Isn’t it time to up your photo game? Sure, camera phones make it easier than ever to take pictures, but there’s a whole lot more to photography than snapping selfies or other stuff to post on Instagram. Indeed, New York City is full of subjects that deserve better photographic treatment than that, from imposing buildings and magnificent parks to myriad streets and iconic landmarks. So if you want to do more than just point and shoot with your iPhone, there are plenty of workshops and schools that will teach you the skills you need to master the medium—including how to set shutter speed, use editing software or, if you want to go old school, learn darkroom techniques for developing images on film. To find out where, look no further that our guide to the best photography classes NYC has to offer. And while you're at it, check out our recommendations for the best places to gear up with all your photography needs.
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.
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).
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).
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.
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. Prices for classes range from $100 to $180, and include materials and equipment.
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.
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 during five daytime and three night-time shooting sessions. You'll learn to work with various subjects including, landscape, architecture and street scenery. Small group excursions are also available, as are camera and other equipment rentals.