Adobe Photoshop is an insanely useful feather to have in one’s cap. Not only can it be used for a plethora of recreational activities, but a working understanding of the Photoshop ecosystem can also make you an enticing prospect for countless employers. But there’s one problem… It’s incredibly complex!
As such a deep software, learning how to use Photoshop is less like computing, and more akin to learning to play an instrument — It takes time, effort, and a little bit of talent doesn’t go amiss either.
And much like learning an instrument, without a tutor, attaining some semblance of mastery can seem like an insurmountable goal.
It’s scary, I know, but there’s no need to go it alone! There are a number of online Photoshop courses available, and after significant research, I’ve curated this shortlist of the cream of the crop, the 5 best online photoshop courses out there!
Best Online Photoshop Course: Reviews
Best Comprehensive Course — Adobe Photoshop CC: The Complete Guide
As you’ll read about in the learner’s guide after my reviews, online photoshop courses rarely cover everything, from beginner to winner, so to speak, but Adobe Photoshop CC: The Complete Guide gets pretty darn close!
Created by Ben Willmore – instructor of well over 100,000 students – this comprehensive, 21-hour course spans 21 lessons and is specifically designed to take you from total beginner to certified master, offering you maximum value for your time and money.
It’s not exactly a quick study, so look elsewhere if you’re after prompt graduation, but the beauty of this long-scale form is the clarity. Information is drip-fed, making learning, and most importantly, retaining what you learn, far easier, saving you time on revision.
Willmore’s pedagogical style is friendly and accessible, his video lessons never feeling arduous or restrictive, and perhaps best of all, the one-time course fee gives you lifetime access to all resources! If you forget anything during or after completing the course, you can simply hit the books (or in this case, videos), and relearn it.
- Comprehensive — Facilitates one of the biggest jumps in Photoshop skill
- Affordable — Considering the expansive nature of this course, it’s a steal!
- Lifetime access — Forgot something? No worries; you can access the videos for life.
- Outdated — This course was based around the 2015 iteration of Photoshop, so a few additional resources may be required to get you up to date.
Best For Beginners — Udemy: Adobe Photoshop CC: A Beginner To Advanced Photoshop
The wonderful thing about this Udemy course (see also ‘What Is Udemy?’) is that it doesn’t even assume that you’re computer literate. Starting with the very basics, such as launching the software, it holds your hand as you come to terms with the fundamental aspects of the interface.
Once this rudimentary foundation has been laid, you’ll learn all you need to start your own simple projects, such as file creation, photo editing, and graphic design.
Furthermore, if at any point you feel an area of study is getting away from you, you can take advantage of the hands-on support feature of Udemy and have the instructor slow things down a bit and explain the topic in a super accessible way. You simply don’t get this kind of beginner-friendly support anywhere else!
Despite its novice-leaning style and structure, A Beginner to Advanced Photoshop costs the same as Willmore’s comprehensive course detailed above, which may seem steep, but if Photoshop is completely alien to you, then it’s 100% worth the investment.
- Bare basics — A great start for those who know little about computing in general
- Self-paced — Learn at a pace you’re comfortable with.
- Hands-on support — Extra help when you need it
- Pace — Computer-literate beginners will find it a tad sluggish.
Best For Web & Graphic Designers — American Graphics Institute: Photoshop Bootcamp
I’ll preface this review by mentioning it’s a costly option, but if you’re serious about making digital design a career and giving yourself an edge on the competition in a highly saturated market, then Photoshop Bootcamp is a must!
Over the course of four consecutive days, world-renowned platform AGI guides you through an intensive learning process during which you’ll pick up all you need to make waves in any design role.
From file organization to Adobe Bridge, it’s all included, and with a microscopic focus on some of Photoshop’s most indispensable (not to mention complex) tools, you’ll be a cut above the rest… even those with more experience in the industry!
- Intensive pace — 4 consecutive days of study to attain Photoshop wizardry
- Well structured — Course is optimized for fast learning
- Live instruction — You may be taking part remotely, but all lessons are live, giving you the ultimate classroom experience.
- Lack of flexibility — You cannot bend this course to suit your schedule.
