There are several things that you can do ahead of time
to help you assimilate the learning that you are seeking.
If you are serious about learning photography, I suggest that you embark on your own "Head Start" program. It is a government program that provides early schooling (pre-kinder) to children so that they can perform better in their later school years.
Depending on where you live, plan to spend some time visiting your local, city or state museum. If portraiture is the direction that you want to go, spend some time studying the works of Peter Paul Rubens or Raphael. In my book, they are the best interpreters of the human form.
Study how they use the light. After all, photography in Greek means painting with light. Remember "photons" in photography. Study also how these artists position their subjects, what props they use, how the torso is positioned, the shoulders, hips, hands and just as importantly, the fingers.
If there is more than one person in the painting, study how the subjects relate to each other.
It may be necessary that you develop leadership skills, because when you are doing portrait photography, either for individuals or groups, you must be ready to “direct” the session. You have to become like a movie director in a Hollywood set.
Another more contemporary artist is Norman Rockwell. He is also outstanding in portraying the human form. An alternative to visiting museums, if that represents a chore, is to go to your local or main library and check out books that contain the works of these artists.
Once you have spent a decent amount of time studying these artists, you will position yourself to better assimilate whatever instructional channels you decide to pursue.