CREATED: 04.03.2024UPDATED: 09.03.2024

Teach Photography Online: Follow This Six-Step Guide

Teach Photography Online: Follow This Six-Step Guide

Wondering how to teach photography online? We’ve got you covered. Read this step-by-step guide and start mentoring future photographers in no time.

Photography has long been digital, so it isn’t surprising teaching it has followed suit. You no longer need a physical studio, printed textbooks, and traditional photography equipment to teach photography online. You only need the internet (and some time, effort, and creativity!).

Whether you want to transform your passion into a career, or your photography studio is going through a slow season, teaching photography online can be an excellent way to generate (additional) income. Plus, this approach to teaching allows you to reach a global – instead of just a local – audience, essentially sharing your expertise with the world.

But how can you start teaching photography online?

By creating an online photography course, of course! We’ll show you how to start this course and make it successful. We’ll also introduce you to other ways of teaching photography online that can complement your income and expand your reach with BlurBay.

Ready? Let’s shoot!

How to Create an Online Photography Course

From a technical standpoint, creating an online photography course is quite straightforward. All you need is a reliable video-streaming platform and decent shooting equipment, and you’re good to go. But the magic of photography lies in the creativity and not technicalities. That’s why our step-by-step guide to creating an online photography course is the perfect mix of practical steps and creative tips that will help you develop a memorable and profitable course.

Step 1: Come Up With the Curriculum

OK, so you want to teach photography. But what exactly do you want to teach? Will it be an all-encompassing beginner’s course or focus on a specific aspect of photography (e.g., composing or editing a photo)? That’s what you need to define straight away. After all, this choice will affect almost every subsequent decision, from who your ideal students are to how you approach each lesson.

There’s tons you could add to your course, depending on the direction in which you want it to go. Often – though not always – an online photography course will contain the following:

  • An introduction to the course and its online photography teacher.
  • Information about the gear being used.
  • Work examples – using the gear – to showcase how to take different types of photos.
  • Planning and project modules for student preparation.
  • Time set for a “photoshoot day” in which the student takes pictures based on what they’ve learned.
  • Classes about editing photographs to make them sparkle.
  • A summary of everything learned during the course, possibly with a test to confirm the student understood what they were taught.

Once you have a clear image of the course you want to teach, transfer it from your imagination to paper (or a digital document). Create a well-thought-out curriculum outlining the structure, topics, and objectives of your online photography course. This will help simplify all your subsequent efforts, from filming to marketing, and lay the foundation for a successful course.

Step 2: Create a Course Topic

“Wait a second,” you might think. “Haven’t I basically already created my topic by coming up with my photography course curriculum?”

Not exactly.

It’s true that you have a course laid out – which likely covers a specific niche in photography – but you haven’t solidified the topic into something that sells just yet. To do that, you need to come up with a clear and catchy name that’ll grab attention the moment a potential buyer sees it.

For instance, let’s say you specialize in pet photography. Now, you have options. You can create several courses within that niche, each focusing on a different type of pet and the challenges that come with photographing each one. Titles could be along the lines of “Pooch and Pals Pet Photography Class” or “Kitty Chaos – Getting the Perfect Shot of Your Cat.” Those titles make it clear what the buyer’s going to get when they say “yes” to your course, making them feel more confident with their purchase.

So, our advice here is simple – go through your course materials and figure out the one key topic you cover. That’s the spark of inspiration you need to craft a headline.

Step 3: Film Lessons and Tutorials

Film Lessons and Tutorials

After creating a detailed curriculum, it’s time to put it into practice. Use it to film individual lessons and tutorials covering all the talking points, ensuring your content aligns with the course plan.

Now, we did say “talking points,” but keep one thing in mind when teaching photography – it’s always better to show than tell. In other words, don’t just explain a concept, but demonstrate how it looks in practice.

Let’s say you’re explaining the “rule of thirds” in photography composition. Instead of just explaining that it involves dividing your frame into a 3×3 grid and placing key elements along these gridlines or at their intersections, show the theory in practice.

Set up a shot where you show a subject placed dead center in the frame. Then, contrast it with the same subject positioned using this rule. Continue by moving the subject within this frame, explaining how each movement affects the overall composition of the photograph. With this visual-first approach, your students will learn better, understand more, and be more likely to recommend your course to others.

Step 4: Choose the Right Video-Streaming Platform

Though this is one of the more “technical” steps, it can have significant implications for your creativity and passion and your students’ enjoyment. But how?

For starters, choosing a reliable platform will allow you to cease worrying about technical aspects and fully focus on delivering engaging and inspiring photography content. Also, choosing a platform that doesn’t require a substantial initial investment means that no financial barriers exist between you and your teaching dream.

As for your students, they’ll enjoy a platform that can deliver steady streams and is easy to use. After all, they’re here to learn photography and not how to handle complex technology and technical interruptions.

But how can you find such a platform? The answer is simple – choose BlurBay.

