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Photography School at the New York Film Academy

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Overview of the Photography School

Photography is an art form and a way of seeing the world; it’s also the most popular hobby on the planet. But great art can only be created through the vision of an artist who has mastered the broad technical and aesthetic challenges that require every photographer to make dozens of split-second decisions about shutter speed, aperture, ISO, composition, focal length, gesture, and the precise moment of exposure when capturing a photograph. In today’s digital environment, possessing a mastery of digital darkroom tools—namely those available in Adobe Photoshop—is as essential a skill as learning to frame a shot. Through the New York Film Academy's photography courses, these decisions and skills become instinctive through the intensive training provided by our celebrated faculty of award-winning industry professionals. Leveraging a network of working photographers, editors, publishers, curators, and potential employers, students are exposed to the entire ecosystem of professional photography and will be prepared to enter it with the confidence that can only come from hands-on experience.

A photo of a woman and a cat sleeping At the New York Film Academy, students receive comprehensive instruction in the aesthetics, techniques, and business of photography through hands-on, experiential assignments while learning to use state-of-the-art technology, equipment, and software. Our MFA and BFA Programs, One- and Two-Year Conservatories, and Short Term Workshops are all designed for students beginning their education in photography and for those interested in improving existing skills to advance their careers.

Our Philosophy

The Photography School’s philosophy is simple: we train students to produce consistently excellent work on-demand. We give students the tools to achieve their personal vision through photography, and the guidance to turn their passion into a profession.

The Faculty at the Photography School

Part of the reason that students enrolling in the Photography School are so well-prepared to enter the field is that they are taught by working professionals. The members of the photography faculty represent the broad range of avenues available to photographers, with many of the faculty themselves straddling the line between commercial and editorial photography assignments while working on their own fine art photography. Each faculty member is carefully selected to represent different points of view, working methods, and experiences.

As active players in the contemporary photography industry and art world, faculty members are able to provide students with the most up-to-date information on the field, including the current realities of the marketplace, business strategy, and working methods. Furthermore, for students who fully apply themselves in their photography classes, our faculty can also provide contacts and professional networking that will greatly help students upon the completion of a workshop or program.

What Makes the Photography School Different?

A man plays a tuba while a boy watches Our students say it’s the clear, practical quality of the instruction; the supportive, no-nonsense environment; the hands-on classes; and the chance to practice every major genre of photography with aesthetic and technical guidance from world class instructors—all while shooting in some of the most exciting locations in the world. Students also mention how working in a collaborative learning environment with classmates from all over the world is a life-changing experience. Furthermore, in response to industry trends, students learn not only to shoot still photographs, but also become comfortable shooting high-definition video.

Perhaps most importantly, students leave the New York Film Academy with a portfolio of spectacular images, technical expertise, sophisticated aesthetic sensibilities, and a practical understanding of the business of photography.

Finding Your Voice at the Photography School

One of the key aspects of finding success as a photographer is developing the ability to take pictures that are immediately recognizable as being the work of that particular photographer. At the New York Film Academy’s Photography School, faculty members make it a priority to help students develop a distinctive identity and creative voice. While it is certainly a priority to ensure that students obtain a mastery of the craft, this is only part of the equation. Ultimately, students need to be able to take truly compelling photographs and create a body of work that, no matter how disparate in its subject matter, still retains an unmistakable quality that makes it uniquely identifiable. Students are taught to embrace what makes them iconic and even eccentric, as those are the qualities that will make them stand out in an extremely crowded field. Finally, they learn the invaluable skill of being able to take assignment-appropriate, one-of-a-kind photographs on demand, a skill that directly translates to the demands of the marketplace.

Real World Preparation

At the Photography School, students receive more than just training in shooting photos. In addition to learning the art, history, and craft of photography, an emphasis is also placed on preparing students to run their own business. Since the vast majority of photographers are self-employed entrepreneurs in a competitive and challenging industry, students planning on becoming full-time photographers need to prepare themselves for the real world challenges they will face. As working professionals themselves, faculty members are able to help students anticipate the many difficulties that come with working as a full-time photographer. Students must be prepared to pitch ideas, set budgets, find locations, cast models, self-promote, and much more.