- Price — It’s not for the faint of heart, but live instruction is incredibly valuable.
Best For Expedited Learning — Udemy: Photoshop Beginners Mastery: Zero To Hero
Looking for a speedy graduation so you can put your new skills to the test in the real world, pronto? Check out the 3-hour Zero to Hero course from Udemy (see also ‘Does Udemy Provide A Certificate?’). By condensing all essential areas, instructor Chad Neuman expedites the learning process significantly without trimming value.
Granted, in my experience, you do need to be able to intuitively pick things up quite quickly in order to truly extricate said value, but if you’re an intelligent individual who needs the gist ASAP, it’s absolutely the right course for you.
In the time it takes to watch Titanic, you’ll learn how to manage screen modes, familiarize yourself with various file types, experience the synergistic relationship between Photoshop and Bridge, and much, much more.
But should the video lessons be a little too fast-paced in certain areas, you can use the flawlessly put-together articles included as standard to give yourself a little boost. This also helps if you’re more of an active reading learner than a passive watching learner.
- 3-hour duration — Need instant skills for job eligibility or a project? This is where you’ll acquire them.
- Articles included — Study aid articles help broaden the concise video lessons.
- Multi-lingual subs — Captions available for most languages.
- Pace — Lightning pace means you don’t get to dig deeper into topics of interest.
Best For Photographers — Photoshop Cafe: Photoshop 2022 For Digital Photographers
As you can surmise from the name, Photoshop is first and foremost a photography editing suite, and no online course celebrates that fact like this offering from Photoshop Cafe.
Photoshop Cafe founder and award-winning digital artist Colin Smith is your instructor, guiding you through all the core essentials and secret weapons that will take your work from promising to professional!
You’ll learn about color adjustment, retouching, scaling, sharpening, and layering, which in itself is enough to take your craft into the stratosphere.
But you’ll also get some lofty techniques, such as frequency separation and luminosity masking, under your belt, ensuring you have the skills to make a BIG splash in an exceedingly competitive industry.
Yet, Smith’s delivery is so conversational and accessible that no matter how cerebral the area of focus becomes, it slides into your knowledge base with incredible ease. Just add passion and drive to the skills you learn over the course of the 89 included video lessons, and you’re well on your way to greatness!
- Photography focused — Don’t waste money on overly-broad courses.
- Short videos — Bite-size videos hold your attention.
- Experienced instructor — Smith is a big name in the industry, so you can learn from the best.
- Specificity — You’ll learn very little beyond the remit of digital photography.
A Learner’s Guide
It’s very possible that even after reading my reviews, you’re still unsure which online Photoshop course is right for you, which is why I’ve composed this brief yet informative learner’s guide to help you make your final decision.
Skill Set & Educational Goals
I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you how deep of a tool Photoshop really is. You probably took one look at the interface and thought… Nope! And who could blame you? Facing this software head-on is incredibly intimidating, but bear in mind that it’s a coverall tool used for multiple purposes and disciplines.
You don’t have to master every single facet of Photoshop if you only need to use it in a very specific way. Zero in on exactly what you want to be able to accomplish with the software, and look for a class that focuses on your desired fundamentals.
Obviously, you’ll have to learn the basics no matter how you intend to use it, but by dreaming up your specialization, you’ll be able to cut right to the juicy parts after you have the rudiments on lock, making the learning-to-utilization transition far more immediate.
Let’s say, for example, you’re a website designer, or perhaps an entrepreneur that handles much of their own design. There’ll be an online course tailored for this skill set. Don’t settle for something vague if another course speaks your language from the get-go!
Online Photoshop courses don’t always start or end at the same depth in the software, by which I mean, some will assume you already have a rudimentary or intermediate understanding of the program beforehand, while others will only focus on the essentials.
Photoshop is so deep that it’s rare you’ll find one course that takes you from nothing to Adobe black belt in a single syllabus, so it’s essential that you choose one that starts at the right complexity.
If you’re already quite adept, look for a
How quickly do you need to get to grips with the software? Should you be looking for a fleeting education so you can get started with practical work ASAP, you’ll prefer a shorter course.
