Free & Discounted Photography Tutorials, Software and Competitions

Photography can be the ultimate craft to invest in right now. With many of us being stuck at home, it is the perfect opportunity to learn a new skill or develop your passion of photography further. If you are a beginner or pro photographer I’ve got you covered with a list of discounted or free photography tutorials, software and even some competitions to enter whilst you are in self-isolation.

There are 2 main processes to creating a great photograph and they are [shooting + editing]. I want you guys and girls to focus on educating yourself further in these whilst you have the time because they are extremely valuable skills to have in any industry.

There are a bunch of PRO photographers and companies that have offered their tutorials at heavily discounted prices and since I follow many of them I thought it would be beneficial to everyone if I passed them along.


Tutorials


My first suggestion is a FREE tutorial (valued at $50) from Trey Ratcliff, a photo guru, called “Beginning Photography with Trey Ratcliff“. As the title suggests the tutorial is aimed at beginners and it teaches you how to use your camera to get the results you’ve seen in magazines or on instagram and always thought how the hell did they do that?! Trey is a great teacher and all round spiritual guy so if you are looking for some easy to grasp education then this is right on the mark.

Free photography tutorial with trey ratcliff

Also check out some of Trey’s Other tutorials whilst you are there because I think once you enjoy his teaching style you will definitely want more.


A hugely popular Lightroom tutorial with 3 packs of Trey Ratcliff’s incredible Lightroom Presets included. If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to use Adobe Lightroom then I can highly recommend this tutorial as it will teach you everything from how to store your photos to the basics of how to use the editing part of Lightroom. I know $79 might seem like a lot but Adobe Lightroom is an industry standard so learning how to use it properly will level up your skills immensely.


Jimmy is the master of Luminosity Masking and his panels for photoshop are extremely powerful. I have been using them since the 1st versions and it is now on its 4th! The panel fits neatly into your photoshop sidebar and you can make very powerful selections and adjustments at the click of a button. Luminosity masking is for intermediate to advanced users of Photoshop, because it requires you to have some understanding of how Photoshop works. But, Jimmy does offer a lot of video tutorials, some free tutorials, to help you learn how to use his tools and he is a very patient and excellent teacher. Raya PRO allows you to select highlights, midtones, and darks to make any adjustment you like on just those selections. It has a lot of other features like dodge and burn panels, finalising images for the web or print and even preset style filters in photoshop. You have to see it to believe it!
He has now introduced a new powerful photoshop panel called Lumi32 and has lots of great photography tutorials as well like “The Art of Photography“.


Due to everyone having to stay home at the moment Nikon has generously made its Online School of Photography FREE to use during the month of April. So jump on in and start your Nikon education for free, there is lots of good information in there. Plus learning via online video content is such a good way to learn photography skills and you can do it at your own pace.

Nikon School Online Curriculum – Stream Every Class for Free:

  • Creator’s Mindset: Creating Video Content with Z 50 with Kitty Peters
  • Photographing Children and Pets with Tamara Lackey
  • Getting Started with Your Nikon DSLR
  • Hands-on with SB-5000 Speedlight with Joe McNally
  • Fundamentals of Photography with Reed Hoffmann
  • Environmental Portraiture with Joey Terrill
  • The Art of Making Music Videos with Chris Hershman
  • Beyond the Fundamentals of Photography with Reed Hoffman
  • Discovering Macro Photography with Joey Terrill
  • Exploring Dynamic Landscape Photography with Taylor Glenn

Software


If I could recommend any photo software to people it would be Luminar and Aurora. They are amazing.

Luminar 4 is like an exciting version of Lightroom and Photoshop combined into one and is easier to use for beginners. It comes with 70 built in presets and features that are only available in Luminar which are a sky replacement tool, embed new objects in a click feature, AI Portrait enhancer and other AI image enhancers. Of course Luminar has all the tools you need to make your photo perfect all in the one app like tonal adjustments and colour panels to name a few. The idea of Luminar has always been to design a photo app that is made and designed for photographers and its brilliant.

