Industry Trends

Five Nature Photographers Everyone Should Know

The awesome, majestic beauty of nature has given inspiration to photographers since the very beginning of the artform, no doubt evolved from centuries of paintings and drawings that drew upon similar landscapes.

Ansel Adams public domain

Photo: Ansel Adams

Some photographers have made careers out of focusing on nature. Even if your focus is more on portraiture, fashion, or urbanscapes, there is still plenty to learn from the images of these incredibly talented nature photographers:

Gene Stratton-Porter

Born in the late 19th century, Stratton-Porter grew up in Indiana and was an active nature photographer, as well as a novelist and silent-film producer. She was a vocal and strident conservationist, passionate about protecting the vulnerable environments she so lovingly captured in her work.

Ansel Adams

Born in San Francisco, Adams had the chance to live in one of the most naturally diverse states in America, photographing desert, nature, and the ocean scenes in his unique style. Like Stratton-Porter, he was a lifelong environmentalist, and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1980 for his work shooting national parks for the United States Department of the Interior.

Karen Lunney

Lunney is a Brisbane-born, contemporary photographer whose work explores transition, liminal space, and where one thing has ceased and another not yet started. She has won multiple awards for her work, many of which use stark black-and-white photography to capture animals and their migration, as well as ocean shores and the light of sunrise and sunset.

Oriana Koren

Los Angeles-based artist Oriana Koren has exhibited their work in several major publications, and is known for both photographs of food and celebrity portraits, among others; their nature photography however is some of the best in the contemporary scene. Koren uses their background in documentary photography to create embodied, attentive, and lucid imagery from around the world, making for incredible, fully-realized images of nature.

Eliot Porter

Eliot Porter is best known for his vibrant color photographs of nature, but it was birds specifically that first captured his eye as a young, amateur artist. Porter wasn’t just interested in imagery, he also delved deeply into cultural studies of many of the locations he’d capture on film. Porter traveled around the world to photograph ecologically important and culturally significant places, including Utah, Maine, Baja California, the Galápagos Islands, East Africa, Iceland, Mexico, Egypt, China, Czechoslovakia, Antarctica, and ancient Greek sites.

Ludovic Coutaud is a NYFA alum and writer. For more information, click here

6 Great Online Photo Magazines 

The internet and social media have made the world of photography simultaneously a smaller and a much larger place, creating countless online communities of visual artists who may have never been able to share their work or even collaborate before the digital age.

Photography Camera

Online photo magazines have no doubt sprung up, giving the world no shortage of places to find the work of amateurs and professionals alike. Some are extremely niche; while others are content to showcase the wide spectrum of the genres the medium provides. Here are six of the best photo magazines you can find online:

F-Stop A Photography Magazine

Founded by Christy Karpinski in 2003, this bi-monthly publication features contemporary photography from established and emerging photographers from around the world, with each issue having a theme or idea that unites the work presented to create a dynamic dialogue among the artists.

Social Documentary Network

Launched in 2008, Social Documentary Network (SDN) is for documentary photographers, editors, journalists, NGOs, lovers of photography and focuses on photography that plays an important role in educating people about the world and those curious of the human condition. SDN encourages work about joy, love, happiness, and ordinary life anywhere, as well as both societal problems and their solutions, recovery, peace, reconciliation, and rebuilding–provided the work is authentic, even if that means messy, awkward, filled with contradictions, or lacking answers.

1000 Words

Founded in 2008 by Tim Clark and nominated as Photography Magazine of the Year at the Lucie Awards in 2014 and 2016, this online contemporary photography publication looks to prove the age-old maxim, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” The magazine publishes photo book reviews, essays, exhibitions, and interviews that encompass every aspect of the photography world.

Bokeh Bokeh

Bokeh Bokeh was founded by David Garnick and is named after bokeh, the aesthetic quality of the blur produced in the out-of-focus parts of an image produced by a lens that helps separate the subject from the background in photographic works. The online mag features all photographic genres, including fine art, documentary, portraiture, and street, with an emphasis on work that is original, beautiful, and startling. 


Launched in 2008, Burn is an evolving journal for emerging photographers that is curated by founder and Magnum co-operative member David Alan Harvey. This uplifting artistic magazine showcases photos full of hope, eagerness, and a desire to share in one another’s experience, publishing new stories or singles at least two times per week.


LensCulture has a simple, self-described mission: to discover the best of contemporary photography and share it with the largest audience possible. For over fifteen years, this magazine has been highlighting creatives and professionals in the industry, from over 160 countries, seeking to boost their exposure to the larger community through awards, exhibitions in major cities, festival screenings, and books.

Ludovic Coutaud is a NYFA alum and writer. For more information, click here

5 Books on Photography Everyone Should Read

While there are plenty of YouTube tutorials and other digital media on every minutiae of photography, sometimes it helps to turn to good old-fashioned books. Whether it’s on equipment, fundamentals, or specific artists, there are countless books every photographer can learn from. Here are just a few you should check out next time you’re at the library or browsing through Amazon:

Women of Vision: National Geographic Photographers on Assignment
by National Geographic Society

Women of Vision showcases the stunning work of women photographers from the first decade of the 21st century, from the Iraq War to the Jersey Shore and everything in between. The riveting results of photo assignments presented here are introduced by National Geographic editor-in-chief Chris Johns, with a foreword by journalist Ann Curry.

Vivian Maier: Street Photographer
by Vivian Maier

Many people discovered photographer Vivian Maier through the 2013 documentary Finding Vivian Maier, but this book allows you to spend as much time as you need with each of her indelible images. The street photographer with a one-of-a-kind point of view only became well-known posthumously, but her work is now immortal in the pages of this work.

by Jaime Permuth

For those looking for a more specific collection of photos, look no further than Yonkeros, a series of works by New York Film Academy instructor
Jaime Permuth documenting the “Iron Triangle,” an area of New York filled with scrapyards. The photos bring to life an overlooked world where first-world trash is recycled and handled by working class people who live and work in the Iron Triangle.

The Lens: A Practical Guide for the Creative Photographer
by N.K. Guy

This simple yet informative book is a straightforward guide for all types of photographers looking for the right lens for the right image. While it may not serve as a beach read, it’s a great reference to keep on your shelf that you can turn to when planning your next shoot.

The Photographer’s Story: The Art of Visual Narrative
by Michael Freeman

Once you’ve mastered the technical fundamentals of photography, you’ll still need to learn how to present your art in a meaningful and engaging way that does your images, and your story justice. The book is a thoroughly modern one, working in how digital media, online galleries, tablets, and the trend of photo-essays all come into play when figuring out how to showcase your work in the contemporary scene.

photography tips and hacks

Keeping photography books in your library is always a good idea–but of course everything starts with a solid background in the art and craft of the medium. If you’re interested in studying photography, check out the programs New York Film Academy has to offer here.

Ludovic Coutaud is a NYFA alum and writer. For more information, click here

Street Photography to Use as Inspiration

There comes a point in time when every photographer faces a creative block, whether is it general frustration with capturing the perfect moment or not being satisfied with your photos. Some photographers might only feel creative when they are traveling; others may struggle with finding a fresh angle when photographing their usual subjects or genres.

You may be wondering how you can get out of your creative rut. Why not borrow from street photography?

We have some tips below to help you get in the zone and try out new methods to inspire your photography:

Shoot with a New Camera

Sometimes, using a new piece of equipment can really give you new perspective and liven up your street photography. It is possible that your shooting style will change as well when shooting with a new camera. If you use a digital camera, try using film, and vice versa.

Borrow a camera from a friend, or if you are up for a challenge, try shooting with a smartphone. You may be surprised with the results.

Try a Different Focal Length

A different focal length will change your point of view and help you see things through a fresh perspective. If you are used to shooting with a 50mm lens, then trying using a 35mm lens. It will force you to get closer to your subject and shoot more dramatic photos.

Change POV

Try changing your point of view to shake up your habits and push yourself out of your comfort zone as a photographer. For example, if you have a habit of taking photos from the ground, also known as “rat’s eye view,” try taking photos from a high level looking down at your subject. Different angles will allow you to see new things that you may have not noticed before.

Create a Project

Here’s a good long-term challenge that will get you outside and force you to find a way to see new things in the everyday. Find a new, interesting spot in your city or town and photograph it every day at the same time. Photograph it for a year, and at the end of the year, do a comparison of photos. Through your photographs, you will be able to see all the interesting things that were happening at that spot on a daily basis.

What do you do when you are in a creative rut? Let us know below how street photography inspires you! Learn more about Photography at New York Film Academy. If you’re ready to take the next step, apply here.

