The 4 Best Free Skillshare Courses for Mastering a New Skill (2024)

Whether you’re a novice or expert, Skillshare is an excellent platform for mastering new skills and tapping into your creativity.

The table below is a breakdown of some free expert-led online courses you can study through Skillshare:

  • Photography
  • Creative writing
  • Graphic design
  • Music
  • Illustration
  • Animation
  • Film and video
  • Web development
  • UI/UX design

Here are the benefits of learning a new skill with Skillshare:

  • Access to high-quality course materials and online classes taught by highly experienced teachers
  • Study at your own pace
  • Receive personalized recommendations based on your interests
  • Take as many classes as you want
  • The courses are beginner-friendly
  • Access the free courses from your phone or laptop, at home, in the office, on the go, or wherever you learn best
  • The short courses include hands-on projects
The 4 Best Free Skillshare Courses for Mastering a New Skill (1)

So, without further ado, here is a comprehensive list of the best free Skillshare courses you can take to master a new skill.

1: Documentary Photography: Capturing Places and People

If you want to learn how to take a perfect photograph that captures a place, person, or something in its context, then documentary photography can help you.

In this course, Ami Vitale, the renowned National Geographic photographer, teaches you how to capture stunning images that enthrall and inspire viewers.

During the lesson, you’ll be taken on an adventure to Venice Beach, California as Ami shares her documentary photography techniques.

The lessons you’ll cover are:

  • Documenting a place in 2 photos
  • Shooting sunrise
  • Equipment
  • Perspective
  • Shooting sunset

The documentary photography skills you’ll learn during these lessons include:

  • The art of patience and repetition, where you’ll learn the importance of staying in one place rather than chasing down your subjects
  • How to best approach people, and what you can do after you take their photo
  • How to capture the most honest photos by keeping a low profile and streamlining your equipment
  • How and why you need to have backups for your backups, as well as why you need to keep your camera in working order
  • How to avoid unwanted attention, tunnel vision, and other pitfalls of the traditional approach through Ami’s travel stories

It’s worth noting that National Geographic photographers are known for capturing the highest standards of documentary photography; they’re also known for being able to tell compelling stories through their photos.

Ami Vitale was one of the National Geographic photographers awarded in a prestigious photo contest for her images taken at a panda reserve in China; the featured story was “Pandas Get to Know Their Wild Side.”

Here’s a review from one of Ami Vitale’s students:

I love how she demonstrates her lessons by going to an actual place and taking actual photos. Highly recommended class!

Sandra Marie Llarenas

2: Creative Writing: Crafting Personal Essays With Impact

This one-hour creative writing master class teaches you how to transform your story into a powerful personal essay. You’ll learn how to craft your personal voice with a wider context, as well as how to connect with the people you want to reach through your writing.

The course is taught by Roxane Gay, author of the New York Times best-selling essay collections, Bad Feminist and Hunger. She also wrote the nationally recognized bestseller, Difficult Women.

Roxane’s writing has also been featured in McSweeney’s and Tin House.

This course will give you practical advice, actionable tactics, and sample essays. Moreover, you’ll be able to take advantage of a series of 8 video lessons that will guide you from your first idea to a final publication-ready piece.

Roxane’s course is great for anyone with a desire to write. She will help you:

  • Tell your story with a specific purpose in mind
  • Embrace larger conversations and timely themes in your work
  • Conduct critical research to support your work
  • Navigate personal memories to write your truth
  • Write and revise your final piece
  • Submit your work for publication

Most importantly, the course also contains a downloadable worksheet to help you practice creative nonfiction writing.

Here’s a review from one of Roxane Gay’s students:

………… A great teacher, and a wonderful breakdown of every step of the process with a lot of tips!

Yara Shaheen-Abuelreish

3: Low Budget Filmmaking: Tips and Tricks for an Indie Look

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If you own an iPhone and aspire to work in local media outlets or cinemas, this low budget filmmaking course may be of interest to you. With Matty Brown’s course, you’ll learn low-budget filmmaking tricks you can use to achieve an emotive, indie-inspired look.

