New York Street Photography
Explore New York and Improve Your Photography
Spend the weekend learning the art of street and city photography with a lifelong New Yorker.
Explore some of the most interesting and off-the-beaten-path locations in the city,
Meet some new photography friends, learn some fascinating New York history, and return with some fabulous photographs.
Just make sure to bring good walking shoes!
Upcoming 2023 Photo Workshops
Oct 7+8: Downtown New York (Sold Out)
May 5th-7th, 2023, Cinco de Mayo (Sold Out)
*You can sign up for my monthly newsletter to receive workshop updates.
Daily Private Workshops
Learn the City and Improve Your Photography
The goal of these workshops is to blend photography education and knowledge of the city to improve your photography and inspire you.
We’re here to meet new photography friends from around the world, to work hard to come back with some unique and beautiful photos, and most importantly, to have fun!
I want to introduce you to photographing in areas of the city that are not as common to see, and I want to teach you about those neighborhoods and their history to help you understand more about what you are photographing.
The aim is to help you understand and appreciate the city and what you are shooting in a more nuanced way.
Click the register button next to each workshop to learn the schedule and details of what will be taught, as they will vary. Topics covered in the workshops are street photography, cityscape and architecture photography, portraits, and the history of New York neighborhoods.
In some workshops, night street and architecture photography will be taught, as well as the history of famous street photographers. Weekend classes do not usually cover editing, while longer classes will typically have one or two editing and presentation seminars.
All skill levels and camera systems are welcome. Phones are welcome.
If you haven’t tried street photography before, we will teach you what you need to know and help you to get much more comfortable with it. New York is one of the easiest and best places to learn this skill. Tripods and laptops are only necessary if indicated.
Hope to see you in one of the workshops!
Watch at 10-minute documentary about James’ work:
About James: James has lived in New York for his entire life (besides a 5 year stint in Madison, Wisconsin, but he doesn’t want to talk about that.) Like many Manhattanites, he is a terrible driver and cook, but he’s an excellent navigator. He has been practicing the art of street photography since he first picked up a camera, has worked as a portrait and fine art photographer in New York since 2005, has had a regular feature for the NY Daily News reporting on different neighborhoods of the City through street portraits and interviews with locals, is a certified New York tour and workshop guide (so get ready for some history!), and has sold and licensed his photography of New York to collectors and companies from around the world.
“I’ve just finished a fabulous two-day street photography workshop in NYC with James Maher. Hard to beat the experience of following James on a shooting-walking tour of lower Manhattan through a dozen or so diverse neighborhoods, each with different visual stimuli, changing light, cultural histories — and countless possibilities for photographing people and architecture! James began Saturday morning with a 1 1/2 hour presentation on ethical and technical aspects of street photography. Wanting to normalize our fears about intruding into the space of our subjects, he described how he thinks and works, generally moving slowly with his camera chest-high and ready, taking pictures initially ‘with his eyes.’ At other times, he might pick an unobtrusive spot where he waits for the subject to enter his field of view.
Following this preparation, we hit the streets, going first to a busy intersection where we could not lack for stimulation. Throughout the day, as we moved slowly in and out of different areas of the city, James worked his way among us, responding to our varying degrees of experience with photography and with street photography in particular. Often, he encouraged us to find a good location where we, too, could wait for the subject to come to us. Occasionally, he gave particular challenges to those who were ready.
By the end of Saturday, I began to feel more comfortable putting people into my pictures and had some ideas about how and how not to do it. On Sunday morning, however, before we again went into the streets, James took us to another level of appreciation — artistry and composition — via a slide presentation of the work of the great street photographers (beginning with Cartier-Bresson).
Throughout, James was a generous and gentle instructor, comfortably smart about what he knows. His individualized instruction was just what I needed and to the point. I cannot wait for more! Meanwhile, I’ll dig more deeply into his thoughtfully written e-books, along with the books of street photographers he recommended.”
– Sandra Ullmann
“I’ve had some time to reflect on the workshop and as a workshop veteran I honestly can’t see how you could have made it better. Your balance between the morning lectures and then the in the street shooting was spot on. Your choice of locations was wonderful, I have new locations to go back to and familiar ones that I can look at with different eyes.
Your tone and attitude was positive, available, patient and instructive. I found I could ask you anything and learn something from your reply. While walking I saw that you responded to others at their level without either condescension (not as rare as we’d hope in mixed group workshops) nor with too much rah rah “you can do it” pep talks. You have a remarkably even warm tone. Out of respect for your quality, I am trying to find something to improve but nothing was even B- work.”
– George Whitson
“It was a good time and an informative weekend for me and I want to thank you for everything. When I first signed up for the workshop and we exchanged emails I think you asked what we were looking for out of the workshop. For me it was to correct my need to constantly change my settings and to get over my self consciousness of being out in the street taking pictures of strangers. As for my settings problem, I feel much more confidant now in my use of Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority and zone focusing. (My photos taken immediately after you working with me on focusing were the best focused of the weekend). The self consciousness part I think have put out of my mind. I really don’t get the opportunity to sit and talk with other photographers, so hearing people say the same things I have been thinking helped a lot.