Photography Studios to Follow: Social Media Roundup

When it comes to artistic practice, every creative professional knows that staying true to your own style is pivotal in not only transforming your individual works into a brand but also maintaining artistic integrity. That said, perfecting your photography is rarely done without external influences and drawing inspiration from other photographers, so keeping an eye on current studio trends is always important — not to mention that it can give you some great ideas for your next shoot! So here is a roundup of some of the most influential photography studios to follow on social media:

Acme Brooklyn

Instagram: @acmebrooklyn

Twitter: @ACMEBrooklyn

Facebook: @AcmeBrooklyn

ACME Brooklyn is comprised of ACME Studio in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and ACME Props in Bushwick, Brooklyn. They offer studio space for rent as well as a prop house with a unique collection of props, furniture, and flats. As well as a 4,000 square foot studio with easy access via a private loading dock, the studio also offers a hair and makeup vanity and stylist area.

Milk Studios

Instagram: @milk

Twitter: @MilkStudios

Facebook: @MilkStudiosNY

According to their lively Instagram feed, “Milk is a culturally conscious company built to enable creative expression and collaboration.” Besides the incredible projects from music videos to modelling shoots, Milk invites participation. In March 2018, they launched a celebration of their community with a virtual road trip under the hashtag #GenderDiaries, asking people to submit their own gender photos. Along with studios for rent in both Los Angeles and New York, Milk also offers event production services internationally and hosts exhibitions at their own gallery in Manhattan.  

Root Studios

Instagram: @rootstudios

Twitter: @RootStudios

Facebook: @ROOT.NYC.BKN

Root Studios are a premier photo house offering studio space, equipment, events, digital, motion, creative production and rentals. Their main studio is located in the heart of New York City’s Gallery District with a full equipment room and digital capture services. Their newest addition in Brooklyn, NYC also offers four pristine rental spaces with all of the Manhattan style amenities.

Smashbox Studios

Instagram: @smashboxstudios

Twitter: @smashboxstudios

Facebook: @SmashboxStudios

Founded in 1991 by Dean and Davis Factor, the great grandsons of makeup artist Max Factor, Smashbox has earned a reputation among the industry as a hub for world class photographers and directors who produce content for major magazines, music and entertainment projects, and ad campaigns. Along with their global cosmetics brand, Smashbox Cosmetics, the innovative brothers have created iconic spaces within their two locations – having five studios in their LA space and one in Brooklyn, NYC, totaling 25,000 square feet.

FD Photo Studio

Instagram: @fdphotostudio

Twitter: @FDPhotoStudio

Facebook: @FDPhotoStudio

FD Photo Studio offers 23 stages totaling 36,000 square feet in one LA studio. Their point of difference lies in their competitive prices for rental space whilst specializing in producing high quality content around fashion and beauty, headshots, and ad campaigns. They also host events for photographers as well as offering high-end retouching on client projects.

Magnum Photos

Instagram: @magnumphotos

Twitter: @MagnumPhotos

Facebook: @MagnumPhotos

More of a photographer’s cooperative insofar as the collective works of photographers than a studio per se, this alliance was founded in 1947 by four pioneering photographers, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa, George Rodger, and David Seymour. Magnum represents many of the world’s most prestigious photographers and maintains its founding ideals with a mix of journalist, artist, and storyteller. With a vast international client base of media, charities, publishers and brands, it’s been providing content for almost 70 years that chronicles world events, people, culture, and places that redefines history. According to their website, “when you picture an iconic image, but can’t think who took it or where it can be found, it probably came from Magnum.”

Ready to learn more about photography? Check out our program offerings at the Photography School at New York Film Academy.

NYFA Photography School Dishes on Favorite Vintage Photography

Most of us who fall in love with photography remember the moment we saw a specific image that changed the way we see the world. Whether the “Afghan girl” on the cover of National Geographic or the WWII sailor kissing the nurse in Times Square, many images have stamped their mark not only on our hearts, but on history.

In photography, the industry moves fast — but that doesn’t mean that powerful images can’t stand the test of time. In fact, vintage photographs (images more than 20 years old) are a vital part of shaping our understanding of photography as an artform, and learning to see the world a bit differently.

This week, we asked our NYFA Photography School to weigh in on their favorite classic photographers and their favorite vintage photographs. Check out what they had to say!

NYFA Photography Senior Program Coordinator John Tona:

Armed with nothing more than his 35mm camera, LIFE’s Robert Capa joined the 34,250 troops who landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day.

Although only a few images survived that day, his most iconic image of Private First Class Huston Riley gave the world a view of the dangers faced by soldiers during war:


Image © Robert Capa Normandy France June 6th, 1944

What makes this image even more impactful for me is the perspective in which Capa made this photograph, turning his back to the Nazis to capture Riley making his way through the surf toward the enemy.

NYFA Instructor Jackie Neale:

Robert Frank would be my favorite photographer of yore.

Robert Frank’s photographs from his book, “The Americans” (1958), display 35mm vernacular photography at its best. Frank framed and captured time as if we, the viewer, happened into the remarkable split second just as the persons, the wall, the ceiling, the car, the baby, the cowboy, the bus all orchestrate themselves into lyrical narratives of space, geometry, timing, contrast, gestures, and humanly beauty.

Frank mastered timing and the abstraction of time all at once. Robert Frank is my favorite photographer and his work from over a half century is a glowing example of making the photograph into a relic and revealed object of art.

NYFA Instructor Paul Sunday:

My favorite “vintage” photography is that of Man Ray:

Copyright: © Man Ray Trust ARS-ADAGP

Copyright: © Man Ray Trust ARS-ADAGP

His enthusiastic experimentation early in the last century set the stage for the future of photography’s infinite possibilities. He was an interdisciplinary artist and, in his photography, a great adventurer — exploring every aspect of the form, from portraiture to abstraction.

NYFA Instructor Jaime Permute:

Growing up in Guatemala, we did not have access to photographic schools such as the New York Film Academy. We were all essentially self-taught. We pored over photographic books and magazines and tried to befriend more established photographers in our efforts to learn the tools of the trade. I was lucky that my father was an avid photographer himself and had a substantial library at home. This is how, even without ever meeting him personally, Manuel Alvarez Bravo became one of my great teachers. During my teenage years, his monograph “Instante y Revelación” was my constant companion.

Alvarez Bravo is Mexico’s most famous photographer. His life spans exactly 100 years and it begins and ends with the 20th century. Alvarez Bravo had a prolific and distinguished career. His circle of intimate friends include some of the most notable writers and artists of his times: Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Octavio Paz, Edward Weston, Tina Modotti, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Andre Breton, Sergei Eisenstein and many others.

Alvarez Bravo is most commonly understood in the context of surrealism. However, one might also argue that his work is essentially documentary in nature and that the reality of Mexico itself lends his photographs their mysterious and dreamlike quality. My greatest debt to Alvarez Bravo is his understanding of the poetics of image-making and how artistic intention reveals the other side of reality, the one that lies hidden and out of sight, beyond the mere surface of things.

NYFA Instructor Joan Pamboukes:

One of my favorite artists and major influences is László Moholy-Nagy.

I’ve always loved to read and learn about Moholy-Nagy’s experimentations not only in the darkroom but also with other types of media (especially his Light Space Modulators, these kooky sculptures that made colorful light patterns).

He was something of a mad scientist, an innovative thinker, and an educator at the Bauhaus. He encouraged photographers and his students, as part of the New Vision, to witness and document the world in unexpected ways, utilizing strange vantage points and abstracting reality. He also embraced technology and sought to incorporate that into his artwork.

You can find more information about his life and work from the Moholy-Nagy Foundation.

NYFA Instructor Kristina S. Varaksina:

Photography by Lewis Carroll

Photograph by Lewis Carroll

Lewis Carroll
, the famous writer, was also an incredibly talented photographer. He made a big contribution to the development of children’s portrait and fashion photography. He often worked with sets, props, and wardrobes. To this day, similar ideas can be found in many photographers’ work. His ability to capture natural emotions and the mature side of children is fascinating.

His long career as a photographer (1856-1880) coincides with the “Golden Era” of 19th century photography, which centered on the wet collodion “wet plate” negative process and the corresponding positive albumen print process.

What are your favorite vintage photos? Who are your favorite master photographers from the past? Why? Let us know in the comments below! And learn more about photography at the New York Film Academy.

