Free Resources for Photographers
This guide to the best free resources for photographers is something I wish existed when I started my photography journey many years ago.
Here in 2020, there’s never been a better time to become a photographer – whether you’re taking it up as a hobby, or plan to one day support your lifestyle or your family with professional photography work.
The Internet is overflowing with content for photographers to help you learn and improve – videos, ebooks, tools, guides… and a lot of it is 100% free.
|Free Photography eBook VaultOver 250 fun & informative eBooks to help improve your photography... all 100% free! (Every genre covered.)||More Info|
In this guide, I’ve found what I consider to be the cream of the crop. From free resources to help you learn the basics of photography, all the way up to starting and running a photography business, there’s something for you.
I’ll be keeping this list updated with any other great zero cost resources I come across, so be sure to add it to your bookmarks ;-)
1 | Improve at Photography
Free Photography Education
- Photzy | OUR #1 PICK
I have no idea why Photzy (famous for their cheat sheets and ebooks) decided to give away so many great free photography books, but I’m truly thankful! These free ebooks are well designed, informative and provide tons of useful tips to help you improve your photography.[📸 Related: Photzy Action Cards review]
It’s odd that an Australian university should have a free ebook on photography available on iTunes, but I’m glad they do! Lighting Essentials covers the primary concepts involved with video and photography lighting, including the use of continuous light sources and flash.
Not everyone is familiar with the concept of Creative Live’s unique business model – you can watch any of their high quality content absolutely free, as long as you catch it while it’s streaming live – look out for the ‘On Air Now’ link in the ‘Classes’ menu. If you miss you class, you have to pay for access, but time it right and it’s a great way to get some top class education for nada.
Start your day right with actionable tips to help you on your photographic journey – useful photo tips straight to your inbox, 5 days a week.
2 | Free Tools for Photographers
- Photographer’s Ephemeris (Web App) | TOP PICK
An outdoor photography planning tool that provides a visual way to plan the natural light of the sun and the moon for your outdoor photography.
Free data recovery programs for to recover accidentally deleted photos from your memory card – just remember not to format the card after deleting them! Exif Untrasher only works for JPEGs.
Adobe products are notorious for having tons of useful shortcuts that are hidden away from the average user! Shotkit provides a free interactive keyboard tool to help you recall them all. Don’t have Lightroom? Check out our article on the best free Lightroom alternative to find the right image editor for you.
Don’t be put off by the ugly website design – this is the original free online DOF calculator, showing you exactly what will be in focus at your chosen aperture, with your chosen camera and lens. Hopefully they’ll update the camera list soon, but you should find an alternative with a similar sensor that fits.
This amazing service features intelligent software which allows you to see where your work is being used online and supports you in case of copyright infringements. Free for the first 500 images monitored.
Free Image Editors
- Dark Table | TOP PICK
Open source RAW photo developer and workflow application that enables photographers to work with digital images from capture through to delivery.
A cross-platform free image editor similar to Photoshop to manipulate, enhance, retouch and restore your images. Also provides colour management features to ensure high-fidelity colour reproduction across digital and printed media. See also: how to install GIMP plugins.
Non-destructive RAW photo editor with some powerful features, all wrapped up in a neat user interface that’s relatively simple to get to grips with. Frequently updated, and works on Linux, Windows and macOS.
Free Image Optimizers
- ImageOptim | TOP PICK
Web based and downloadable free Mac app to compress your images losslessly, helping your web pages load quicker and reducing the size of the photo files you deliver to your clients.
Image enhancement power by AI. Improve colours, remove compression and upscale your image up to 16x.
Free WordPress plugin to resize, optimise and compress all your images, either in bulk or one by one. Helps makes your WordPress site load much faster, helping to improve user experience and possibly even your photography website’s SEO performance.