My overall impression of the workshop would be nothing but positive. Having never taken any type of photography class, I really didn’t know what to expect and was pleased with the way the time was structured and the course presented. Having only a vague knowledge of street photos, I enjoyed looking at the work of some of the more famous street photographers. Our time in the street was great for me as it more or less mimicked my style of shooting and wandering. As someone who also appreciates the history of NYC, it was nice to see you work your knowledge into the walks. I learned some things beyond the photography.
When I first came across the offer for this: a street photography workshop, in NYC, being given by the guy whose newsletter I’ve been getting, I thought it would be perfect for me and I think I was right.”
– Scott Dorney
“This was a great street photography workshop for all levels. I really enjoyed it – good introduction sessions with some street photography tips and tricks, both technical and other and also showing the work of different photographers to inspire us. Then we spent the most of the time practicing in some of best locations in NY.
James really knows how and where to do it and was always there to assist and support us in a friendly and constructive way and adding some NY history now and then. I’m more than happy to recommend this workshop. I know I left as a better and more confident photographer and it changed my way to approach the street.”
– Lars Wiklund
“The experience was amazing. I loved every minute. I learned to think about and change my camera settings as my lighting changes on the fly (I am not perfect, but I am better). I learned a little bit more about a photographer’s lifestyle along with insights to routines and workflows. It was not just a photography workshop but it was also an historical tour. The morning classroom sessions were good to help get you focused for the day. The field sessions were great for their target rich content and the hands-on instruction provided.”
– Tammie Bryant
“This is a must-do NY street photography workshop. My daughter and came together for James’ workshop. Mostly in lower Manhattan we explored neighborhoods and interesting areas of NY. It was a great experience. Fun to learn more about street photography and tips/tricks of the trade but James is also very knowledgable about NY and shared history and city facts (this was a bonus!). We had a great time with the group and got some good photos too.”
– Michel Bunch
“James is not only a top guy, he’s engaging and knowledgeable. In 5 minutes he changed the way I will do street photography for life.”
– Duncan Stafford
“James is a highly knowledgeable expert in his field and has a great way of delivering and demonstrating key techniques required for street photography. I thought I knew a bit already, but James showed me in particular really useful ways of getting the most out of my ISO and various camera modes to allow for quick capturing during street photography – very crucial as the moments pass so quickly, more so than other types of photography.
Probably the most rewarding aspect of the workshop was the places James took me. They felt like hidden gems down random alleys and to architecture I never ever would have seen in my life had it not been for James. I ended the workshop with some really good photos to take back to New Zealand that I was proud of. I’d highly recommend James’ workshop to anyone who loves photography and is looking for an excellent teacher and a very rewarding experience. I am grateful to have taken from James techniques and knowledge that will continue to shape my photography process for years to come.”
– Chawit Rochanakit
“I loved the workshop and feel like it renewed my interest in, and love of, photography. James does a wonderful job of teaching technical information and making you feel successful while adding in lots of interesting information and history about his beautiful city. Not only was I able to see and photograph some well known landmarks, I was also able to see some areas of the city that may not be at the top of the tourist guide book. That may be one of the best experiences, getting to know parts of the city you may not make time to visit as a guest.”
– Erin Peacock
“In addition to photography tips and techniques gained from the workshop, James is very knowledgeable about the history of New York in general and about small details in the areas we walked in specifically, which made the workshop very much entertaining and interesting. James opened my eyes to small things I never thought of photographing before.”
– Nour Aboujeb
“James has a great personality, laid back, very easy to hang out with. I particularly wanted to shoot interesting people in NY and James led me to the right neighborhoods and street corners to find what I was looking for. What I liked the most about the workshop was that James showed me places in NY that I never would have gone or found myself. I felt a sense of confidence and safety on the street because James was there showing me the ropes. I highly recommend this workshop for anyone wanting to capture the essence of New York.”
– Gail Mancuso
“Always on the lookout for new ways to explore photography, I recently read an article about James Maher. I had never tried street photography, but it sounded intriguing, so I Googled James, learned about his street photography, ordered his books, and quickly signed up for one of his workshops. To say that I enjoyed it would be an understatement: James’ enthusiasm for photography and for New York City combines to create an exciting, rewarding, and unforgettable experience.
Taking me to some of the best intersections in the City for street photography, he taught me about zone focusing and about capturing images of people without being obvious. Concentrating on my camera’s settings, he instructed me about using different modes and different exposures to capture images with the greatest impact. Occasionally, I would need to ask a person if I could take a photo; James told me the best ways to approach him/her to get permission. Between shoots, he would point out the beauty of the City, including its architecture and some very creative and colorful graffiti.
All in all, it was a terrific workshop! Street photography was completely new to me—I can’t imagine a better introduction than James provided. I wholeheartedly recommend him to anyone who wants to expand his photographic horizons. It’s fun, enlightening, and fascinating, and James is a genuinely nice guy and a superb teacher!”
– Joe Routon
What we will cover:
- Technical camera settings
- Ethics and overcoming fear
- All the tricks for capturing close-up, candid photographs
- Capturing gesture, expression, and emotion
- Telling stories and developing your voice
- Light and composition
- The history of famous street photographers
- New York history and current events
- New York architecture
- The best locations for street photography and architecture
- Zone focusing techniques
- And much more!