Since 1986, LaGuardia has provided students a strong
foundation in photographic technique and the confidence to link these skills to
a personal artistic vision.
LaGuardia is the only
two-year institution in the City University of New York (CUNY) to offer an
Associate in Applied Sciences (AAS) degree in Photography. The Commercial
Photography program, administered by the Humanities Department, gives you
access to such professional photographic equipment and facilities as our state of
the art black & white and color darkroom, shooting studios and digital
imaging facility. With 13 courses dedicated to photography, taught by faculty
members who are currently working in the field and are exhibiting artists, you
will gain experience from all over the photographic and arts spectrum in this
quickly changing industry.
degree program is designed to train and qualify graduates for entry-level
positions in the commercial photography industry. Students learn advanced
concepts and techniques of commercial photography, including medium format 4x5
camera, electronic flash, and tungsten illumination.
Additionally, a Fine
Arts Photography Option, is offered in conjunction with the Fine Arts degree
program. This option is not only a counterpoint to the specifically commercial
nature of the Commercial Photography degree, but is a response to overwhelming interest in photography as an art form shown
by inquiring students in both majors. The Fine Art Photography Option focuses
on traditional techniques, their integration with digital technology, and the
development of the conceptual building blocks required to make a fine art
York metropolitan area is the very center of commercial photography. LaGuardia
Community College takes advantage of its location by placing AAS degree
students into internships, a required portion of the program. This provides
excellent “hands-on” experience within the actual field itself to complement
students’ on-campus studies.
will also receive essential information on business practices, self-promotion,
portfolio development and how to secure employment as either a photographer’s
assistant or staff photographer. Additional courses focus on content, such as
color theory, computer art (graphics, necessary as an introduction to digital
imagery), two-dimensional design, and photojournalism. This AAS degree is also
an excellent vehicle through which to transfer to a variety of four-year
colleges with professional programs in photography.
Commercial Photography Program at LaGuardia Community College was created over
20 years ago. Drawing on the influence of Manhattan’s Photography District, one
of the largest photography industry collectives in the world, it made sense to
create a gateway to this thriving marketplace for community college students.
Currently the Manhattan Photography District is still a viable entity but it
has changed remarkably as has the entire industry. The need for editors,
digital printing technicians and digital assistants has risen. A niche market
also exists in advertising, museum and fine art galleries, and in editorial
assignments for practitioners of traditional skills, an area of great
attraction for those students interested in the analog methods still employed
in the industry.
our students have been employed in a diverse range of jobs in the industry. We
have former students working as photojournalists, fashion/editorial
photographers, wedding/portrait photographers, photo retouchers, studio
assistants, digital assistants, digital printers, photo editors, industry
related retail salespersons, and managers at imaging industry businesses. Many
former students have also successfully moved on to become studio owners. Marcus
Nilsson, graduate of LaGuardia’s Photography program, is considered one of the
finest still life/food photographers based in Manhattan. Many students have
successfully completed BFA degrees at top rated senior colleges and have then
gone onto graduate school. Hrvoje Slovenc graduated from Yale University’s MFA
photography program in Spring 2010 and has returned to our program as an
program strives to prepare students for a position in this diverse and quickly
changing industry. With an emphasis in photographic technique and the ability
to link these skills to a personal artistic vision, our program successfully
enables students to follow their own path into the extraordinary world of
is bright for our program given its past successes and our recent occupation of
an expansive, state of the art darkroom, studio and digital imaging facility.
The need for visual imagery has changed over the past two decades but the sheer
volume of photography used today in new media and in the ever-increasing world
of visual communication continues to make LaGuardia’s Commercial Photography
Program a most attractive educational choice for the modern photography
In support of the LaGuardia’s mission to educate and graduate its students to become critical thinkers and socially responsible citizens, the College has undertaken a team approach toward advising, designed to support you in your major from orientation through graduation. Your Advising Team is made up of faculty, professional and peer advisors. They will guide you at every step during your college career. They are ready to help you:
In your first semester, your First Year Seminar (FYS) professor is your advisor. In your second semester and beyond, you can log in to My LaGuardia to contact advisor(s) or make an appointment. Visit the Advising page to learn more about when to get advised and how to prepare for an advising appointment, and check out the Advising Calendar for information sessions, events and more.
Graduates of the Commercial Photography program have many career options. Our students have assisted professional photographers, started their own wedding, fashion, portrait, or product photography studios or entered photojournalistic careers.
Alumni have become photo-editors of magazines and online publications, worked in non-for-profit organizations, and have pursued careers in fine art.