National Selfie Day: 3 Fun Facts About Selfies

The selfie has become more than just a contemporary phenomenon: It may go down as one of the defining features of the 21st century. We have phones specially designed for selfies, social media would not be the same without selfies, and even if we claim to hate selfies, we’ve all taken part in them. From the “I woke up like this” no-makeup selfies that make bad hair look so fashionable to “group-fies” with friends and families, the average selfie is a ubiquitous part of daily life.

As you gear up for National Selfie Day, here’s a short history of this cultural trend…

1. The Selfie Was Actually Invented in 1839

Screenshot 2017-06-07 13.20.38
So it’s not that recent a phenomenon after all!

American photographer Robert Cornelius took a daguerreotype of himself in 1839 and even wrote on the back ‘the first light Picture ever taken.’ (Pity, the word selfie wasn’t in use then.)

The trend of taking self-portraits with a camera became gradually more popular in the 20th century. Without the use of zoom lens or selfie sticks, it was a cumbersome process, aided with mirrors, tripods or other props.

When the instant Polaroid cameras arrived, more and more people began to experiment with photography as a hobby and a way of preserving certain life events. The habit even made its way into the movies, such as the 1991 film “Thelma & Louise,” where the two lead characters use a Polaroid camera to take what we now call a ‘selfie’ before embarking on a disastrous road trip.

2. The Word “Selfie” Was Actually Invented By A Drunk Man in 2002

Screenshot 2017-06-07 13.22.01
In Australia, Sept. 13, 2002, in an internet forum there appeared the following post by Nathan Hope:
Um, drunk at a mates 21st, I tripped ofer (sic) and landed lip first (with front teeth coming a very close second) on a set of steps. I had a hole about 1cm long right through my bottom lip. And sorry about the focus, it was a selfie.

Mr. Hope however denied coining the term, claiming it was a common slang. Over the years, linguists have analyzed this phenomenon and pointed out that it is a typical feature of the Australian language to shorten words and end them with “ie,” citing how “barbeque” and “postman” become “barbie” and “postie” respectively in local usage.

Soon enough there came mobile phones with front-facing cameras, and the world was never the same again.

3. “Selfie” Became The Word Of The Year In 2003

Screenshot 2017-06-07 13.19.37
The Oxford English Dictionary announced “selfie” as the word of the year in November, 2013, sometime after it was first included in the online edition of the dictionary.

Meanwhile, there have been specific apps and filters created for taking and editing the perfect selfie, and the Oscar selfie of 2014 became the most retweeted image ever. Now, selfie sticks may be a thing of the past with the rising popularity of selfie drones.

Whether you think it is fun and empowering or you just feel it promotes narcissism, you cannot ignore the selfie, for it looks like the selfie is here to stay for a long time.

Interested in photography? Learn more at the New York Film Academy.

National Photography Month: Outdoor Fashion Photography


Every great photographer knows that there are multiple components to a successful outdoor fashion shoot. Whether you are doing a shoot in the alleys of New York or in a field of wheat in North Dakota, nailing down your subject’s outfits will help you with your outdoor fashion photography.

Students passionate about learning the ins and outs of a fashion shoot can get hands-on training and experience at the New York Film Academy’s 4-Week Fashion Photography Workshop. We also offer two fine arts degrees in photography — bachelor’s and master’s — as well as intensive conservatory-style programs. Our students will learn practical elements, and master technical and business practices to help them achieve their professional goals.       

If you’re already in the field and need some quick tips, here are some things to consider while you are preparing for your outdoor fashion photography shoot.

Research the Location


Don’t wait until the day of your shoot to pick out your location. If you have an idea of where you would like to shoot, scout out some spots days prior to the shoot. Make notes and plan out the frames that you want to take during the shoot.

Keep Your Model Comfortable


Make sure you get to know your model before the shoot to ensure that they will be a good fit for your project. It helps to establish a rapport, as you will be working closely together and will likely be offering your model directions during the shoot. You can help keep your model comfortable by establishing a connection beforehand and maintaining a professional, friendly environment that will keep their poses and expressions relaxed.

Use Natural Light


You should try to use natural light during your photo shoot, even though you can’t control the intensity of the sun and the direction of the natural light source. However, you can overcome this by placing the model correctly, which will help you achieve the amount and direction of light in a frame that you desire. If you can, avoid placing the model directly facing the sun because it will wash out the natural skin tone of your model and create deep or harsh shadows.


If you want to use artificial lighting, you can use a flashlight or studio lightning to underexpose the background. Using a light source directed toward the model allows you to control the direction of the light without causing spilling.

Use the Correct Lens


You should know what type of lens you will need for fashion photography — whether it’s a wide-angle or telephoto lens. If you choose to use a telephoto lens, your depth of field will be shallower and will be more flattering to your model. Wide-angle lens will allow you to capture everything in focus.  

Experiment With Camera Angles


Don’t be afraid to experiment with camera angles — you should never take photos at eye level for outdoor fashion photography. Try and position your camera so that the angle is high or low. This will allow you to get some out-of-the box frames with perspective while keeping focus on the model’s eyes.

For example, if you want to get a low-angle shot, have your model stand or climb up on a ladder or you can stand on the ladder to achieve a different perspective.

Do you have any tips for having a successful outdoor photographer shoot? Let us know below! And learn more about photography at the New York Film Academy!

7 Fashion Blogs Aspiring Photographers Should Follow Now

The internet has created a wonderful subculture for fashionistas, sartorialists, clothes-horses, and dandies of all stripes. Websites like Pinterest allow for people to pin inspiring or cool outfits in an easy to access place so they can look at it whenever the fancy strikes them, and image searches mean there’s a plethora of fashion to be ingested at any time.

However, as an aspiring fashion photographer, your interest in fashion runs even deeper. Which is most likely why you are always on the hunt for inspiration and fashion news, seeking something a little more curated. To aid your research for your next fashion photography shoot, New York Film Academy has rounded up a list of eight fashion blogs worth bookmarking, putting in your rss feed, or following on tumblr:



Started by podcaster extraordinaire Jesse Thorn, PUT THIS ON made its name as a premier place for vintage and American classics. If you’re a man looking to start dressing better or a photographer interested in menswear, PUT THIS ON has guides on everything from thrifting to belts.


Featuring a deep catalogue of street fashion photos for men and women, The Sartorialist has been an internet fashion mainstay since 2005. Scott Schuman’s blog has also spun off into books featuring international daily style. It’s a great resource for fresh, street-inspired ideas.



If you’re looking great high concept runway style, Runway Sass is the place for you. Keep up to speed on the fashion world’s runway trends. All of the Fashion Week 2016 posts are in an easy to access link at the top.



The first thing you http://hanahaley.tumblr.comnotice when you go to Hana Haley’s tumblr is the pink background. A NYC-based photographer/director in NYC who’s in love with “femininity and 35mm film,” Haley dominates her blog with pastels. Recently featured: a videoed trip to Cancun. It’s a nice way to juxtapose your fashion inspirations with lifestyle imagery and may give you some ideas for your next fashion photography shoot.



Steadily updated, this blog is about the beauty of indigenous fashion. As stated by the site’s duo of indigenous founders: “Indigenous artists and designers are still awfully underrepresented in the fashion, art and design business today, and often get passed by in favour of appropriative knock-offs by customers looking for ‘native’ or ‘indigenous’ art to wear or use.” Find inspiration in authentically created indigenous fashion.


Processed with VSCO with a4 preset

Processed with VSCO with a4 preset

Black Fashion is what it sounds like: pictures of black men, women, and nonbinary individuals dressed in their best. The blog even has separate sections for black fashion at prom, graduation, and with friends just hanging out.



The tumblr for ethical fashion based out of Guatemala, there’s plenty of photos of beautiful South American landscape and colorful Guatemalan designs.

Want to take your interest in fashion photography to the next level? Apply today for NYFA’s upcoming fashion photography workshops.

Your Photo Mojo: Photography Project Ideas to Tap Your Creativity

If you’re a NYFA photography student, you may be scrambling in your busy schedule to find inspiration and ideas to help you infuse new life and variety into your projects. You know that art directors and even gallerists are not looking for photography generalists; they are looking to hire or represent that person that has something no one else does, this is seen through a solid, concise body of work. In your quest to create a strong body of work, you may be feeling low on creative juice. So if you’re looking for new ideas on how to express yourself within your body of work, these project ideas may give you that extra spark.

To help you find additional ways to synthesize what you’re learning in class with hands-on application, we’ve come up with some fun suggestions for extra-curricular projects that can help you try new things, evolve and improve. These projects can inspire new ideas no matter what genre you enjoy shooting:

1. Sign Up For A 52 Week Challenge


There are many ways of doing this. You can easily search for “52 week photography prompts” online, make one yourself, or mix and match to suit your needs.