In addition, students are taught the art of negotiation. At each presentation of a student’s work, faculty will coach students in personal presentation, vocal projection, and body language so as to best present themselves to editors, curators, clients, and publishers. Students learn how to price their work and value themselves as professionals in order to realize their artistic and professional goals. Through simulating and rehearsing the many facets of obtaining and executing a job again and again, students gain a genuine sense of confidence about themselves and their work, which is a crucial element to achieving success in the field.

Success at the Photography School

With more and more individuals eager to label themselves as photographers due to the proliferation of equipment and technology, how can an aspiring student get the most out of their time at the Photography School? First and foremost, students should have a genuine passion for the medium, and be willing to throw themselves headfirst into assignments. While students enter the school with different levels of experience, those who get the most out of our programs and workshops are those who are committed and unafraid to learn from their mistakes. Secondly, students should have an excellent work ethic, as they will be challenged to manage their time between in-class lectures and critiques and being out in the field completing their assignments. Finally, students need to focus on developing their own point of view by finding the strength to be themselves and capture the world as they see it. By embracing these qualities, students have a much better chance at turning their time at the Photography School into a real career.

Programs and Workshops

The Photography School provides many avenues for individuals interested in photography to cultivate their passion, learn the fundamentals, and decide if pursuing a career in photography is right for them. To accommodate the many different types of photographers out there, we offer a range of full-time and part-time programs and photography workshops for prospective students.

  • Masters of Fine Arts Program: A four-semester, two-year graduate program located at our Los Angeles campus, the Photography School’s MFA program is structured to provide a new generation of visual artists. By immersing students in the history of photography, training them in both old and new photographic tools, and teaching them in real world skills, students emerge from the graduate program prepared to enter the photography industry.
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts Program: Over the course of eight semesters and three years, students enrolled in the BFA program at our Los Angeles campus have the unique opportunity to receive a thorough education in photography while also completing a general education in the liberal arts and sciences, providing them with well-rounded skill and knowledge sets with which to enter the market. Upon completion of the program, students will be prepared to enter the competitive Commercial, Fine Art, and Documentary Photography markets.
  • Two-Year Conservatory Program: For students looking to fully commit themselves to the development of their photography craft, the Two-Year Conservatory Program is an intensive, hands-on set of courses, workshops, and field work aimed at preparing aspiring photographers to confidently enter the marketplace. In addition to time spent in the classroom, students should expect to spend twenty to twenty-five hours a week completing homework assignments, preparing for their final portfolio and exhibition of their work.
  • One-Year Conservatory Program: Similar to the two-year program, this is a demanding and rigorous program with the goal of best preparing students to realize their professional goals as photographers. Available at both our New York City and Los Angeles campuses, students are not expected to have prior experience with photography, but the willingness to learn and commit themselves to developing their own unique artistic voice.
  • Eight-Week Digital Photography Workshop: Focusing on digital photography exclusively, the Eight-Week Digital Photography Workshop is offered at both our New York City and Los Angeles campuses. Photography School students are fully immersed in the aesthetic and technical aspects of still photography while learning the tools required to take amazing photographs and polish them through the use of Adobe Photoshop.
  • Four-Week Digital Photography Workshop: Shorter, but equally as rigorous as the eight-week workshop, this course is a fantastic opportunity for aspiring photographers to learn the fundamental skills and techniques required of digital photography while deciding if photography is a career path they wish to pursue. Offered at our campuses in New York City, Mumbai, India, and South Beach, Florida, students dive head first into the realm of still photography and learn how to create truly excellent images.
  • Twelve-Week Evening Photography Workshop: Designed for those individuals unable to commit themselves to one of our full-time programs, this rigorous workshop offers students the chance to learn core photography skills at our New York City and Los Angeles campuses. Students are taught the intricacies of every photographic genre, completing assignments in fine art, documentary, fashion, street photography, studio and location portraiture, editorial, and advertising while also learning to overcome the many technical challenges they encounter.

Looking for more information?

Please click on the individual programs above for detailed descriptions of the courses. We also encourage prospective students to visit our school to audit classes, meet faculty, see the facilities, interact with current students, and experience first-hand the New York Film Academy’s Photography School. If a prospective student is unable visit one of our locations, we encourage them to contact us and speak directly with our faculty and staff.

Please also visit our FAQ page, where prospective students can find answers to frequently asked questions. We look forward to helping make students’ dreams a reality!

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Photography School Blog
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* All MFA, BFA, BA, MA, and AFA degree programs are offered only at the New York Film Academy Los Angeles campus.

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