an online portal to get advice on all Canon imaging products from cameras to printing. A team of product experts are available, seven days a week, via the manufacturer's new Live Chat Service. In addition, it will showcase free online live events from both Canon and its retail partners featuring ambassadors such as Wanda Martin, David Newton and Richard Walch on everything from lighting to vlogging to print.

Visit: Canon Live

04 DxO free webinars

(Image credit: DxO)

DxO is hosting a series of free live webinars throughout April and May, enabling you to watch along as experts share their step-by-step workflows on shooting and processing images – and you have the opportunity to ask questions in real time. 

Professional photography educators who will be hosting talks include DxO Ambassador Fabio Antenore, YouTuber PhotoJoseph, and instructor at the Rochester Institute of Technology Dan Hughes.

Visit: DxO Webinars

05 Adorama Coffee with Creators 

(Image credit: Adorama)

There are always some great Adorama deals available on photographic kit, but the retailer has gone the extra step in supporting creatives during the coronavirus crisis with a series of daily Facebook Live programs called Coffee With Creators. 

Hosted by photographer Seth Miranda, the idea is to bring creators together for fun, laid-back conversations to stay inspired and motivated. Guests include names like Joe McNally and YouTubers like Team Spooky. 

As an added bonus, there will be surprise live giveaways at the end of some broadcasts based on the hashtags #Adorama and #CreateNoMatterWhat – a community campaign to engage creators who are stuck indoors, and to bring the artistic community together and to encourage each other.

Visit: Adorama on Facebook

06 Fujifilm Stay Creative At Home

(Image credit: Fujifilm)

Fujifilm just has launched its Stay Creative At Home campaign on its X Stories blog and via social media. Each week the company will be sharing new tips, exercises and techniques for you to try out at home, alongside FAQ sessions with Fujifilm product specialists, and asking photographers to involved and share their images using the  #FujifilmFromHome hashtag. 

Visit: Fujifilm X Stories

07 Laowa Meeting Macro Masters

(Image credit: Laowa)

One of the most fun and informative series comes from Laowa, which is hosting a weekly Meeting Macro Masters session on Facebook. Taking place every Friday night in April and May, nine macro photography specialists will discuss macro techniques, tools and tips. 

Everything from macro hacks to ideas to shoot at home to photographing insects in the wild. Best of all, limited discounts will be offered during the live sessions, which features names such as Christopher Frost and Stewart Wood. 

Visit: Laowa Meeting Macro Masters

08 Home with Olympus Sessions

(Image credit: Olympus)

If groups aren't really your thing or you'd rather have a more personalized talk, Olympus is offering the choice of communal or 1-2-1 Guru sessions that cover everything from core features of your camera to discussions of specific genres of photography. 

Sign up for a Home With Olympus Session and you can choose either a solo or group session, enabling you to take part alone and ask individual questions (perfect for nervous newcomers or those who struggle with the melee of multiple-person video calls), or join a small community for discussion.

Non-Olympus users are welcome as well, whether they simply want to learn about an area of photography or ask particular questions about the Olympus system. 

Visit: Home with Olympus Sessions

09 Adobe #CreatingFromHome

(Image credit: Adobe)

Adobe has put together a bank of resources and knowledge that it hopes will keep photographers and editors #CreatingFromHome. And, helpfully, it has organized this tutorial content according to how much time you have – something that anyone who has ended up two hours deep in a Photoshop technique they thought would only take ten minutes will be grateful for. 

Whether you have "2 minutes or shorter" (create a GIF or make a mono conversion), "5 minutes or shorter" (create a custom brush or replace a background), "25 minutes or shorter" (explore color grading or night photography) or "I’ve got all the time in the world" (learn compositing or create your own presets), Adobe has you covered.

Visit: Adobe Photography & Editing / Adobe Digital Art & Design

10 Wex online photo events

(Image credit: Wex)

Leading British retailer Wex Photo Video has made its the content on its dedicated events platform (which usually cost at least £25 per ticket) free. The events cover techniques, technical one-to-ones and online masterclasses with names like Glyn Dewis from Sony, and gurus from Canon, Zeiss, Panasonic and others.

Visit: Wex online photo events

11 CVP Common Room

(Image credit: CVP)

Broadcast and professional video specialist CVP has launched its new community platform, Common Room, to offer online versions of the events featured in the group's showrooms. Seminars, demonstrations, technical discussions, watch parties and more. 

Seminars include set lighting techniques from professional cinematographer Ian Murray, using DaVinci Resolve Fusion for daily VFX work, and a virtual tour of the Canon EOS C500 Mark II. 

The sessions are hosted on Discord, with limited places available for pre-booking, where they are designed to be intimate environments for small groups to interact and converse. However, if the seminars are sold out or you wish to experience them with the interactive element, a live stream is available on CVP's YouTube channel.

Visit: CVP Events

12 Sennheiser #Dontstoptheeducation

(Image credit: Sennheiser Sound Academy)

The Sennheiser Sound Academy is providing free professional audio training webinars and product demonstrations, covering everything from wireless microphones, to audio for video, to conference beamforming microphones. 

These high-end presentations are aimed at professionals from the music and AV industries, film and video production teams, as well as the education and corporate sectors. Designed with a more global audience in mind, talks will be available in English with some German and French sessions, and will be offered three times per day to accommodate multiple time zones.

“These webinars are part of our three-pillar plan to support our customers during this unique and difficult time,” explained Volker Schmitt, head of the Sennheiser Sound Academy. “In addition to the webinars, which are open to everybody, we have also shifted individual customer training into the digital world. Furthermore, we are planning to have industry experts share their expertise in webcasts. Thanks to these webinars, we are very much looking forward to staying in touch with you all.”

Visit: Sennheiser Sound Academy

Read more: 

Open for business: Serious savings still shipping at Adorama
Home working tips, best practice and best products during COVID-19 lockdown
Home photography projects to shoot while under coronavirus quarantine

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James Artaius

The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients like Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photo and lighting tutorials, as well as industry news, rumors and analysis for publications like Digital Camera MagazinePhotoPlus: The Canon MagazineN-Photo: The Nikon MagazineDigital Photographer and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and talks at The Photography Show. He also serves as a judge for the Red Bull Illume Photo Contest. An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.