Once you’ve started a challenge, you can interpret the weekly “word” or theme both literally and metaphorically. Having a particular theme to work with each week not only allows you to explore the subject from a variety of perspectives, but also proves to be an entertaining and informative experience. For instance, if the word is “vanilla,” instead of food photography you may want to photograph the “vanilla” sky or different “vanilla” moods you can think of.

2. Experiment With Light


If you’re into abstract art photography, experimenting with light is a fun way to build a portfolio. Using different materials and lenses, try photographing refracting surfaces, light trails, light spirals, bubbles, oily refractions, disco lights, fireworks and firecrackers and even smoke. Alternatively, you can make “light” a theme for the day and try photographing the city at sunrise, at dusk, and at night. If you’re photographing the city at night, try doing a photo series on urban night life and so on.

3. Do a Self-Portrait Series


If you’re an introvert but want to build your skill at taking amazing portrait shots, do a series of self-portraits. Think about the words and ideas that best describe who you are and try to express that in a photograph. Or think about your relationship with society, factoring in issues of race, gender, class, religious affiliations, and interests, to paint a series of pictures about your life that can also work as a social commentary.

4. Try The 100 Strangers Project


Do you want to get over the fear of talking to random strangers and take some amazing candid shots as well? Then try the 100 Strangers Project! All you have to do is approach a random person, talk to them to discover their story, and then take a picture best representing them. Then, repeat it with 99 other people. Just remember: be safe!

5. Go on a Scavenger Hunt


You can do this on your own, collaborate with other photographers, or do it on a road trip with friends. All you have to do is make a list of things both physical and abstract, then look for them in real life to photograph them.

For instance, your list may be: gasoline rainbow, sunlight through broken glass, and desperate love. Giving yourself a specific focus and as you search for images representing these ideas will help you discover new possibilities and juxtapositions. Not only will this hone your photography skills, but also teach you to think unconventionally and pay closer attention to your surroundings.

We know you’re working intensively to build your body of original work while studying at NYFA’s Photography School, so we hope these additional project ideas can offer you a fun and engaging way to practice what you learn on your own time. Don’t be afraid to customize a project to suit your preferences, and make sure you have lots of fun.

Do you have some project ideas that you want to share? Interested in learning more about photography at New York Film Academy? Let us know in the comments below!


Names that Changed the Fashion Photography Industry Forever


When it comes to fashion, all the attention goes to the stunning outfits and gorgeous models who wear them. But without a talented photographer there to capture it all, it’s impossible to convey the allure and excitement of the apparel.

We’ve compiled a list of people who entered the fashion industry with a desire to give us a closer, more passionate look at the beautiful clothing and accessories available. Of all the great fashion photographers that have existed in our time, the following used their creativity and talent to provide images that not only generated sales but also influenced the next generations of photographers.

Helmut Newton (October 31, 1920 — January 23, 2004)


This award-winning fashion photographer changed Harper’s BAZAAR, Vogue, and other top fashion magazines across the globe. He pushed the envelope with his provocative black and white images that often featured nude models — a bold, controversial style in the early 20th century. Before becoming a photographer in Australia, Newton survived the Holocaust in Germany and was also imprisoned in Singapore for a time.

His greatest achievements include being awarded the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by France, the Grosses Bundesverdienstkreuz by Germany, and the Chevalier des Arts, Lettres et Science by Monaco. Newton was also given the Life Legend Award for Lifetime Achievement in Magazine Photography in 1999 by Life Magazine.

Richard Avedon (May 15, 1923 – October 1, 2004)


Richard Avedon is considered one of the most iconic fashion photographers ever to grace the industry. Using unconventional techniques and his unique style, he shook things up by photographing models that showed emotion and were in action. For this, his obituary read: “his fashion and portrait photographs helped define America’s image of style, beauty and culture for the last half-century.”

Avedon began as a staff photographer for Harper’s BAZAAR and rose to chief photographer. He eventually moved to Vogue and became the lead photographer, shooting memorable campaign ads for Calvin Klein Jeans and other top brands. Thanks to Avedon, future fashion photographers had the courage to take risks much like he did while working.

Irving Penn (June 16, 1917 — October 7, 2009


An American photographer whose work spanned six decades, Irving Penn is credited with revolutionizing and perhaps inventing what we think of as fashion photography. His 1950 cover of Vogue was the first black-and-white photo featured on the magazine’s cover since the advent of color photography in 1932, and boldly introduced not only a new advent in fashion, but in photographing fashion.

Moving from creating situational contexts to display fashion in the 1940s through stark, high-contrast opulence, surrealism, and focus on fine detail, Penn tirelessly pioneered shifting perspectives and aesthetics in his work. His stark black-and-white photography has attained icon status. Known as a modernist, he was also a great portrait and still live photographer, famous for capturing iconic artists at different times and in different styles as well as experimenting with ethnographic photography around the world.

Deborah Turbeville (July 6, 1932 – October 24, 2013)

If you’re into fashion photography that evokes a darker emotion, you can thank Deborah Turbeville. She is known for providing content that went against the common trends of the early 1970s, when models were always shot in well-lit and unprovocative situations. Her photographs boasted an edgy and mysterious feel that few could match at the time.

Born in Massachusetts, Turbeville got her start as a fashion editor for Harper’s Bazaar. Eventually she became a photographer who provided work for countless notable publications and fashion advertisements, including Macy’s, Bruno Magli, and Ralph Lauren. Along with her style, Turbeville was also known for avoiding gender stereotypes and choosing models who showed humanity and not just beauty.

Ellen von Unwerth (1954 — Present)


Ellen Von Unwerth is a fashion photographer and director known for her specialty in erotic femininity. But before shooting her first professional photograph, she served as a fashion model for a decade. Her experience in front of the camera is one of the tools she used to become one of the most prominent fashion photographers today.

After gaining fame for her photographs of German supermodel Claudia Schiffer, she went on to provide work for Vogue, Interview, Vanity Fair, and more. Many of her films have received awards, and and she’s also directed music videos for notable stars like Christina Aguilera, Beyonce, and Duran Duran.

Steven Meisel (June 5, 1954 — Present)


If there’s one person all aspiring models dream of working with today, it’s Meisel. He’s not only shot every cover of Vogue Italia since 1988 but also has the privilege of photographing Madonna for her ground-breaking 1992 book “Sex.” Meisel has shot campaigns for everything from Calvin Klein and Versace to Valentino and Louis Vuitton.

But more so than his work, Meisel has helped change fashion photography by proving that a photographer has the best eye for spotting the best models in the industry. He has proved this by turning nobodies like Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington, and countless other women into some of the most recognizable models in the world.

Mario Testino (October 30, 1954 — Present)



You can’t become a fashion photographer and get far without knowing the name of Mario Testino. One of the most desired photographers today, Testino has worked for Vogue, V Magazine, Vanity Fair, and other top international fashion magazines. He has created countless images for top brands like Michael Kors, Gucci, Versace, Chanel, and more.

His ability to create unforgettable work is credited to his practice of not seeing models as blank canvases, which is what other photographers prefer. Instead, Testino sees his models as people, allowing him to convey their human beauty. Testino has also helped catapult many models into stardom, including some (like Gisele Bündchen) who no one else wanted to work with.

What other fashion photographers do you look to for inspiration? Let us know in the comments below?

Gorgeous Fashion Photos and What They Teach Us


In an ad culture dominated by beautiful images — visual representations of products meant to appeal to our desires and imaginations — it’s easy to stop paying attention to individual photos, even if they are sitting on the cover of a magazine, or displayed boldly on a billboard, or hidden in the corner of a Facebook feed. At NYFA, we are training students to create work that breaks through the noise, calms the overstimulated eyeball, and captivates the attentions of onlookers. Our new Fashion Photography workshop will teach students how to create the best images through, in part, the examination of the greatest existing fashion photographs. Here are some of the most elementary steps to creating your own gorgeous image.

Subject: Give your subject icon status.


What would a discussion of fashion photography be if it did not acknowledge the quintessential image of Audrey Hepburn in her “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” getup? Though Hepburn’s portrayal of Holly Golightly in the film is what ultimately garnered her the most adoration and respect, the succession of promotional images of her in her black gown and pearls, holding a cigarette, gave her some serious star power. She is also known for her uncommon beauty and her expressive, bushy eyebrows.


