How to build photography skills?
September 2, 2010 9:04 AM   Subscribe

Any great photography programs or schools in NYC?

My friend has great interest in photography; he's been doing photography as a hobby since 1995 but took 2-5 year break on it. My friend has been using a N75 camera for a quite awhile but at the moment, he's trying to learn to use a digital camera (D3000).

Recently, after several suggestions from friends, he wants to start making photography as a career or at least as a side job. However, he wants to build basic and essential skills to be consider an overall great photographer (He's star

Is there any institutions that specializes in photography? Preferably a college program but any affordable program in the NYC area will do. In addition, is there any useful websites or ANYTHING that could help build his skills to become an exceptional photographer?
posted by delasoull to Education (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The following online 'institutions' have been very helpful to me in stepping up my photography skills.

Also Adobe Lightroom is a great product.
posted by stealabove at 9:32 AM on September 2, 2010

The International Center of Photography has classes, but are expensive. Some of those instructors also teach at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology), a public college - look up the course catalogs for both and see if you can find some matches.
posted by Calloused_Foot at 9:33 AM on September 2, 2010

There's this post from the other day.

I highly recommend the classes at the International Center of Photography. Your friend should also try the extension programs at the local colleges (NYU, e.g.) , plus the 92nd St. Y.

Honestly, there are a million places to be taught photography in NYC. I can't imagine a better place to learn.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 9:35 AM on September 2, 2010

by college program, do you mean he just wants to take college-level classes, or that he wants to get a degree? if the latter, sva, parsons and nyu all have bfa in photography programs.
posted by lia at 9:35 AM on September 2, 2010

It looks like SVA's school for continuing education has beginner digital Photography classes -- that would probably be a great program for your friend to look into.

As for full undergraduate courses...

My understanding is that NYU's photography program, part of the Tisch School for the Arts, is excellent. I graduated from undergraduate film and television (another Tisch department) in 2003, and found it to have exceptional professors, equipment, facilities and resources. It would certainly be worth looking into, if your friend is interested in an undergraduate program.

HOWEVER, some major (mostly obvious) reservations:

1) NYU is not cheap and I've found it to be pretty stingy with scholarships, although many of my friends were on financial aid.

2) Tisch is not easy to get into, and your friend will need to put together a really strong portfolio.

3) This would be a huge commitment, and I wouldn't encourage it unless he's dead set on photography as a career.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 10:01 AM on September 2, 2010

2p from an amateur who is "self trained":

Here's a website I sometimes pass on to aspiring photographers:

That will help with the technical side of photography; with the aesthetic side I'd suggest just looking at pictures he likes, then try to disect/re-create them.

If he's looking into photoography as a career, he might also want to take courses on business as well if he's going the self-employed route. Point him at and read up the articles and discussions there.

Just with any skill, keep on practicing, keep on trying to learn new stuff, be humble, and never ever give up looking at the world through a different set of eyes.
posted by TrinsicWS at 12:29 PM on September 2, 2010

My daughter took photography classes at FIT as mentioned by a poster above. She loved it and thought it was a help. She is big into fashion photography currently 17 years old.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 12:52 PM on September 2, 2010

nthing ICP -- I took a one-year program there, which was great. It had a focus on art photography, and there's another yearlong program with a documentary focus. But even if your friend is looking to do more commercial, fashion, or editorial photography, there are individual classes there that are taught by great instructors.
posted by lisa g at 1:46 PM on September 2, 2010

FIT's photography program has a good reputation. It's very commercially focused. They have (I believe) a part-time and/or evening program. The first degree is an AA degree, then you have to reapply to the BFA program.

The application process for an undergraduate is rather daunting and competitive, and includes a home test. He should contact the admissions office if he's interested and start working on his application ASAP.

It's a very affordable school, it's part of the SUNY system.
posted by the young rope-rider at 4:25 PM on September 2, 2010

Tell your friend to start from the start: read Ansel Adams' The Negative and learn about the Zone System. Though I'd recommend starting with a basic manual camera and the cheapest B&W film [s]he can find, the Zone System is equally applicable to digital photography.
posted by tapesonthefloor at 3:57 PM on September 3, 2010

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