Explore career possibilities on Career Connect.
Log in to the CUNY Portal to review your Degree Audit to find out what classes to take. Have questions about using Degree Audit? Visit LaGuardia’s Degree Audit page for tutorials and how-to guides.
Review the Commercial Photography Curriculum and the recommended course sequence below.
Photography courses build on one another, and it is recommended that students take courses at each level outlined below before moving on to the next one.
Students are encouraged to speak with a Commercial Photography faculty member for assistance in course selection.
Entry Level / Beginner Courses
Advance Level I Courses
Advanced Level II Courses
Final Photography Course
See flexible sequence for students with basic skills needs. For information about this program’s retention and graduation rate visit the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment website page.
Degree Map and
DegreeWorks to assist in academic planning and creating your own graduation plan in
68° North: A Visual Journey Through the Alaskan Wilderness
Photographers: Lauren Auerbach, Pilar Finch, Maria Hernandez, Paul Howard, Allison Minto,George Mohr, Gabriel Ponte-Fleary, Enrique Rosas, Gianni Sanchez, MachiVersano, Matthew Vicari and Annie Wu
Curators: Lidiya Kan, Javier Larenas and Scott Sternbach
A select group of Commercial Photography students spent July 2016 on a study away experience in the state of Alaska. The group was led by LaGuardia faculty members, Scott Sternbach and Lidiya Kan.
While in Alaska, LaGuardia students studied and explored the environment as well as the effects of climate change on the community. By meeting with local indigenous people, they were able to experience their culture and understand the people’s relationship to their natural surroundings. The entirety of this unique trip was documented by each student through photography and video.
68° North was made possible with generous support from Chris and Zoe Craymer.
“Bangladesh: The Other Side of Me”
Photographer: Zakaria Ahmed
Curator: Javier Larenas
“This photographic series is my portrayal of Bangladesh, a country that is defined by its lands, rivers, poverty and class. The country sits atop the world’s largest river delta, close to sea level, at the juncture of several active tectonic plates, which cause frequent earthquakes, with a secondary risk of tsunamis and severe flooding in a quake’s aftermath, which inherently has subtropical monsoon weather patterns that causes wide seasonal variations in rainfall, due to high humidity and temperatures. In addition, because of the country’s booming population and mass migration, this has contributed to both poverty and a water crisis.
Since I came to United States in 2004, I have strongly felt that this is a story that needs to be told. Finally, after 11 years, I had the opportunity to go back and document people’s lives. While photographing this project, it took on an unexpected level of significance to me, coming to the realization of just how many have lost their homes and all of their belongings due to floods. As I was along side of them, it drew me closer to them, by both actually facing and listening to their life’s struggles for survival. It grounded me to my roots,my days as a child, moments of self-reflection, and it inspired me even more to visually capture “The Other Side of Me”.
These photographs closely portray a community on the fringes—environmentally, geographically and economically—yet whose 'fringed' presence became more evident, when their vulnerability became more than notional—whose children will one day inherit this world.”
-Zakaria Ahmed -
Voices of NY
“Panama: Hidden Gems”
Photographer: Charles Carl Barnett
“As a history major at Queens College, l was fascinated with the way seemingly random events inter-acted with each other. I was particularly interested in the colonial period and how the history of the Americas evolved so differently under the English, French, Dutch and Spanish models, and how the other two players, Scotland and Sweden, through poor choices and neglect, never really made it out of the gate.
These images were captured on Kodachrome*film, during a cruise to Panama in 1984 aboard a small ship, that transited the canal and also visited a number of places on both the Pacific and Caribbean coasts. After the cruise ended, I drove a rental car up into the Chiriqui highlands near Costa Rica, accompanied by my stepfather, who also appears in several of these photographs. Although he has been gone for 28 years now, he gets to live again through these images.Assembling this exhibit has allowed me to relive the experience, as well.
In doing the research for the narrative, I was again made aware of just how much had changed since I was there, and how much I had missed, or didn’t even know about. I really have to go back and re-shoot.”
-Charles Carl Barnett -
“Bienvenido A Cuba” May 2015
Photographer: Hugo Fernandez, Lidiya Kan, Machi Versano, and Manolo Salas
Curator: Lidiya Kan
“The work represents each photographer's personal experiences with their travel toCuba over the last five years and also features some text I have been juxtaposing to photographs of my family's photographic archive from Cuba and the United States.”