In this free course, you’ll learn:

  • How to achieve Matty’s in-camera effects with any device
  • Matty’s creative editing workflow
  • How to use Matty’s DIY approach to think outside the technical settings and shoot with the heart when creating your travel video, documentary, short film, music video, or personal piece of art

Matty will show you how an everyday walk to a coffee shop can inspire the creation of a short film—one with big emotions and tension.

Matty Brown is an award-winning filmmaker and a 16-time Vimeo Staff Pick winner. He has also been featured in various festivals and publications, including:

  • Tribeca Film Festival
  • New York Times
  • The Atlantic Magazine
  • The Hollywood Reporter
  • Sundance

Here’s a review from one of Matty Brown’s students:

I loved this class! Very inspirational. Made me want to grab my camera and go shoot something.

Edward Romero

4: Going Freelance: Building and Branding Your Own Success

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If you’re considering going freelance or looking to take your freelance career to the next level, this course will increase your chances of success. The course is taught by the founders of Working Not Working, Claire Wasserman and Justin Gignac.

This nine-lesson, 50-minute course will lay the foundations for becoming a freelancer and give you insights into the things you need to consider along the way.

In each video, Justin Gignac and Claire Wasserman share inspiring personal stories and examples, as well as insightful tips to help you become the kind of freelancer you desire.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Build a portfolio that captures a recruiter’s attention
  • Seize opportunities for authentic networking
  • Market yourself effectively on social media
  • Pitch traditional media
  • Set yourself up for financial success
  • Start side projects

You’ll also learn essential business concepts, including:

  • Budgeting
  • Saving
  • Paying taxes

Most importantly, you’ll have access to numerous sites and side projects to get you started on your freelance journey.

Here’s a review from one of the students:

Great class. Anyone considering doing freelance work should take this class.

Janny White

How to Get Started for Free

If you sign up on Skillshare, you’ll get one free month of unlimited access to the platform’s catalog of courses to explore the platform before committing yourself financially.

Most importantly, you can cancel the free trial subscription before it expires to avoid being charged.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you contact Skillshare within 7 days after your payment has been processed, they’ll refund your annual membership fees.

For more information on membership pricing in your region, you need to create an account. If you are an existing member, you can check your current price on the payments page.

Certainly. In fact, Skillshare offers discounts to nonprofits and schools through its Teams plan.

The 4 Best Free Skillshare Courses for Mastering a New Skill (2024)


Is there something like Skillshare for free? ›

Coursera. Coursera provides universal access to the world's best education, partnering with top universities and organizations to offer courses for anyone to take, for free. Categories in common with Skillshare: Technical Skills Development.

Can you get Skillshare courses for free? ›

No, Skillshare classes and online courses are not entirely free to students. However, you can get unlimited access to its premium courses and exclusive content for a huge discount, a one-month free trial period, and one year of free premium membership.

Is Skillshare free worth it? ›

Is Skillshare Free Trial Worth It? Skillshare is a good online learning platform. The free trial offers a unique opportunity to get access to thousands of high-quality classes without any commitment, so yes, it's definitely worth it.

Is Skillshare or masterclass better? ›

If you're looking for a more affordable option with a broader range of courses, Skillshare may be the better choice. However, if you're interested in learning from celebrity instructors and want a more immersive learning experience, Masterclass may be the way to go.

Is there something better than Skillshare? ›

Udemy. Udemy offers a huge collection of courses from instructors around the world. It stands out as one of the best Skillshare alternatives and features courses in 75+ languages.

What is better than masterclass? ›

If you are looking for a platform that offers engaging courses—courses that are usually taught live—by instructors who will engage and challenge you until you meet your personal and professional goals, Maven is the #1 alternative to Masterclass.


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