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Best Online Photography Courses for Animal Photojournalists

by | Oct 19, 2023

WAM Photojournalist Kelly Guerin with rescued pigs in pastures full of chamomile at Farm Sanctuary. USA, 2018.

Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals

Are you interested in photography and animal issues? Taking a course is a fabulous way to get inspired and learn to become a stronger storyteller and photographer for animals. 

Here we’ve curated 10 online photo courses that teach the key skills needed to fuel your journey in photography with a purpose. Whether you’re a passionate animal advocate who is just starting out with a camera or an experienced photographer looking for ways to use your skills to better tell animal stories, these recommended photography courses, for budgets big and small, will set you up for success.

1. We Animals Photography Masterclass

Step into the world of animal photojournalism with Jo-Anne McArthur and the We Animals Photography Masterclass. In this on-demand video series, We Animals Founder Jo-Anne McArthur shows in seven lessons how to do what she does; from crafting stories and choosing gear to approaching investigations safely and dealing with the trauma of bearing witness to suffering. Driven by purpose, Jo-Anne’s work is not only trail-blazing, her images are further distinguished by their high-art composition. Skillfully rendered and captured often at great risk, her photographs have been recognized with honours in the world of photojournalism as well as within the international arenas of animal advocacy. Find out more.

“Without having taken this Masterclass I would not be as confident, as prepared, and as determined with animal photojournalism as I am now.” — Tom Wollard, animal photojournalist

2. CreativeLive Photography & Video Classes

Our friends at CreativeLive offer over 1,000 online photography courses covering a diverse range of genres including but not limited to documentary and photojournalism. Explore their classes for all levels of experience and learn about everything from gear and image critiques, to lighting and editing, visual storytelling, and even aerial and drone photography. Find out more.

3. Paul Nicklen Teaches Photography

Learn the key secrets to become a successful nature and wildlife photographer with Paul Nicklen. Paul is known for his roles as a photographer, filmmaker, and marine biologist. He is an assignment photographer for National Geographic Magazine and founder of SeaLegacy. With an extensive career spanning over two decades, Paul has captured the wonders of our world and shed light on pressing environmental challenges. In this course, you’ll cover topics such as learning how to create and tell conservation stories and ethics in wildlife photography, to essential photographic exercises for creativity and the stories behind some of Paul’s most iconic images. Find out more.

4. Intro to Photojournalism: How to Use Photography to Tell News Stories

Join renowned photojournalist and documentary photographer, KC Nwakalor as they break down the various components of contemporary photojournalism. Throughout this photography course you will learn how to find newsworthy stories, the ethics of photojournalism, how to caption your images, story components and how to get your work published. Find out more.

5. Greg Williams Candid Photography Skills

With more than 30 years of experience, Greg Williams has developed a system for delivering great pictures in any scenario. His system is quick, simple and can be learned by anyone! In this nine-lesson course, you’ll learn about everything from light, exposure and composition, to focus, editing and storytelling. This course is for anyone interested in quickly and dramatically improving their photography. Find out more.

6. Documentary Photography: Capturing Places and People

National Geographic photographer Ami Vitale takes you on an adventure to Venice Beach, California, sharing her documentary photography techniques. Immersion and relentless observation are key in Ami’s practice. This class is great for aspiring photojournalists, professional photographers seeking inspiration, and everyone who seeks essential tips and habits for documenting the world around them. Find out more.

7. Annie Leibovitz Teaches Photography

In this 15-lesson MasterClass, pioneering photographer Annie Leibovitz brings you into her studio and onto her shoots to teach you everything she knows about portraiture and telling stories through images. In this online photography course, Annie teaches you her philosophy: how to develop concepts, work with subjects, shoot with natural light, and bring images to life in post-production. Down-to-earth and relatable, this course is an inspiring way to build your confidence as a photographer. See the world through Annie’s eyes. Find out more.

8. Photojournalism: Making Photo Essays and Stories

Join award-winning photographer Ben Lowy in this series of lessons where you’ll be equipped with all you need to know about creating a photo story or essay of your own. In this 45-minute class you’ll learn about gear, composition and how to capture life as it happens (without altering its natural rhythm). Perfect for beginner and advanced photographers – you’ll find new ways to push the envelope and do something new. Find out more.

9. VII Academy

Our friends and inspiration at the VII Foundation provide an academy of online courses on narrative and documentary, available in multiple languages and free of tuition fees. In addition to VII’s Academy, they also offer mentorship for more established photojournalists. Find out more.

10. Magnum Learn

Magnum Learn provides opportunities to meet and learn from Magnum’s photographers across the globe. With a range of educational programs and workshops suitable for those at the beginning of their creative journey to those already working professionally in the photography world. Find out more.

Feeling inspired?

Did you know, when you enrol in our animal photojournalism masterclass, not only are you learning how to hone your photography to benefit animals, you’re also helping to support We Animals’ work? Register now for just $45 CAD!

Did you know? Our stock platform offers 30,000+ photos and video clips of animal issues around the globe. Non-commercial (free) and commercial licensing available.