In choosing a subject for your image, it is not necessary that the model fit certain requirements, like having poignant features or unique looks, or adhering to traditional American beauty norms. Rather, the perspective of the photograph, and how it portrays the model, should be special. Give your model a cool hairstyle or a striking costume or a relentlessly emotive facial expression. This can be done in many ways and it is truly up to the photographer’s preferences, in combination with stylists, designers, and other artists.

Staging: Be dynamic.


Whether the image shows many models, a focal point model with supporting models in the background, or a single model alone, the models should be positioned in a way that interacts with the rest of the image and/or the camera. They can fill the frame or they can appear to be far away. Regardless of how the image is composed, it should draw onlookers in. A person passing by the image can be surprised by its unique staging, or confused about the actual narrative of the image, or just visually delighted by the way the image has been put together.

Lighting: Play with contrast and shadow.

Screen Shot 2016-11-23 at 1.50.58 PM

In a fashion photograph, strategic uses of darkness and light are incredibly effective. By its nature, lighting draws attention to what it hits: highlighting it. Beautiful images are taken with a consciousness for the parts that are necessary, or most appealing, to highlight. Lighting can bring emotion to an image. For instance, the use of extreme shadow in Pablo Roversi’s fashion images gives them a certain ethereal quality, one for which the photographer has been recognized time and time again. Also, consider using deep contrast.

Editing: Honesty is beautiful.

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Keep in mind the real issues with fashion photography and image editing. Airbrushing and PhotoShop are criticized for making photographs fake, for positing an unattainable beauty standard that is damaging to the general public. Pose this question to yourself: How can I treat these issues without compromising the artistry of my photo? A beautiful image is often created by a great photographer, not a great editor. Our fashion photography program will teach students to build these skills, to discern what must be concealed and what must be exemplified in the composition of an image. We have already considered how a photo can do this in terms of subject, staging, lighting, and editing.


What are the fashion images or icons that inspire your photography? Let us know in the comments below!

The Value of a Photography Degree


Interested in enrolling in a photography degree but still not sure if it’s right for you? Allow us to help by explaining several ways that a photography degree help you cross the space between pursuing a successful photography career and having a dream that never comes to fruition.

A Photography Degree Helps You Find Your Specialty


Just because you’re amazing at shooting fashion models walking down the catwalk doesn’t mean you also have what it takes to capture wildlife out in the world. From stock photographs and wedding pics to focusing on sports or real estate, each photography career path comes with its own skills requirements for success.

At a good photography school you’ll get a taste many types of photography work to help you discover which direction is the best fit. NYFA’s photography programs offer a wide variety of courses, each designed to make you a better photographer and become effective in various areas of the profession. We also have a prestigious faculty of instructors with experience working in multiple photographic genres. Learning from working members of the industry is a powerful way to gain insight as to which specialties and types of work most appeal to you.

A Photography Degree Lets You Immerse Yourself

The average human being has a lot going on in their lives — hobbies, responsibilities, relationships, you name it. It can be difficult focusing on one or more subjects of learning at a time, especially when life is in full swing. We all know someone (maybe yourself) who said they’d master an instrument or software only to drop it after a few days. But when you’re working toward a photography degree, you take the time to immerse. You wrap your head around the craft to the point where you’re living and breathing photography every day. You’re also surrounded by fellow peers with the same passion, along with teachers who want to help you succeed by passing on their tricks and knowledge to you.

Pursuing a photography degree allows you to take the time to specialize, to grow, and to nurture your new skills in a way that is difficult to accomplish without that dedicated study. By graduation, most students can say that photography is a big part of their life … and they plan to keep it that way.

A Photography Degree Shows You Are Committed


Is it possible to become a great photographer without a degree? Of course. But if there’s one thing companies and clients like seeing from their potential hires, it’s dedication to the craft. In other words, completing a photography degree signals to the world that you’ve spent plenty of time refining your skills and learning the latest technology in order to produce the best work possible. It also shows that you have the discipline, drive, and commitment to finish what you start.

A photography degree demonstrates all this and more. By applying to a job with an MFA or BFA in hand, you are showing that you’ve spent time studying everything there is to know about photography. More importantly, with photography more accessible and popular than ever and with every iPhone owner snapping (often great) pictures left and right, your photography degree sets you apart from the crowd.

A Photography Degree Leaves You With A Portfolio To Showcase

When on the hunt for your next gig, there’s nothing potential hirers like to see more than samples of your previous work. In fact, we’d say it’s very difficult these days to land a photography job without proof that you’ve done it before. It’s one thing to say you can capture the couple’s timeless moment and another to actually demonstrate your skills via past work.

A good photography degree program sees graduates leave with everything they’ll need to get started, including a prepared portfolio with samples of work from various student projects. Many of NYFA’s photography programs even have a Portfolio Development course to help students create and design a portfolio that best showcases their skills and experience.

A Photography Degree Gives You Access To Trained Professionals

100520-N-0775Y-012 SAN DIEGO (May 20, 2010) Chief Mass Communication Specialist Joe Kane, assigned to Fleet Combat Camera Group Pacific, helps a Montgomery High School student adjust a body armor vest during a tour at the facility. More than 20 photography students visited Combat Camera to learn about photojournalism in the Navy. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication 1st Class Carmichael Yepez/Released)

What better way to learn than by studying with experts, receiving instruction from someone who is both experienced and active in the field that you’d like to enter? Whether your dream is to take the most breathtaking fantasy photos on the planet orto become a renowned fashion photographer, there’s somebody out there already doing it who can teach you a thing or two.

At NYFA, our photography courses are taught by instructors with experience in a wide range of photographic disciplines. This allows our students to become familiar with different genres while under the care of people who have actually worked in that area professionally. Thanks to our great faculty, our photography programs prepare students for a number of careers, including: freelance, commercial, fine art, fashion, wedding, sports, photojournalist, nature, and event photography. Along with learning by doing, a photography degree gives you the opportunity to learn from the best.

How has your photography degree shaped your work and expanded your horizons? Let us know in the comments below!

Sports Photography: Lessons We Learned From the Rio Olympics (That Can Apply Anywhere)


Sports photography is a skill and an art form that is never out of season. As we move into the awesome spectacle that is the NFL’s 97th annual season, it’s time to seize the good opportunity to assess and apply some fantastic sports photography lessons that were highlighted this year by the 2016 Rio Olympic games. These are universal sports photography tidbits that can be applied towards our wider photographic efforts — whether you plan on snapping some of your favorite NFL players, or simply want to learn to approach your craft with the heart of a champion.

Today’s tips and tricks apply mainly to sports photography, but many can be used across the board. Ready?

On your marks, get set…

… Go!

Prepare Like an Athlete

Rio de Janeiro - Simone Biles, ginasta dos Estados Unidos, durante final em que levou medalha de ouro na disputa por equipes feminina nos Jogos Olímpicos Rio 2016. (Fernando Frazão/Agência Brasil)

Because you’re going to be doing your own fair share of running around!

Whether you’re shooting at a race track, high school athletics meet or the Olympics themselves, you’re going to want to shoot at a number of different locations, all with different lighting, angles and crowds to deal with. That’s sports photography 101.

Ergo, extensive pre-planning — as with any photoshoot — is key.

Make sure you can physically get between locations in the time allotted, as well as exactly where to be for the best shots. Many of these will require dramatically different gear, too, so factor this into your planning.

It’s also essential to make sure your equipment is within event regulations. For instance, the 2012 London Olympics prohibited lenses longer than 30cm or tripods — you don’t want to turn up and find half of your equipment is banned! 

Crowd In, or Out?


The Olympics rarely suffers from a dull and unengaged crowd, but for smaller sports events (or music festivals), you probably don’t want a bunch of empty seats or people not watching the thing you’re shooting in the background.

As a sports photographer, you’ll want to find the angle that best captures the drama and suspense of your sport. If you want to exclude the crowd from the shot and focus solely on the action, you’ve got a few options open to you: get as high as possible and shoot downwards, get as close and tight to the athlete as possible with a telephoto lens, or lower the f-stop to to bring the focus forward and exclude the background.

If all else fails, move yourself to a different position and shoot from an angle that removes the problem altogether. After all, we do call it sports photography for a reason: don’t be afraid to focus on the sport!

Know Your Sport


Obviously you’ll want to know who’s who in whatever event you’re shooting in your sports photography adventures, but getting to know the athletes themselves and their behavior can pay dividends.

The more research you do ahead of the game, the greater the chances of nabbing that perfect sports photography shot.

The sports photography guru David Black recalls the preparation he took to get a “wow” photo of Michael Phelps during the 2004 Athens games: “I had memorized Michael’s freestyle stroke pattern and knew that he would take a breath two strokes after the 50-meter mark. Knowing this, I picked an appropriate upper-level camera position so that I could shoot slightly above the splashing water and capture a single image of Michael’s face. It was his last breath before sprinting to win a gold medal.”

