Get us in your inbox

Photograph: Courtesy Chase Guttman

The 10 best photography classes in NYC

Up your photo game with the best photography classes in NYC

Written by
Howard Halle
Michele Herrmann
Alex Floyd-Douglass
Camila Karalyte

Nowadays, you'll see almost everyone on the streets with their phones out, thinking they're professional photographers, trying to capture the perfect foodie pic or landmark landscape for their Insta'. No shade though, smartphone cameras are pretty good when it comes to photo quality, and many of us are talented enough to get a great shot - even if we use filters that fix everything (no judgment here). 

NYC is a photographer's wet dream. Whether it’s iconic buildings, stunning city views, beautiful churches, pretty parks or even incredible dishes and cocktails at the best restaurants and best bars in the city, you can get great shots of them all to share on social media. But for those who want to learn how to really capture the best pics, here are the best photography classes in NYC to get you started. Lights, camera, action. 

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to classes in NYC

This article includes affiliate links. These links have no influence on our editorial content. For more information, click here.

Best photography classes in NYC

Penumbra Foundation
Courtesy: coursehorse

1. Penumbra Foundation

Penumbra Foundation is a non-profit photographic arts organization with a mission to bring the opportunity to learn skills and educate people in a diverse and evolving international photographic community. They have several courses like Introduction to Lighting and Creating Narrative Through Still Life Photography, plus many others, all helping people of various skill levels learn more techniques within the photography world. Classes are taught in small groups to help ensure everyone gets 1-on-1 help from the teacher. 

PhotoUno Photography School
Photograph: Courtesy PhotoUno Photography School

2. PhotoUno Photography School

This school caters to budding photographers and photo hobbyists, giving them both coursework and a confidence boost. 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.

Photograph: Shutterstock

3. PhotoManhattan

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.

  • Art
  • Photography
  • Midtown West

Explore the urban jungle camera in hand with this unique experience that combines city walking tours with lessons on how to capture the best photos while you're on the go. Tours take you to Central Park, Times Square, the Brooklyn Bridge, the NYC subway and many other destinations. Classes include a three-day intensive Photo Boot Camp under the direction of photographic pros who teach you the finer points of camera settings, composition skills and other improvements to your photography chops as you snap away at famous landmarks and icons of NYC.

JP Teaches Photo
Photograph: Courtesy JP Teaches Photo

5. 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.

Art of Intuitive Photography
Courtesy: coursehorse

6. Art of Intuitive Photography

Open to all levels and experience, The Art of Intuitive Photography focuses on enhancing your instinct and intuition regarding photography, helping you to learn how to see things differently and improving your compositions. There are beginner classes available, as well as ones for more experienced photographers. Taught in small groups to ensure everyone has equal opportunity to grow their expertise and skill.


New York Institute of Photography
Photography: Courtesy David Corio

7. 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 programs ranging 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.

  • Things to do
  • Schools and universities
  • Lower East Side

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.

  • Art
  • Photography
  • Gowanus

So film photography is dead, right? Not so fast. Gowanus Darkroom is keeping the craft alive with classes that will teach you all the finer points of how to mix chemicals, develop negatives, and properly use an enlarger to make prints. Digital scanners are also available if that's your jam.

  • Art
  • Photography
  • Midtown West

Are you ready to take of that set of training wheels called automatic mode on your camera and take pictures like a real pro? Does the idea of taking to the skies and learning the art of drone photography get you stoked? Are you itching to take your camera into the streets, and nail that perfect shot on the fly? Well here's some good news: You can learn all of those and and more at the various photo classes being offered as part of NYU's continuing education program.

Looking for more creative classes?

    You may also like
    You may also like