Conversely, if you’re not in any hurry to start your own Photoshop projects, you have the freedom to choose something more long-winded and thorough.
Pacing & Instruction Type
Next, you should consider the pacing of a course and what the learning process looks like. Is there a restrictive timeframe, i.e. four consecutive days, or do the lessons arrive as on-demand, self-paced HD videos you can dip into whenever you get a free moment?
Your course of choice needs to fit seamlessly into your schedule, otherwise, you may end up losing value by missing classes. These courses are rarely cheap, so be sure to weigh your options against your calendar before enrolling.
Sometimes, finding a course tailored to your profession isn’t specific enough, as these can wind up being incredibly broad syllabuses. The inverse is also true — Perhaps a syllabus isn’t quite broad enough, omitting certain tools and tricks you were hoping to learn about.
To avoid this mishap, I’d always recommend leafing through the particulars of the course before making your final decision.
Any provider worth their salt will at least bullet point the nitty-gritty of the course before you pay, so make a list of the things you definitely want to learn, then use it as a checklist when shopping around for the perfect course.
Checking out user reviews is an absolute must before committing to a purchase. A course may sound fantastic from the outside looking in, but in practice, it could be a different story altogether.
Reading up on the experiences of past students is the best way to gain insight about what the course is actually like before you fork out your hard-earned cash to get your name on the register.
There are a few completely free Photoshop courses available, but, as I’m sure you’ve surmised, if you want quality tutoring and/or official qualifications, you’re going to have to pay.
You could be looking at anything between $50 and $1000 and beyond, but it’s tricky to give you any specifics, as most of these courses are hosted by learning platforms that charge monthly or annually rather than for an individual course.
With the price range being as wide as it is, I’d recommend coming up with a budget before starting your search, as this will guide you directly to a subset of suitable courses.
Best Online Photoshop Course: Frequently Asked Questions
Got time for a quick FAQ session surrounding online Photoshop courses?
Is It Possible To Learn Photoshop Online?
Not only is it possible to learn Photoshop online, I’d say that it’s the absolute best way to learn Photoshop!
Sure, there are probably a number of physical resources you can use, as well as actual classes in brick-and-mortar educational institutions, but online courses strike the perfect balance between affordability, interactivity, customization, efficacy, and legitimacy.
What Is The Best Way To Learn Photoshop Online?
Whatever you do, don’t just sign up for the first Photoshop course you hear about. Come up with a mission statement that lists your wants and needs, then compare course details to find the one that suits you best.
It can be a little tricky deciding what your wants and needs are, so use the learner’s guide above for inspiration and fill out your mission statement.
Are Online Photoshop Classes Worth It?
Yes, I would say that most online Photoshop classes are absolutely worth the time and money invested. Fluency in this software can land you any number of professional positions, not to mention how handy it can be outside the workplace.
As long as you select the right class, only good things can come of your enrollment. Outcomes may be quite small, such as acing a photography- or design-based school project, but they can just as well be huge.
Let’s say, for example, you land a job with your newfound abilities and end up building a career on the foundation established by the online course… sounds worth it to me.
Can I Learn Adobe Photoshop For Free?
It’s not impossible to learn how to use Adobe Photoshop for free. Adobe themselves offer a number of gratis resources you can use to deepen your understanding of the software and its myriad tools.
YouTube is also a fantastic resource (check out Will Paterson’s channel) However, as rewarding as figuring things out for free can be, paying for professional instruction will speed things up significantly.
My approach would be to check out some of the free resources first, as understanding just a little about the software can help you refine your mission statement, which, in turn, will lead you to the perfect paid-for course for you.
How Difficult Is Photoshop To Learn?
As long as you’re relatively computer literate, you’ll pick up Photoshop rudiments with ease. Things only get difficult when you take on some of the more advanced features of the infamous editing software, which is why it’s worthwhile to seek some help online and enroll in one of the fine courses on this list.
There you have it — 5 AMAZING Adobe Photoshop courses sure to take your design and editing skills to the next level and beyond! Remember, be as specific as you can with what you wish to learn, as this will help you find a course that fits right.
And once you’ve completed the course of your choosing, do your fellow learners a solid and leave some reviews online detailing your experience.