BlurBay is a popular video-streaming platform that checks all the boxes mentioned above. It allows you to upload individual tutorials or full-on courses and allow students to access them for a fee. You can even leave the introductory part of the video free to hook students in and then blur the rest behind a paywall. This way, you’re essentially creating a cliffhanger that will push more students to buy your content.

And when they do so, they won’t have any difficulties from start to finish. They don’t need a BlurBay account, and the checkout process is simple and safe, so a few clicks is all that separates them from learning about photography from your lessons.

But don’t worry; it doesn’t get more complicated on your end. You don’t need any documents to get started with the platform. Even better, you don’t need to make any payments. BlurBay will only take a 5% commission for every sold video, allowing you to start your photography-teaching endeavor with limited to no resources.

Step 5: Market Your Photography Course

In the age of the internet, anyone can start an online course. Now, this is both good and bad news. It’s good since you’re no longer prevented from living your dream by geographical and financial constraints. But the same goes for thousands of other photographers. And that’s the bad news.

To ensure your photography course sells and becomes (and remains) successful, you must market it correctly. This starts with choosing a catchy name and continues with elaborate digital marketing campaigns on social media and beyond.

Here are some tips on how to nail marketing for your online photography course:

  • Create promotional posts with your target audience in mind. For instance, if your expertise lies in landscape photography, use breathtaking landscape images capturing stunning vistas to promote your course.
  • Keep to the age-old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words, and let your photos do most of the talking. As we’ve already said – show, don’t tell.
  • Feature testimonials of past students on your website and social media. Ideally, show before and after examples of their photography skills.

Step 6: Keep on Innovating

Sure, setting up a great online photography course is a fantastic achievement. But if you settle with only the initial course, you risk falling behind in the ever-evolving world of technology. So, keep your students’ attention and attract newcomers by always adding exciting content into the mix.

Here are some ideas that you could try:

  • Share personal stories. Don’t stick solely to the technical aspect of photography. Infuse your personality into your classes, and they’re almost guaranteed to be a massive success. For instance, you can share your experience handling demanding wedding clients (the so-called bridezillas). This way, your students can access invaluable real-life experience and skills through your stories.
  • Feature other photographers. If you have friends in the photography circles or know an expert with decades of experience, bring them into your classes. Do a Q&A session with them or use them to show how different photographers approach the same task. After working only with you for a while, your students will enjoy it if you shake things up.
  • Assign “homework.” To keep your students interested and engaged, end each lesson by encouraging them to try what they’ve learned in practice. They can share their photos with you via email or social media, and you can give them feedback. This will make your students more committed to the class and more connected to you as the teacher.

Other Ways to Teach Photography Online

Other Ways to Teach Photography Online

Sure, creating an online photography course is the best way to teach photography online. Just think of the flexibility it gives you in terms of your classes and students, and you’ll understand why. But you don’t have to stop at only an online course. Try the methods below as well, and you’ll create a comprehensive photography learning ecosystem that will benefit both you and your students.

Host Online Photography Workshops

Though the first method is in the same vein as an online course, it allows you to significantly expand the reach of your online teaching. How?

Well, with photography workshops, you can reach niche audiences interested in learning specific photography techniques and styles. Let’s say your online course is geared toward beginners. Workshops allow you to also target experienced photographers who lack skills in a specific area of photography.

Now, of course, you can also create elaborate courses for experienced photographers. However, hosting online workshops allows you to cater to different niches without investing the time and effort to develop a full-on course. Plus, since they’re specialized, workshops can earn you more money. Come up with uniquely themed workshops, and you’ll boost your earnings even more.

Publish an e-Book

For most online instructors, publishing an e-book is a natural continuation of their educational journey, offering students an in-depth resource to complement their learning. Photography is no different. In fact, this field is perfect for an e-book since it allows you to create a visually stunning masterpiece of a book. Add carefully thought-out and detailed explanations alongside the photos, and your students won’t be able to get enough of your e-book.

As for the e-book’s topic, you can start with the basics. Convert your online beginner class into a handy step-by-step e-book on becoming a better photographer. Use this e-book to gauge interest. Once satisfied with its success, move on to the next e-book(s).

The following publications can be more specialized, focusing on a single photography style or perhaps photography’s technical or business side. You can even come up with trendy topics that are sure to attract many downloads, like “How to Master Photography for Social Media.”

There are plenty of great things about teaching photography online through e-books, but two stand out the most. One, you don’t have to actively work on this book. Add something whenever you have time, and enjoy the fruits of your labor later. And two, an e-book will continue to bring in passive income for years, helping you reach photography students who aren’t willing to commit to an entire course.

Leverage Social Media

Let’s get one thing straight right away – teaching photography on social media won’t help you earn money. Well, at least not in the beginning. Initially, you can use this method to somewhat tease potential students, pushing them toward your online courses and workshops.

