Photography is a very broad topic. There are several genres revolving it and mastering even just one would make you a great photographer. In order to do that, practicing and gaining new knowledge about the craft is imperative.
While there are various ways to learn about it, many people are getting hyped up with online photography classes. Several e-learning platforms are offering photo editing tutorials, shooting techniques, and many other topics aimed at helping you improve your skill set.
Today, we will be talking about one particular online educational site for photographers: Phlearn.
Is it really worth it? Let’s find out!
What is Phlearn?
PhL is an online educational hub for those who want to learn photography, Photoshop and Lightroom editing skills in an interactive manner. This site is dedicated to producing quality content that intends to improve the skills of any photographer (beginners and professionals alike).
There are about 600 different courses all related to photo editing, shooting mastery, and other important aspects of the craft.
This platform was founded by Aaron Nace (the instructor himself) in 2011.
As young as it may be, they have already reached a global scale by offering their services and trainings to more than 140 countries all over the world. And right now, they have millions of members happily supporting them.
Are Phlearn tutorials worth it?
I certainly think they are. The free stuff is great, the paid one is even better. In my opinion, this learning platform offers a LOT of value for your buck.
Before going into the details about this site, it’s best we talk about their membership plans first.
At PHL, you only have 2 options: Free and Pro plans.
Phlearn Pro Plan
If you want to access all the recorded PHL tutorials, then this plan is for you. Priced at $12.99 per month, you can enjoy every course available at the site.
This means there will be no limit as to how many lessons you take in a month. It all depends on how fast you can finish an entire course.
By the way, you can also choose to pay annually and get 35% savings by doing so. If you think you will need to constantly study this craft for the entire year, then this will be more advantageous for you.
Oh, and another thing.
This plan allows you to download some Lightroom Presets and Photoshop actions anytime. This means you can own the same exact presets and tools used by the coach in your lessons. This will make it easier for you to put into practice what you have learned from the tutorial.
The Free Plan
It’s not everyday you get to have a chance to learn about photography for free. So if you’re ever given the opportunity, grab it (especially this one at PHL).
The great thing about this free membership plan is that you don’t even need to sign up or create an account to view the lessons. All you need to do is click the “Free” option on the homepage and it will redirect you to a page containing the list of all the free courses.
There are over hundreds of free and useful tutorials waiting for you there. Also, you can you can check out Phlearn’s official YouTube channel.
Phlearn Pro vs Free Plan
If you’re familiar with PHL YouTube videos, then you know how thorough they are. So you may wonder, what’s the difference between the free and paid content.
While it’s true Aaron Nace provides a lot of valuable info for free on YouTube, with his PRO membership, you’ll get to learn the entire workflow, instead of just getting separate pieces that you’ll then have to put together.
Basically, with as a PRO member you’ll get an insane amount of detail and information in one place.
This is what sets PHL apart from other online learning platforms (like Udemy and KelbyOne). Instead of having several instructors for different topics, they only have one: Aaron Nace.
Yes, the founder himself is the one who will teach you everything he knows.
Judging from the tutorials I watched, he seems like a fun and nice coach. This is an important trait that instructors should possess. None of us can stand long and boring lectures, right?
I admit, he may not be an expert in ALL the photography topics discussed, but this guy is definitely extremely knowledgeable and has some good sense when it comes to teaching.
And honestly, that’s what matters the most.
Unlimited content streaming anytime, anywhere
Other e-learning platforms may require you to always sit in front of the computer while watching the video tutorials or reading text-based lessons. But at PHL, you can experience a whole new way of studying about photography.
No matter where you go, you can always play the lessons on any device including mobile phones and tablets. Plus, you don’t need to download the content in order to view it. Just simply stream the trainings you want and be on the go.
But here’s the catch:
You’ll need to secure WiFi connectivity or use mobile data in order to stream those lessons.
Focused on all things photography
When studying about a certain topic, it would be best to stay as focused as possible. That way, you’ll be able to understand and let the lessons sink in easily. And that’s what PHL is doing for you.
They know it can be tempting to click on other topics aside from photography (some of us need a breather, you know) if there are any options presented.
Since Aaron Nace and the team only want the best for the members, they figured that it would be best to stick to one craft for better focus.
If you feel like you need to study more areas, say business and marketing, then you might want to try out other platforms such as Udemy, Lynda, or CreativeLive.
Free cancelation policy
In fairness to PHL, they don’t charge you for choosing to unsubscribe from the program. Other sites charge a hefty price for cancelling your membership prior to expiration of the term.
If for any reason you wish to stop becoming a member of Phlearn, you can just easily do so (no strings attached).
This usually happens to members paying for annual subscription. At some point, you might feel like you’ve already learned enough, or that you just don’t have time for online tutorials anymore.
So the next best move is to just cancel the plan instead of wasting your money on lessons you aren’t even going to watch.
Change plan anytime without additional charges
This only applies to changing your plan from monthly to annual (and vice versa). If you’re currently subscribed on a monthly basis, you can change it to annual membership anytime.
There will be no additional charges to your bill. Whatever the annual membership costs, that’s what you’ll also be paying for.
On the other hand, if you feel like the annual subscription is not just for you, then you can downgrade it to monthly membership until you finish the lessons you have started. That way, you will not be wasting your resources on stuff you don’t need.
There are still a lot of features you can discover at PHL once you visit their site. If you want to have an idea on how they conduct the lessons before paying up, remember to take advantage of the free membership.
The Pros and Cons of This Platform
Can I be totally honest with you?
This site certainly has a lot of good stuff to offer. But, there are also things that you would wish they’d do differently.
Here are some of the most noticeable pros and cons of this e-learning platform:
✓ The Good Stuff:
Fun and Engaging Lessons
PHL has a reputation for having enjoyable trainings.
Thanks to Aaron Nace and his naturally fun personality, a lot of members enjoy the classes while learning so much.
No matter how good an instructor is, if he doesn’t know how to make the audience enjoy and pay attention to the lessons, that course would probably still fail miserably.
The coach’s personality and manner of teaching greatly affects how much of the lessons are retained by his students. From what I’ve noticed, the more amusing a tutorial is, the more you remember it.
Offered in Other Countries
Having their lessons available to countries outside the US is really awesome. This only means more people will be able to access useful information about the craft without physically travelling to meet the one and only Aaron Nace.
Reasonable Membership Pricing
Think about it…
Paying $12.99 a month for hundreds of courses is so much better than paying for it individually. Just imagine how much it would all cost to enroll in five lessons at once that are priced liked $10-30 each.
If you want to make the most out of your investment, then you better try taking as many trainings as you can (there’s really no limit on how many courses you want to start with).
Long and boring lectures are so in the past. The trend now is to produce short but comprehensive tutorials for students. This is a more effective technique that will help with lesson absorption better.
At PHL, each course is divided into several modules consisting of short video clips. Aside from being easily consumable, it also allows you to have a break between modules.
✕ The Not So Good Stuff:
Lessons are taught in English only
Even if they operate on a global scale, all lessons at PHL are in English.
(And it’s not really a con, it’s just a fact, really.)
Well, this is really not that much of a problem unless you want the lessons to be in your native language. If that’s the case, you can check out other platforms like Udemy which offers trainings in different languages.
Lack of guided learning path
If you have a specific course (or courses, maybe) in mind, then this is really not an issue. You can just follow your original plan and take on the trainings that you need.
However, for those of you who have no idea where to begin or which course to do first, this could be a drawback. There are other sites offering curated learning tracks to help with that dilemma.