Free Lightroom Presets/Photoshop Actions
- Shotkit Photography Presets | TOP PICK
2 sets of 100% free Lightroom presets – one for wedding photography, and the other for generic types of photography. Just download, unzip, and add to your Lr presets folder, to import and use the next time you edit.
Add some watercolour paint or vintage grain effects to your images with these free effects and graphics.
Super simple and fast web based tool to add a text or logo watermark onto your images – works on any operating system, and lets you customise everything relatively easily.
3| Starting & Running a Photography Business
Free Business Name Generators
Super fast and fun way to check the availability of your chosen business name across all the most popular branded Top Level Domains (i.e. alternatives to a ‘dot com’).
Not only checks if your chosen photography business name’s domain is available, but also simultaneously checks availability across all the main social channels too.
Great looking, fully responsive HTML5 + CSS3 website templates that are super customizable and 100% free under the Creative Commons.
Hundreds of simple CSS, HTML5 and responsive website templates released for free under the Creative Commons.
Open source software you can use to create a beautiful website, blog or app. NB. different to WordPress.com, which is for self-hosted websites.
Free Private Photo Hosting
- Google Photos | TOP PICK
Back up an unlimited number of photos and videos for free, up to 16MP and 1080p. Access them from any device. Includes some eerily accurate A.I. search functionality. Great way to free up space on your phone and keep everything backed up automatically.
Free up to 3 GB, Dropbox offers a convenient way for you to upload, display and share your photos and videos. There’s also a handy commenting tool for collaborative feedback on a photo, for example.
A long time favourite of photographers, Flickr has been one of the most famous image sharing sites on the web for years. n addition to offering free hosting, it provides editing tools and allows you to organize your images into albums.
- Logaster | TOP PICK
Not only does this online tool generate some unqiue logos in seconds, but it also helps you visualise your new branding with a selection of realistic stationary mockups.
If you’re a wedding photographer using VSCO presets, rock a bow tie and plaid shirt, and have a sleeve of ironic tattoos, you’ll appreciate this free tongue-in-cheek logo generator that actually produces some nice designs!
Another great, free logo generator that spits out a multitude of attractive designs in a couple of seconds – could lead to decision paralysis, but nice to get a broad idea of a range of styles.
Don’t be put off by the cutesy ‘vanilla’ branding of these free templates for photographers – the designs are just fine, and you can easily swap out the images/fonts for your own.
Your photography might be great, but have you ever thought about the impact the right fonts can have on the overall design of your site? Find the perfect font combo for your photography website with this free tool.
100% free, open-source fonts all optimised for web usage. Google Fonts takes care of all the licensing and hosting, ensuring that the latest and greatest version of any font is available to everyone.
Decent collection of free fonts available for download.
Free CRM/Studio Management Software
Manage you client base professionally with this free CRM for photographers, including handy automated client reminder emails, invoicing and finance management. Although it’s marketed to be ‘for photographers’, this is really just a generic CRM software… but it’s still 100% free, so we’re not complaining!
Unlimited users, data and up to 1 million contacts for free – sounds like it could be enough for us photographers! Obviously lacks a few of the bells and whistles of a dedicated photography CRM tool, but does the job better than Google Sheets!
Another simple free invoicing tool that gets straight to business as soon as the website loads. Includes Stripe and PayPal payment integration.
Super simple online invoice generator that lets you start typing your line items as soon as the website loads!
Free Legal Docs
You don’t have to go far for this one – these contract templates for portrait, event and wedding photographers are free to download to anyone who’s a part of the Shotkit community :-)
The home for contracts and other legal documents, socially curated by the communities that use them – kind of like the Wikipedia for legal. Offers plenty of photographer specific info, but make sure you get things checked by a lawyer if you intend to use them professionally.
4 | Marketing a Photography Business
Free Online Portfolio Creation
Create a free professional online portfolio, with this amazing website, to showcase your work to the people who want to do business with you.
Free SEO Tools
- SEO Analyzer | TOP PICK
Free SEO analysis of your website that points out all the SEO errors you need to fix in orer to help increase your rankings.