Think of social media posts as short and sweet lessons that don’t reveal too much yet serve as valuable ads. And remember, these posts will also serve as your portfolio of sorts, showcasing your skills and talent to potential students.

Besides students, photography-related brands will also see what you’re made of from these posts as well. Grow a significant (and engaged) social media following, and you’ll almost certainly get a chance to collaborate with these brands through sponsored posts. This allows you to still earn money while teaching photography less traditionally.

Closing Tips – Some Extra Ideas for Teaching Photography Online

With the above six steps – and some alternative ways of teaching – you have what you need to teach photography online.

How about we take your classes and courses to the next level?

Here’s a handful of tips that will make your courses more profitable thanks to improving student engagement.

Tip 1: Talk to Your Students

We know, we know, this seems like the most basic tip possible. And it would be if you were hosting physical photography classes where you actually meet up with your students in person. But that’s not what you’re doing when you teach photography online. Most of your students will likely be buying your courses without ever interacting with you directly, perhaps outside of watching a pre-recorded intro video you shot.


Set up social media groups for your students – only giving access to those who buy a course – in which you’re active to answer any questions. You could even build a community forum if you have a website. The point is that you want to show your students that you’re not just a real person, but an actual expert in the topic by turning up to help on those few occasions when the course materials aren’t quite enough.

Tip 2: Always Assign Projects as Part of Your Courses

Project-based learning can significantly improve student learning outcomes.

That’s the conclusion drawn by a meta-analysis study published in “Frontiers in Psychology,” and it’s something you should keep in mind while constructing your photography courses. It’s tempting to just teach in your videos and leave students to figure it out themselves. You’ve given them the tools. They know how to take specific types of photos after your course. But the reality is that some won’t commit to practical application once they have the theory down.

With projects – defined in scope and desired outcome – you create a structured way for your students to apply what they’ve learned.

These projects don’t have to be complicated.

We talked about an online photography teacher focused on pets before. Their projects could be as simple as taking a photo of a pet – using the techniques taught in an online class – and posting it on social media with a hashtag. Not only do you get to see the results of your students’ learning, which highlights any areas of your class that you could tweak, but you also get free marketing.

It’s a win-win!

Tip 3: Show Instead of Tell

This one is super simple:

You have a video format so use it!

Let’s say you teach photography online related to snapping studio pics. You could create a video where you talk about how to set up lighting, frame photos, and all of the rest while doing little more than sitting in front of a camera. The knowledge you share may be sound. But your students won’t get much out of the video because you’re simply telling them what to do.

Show them instead.

Film yourself setting up your equipment – with a voiceover explaining what you’re doing over the top of the footage – and your lessons will get better results. Your theoretical learners still get what they need from the voiceover while your visual learners get shown the process and can pick it up much easier.

Tip 4: You’re Not the Only Photography Expert

Sorry to burst any bubbles here, but you’re not the only online photography teacher in the world. You’re likely not even the most knowledgeable – at least outside of your specific niche – so you’re not going to be able to teach your students absolutely everything.

This is important to recognize for two reasons.

One, it’ll stop you from overstepping the limits of your expertise by trying to create lessons that you have no business teaching. Remember – teaching photography online is all about authority. The moment you put a video online in which it’s clear that you’re not 100% sure what you’re talking about is the moment that at least a few of your students tune out.

But the second reason knowing you’re not the only photography expert around is more encouraging:

It gives you opportunities.

Opportunities to hold collaborative classes and conduct interviews with people who know more than you do about a specific subject. Those sessions could even be held live – with student Q&A – to introduce topics into your curriculum that you’re not confident teaching yourself.

Tip 5: Combine Structure With Informality

There’s a balance to strike when you’re teaching photography online.

On the one hand, you don’t want to be so rigidly scripted that you come off like a robot when you’re delivering your classes. We’ve all had those types of teachers – the dull monotone as they read over slides that sends you to sleep. You don’t want to be that teacher. On the other hand, going completely freeform with your lesson delivery means your classes go off track as you get lost in tangents or start “umming” and “ahhing” your way through your delivery.

It’s about finding a middle ground.

Scripting your videos is essential. You need the structure – remember, people are paying to learn a specific thing – and you can’t waste people’s time by not showing them what they paid to learn. But that script doesn’t have to cover every single little word you say.

We find that building an outline where you list the key topics you’ll cover, with bullets for specific subject matter underneath, works well. You still have structure and a general script to follow – you can even write specific lines that you have to get in the video – but you can also explore around the subjects you list in your script based on what comes to you as you record.

Teach Photography Online and Mentor Future Photographers With Ease

Teach Photography Online and Mentor Future Photographers With Ease

Starting any endeavor online is no easy task, especially considering the competition. We’ll be realistic with you here – there are already a ton of people who are teaching photography online right now who are a little ahead of you.

But that doesn’t have to always be the case.

As long as you’re passionate and dedicated, know what you’re doing, and work with a stellar platform like BlurBay, and you’ll have a successful online photography class before you can say, “Cheese!”

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