How Camera School works

Camera School is the free skills course for all photographers, created by the UK’s best-selling photography magazine, Practical Photography. Our aim is simple - to help you take your best ever photos, and provide you with the motivation and encouragement to do so.

All you need to take part is a DSLR, mirrorless camera or creative compact, and a few spare hours a month.

The course consists of six modules, each of which will introduce you to a new subject and a new set of camera skills. The modules are published in Practical Photography and will include jargon-free advice, simple step-by-steps and homework tasks.

These homework tasks are where you put your new skills into practice. They’ll require you to get out and about and spend a bit of time refining your shots, and will challenge you just enough to keep things interesting.

Once you’ve completed your homework, you’ll then need to upload your best image to the special homework gallery, where the Camera School team will mark it (gold, silver or bronze), offer feedback and send you a certificate.

Here are a few FAQs…

How do I take part?
Simply get the next six issues of Practical Photography (June to November 2018), sign up here to receive emails, and complete the homework. Easy! Why not take advantage of our Camera School-exclusive subscription offer and get the next six issues plus a Manfrotto NX shoulder bag for just £25? Check it out here.

Is the course for beginners or professionals?
Camera School is designed with absolute beginners in mind, but we guarantee that whatever level you’re at, you'll learn something new. For more seasoned enthusiasts, it’s the perfect way to discover new subjects and brush up on your technique.

Will this course turn me into a professional photographer?
Honestly? No, it won’t. That said, it will help you take better pictures, which can only be good thing.

What camera settings should I use?
Camera settings are clearly explained in each module and we ask that you shoot in JPEG mode as this course is all about getting it right in-camera. The only editing allowed is resizing in order to comply to this site's 10MB upload limit – please see below. 

How do I upload my homework? 
You’ll find a unique URL at the end of each module – follow the instructions and you can’t go wrong. We've made it as easy as possible, but if you do get stuck, email us here and we’ll help you out. Sign-up here and we’ll even send you homework reminders with direct links to the homework upload pages. This site's upload limit is 10MB so if you need to resize your homework image, watch this video to see how it's done in Photoshop and Elements...

How long do I have to complete the homework?
Exactly four weeks from the start of each module, which should be plenty of time to practice, practice, practice.

Who will be marking my images?
The Practical Photography team will be rating and commenting on every image uploaded to the homework galleries. So that’s Ben, Richard, Dan, Louise and Kirk. This process can take a few days and updates are regularly posted on the Camera School Facebook page.

Where do I go to see how you’ve graded my image?
Head to the module URL that’s printed in the mag on the date that marks are announced and not only will you see your own grade, but everyone else’s too. You’ll be able to sort images by module and mark (gold, silver or bronze).

What does it mean if I get a ‘fail’ mark?
Hopefully you’ll never see this, but if you do, chances are it means you didn’t read the homework properly or uploaded the wrong image. We really don’t like dishing out ‘fail’ marks, as we know how much effort you guys put into your Camera School images, but the homework is as much about understanding and fulfilling a brief as it is learning new skills, and we can’t stress enough how important reading the homework is.

How do I get my certificate?
You’ll receive a special gold, silver or bronze certificate, via email, the day after marks are announced. Sadly, we can’t send actual print certificates, so instead you’ll receive a PDF. You can, of course, print this out yourself, as big as you like!

What’s new in 2018?
Glad you asked! We’ve added a very special treat for students who complete all six modules – an exclusive live event in partnership with new sponsors Olympus. We’ll be revealing more about this as the course progresses so keep your eyes peeled. We’ve also launched a new Camera School Facebook group, where you can post photos, ask questions and share tips. Oh, and you’ll be able to see other students’ homework images as and when they’re uploaded this year. This was the number one request in the questionnaire that followed last year’s course – reader power in action!