-Hugo Fernandez -
“Walker Evans: Subway Portraits 1938-1941” May 2015
Photographer: Walker Evans
Curator: John T. Hill Former Executor of Walker Evans Estate, Former Director of theGraduate Photography Program at the Yale School of Art
“This is a body of work made by Evans using a Leica 35mm camera, hidden under his shirt, with a cable for the shutter release running down his sleeve. The pictures were shot without the subjects 'knowledge and provides an interesting cross section of the working class NewYorkers of the time. Though not the classic images of 1930's tenant farmers, for which Evans is known best, it still marks a significant body of work, and one he went back to, time and again, to rework and present in the later years of his life.”
- Hugo Fernandez -
“For the longest time, I’ve been interested in fetishes and why people like what they like. BDSM is a project that I have documented for the past two years.What is BDSM you might be asking? It's a wide range of sexual activities that include Bondage, Discipline, Domination, Submission, Sadism, and Masochism. There is something very fascinating about this lifestyle because it’s all about consent/trust and new experiences. One would think that the person doing the whipping has all the control, but in this case, it’s reverse psychology, and that’s what makes this lifestyle so captivating. This can be misinterpreted as abuse and porn, and/or although there is sex involved,however it's so much more than just sex. Porn portrays women as submissive and weak; enforcing the idea that women enjoy being dominated and objectifies themas sexual beings. Vise versa when it comes to males; society views them as dominant therefore enforcing the idea that they are always dominant no matter what. My job as a photographer isn’t to degrade or portray these protagonists as weak or strong but to simply to show that these roles are not fixed and can be reversed between the sexes. Both men and women can enjoy being submissive and dominated by the other sex. Consent is the number one rule when it comes to BDSM. There will always be an agreement when it comes to play sessions. If a partner doesn't want to do something the other person has to respect it. No means no. Therefore, anyone who's getting“abused” or “tortured” has agreed to want to feel that type of pleasure. Rules are important and it’s important to know what you are doing. That's when safe words come in play when doing any kind of intense play. It’s all in the matter of personal preference and at times, there will be play sessions that don’t involve sex.”
-Maria Hernandez -
“Not A... ”
Photographer: Ricardo Aca
“Photography gives me a voice. As with many undocumented immigrants, I feel that my experience is not well represented in national political conversations. We are not a community with electoral power –yet. But though I may not be able to vote, I can take photos to help share my story and the stories of people like me. Presented in this exhibition are two portrait series. First, of Mexicans outside before the Gold Cup Final 2015, holding signs in response to Donald Trump’s comments about Mexican immigrants. Second,of immigrant and first-generation immigrant students from different background sat Harvard University, determined to define themselves. Words are powerful. They can incite fear, or they can inspire hope. They can denigrate, or they can empower. Both of these series use words to give voice to the subjects, as a direct response or positive assertion. With this format,I hope to capture resistance to stereotypes about immigrant communities, and to reclaim the conversation over who we are.”
-Ricardo Aca -
“Falchi in L.I.C | L.I.C. in Falchi”
Long Island City: Past. Present. Future. OurNeighborhood on Display.
Photographers:LaGuardia Community College Commercial Photography students
Curators: Scott Sternbach, Javier Larenas, and Lidiya Kan
“A photography exhibit of more than 40 images of the once industrial, and now rapidly, changing western Queens neighborhood taken by LaGuardia students which will debut in the Falchi Building lobby. This wide ranging photographic survey of Long Island City includes a variety of topics in almost as many styles and techniques, including collages, panoramas, abstract, street-documentary, alternative processes, and time-lapse images.”
-Scott Sternbach -
“Faces of Islam”
February 2015 – Showcased at the Queens Museum, NYC City Hall, and LaGuardia Gallery of Photographic Arts
Photographers: LaGuardia Community College Commercial Photography students
“A photographic exhibition, as a part of “Beyond Sacred: Unthinking Muslim Identity” project on display at Queens Museum of Arts and LaGuardia Gallery of Photographic Arts. “Beyond Sacred: Unthinking Muslim Identity” is a year long series of dance, live theater, art exhibitions and public forums created to expand awareness and understanding of Muslim culture in post 9/11New York City by LaGuardia Performing Arts Center (LPAC). “The Faces of Islam exhibition presents a representative group of diverse community college students. These teachers, artists, airline pilots, community activists, attorneys and myriad others joined with our students and alums to share the bond of creative photography. In the process they met as human beings working together for a common cause; to be seen as individuals and not as stereotypes.”
Press: NY1 Times Ledger Queens Courier
“The LaGuardia Family”
“An exhibition of 72 photographs by LaGuardia Community College CommercialPhotography students and alumni in a wide variety of styles and formats.Students approached fellow students, faculty and staff members and asked permission to photograph them and their extended families. Some did photographic studies of their families.”