Convert to Black and White


Black and white is common in a wide variety of photographic disciplines, but it’s criminally underused in sports.

Part of the reason for this is that most sports are a highly colorful affair, from the vivid greens of a pitch to the blues of a pool and the detailed uniforms of the athletes. Sometimes however this can be overwhelming, especially if there are a lot of other visual elements such as crowds and seating in the background.

If you’re about to discard a shot that suffers from this, try converting it to black and white first – you might just find that it transforms from something that’s way too busy to a sports photography photo worthy of framing.



Working with high-speed movement? Panning with the subject is a superb technique that can really deliver the goods with a beautifully crisp subject against a blurred background (capturing that sense of motion), but it also requires a lot of practice and determination.

Your choice of shutter speed is crucial to a good pan shot, and largely depends on how fast your subject is moving, but a good starting point is around 1/20 second and adjusting from there. Move with your subject and keep them in the frame, and only then press the shutter once you’ve got a fluid and consistent motion (remembering to follow through after the shutter closes, as if you’re swinging a baseball bat).

A tripod will help massively with this, but only if the subject’s movement is going to be predictable — otherwise, handheld with a light lens is the way forward (and is good to practice regardless).

Distance from your subject is another consideration to watch out for in sports photography; it’ll be more difficult to center the shot when close up (since the subject will appear to move faster), so try to get back from the track or up in the grandstand to make life a little easier.

Lastly, unlike most other static shots, you don’t want a clean background for a pan. The entire purpose it to have a lot of things blurring in the background, and for that you’ll need a lot of things in the background!

Don’t be disheartened if everything turns out blurry nine times out of ten — it’s a technique even the pros don’t nail with any consistency. Which leads us onto our final sports photography tip (and one that works for any field of photography).

Need 10 Good Photos? Take 10,000.


Okay, maybe the ratio isn’t quite that extreme, but more is definitely better than less.

After all, digital film is very cheap these days…

… get snapping!

The Power of Nostalgia: Why Shooting with Analog Cameras is Awesome


There’s no denying the many benefits that come from digital photography. You don’t have to worry about film. You save cash on printing costs. You can immediately see your picture to decide if you like it or if you want to reshoot. Not only that, but digital images are also easier to share with friends and on social media pages — and digital photography is more environmentally friendly!

But just like many music lovers prefer the sound of vinyl over CD, so too do many photographers still find value in using analog cameras. In fact, it is widely recommended that all aspiring professional photographers work with an analog camera at least once in their lifetime.

Below are a few of the numerous reasons why we still love our analog cameras:

Great Colors and Dynamic Range


Experienced photographers will admit that most digital shooters are merely trying to imitate the vibrant look that only an analog camera can produce. This is because film has an amazing color palette coupled with a dynamic range of detail in both shadows and highlights. Digital cameras also boast a strong dynamic range, but only black-and-white film theoretically has an infinite number of shades of grey.

This means that it’s very difficult to mess up your highlights; even when you over-expose you won’t get that bleach-white effect, and instead still have some shade of grey. If you do get your hands on an analog camera, take a picture with it and then do the same with a digital camera. After comparing the two you’ll see how much smoother and more natural the film image looks compared to the digital image.

With film, your images look amazing right out of the camera and rarely need photo editing tools like Photoshop. But if you do want to spice up your shot, all it takes is a trip to the darkroom. The most common practices are dodging, which decreases the exposure for areas you want to be lighter, and burning, which instead involves increasing the exposure by darkening the image.

They Can Make You a Better Photographer


When shooting with a digital camera, there’s no consequence for snapping a ton of photos. All you have to do with the bad photos is tap the delete button to never see them again. There aren’t any costs or limits you have to worry about besides digital storage space, which means you can take several shots and hope someone in the family doesn’t have their eyes closed in one of them.

But when you using an analog camera you only have so much film to use, which means you’re forced to be much more selective when taking a shot. Every time you hit the shutter button, you’ve made sure the picture is framed to your liking and that objects and people are in place. You also do your best to get exposure just right to avoid a loss of highlight detail or muddy look.

After using an analog camera or even your average Polaroid camera, you may find yourself taking your digital pictures more carefully. This will also save you time during the editing process since you’ll have far less images to work with. And since your pictures were more planned and carefully taken, all the images you have to work with will be of higher quality.

Film Cameras are Inexpensive and Last Forever


One of the biggest drawbacks of digital photography is the fact that your camera essentially becomes outdated every year or two. This is because a newer, better camera with more megapixels is always around the corner, ready to produce images with more detail. While it’s great that technology allows us to shoot better digital images, even with our smartphones, it’s not fun having to worry about finding the best deals just to keep up.

Analog cameras are different. Images taken on film are always full-frame and have the same image quality as other cameras, eliminating the need to upgrade. Knowing this, one would expect an analog camera to be very expensive. While this was true 20 or 30 years ago, now it’s pretty easy to find a decent 35mm camera affordably, just to get a taste of the film camera experience.

That being said, using an analog camera does require you to buy and develop film, which costs money. But when you do the math, spending cash on film ends up being less costly than upgrading a digital camera every few years.

Which analog cameras do you absolutely love to use? Let us know in the comments below!

Top Five Fashion Photographers

If you’ve ever watched an episode of America’s Next Top Model, you’ll know that getting a great photo in fashion isn’t just about a model looking pretty with nice clothes on. It’s equally about the keen eye, the artistry, the skill and professionalism of the photographer as it is the muse on the other side of the lens (and of course the talented team behind the whole setup).

Photography isn’t necessarily about capturing reality but rather reinventing what the naked eye can see; reinterpreting beauty and in the case of fashion photographers, to really make style and clothing jump off the page. The photographers on this list all share the common denominator of striving for excellence and continuously succeeding at greatly influencing the fashion world through their lens. Their creativity and vision goes beyond just taking photos that look good, but instead have taken fashion photography to new and critical heights.

Drew Barrymore shot by Annie Leibovitz

Annie Leibovitz

Born on October 2, 1949 in Waterbury, Connecticut, Leibovitz is widely considered as America’s top portrait photographer. Her distinct use of bold poses and colors is a well-known trademark and you’re bound to have come across one of her many works with high-profile clients across magazine covers, billboards and books. Beginning her professional career at then start-up Rolling Stone magazine in 1970, she was promoted to chief photographer within 2 years, where she remained for the next 10. One of her many notable covers there—most of which have become collector’s items—was of a naked John Lennon curled around a fully clothed Yoko Ono. This photo was taken just hours before the former Beatle was shot dead.

After having shot a total of 142 covers for Rolling Stone, Leibovitz left the magazine and began working for Vanity Fair in 1983, whilst also regularly working for Vogue from 1998. In addition to her work in magazine editorial however, she has also won many accolades for her work on big-name advertising campaigns such as American Express’ “Membership” campaign in which she won a Clio Award in 1987, as well as being chosen as the official photographer of the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia.

As not only of the greatest female photographers of all time, but also one of the greatest photographers, some memorable shots that exemplify her ability to thrive at the intersection of art and celebrity were of Mick Jagger in an elevator during a tour in 1975, Arnold Schwarzenegger on a white horse in 1988, a very pregnant and naked Demi Moore in 1991, Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace in 2007, and of Whoopi Goldberg submerged in a bathtub full of milk in 1984.

Naomi Campbell photographed by Mario Testino

Mario Testino

His name is one commonly used among industry peers with the utmost respect and admiration. Born in Lima, Peru on October 30, 1954, Testino has been shooting the who’s who of fashion and celebrity for the past 35 years. Renowned for his glamorous shoots, his prolific career shooting for magazine covers include names like Vogue, Vanity Fair, V Magazine, and GQ. In addition, he has also shot an array of fashion campaigns for Gucci, Versace, Burberry, and Calvin Klein, among many others. In 2011, he had an unprecedented six magazine covers at one time for Vogue‘s Autumn issues—the annual high point so critical in the publishing industry that the film about Anna Wintour, his long time colleague and friend was named The September Issue”.

