Photography Class New York

How Do I Use My Camera? with JP Teaches Photo NYC

In Activities, Entertainment, New York, United States by Sheena4 Comments

JP Teaches Photo helps you understand the functions behind those scary buttons & dials on your camera – find out why it’s one of the best photography classes in New York!

Why I chose JP Teaches Photo

How do I use my camera? Here at DIY Travel HQ, that’s a thought that runs through my head far too often!

I love taking photos but I have no idea what any of the buttons on my camera do. I just shoot in Auto, Landscape or Sport mode & do a little editing later…

I’ve tried to teach myself photography many times over the years but reading camera manuals & online materials has never stuck in my head.

Everybody learns differently & for me with photography, I felt like I needed to have it explained to me in a class & on a more personal level – it was same thing when I was trying to learn Spanish in Guatemala.

So I decided to take the leap & sign up for photography classes with JP Teaches Photo in New York City.

JP Teaches Photo

How Do I Use My Camera? Part 2 in Central Park

How Do I Use My Camera? Part 1

  • #1. Exposure Compensation

JP Teaches Photo offers beginner photography classes in 2 parts.

How Do I Use My Camera? Part 1 was a group class held in Midtown, NYC.

After an introduction from our teacher Lydia, we set our cameras to P mode & hit the streets. We took 2 photos of the same subject at 2 different settings – I had no idea what I was doing at this stage but one photo was definitely much brighter than the other.

We went back inside & up to our classroom, where Lydia explained that what we had just experimented with was called Exposure Compensation.

P mode allows you to make an image lighter or darker than what the camera thinks it should be.

This was pretty cool & I could tell that I would be using this function a lot moving forward!

Being able to use my camera in class & then have Exposure Compensation explained to me directly after made it much easier to understand & remember the concept. It was exactly what I looking for in a photo class that I couldn’t achieve with learning by myself.

Best NYC photography class

Fun & informative photography classes with JP Teaches Photo!

  • #2. Aperture

Have you ever wondered how to capture a photo with a blurry background?

You learn how to do just that in the How Do I Use My Cmera? Part 1 class with JP Teaches Photo – this was the topic that our group class was most excited about!

It all has to do with aperture & pineapples – it’s true, I swear! 🙂

Aperture is the opening within the lens that functions like the pupil in your eye. Aperture values can range from f/1.0 to f/3.2 depending on your camera. A lower number gives you a larger opening & a higher number givers you a smaller opening.

Using some of the rules of reference that Lydia gave us, we got time to practice the blurry background technique.

There were some plastic flowers hung across the windows waiting for us novices to zoom in on.

Photography class NYC

Practicing the blurry background technique in class with JP Teaches Photo

  • #3. Shutter Speed

In How Do I Use My Camera? Part 1 we learnt from our photography teacher Lydia that shutter speed is the amount of time the shutter stays open for.

Lydia is awesome at giving analogies of photographic concepts, making it easy to understand the different camera functions & how to use them.

After a brief lesson, we got to go back outside for our final exercise – capturing traffic in motion.

This wasn’t easy as we had to freeze a vehicle motion against a blurry background.

I didn’t quite get the hang of it but some of the other students in the class did a really fantastic job. It was great to be out on the street taking photos with other passionate amateurs, learning & sharing with each other.

NYC photography class

Mastering shutter speed on the streets of New York!

How Do I Use My camera? Part 2

  • #1. Flash Exposure Compensation

A couple of months after my 1st photography class with JP Teaches Photo, I took Part 2 of How Do I Use My Camera?

This was an outdoor evening class in Central Park that I was really excited about. And it turned out to be as inspiring a location & session as I was hoping for.

I also really liked the smaller class size of 12 students, which made it easier for individual questions & answers.

We paired off in 2’s & got right into practice mode.

Our 1st exercise was just taking photos of each other with the flash, paying attention to the differences compared to not using the flash.

I despise using the flash – but I never knew you could control it.

Just as there’s exposure compensation to adjust the lighting in a photo, there’s also flash exposure compensation to control the level of flash desired.

I played around with the settings & was so surprised to see that when used correctly, the flash can actually improve a photo, especially under low light. This changed my world!

Central Park photography class

Experimenting with the flash in Central Park

  • #2. White Balance

Next up in How Do I Use My Camera? Part 2 with JP Teaches Photo was a lesson in White Balance.

I never really thought of this but no source of light is completely white. Some lights are naturally more blue, orange or green to name a few examples.

Most cameras are very good at automatically correcting this but there is a White Balance setting that allows you to manually adjust it.

I’m more than happy to let my camera do its thing & have one less function to worry about!

JP Teaches Photo

Lydia from JP Teaches Photo is a fantastic & patient instructor!

  • #3. ISO

White Balance may not be so important but ISO is a key feature of your camera to understand.

Did you know that ISO is the sensitivity of your camera’s digital sensor to light? I had no idea…

If you’re getting blur in your photos, the general rule is to raise your ISO setting – but only as much as you need to as ISO also results in grainier images.

ISO comes into play in low light situations so we moved into one of the tunnels in Central Park to put this into practice.

We took photos of our partners, adjusting the ISO settings to get the image we wanted. It was great to have someone to bounce ideas from, as well as having Lydia on hand for any questions.

JP Teaches Photo

Getting into the ISO mood in one the tunnels in Central Park

JP Teaches Photo

If you are looking at learning the basics of photography, start with Exposure Compensation, Aperture & Shutter Speed.

Once you feel confident with those functions, move on to ISO, White Balance & ISO.

I recommend taking a photography class to really provide you with a solid understanding of what you need to know.

If you’re in New York, JP Teaches Photo offers excellent beginner classes that are ideal for anyone interested in learning more about their camera but without a clue of where to start.

Lydia uses simple language & metaphors to explain the functions behind all those buttons & dials.

After years of wondering how to use my camera, I’m thrilled that I finally have an understanding of its key functions!

Photography class in New York

Learn how to use your camera with JP Teaches Photo in NYC!

Know Before You Go

Class: How Do I Use My Camera? Parts 1 & 2

Price: $97.00 per class

Schedule: Saturday & Sunday, various times

Class Duration: 2 hours

Contact Information:

See the reviews for JP Teaches Photo on Tripadvisor

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*** The Final Word: JP Teaches Photos offers fantastic beginner photography classes in New York! ***

Do you know how to use your camera?! 🙂 

* Thank you to JP & Lydia for hosting me. We only recommend fun, value for money activities & experiences that we believe our readers would enjoy. As always, all opinions & photographs are our own.

July 2017


  1. Very informative post. Having someone unravel the technicalities of your camera and photography and explain it in simple terms, is a great help.

  2. I took a class similar to this and it really helped. But it’s always a work in progress! I like that you highlighted the basics. It really is a matter of mastering those with practice. Lots and lots of practice!

  3. I like that the class is held where you can shoot a real environment. Too many classes are held in a room where you don’t get the varietals of your actual shooting environments!!

  4. Photography instructors often speak a highly technical language, so I love the fact that Lydia explains the features in simple phrases. I bet Central Park is a gorgeous setting for classes like this!

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