Another powerful free SEO tool by Neil Patel, allowing you to sneak a look at the SEO profile of your competitors, with the aim of reverse engineering their content marketing, SEO and social media strategy.
The number one free tool for providing a rough estimate of your competitor’s monthly traffic numbers and other statistics you might have previously thought were private!
Free Email Management
- Mail Chimp | TOP PICK
Collect up to 2,000 contacts and send up to 10,000 emails each month for free – let’s face it, that’s more than enough emails for the average photographer!!
Free contact form plugin for WordPress websites that allows you to create Ajax-powered forms with multiple customisable fields.
Free Lead Capture Tools
- Hello Bar | TOP PICK
Display an attractive lead capture ‘ribbon’ which floats at the top or bottom of your website. Offers a generous 5,000 views for free every month, with unlimited lead captures. Use it to build your potential photography client list even quicker.
Create effective pop up boxes to capture the attention and email addresses of visitors to your photographer website. Free WordPress plugin with some powerful features, but be sure to use popups sparingly/tastefully to avoid pissing off your website visitors!
Free Social Media Tools
- Later | TOP PICK
Simple and fun way to plan and schedule Instgram posts – the grid view is particularly handy for previewing your precious IG grid before posting an image. Free for up to 30 posts – one a day every month seems pmore than enough to me ;-)
Another freebie for all Shotkit newsletter subscribers – just download the free IG Story templates and edit them in Photoshop to include your own images, branding and text for your next promotion.
Definitely not the nicest looking user interface, but nevertheless, a decent free tool for optimising and resizing your images for various social networks.
Powerful free tool to help you create engaging images for your social media posts. Choose from a library of stock images, or upload one of your own photos.
Make a ‘Pin It’ button magically appear when users hover over images on your site, with this free WordPress plugin. Can become annoying if you tend to have a lot of images on every post, but can also be a powerful way to increase views from Pinterest… which can be a photographer’s best friend.
Free WordPress plugin to help create attractive ‘hovering’ share buttons for all the major social networks. Includes handy optimization feature, to show best performing social networks first, or hide total share counts until a certain number has been reached.
Powerful and free way to create your very own Facebook chatbot, to attend to new client questions, offer information, or take bookings, all while you sleep. Free plan is limited in functionality, but offers more than enough for most photographers.
Free video editing software for Windows that allows you to use built-in movie templates and video-editing features to create photo slide shows or videos for your friends, family or clients. The interface is simple and uncluttered, and customising your creations is fast and intuitive.
Free Form Builders
- Jot Form | TOP PICK
Simple but powerful online form builder that allows you to quickly collect information from your clients or visitors to your photography website. The conditional logic feature is particularly handy. Free for up to 100 submissions per month – more than enough for the average wedding photographer’s booking questionnaire, for example.
Create pop up surveys to find out more about your website’s visitors. Use a survey as a way to grab attention, then capture email addresses to follow up later.
5 | Productivity for Photographers
- Noisli | TOP PICK
Improve focus and boost your productivity while editing photos or replying to tedious emails. Mix sounds and create your perfect environment.
Recreate the ambient sound of a busy cafe to help boost your creativity and help you edit photos just that little bit quicker! Research has proved that the murmur of background chat can be more effective in increasing focus than pure silence alone.
Kick your Facebook craving and avoid distracting websites with this free Mac application.
Free Photography Resources | To Be Continued!
I hope you found this list of free resources for photographers useful. Be sure to add it to your bookmarks as I intend to keep it updated with any great resource I come across in 2020.
We live in the best times to be a photographer. We have access to the most technologically advanced photography equipment and the broadest range of resources to improve at our craft, and create a photography business that allows us work for ourselves.
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Disclaimer: All recommendations are impartial and based on user experience, with no bias to the products or the brand. The products in this post may contain affiliate links.