Aurora HDR has been the industry standard since it burst onto the scene. It is what I use for my HDR photo editing and has been a favourite of mine for many years now. HDR has grown in popularity a lot since the editing software has become a lot more intellignet and natural looking. The image results are incredibly realistic and the software is easy to use and pickup for people wanting to learn HDR photography. Jump in and give it a free try!


ON1 has been continually updating their software suite to have the latest technology and features for its users. I also have owned ON1 Photo RAW since the early days because I find each company does something unique and special and having each one in my arsenal is like having different paint brushes for different strokes on a canvas. ON1 Photo RAW now has become a full suite of software all rolled into one package and the beauty of it is that it is a 1 off payment with no subscription fees. You’ve got a catalog viewer, the main RAW photo editor (effects), NEW HDR editor and resize tools. Of course you can get a 1 month trial to see which features you like and then decide if you want to buy but at this price you may as well Get Them All.


Topaz Labs are a photography software company that has been around for over a decade and their apps are incredible. In recent years they have been developing AI technology to enhance your photos and the results speak for themselves. They did it by feeding millions of images into the software so it could learn the different elements and how to process them. I use quite a few of their programs myself and have for many years. I Particulary love the Adjust and sharpen apps. Take a look at their software and library and enjoy the 1 month free trials and if you like them you can actually use my discount code.


Competitions


The Sony Alpha Awards returns in 2020 to bring together the greatest images from across Australia and New Zealand, captured on Sony Alpha cameras and lenses. The Awards aim to drive creativity, reward professionals and enthusiasts alike and provide a platform to showcase the very best Alpha Photography work.

There are $30,000 worth of prizes so you why not go through your lightroom catalog and see if you’ve got any gold in there worth entering into the competition.

The competition commences at 12:00PM AEDT on Wednesday, 5 February 2020 and closes for submissions at 11:59PM AEST on Sunday, 24 May 2020.


The independent Photographer is running a landscape photography contest with youtube sensation Thomas Heaton as the judge! There is an entry fee but sometimes these contests are good ways to get discovered! Also it gives you another chance to go through your library of images and find that gorgeous landscape photograph that would be worthy of entering. If Thomas is the judge you will want to enter something moody to capture his attention is my tip 😉 He loves images shot in misty woodlands and mountains.


The Mono Awards are back for 2020 and even though isolation is in progress it is still business as usual. There will be a few changes this year though as it’s unlikely there won’t be a gallery exhibition but see the link for all the details and how to enter.

Last entries are by 14th of June and there is a small entry fee, but it can be worth the exposure to be printed in the Capture Magazine!


Wow this is an amazing contest and all the money will go to support Support Ol Pejeta Conservancy!

The winner will get to join National Geographic photographer and documentarian Ami Vitale on a safari at Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya. You will photograph the last two northern white rhinos on Earth and meet Baraka, the blind black rhino. Visit a chimpanzee sanctuary, night game drive, and all while learning how to track rhinos and lions. Get flown out and stay at Ol Pejeta Bush Camp for the 5-day trip.

The value of this prize is $4,500, good luck!


This comp is run by Topaz Labs to go along with the launch of their new video editing software AI Enhance. The top prize is a DJI Mavic Mini + Gigapixel AI + Video Enhance AI. Gigapixel AI is an amazing new software that takes your small resolution photos and using AI to upscale them. I have been using this software and earlier forms of it for over a year now and the results kind of blew me away. Everyone from beginners to pro’s are using these because they can be great for getting back details in shots from an old iphone or enlarging your images for large prints. I have also been trying out the Video Enhance AI software and it takes your low res video file and makes it larger and sharper! Which I have to say is also mind blowing. Essentially it goes through your video frame by frame and uses AI tech to sharpen each frame, very cool stuff!

To enter the comp you just register and then earn more points by sharing it on social media and tagging your friends.

Links to the amazing software:


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sydney harbour photo walk, by luke zeme photography