Although he’d experienced a budding career early on, it really exploded after a shoot with Princess Diana for Vanity Fair in 1997. Since then, he’s had quite the relationship with the Royal Family, becoming the official photographer for portraits of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge for their engagement in 2010 as well as having famously captured the moment Prince Charles hugged his sons after Diana’s death. It’s the glimpses of humanity, beauty and the character in the person, stripped of their public persona or reputation that Testino adores. He shoots models as people—not coat hangers and confesses that he’s not influenced by bland girls, despite many photographers preferring models to be blank canvases. “I don’t like playing with dolls; I like playing with people,” he says. This may explain his obsession with Kate Moss whom he’s shot thousands of times. He was also credited for bringing Gisele Bündchen to stardom as he persisted with shooting her when nobody wanted her.
Chet Baker by Bruce Weber

Bruce Weber

Weber is an American fashion photographer born on March 29, 1946, in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, who was also nominated for an Academy Award for filmmaking. The preeminent photographer of the 1980s fashion industry still continues to be one of the world’s most influential photographers, having worked for names like Calvin Klein, Karl Lagerfeld, Ralph Lauren, Abercrombie & Fitch (to name a few), as well as publications like Vogue, GQ, Vanity Fair, and Rolling Stone. Dedicated to telling the stories of Americans and also a huge lover of dogs, he has also teamed up with Detroit-based manufacturer Shinola—a company that manufactures 100% American goods and also values dogs—in shooting an array of campaigns, with dogs as the centre point. In addition to his impressive repertoire throughout the last 3 decades, he’s also famously known for firing supermodel Cindy Crawford from a Revlon shoot in the ‘90s for being rude to his staff—the only time he’s ever sent a model back.

Only shooting film and not digital, his work has a nostalgic, vintage style that is widely recognised and it’s considered to have introduced a unique and fresh level of artistry to commercial photography. His photograph of Olympic athlete Tom Hintnaus for Calvin Klein in 1982, with nothing but white briefs on, catapulted his career to superstardom. This image, along with many other Calvin Klein ads with scantily-clad models and celebrities (including a young Richard Gere) became Weber’s trademark. His ultra-sexy catalogs for Abercombrie & Fitch during the 90s were so racy that kids were required to show ID before purchasing at stores throughout some malls.

Like the Calvin Klein ads, much of his photographs are in black and white and he rarely uses colour. And unlike many other fashion photographers, Weber has shot a countless amount of men and is credited for helping the careers of many up-and-coming male models.

Kate Mos by Nick Knight

Nick Knight

In complete contrast to Weber, Nick Knight pioneered the digital experience of fashion photography as one of the first and most high profile photographers to use digital film to showcase fashion.

Born in 1958 in London, he graduated with distinction in 1982 from Bournemouth & Poole College of Art and Design where he studied photography. In 1982, when he was still a student, his first book, Skinheads was the reason behind i-D editor, Terry Jones commissioning him to create a series of 100 portraits for their fifth anniversary issue. And at a time when designer Yohji Yamamoto’s campaigns were breaking new ground during the late 80s, Knight was commissioned by art director Marc Ascoli for 12 successive catalogs.

Editorially, Knight has been widely celebrated for his work with Vogue, Dazed & Confused, W Magazine, and the 2004 edition of the Pirelli Calendar, among others, as well as producing iconic images in campaigns for high-profile clients like Alexander McQueen, John Galliano and Christian Dior etc. He also made fashion history in 1993 by shooting Linda Evangelista for British Vogue with ring-flash photography, creating a reinterpretation of early 70s hard-edge glamour and marking the end of the grunge-era. This kind of culture of reinterpretation has become Knight’s legacy since, as he uses many digital techniques postproduction to achieve aesthetic perfection. Never having seen photography as a truthful medium, his work is based on the individual’s perceptions of reality. “Photography is all about manipulation, and as it’s evolved, it’s become more manipulative in every way,” he says. As such, his models tend to be treated as compositional elements rather than individuals as he conveys little of their characters.

A long-standing passion towards experimenting with the latest technologies in imagery led Knight to launch his own website, SHOWstudio in 2000. The purpose of the site was to show the entire creative process, from conception to completion in benefiting the artist, the audience, and art itself. Working alongside the world’s most sought-after writers, artists, designers, filmmakers and influential cultural figures, the site creates visionary online content that explores all facets of fashion through interactive image and illustration. When a famous face like Kate Moss’s features on the site, as many as 500,000 users log on in one day.

Sessilee Lopez by Steven Meisel

Steven Meisel

A favourite of American Vogue editor, Anna Wintour, Steven Meisel is one of the greats of fashion photography. Having shot every cover of Italian Vogue for the last 20 years and also every Prada campaign since 2004, he dominates the Italian fashion industry.

Born in 1954 in Manhattan and growing up on Long Island, Meisel had a prodigious talent for scripting stories that give cultural resonance; he not only depicts fashion but he also defines it. A very enigmatic and secretive character, he shies away from interviews and appears in public under the guarded line of a hat, dark glasses, and a scarf. As introverted and cautious as he is about himself in the public world, his work is the complete opposite. He loved shooting couture glamour that was over-the-top and also pushing boundaries with sharp social satire. He made stars out of many women who he shot and had a huge contribution to the dislodging of Hollywood celebrities in the ‘80s from their pop-cultural dominance by supermodels like Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, and Christy Turlingon.

Starting off as an illustrator of women at Women’s Wear Daily, and also teaching illustration twice a week at Parsons, The New School for Design, Meisel didn’t think of pursuing photography as a career. He would visit modelling agencies on the weekend where he’d take paparazzi-like photos of models, which is how he met Elite Management booker Oscar Reyes. Admiring Meisel’s illustrations, Reyes asked him to shoot some of his models for their portfolios. Some of the models went to castings for Seventeen magazine and after showing them images from their portfolios, the magazine subsequently contacted Meisel in hopes of working with him. And so began his extraordinary career in photography.

Since then, he’s collaborated with countless publications, designers, and artists. As well as shooting Madonna in 1984 for the album cover of Like a Virgin, and the cover for her single “Bad Girl,” they also worked together in creating their notorious book, Sex in 1992. It was a first of its kind, where such a huge name in pop-culture was so overtly objectifying men. She once told Vogue that Meisel was the first person to introduce her to the idea of reinvention. And in spirit of the satirical undertones in his work, she famously said, “Steven, like me, likes to f*#k with people.” And in the words of Donatella Versace, “with each image, he creates a complete world, one that is at the same time total fantasy and also absolutely true.”

Learn how to become a fashion photographer at the Photography School at the New York Film Academy by clicking here.

Capturing The Brutal Beauty Of Soviet Bus Stops

cover of soviet bus stops

You know you’re in the company of a great artist if they can envision beautiful creations where their peers wouldn’t look twice. This could easily be said of the architects responsible for building a multitude of incredible-looking bus stops in the Soviet Union, and indeed the photographer great enough to capture them.

woman standing by soviet bus stop

Christopher Herwig is the photographer/videographer who travelled over 18,000 miles through fourteen countries of the former Soviet Union to photograph these striking structures. Thirteen years later, his book, Soviet Bus Stops is born.

soviet bus stop

During a 2002 long-distance bike ride beginning in London through to St. Petersburg, the Canadian explorer challenged himself to take one picture every hour in an attempt to exercise not only his cardiovascular health, but also his creativity. This zest for discovery got him noticing some surprisingly designed bus stops on otherwise abandoned stretches of road. During a time where freedom of expression was forcefully regulated, it turns out all designated buildings related to transportation were spared from the scrupulous rule where function superseded aesthetic, and total creative freedom was given to the architects responsible for many captivating and bizarre statues, murals and inventive structures in train stations and bus stops. The results are highly geometric, rupturing the often arid surrounding landscapes with exaggerated angles and bombastic curves. Many of them retained hints of their original vivid colors from being maintained by locals as a nod to the die-hard creatives of a bleak past. One bus stop in Gagra, in the disputed region of Abkhazia (pictured below), rises exquisitely from dull, gray concrete like a wave, forming a shelter made of corrugated layers, each embellished in mosaics.

Mosaic bus stop in Abkhazia

Another in Pitsunda, also in Abkhazia (pictured below), caters to style over function, featuring no seats but flaunting an elaborate wall of mosaics and a fascinating Brutalist cover-structure that resembles rows of shark teeth.

Soviet bus stop in Pitsunda

To fulfil this “obsession” over finding more and more bizarre and oddly beautiful bus stops, Herwig ended up travelling by bike, car, bus, and taxi in his hunt; finding a variety of styles that went from strict Brutalism to exuberant whimsy. His assemblage includes examples from Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Armenia, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Georgia, Latvia, Moldova, Lithuania, Estonia, Belarus, and the disputed region of Abkhazia.

soviet bus stop

Herwig’s unique collection aims at preserving and sharing these amazing icons and treasures among quotidian surroundings with the rest of the world. After raising over $50,000 (CAD) through a Kickstarter campaign, he did just that and brought the project to life. The deluxe, limited edition book was released in August 2014, and again just last month after selling out the first round. Currently based in Jordan, the thrill-seeking photographer continues to be determined to find beauty and inspiration in all aspects of life.

two soviet bus stops

Eager to go on your own photography adventure? Students enrolled in the degree and conservatory programs at NYFA’s Photography School get to go on a one-week photography expedition as part of their coursework. Learn more by clicking here.