“FadingImages: 1964-1965 New York’s World Fair ”
Photographer:Charles Carl Barnett
Charles Carl Barnett, a seventy-three-year-old Queens photographer debuts 1964 World’s Fair never-seen-before photographs in LaGuardia Community College exhibition.
“This is my life story. I loved this Fair. Anybody who lived through this knows this was a magical time that brought the world to Queens - literally. A lot of people knocked it as overly commercial, but to us it was exciting. We didn’t want it to end.”
Press: Western Queens Gazette
May 2014 - Showcased at the Morris Museum and LaGuardia Gallery of Photographic Arts
Photographers: Photography Alumni from LaGuardia Community College and County College of Morris
Curators: Scott Sternbach, Hrvoje Slovenc and Javier Larenas
“An alumni show that included works of LaGuardia Community College and County College ofMorris photography alumni.”
“Between Heaven and Earth”
Curators: Javier Larenas and Lidiya Kan
An exhibition of photographs by a Mexican photographer, Rodolfo Caballero, taken in North Mexico, one of the most dangerous places, during his 3 year journey through Chihuahua, Durango, and Coahuila. “Some of my photos have a marked tendency to represent the vulgar and the ugly; but with it they develop the elements of passion and strength with a peculiar point of view arisen from a special disposition for sentiments, and in this way they can provoke in the viewer an impression, that is certainly not edifying, but often it is very powerful and moving.”
-Rodolfo Caballero -
“Expedition Chile II”
May 2013 – Showcased at the Queens Museum and LaGuardia Gallery of Photographic Arts
Photographers: LaGuardia Community College Commercial Photography students – Study Abroad Participants
Curators: Scott Sternbach, Javier Larenas and Lidiya Kan
“Photography Students ventures out once again to Chile and beyond, returning with their photograph.”
“The Astoria Project: Interethnic Encounters”
“A collaborative project with the Max PlanckInstitute, Göttingen, Germany for the Study of Religious and EthnicDiversity. The Institute is dedicated to the comparative,multi-disciplinary study of diversity in historical and contemporary societies.Dr. Anna Cieslik of MPI and myself, used the Astoria Photo Project to assistMPI in understanding local diversities in New York and to illustrate how people make connections with each other in Astoria.”
Photographers: LaGuardia Community College Commercial Photography students – Study Abroad
“LAGCC Study Abroad Students in 2012 (Fall II), had the choice of participating for four weeks in travel to Santiago and Valparaiso. The students captured moment of unique beauty during their journey to one of South America’s most fascinating countries. In the candid and formal portraits, landscapes and cityscapes of lyrically documented photographic and video graphic narratives, the students explore culture, cuisine, agriculture, ritual and social issues.”
CUNYtv Study With The Best: Study With The Best 12/4 (First six minutes)
Photographers: LaGuardia Community College Commercial Photography students
“A photography exhibition of riveting portraits taken by LaGuardia Community CollegeCommercial Photography students celebrating the working men and women of small businesses in Long Island City.”
“The WPA Project”
October 2010 – Showcased at the Greater Astoria Historical Society and LaGuardia Gallery of Photographic Arts
Photographers: Seven LaGuardia Community College Commercial Photography students
“In collaboration with Bob Singleton, Executive Director of the Greater Astoria Historical Society, spearheaded and lead a select group of seven LaGuardia Community College Photography students to photograph Depression-era works of art that are scattered throughout the borough of Queens.”
-Javier Larenas -
NY Daily News
Photographers: LaGuardia Community College Commercial Photography students
Curators: Scott Sternbach, Javier Larenas and Sarah Midkiff
“A photography exhibition celebrating the global diversity of LaGuardia Community College students through their portraits created by LaGuardia photography students.”
CUNY LaGuardia Community College Media
CUNY LaGuardia Community College Media
Voices of NY
The one-year Commercial Photography Certificate curriculum emphasizes basic and intermediate photography skills and is an excellent introduction to commercial laboratory techniques. It is particularly suited to individuals interested in seeking employment in a commercial photography lab. Students will learn to process color transparencies and color negative film, and print color photographs using professional automated equipment. In addition to color photography, the curriculum involves the student in intensive traditional black-and-white photography techniques including photo chemistry, lighting, mathematics, and basic techniques of the commercial photographer.
Click Here for additional information regarding Commercial Photography Certificate Costs and Outcomes (Gainful Employment)