Want to take photography classes? NYC not only provides the picturesque backdrop for photo taking, it’s also a great resource for educating yourself on shutter speeds or editing software. Whether you’re serious about building a solid portfolio for photography art shows or just want to improve your Instagrams, here are photography and art classes that can teach you a thing or two about getting that perfect shot (after picking up gear at the best camera stores).
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to classes in NYC
Best photography classes in NYC
With more than 400 courses offered a year, the curriculum at this school runs the gamut, ranging from digital media and darkroom practice to certificate and degree programs. Classes are offered throughout the year, with accelerated courses in January and the summertime, weekend workshops and one-day intensives. Plus its state-of-the-art facility with black-and-white and color labs, digital labs and a professional shooting studio and a distinguished faculty encompassing videographers, journalists and editors really bring creative expertise to the forefront.
With photography programs offered at the undergraduate and graduate level as well as non-matriculated Continuing Education courses, this school emphasizes a hands-on approach to digital technologies in the classroom and beyond. Courses are offered year-round, from one-day workshops to full semester courses to an immersive Summer Residency Program in Photography, all of which bring students into contact with an array of international image-makers to prepare them for the professional world of photography.
JP Teaches Photo
Led by professional photographer JP Pullos and his team of instructors, this photo school enrolls students who want to promote their business visually or are merely avid lovers of photography. Group and online courses plus private lessons match up with those interests by addressing common scenarios that budding shutterbugs often encounter. Instead of applying memorization and technical jargon, courses take on an intuitive learning method involving a mix of class instruction and field practice. Along with traditional course subjects, educational offerings include a 10-week Photography Bootcamp and seasonal listings like a holiday lights class. (347-861-6942, jpteachesphoto.com).
PhotoUno Photography School
This school caters to budding photographers and photo hobbyists, giving them both coursework and a confidence boost. Class sizes stay small—under 10 students at most—and the schedule gets flexible with weekday start times going from morning to night (certain weekend offerings are available too). Newbies can start off with lessons on getting better acquainted with their equipment and then take on subsequent course levels on composition, exposure, editing and building a portfolio. There are also courses designed for kids and teens, and seasonal classes and workshops extend to travel, street photography and landscapes. 222 E 46 St (646-398-7939, photouno.com).
New York Institute of Photography
With its office based in Manhattan, this photography school conducts courses online that are open students around the world who want to go pro or just further their skill set. Currently, the institute offers 10 programs, from a beginner’s course on the fundamentals of digital photography to more niche subject such as travel, portraiture and weddings. Video making and photo editing are also included in its digital catalog. Sessions are designed to run at the pupil’s pace; signups and start-times can occur anytime. The instructors, who are professional photographers, offer feedback on projects and guidance on building portfolios. 192 Lexington Ave (800-583-1736, nyip.edu).
This electronics store on Ninth Avenue puts on an ongoing series of creative-focused educational seminars and lectures at its store’s event space area or alternate locations—and they’re all free! Led by photo veterans or industry specialists, sessions can encompass tips and techniques, new products, photo walks and even non-gear related talks such as advice on running a photography business or successful self-promotion. Advance registration is suggested, but B&H also live streams its events and archives the recordings on its YouTube channel. A portfolio development program is also offered for photographers seeking to develop or hone a body of work.
The costs associated with pursuing photography can add up, so this school emphasizes its rewards program and discounted rates. Classes are tailored to suit various skill levels, from amateurs to the more advanced, including a course on Digital Photography I—Mastering the Fundamentals. For those who have the basics down, instruction can get specified in areas like weddings and events, landscape, street photography, portraiture, TTL Flash and video. There’s also a strong emphasis on the technical side of photo taking, such as instruction in editing with Photoshop and Lightroom. Classes can be taken in person at the studios or online, with options for private one-on-one instruction or intensive learning sessions also offered. 51 W 14th St (212-929-3302, photomanhattan.com).
For photo-loving hobbyists, this crowd-sourced education center in Brooklyn’s Prospect Heights usually schedules a few introductory courses per season. For example, its Intro to DSLR Photography class tackles better picture taking and guidance on using your camera’s exposure controls and capture modes—so be sure to bring your equipment! In-person classes are capped at around 10 students, and often teaching these photo courses is David Samuel Stern, a Brooklyn-based photographer and NYC artist.