The Best TED Talks About Photography You Must See Right Now

Having been going on a regular basis since 1990, the TED series of conferences have always been a hotbed of inspirational and groundbreaking ideas but it is only in the last decade that they’ve been made available to freely view online.

While the core subject matter of early TED talks have centered around technology and design, we’ve since seen a number of superb talks on wide-ranging topics. Photography is no exception, and if you’re a student at photography school or simply have a deep interest in the medium, there are talks that deserved to be filed under ‘must-watch’.

Between the official TED Talks about photography and the hidden gems hosted at TEDx events around the globe, scroll on as we introduce:

The Best TED Talks About Photography

Nick Veasy: Exposing the Invisible

For 99% of people practicing the craft, photography is all about how best to capture and reproduce what we see in the world around us with our own eyes…

… but what about the stuff we can’t see?

Nick Veasey has set about the unenviably difficult task of doing just that – producing photos using highly technical x-ray equipment and techniques to tease out images that we wouldn’t ordinarily be able to see. His work is as imaginative as it is varied; from the inner workings of massive objects such as aircraft to the intricate geometry of plant life, the resulting photography (and the methods behind it) is guaranteed to amaze.

David Griffin: How Photography Connects Us

“Let’s just start by looking at some great photographs.”

As so begins one of the most frequently shared TED Talks about photography that has ever been produced, and also the single video which we urge anyone to watch if they’re struggling to understand why photography is so important in the modern age. Incredible photography and deep insight, combined with Griffin’s knack for pulling on the heartstrings and getting to the emotional core of what the art form is all about.

Johnathan Klein: Photos that Changed the World

Every now and then – maybe a decade or so, sometimes more – a single photograph will come along that tangibly changes the way we look at the world.

From the serenely beautiful such as the first ever image of the Earth rising above the moon’s horizon to the harrowing scenes of 9/11 captured on film, Jonathan Klein’s TED talk leads us on a tour of the most iconic and influential photographs ever taken. In his capacity as co-founder of Getty Images, he speaks here with great eloquence on the hows and whys of why these images moved us as a species.

 Paul Nicklen: Tales of Ice-Bound Wonderlands

As photographers, we’re sometimes lucky enough to be sent to exotic locations on interesting assignments. Occasionally, the nature of the photo shoot can be both dangerous and fascinating…

… how about being submerged in subzero waters beneath thick ice, trying to get a shot of an aggressive leopard seal on its own territory?

Nicklen’s TED Talk about photography work as rare as this is precisely as interesting as it sounds. As a polar specialist, he has more than a few great stories to share and does so with great humor. Absolutely essential viewing for budding wildlife and/or nature photographers.

iO Tillett Wright: Fifty Shades of Gay

Part exploratory, part activism, and wholly brilliant – Wright’s photography project, Self Evident Truths,  has to date involved photographing over 8,000 Americans in over 30 cities, and as a collective whole creates a cross section of the LBGTQ spectrum across the country. The NYC writer, actor and photographer uses this project as the center point of her TED talk, around which she candidly shares her own story as well as what Self Evident Truths means for all of us, regardless of our sexual orientation.

Wright’s photography demonstrates the power the medium has to raise social questions and hold a mirror up to ourselves in an effort to promote equality.

James Nachtwey: My Photographs Bear Witness

No list of the best TED Talks about photography would be complete without featuring James Nachtwey’s acceptance speech which he delivered on receiving the 2007 TED prize.

It’s one of the most powerful speeches about photography ever given, and after watching him talk about his journey so far as a war photographer, you’ll no doubt agree that he deserved the standing ovation he rightfully received at the end of the talk.

Know of any more great TED Talks about photography (or a related topic) that we might have missed? Help the community out by leaving your suggestions in the comments below, and let’s get some inspiration flowing!


MINIMIAM: Amazing Food Photography With Miniatures

Every now and then, you come across a photography project that serves to both delight and reinvigorate our own creative efforts. Today, it’s an honor to share the works of Pierre Javelle and Akiko Ida – with their kind permission – for the benefit of students of our photography school.

Fun Food Photography With Miniatures

For over a decade, the duo have been conducting a playful photography project that combines the use of miniature figures with enticing culinary treats. Dubbed ‘MINIMIAM’ (a merging of the words minituare and miam, the French for ‘yummy’), Javelle and Ida have struck a fine balance between the best elements of microphotography and food photography.

Along with an expert eye for composition, the resulting shots are incredibly fun:

MINIMIAM food photography

MINIMIAM food photography 2

MINIMIAM food photography 3

MINIMIAM food photography 4

The couple met while studying the craft of photography in Paris, and it probably comes as no surprise that they later went on to work as commercial food photographers.

While all of the shots taken under the MINIMIAM umbrella – which has been running since 2002 – center around miniatures and the ubiquitous food elements, the project has so far been divided into a few different themed categories (namely ‘Fruit and Vegetables’, ‘War’, ‘Sport’, ‘Delicacies’ and ‘Varied’.)

Here are a few selected shots from the ‘War’ subcategory:

MINIMIAM war photography

MINIMIAM war photography 2

MINIMIAM war photography 3

Japanese-born Akiko Ida is a self-confessed food obsessive, having grown up baking and inventing a wide variety of different kinds of bread before photographing them all for a home-made notebook (alongside a journal filled with tiny character sketches.)

Ida has since turned her passion into a globally renowned career, with an extensive biography of over 30 cookbook contributions and numerous international magazine publications.

food photography school

food photography school 2

Hailing from Burgundy in central France, Pierre Javelle started out with a passion for drawing and illustration before turning his artistic eye to the photographic medium.

Along with his wife, Javelle has also seen his work published in a multitude of gastronomic magazines and his still-life work is often used by major corporations.

Amazing food photography

amazing food photography 2

We’d like to thank both Akiko Ida and Pierre Javelle once again for kindly giving us permission to republish their photography here. To check out more from the MINIMIAM project and learn more about the photographers, head on over to their official website.

Top 10 Twitter Accounts for Photography

Photography has come a long way since the daguerreotype, transforming into both an artform and a profession over the past century.

Photographers are in high demand these days for commercial, as well as artistic, endeavors. Fortunately, social media makes it easier for photographers to network and learn from one another’s shared experiences from the field; with this in mind, let’s take a whistle stop tour of:

The Top 10 Twitter Accounts for Photography

New York Film Academy

New York Film Academy’s Photography School offers several degrees, programs, and workshops for those seeking a career in photography. As such, our Twitter stream is a good place to find a daily dose of inspiration as well as links to articles related to photography as both an art and profession.

Travel Photography

One of photography’s best uses is to document travel around world. Travel Photography post links to stunning travel photographs from all over the world.


500px is an online community for photographers to share and sell their photographs. The quality of photographs is second-to-none.

PP Magazine

Professional Photography Magazine focuses on the business of photography. Follow its account for photography tips, articles, and industry news.

Digital Photo

In the past two decades, the technology of photography has transitioned from chemical to digital. Digital Photo Magazine is dedicated to digital photography and technology.

National Geographic

For over a century, National Geographic has documented earth and its many cultures in its famous magazine. Its photographs are often iconic and demonstrate the power of photography as a way to document the world.

Andy Katz Photo

New York-based Andy Katz has written several photography books, and his work has been displayed in museums, galleries, and album covers. He also represents Sony digital cameras as an “Artisan of Imagery.”

Cristina Mittermeier

Cristina Mittermeier is also an Artisan of Imagery for Sony, and she focuses on conservation issues in her photography. She combines travel photography with photojournalism to document the world.

NYT Sports

An important sub-field of photography is sports photography, which captures the drama of athletics in ways that television cameras cannot capture. NYT Sports is dedicated to sports news in general, but it also tweets sports photos and highlights some of the best of the bunch.

Digital Camera World

The camera is the photographer’s tool, and Digital Camera World is a source for tips and information about cameras and photography.

That concludes our top 10 Twitter accounts for photography – if you aren’t already following them, you’re missing out. Interested in learning more about the various jobs within the photography industry? Check out our guide to photography jobs to discover more.