My NYIP Experience: The Complete Course in Professional Photography – Review of Unit 1

I have always had an interest for photography, particularly food photography, but never really took the time to learn all the ins and out of a dSLR. After chatting with my wedding photographer about her experience and training, she mentioned that she took the distance course at the New York Institute of Photography and that she really enjoyed it.

I have a full time job on top of this blog and lots of volunteering and social activities. I had to really think about whether or not I would have time to dedicate to a professional photography course because when I start something, I need to finish it. After doing a bit of research and really thinking things through, I decided that I really wanted to master my camera so I jumped in and registered for the Complete Course in Professional Photography.

I registered on April 17, and in less than 1 month, I was able to complete Unit 1. In case you are curious, there are the 6 units in the course:

  1. You and your equipment
  2. Capturing the image
  3. Harnessing the light
  4. Photographing people
  5. Broadening your subject range
  6. Professional pathways

Each unit is further broken down into various lessons, in which you have a combination of text to read, videos to watch, and audio recordings. I really enjoy the way each lesson is broken down into various mediums because it makes it more interactive and motivating to continue. I love that I can read a few lessons on my ipad before going to bed, or listen to an audio segment while doing dishes. You really have the opportunity to do this course anytime and anywhere! I had originally ordered the printed material, but since I had not received it after completing the first Unit, I called NYIP to cancel the order. They gave me a refund without any questions asked, which was great. Once I got started, I found that the web portal for the course is really well designed and I really did not need to use any printed materials.

I have to say that I have learned so much in Unit 1. Before starting the course, I was not able to use my camera in manual mode. After completing this small part of the course, I now use my camera exclusively in manual mode. In this unit, there was a lot of detail about the range of photography equipment that is out there, and there was also a great focus on how to use everything, including a great section on understanding the aperture, shutter speed and ISO to get sharp images. I still have lots of learning to do, but this is a major accomplishment that I am so pleased with. I feel like I have more control of my camera and can play with aperture and shutter speed to get the effect I want to show on a picture.

Each Unit ends with a multiple choice open book exam and a Photography Project to be submitted electronically. What is great about the Photoraphy Project is that it is reviewed by a professional photographer who provides audio comment on your work. In order to complete Unit 1, I had to submit 3 photos to demonstrate that I can do some of the techniques that we learned in that unit. Here are the photos I submitted:

Photograph 1 – Sense of Speed: For the first submission, I had to show a sense of speed with one of three techniques:

  1. use a slow shutter speed to blur the image with a sharp background;
  2. pan the camera to have a sharp subject and blurred background; or
  3. set a high shutter speed to freeze the action.

My plan for the first photograph was to use a panning motion. I practiced on the streets of St. John’s to capture cars against the jelly bean coloured houses, but in the end, I got a nice shot of a bird taking off and decided to use that picture. It was pure luck as I just saw the bird and quickly changed my camera set ups to try and take a close up shot. I barely had time to set my camera and the bird started flying.  To get this shot, I used my 24-105mm lense at a 105mm focal legth, and set my camera in manual mode with f/4, shutter speed of 1/320 and ISO 200. I could have set the shutter speed a bit higher to really freeze the tip of its wings, but since the bird was not going very fast, a 1/320 shutter speed worked fairly well in this case.

NYIP Unit 1 Assignment - Sense of Speed

Here is one of the shots where I practiced the panning technique. I did not end up submitting it because I am not quite pleased with the composition, but I will definitely keep practicing this technique, it gives quite interesting results!

NYIP Unit 1 Assignment - Sense of Speed

Photograph 2 – Selective Focus: In this picture, I had to use a narrow depth of field to make the subject stand out. I went to a rocky beach in Holyrood to check out some icebergs and saw this old boat on the beach. I took a close up shot of the tip of the boat. I love the texture of the old paint and rusted metal. To get this shot, I used my 24-105mm lense at a 92mm focal legth, and set my camera in manual mode with f/4, shutter speed of 1/320 and ISO 200.

NYIP Unit 1 Assignment - Selective Focus

Photograph 3 – Feeling of Distance: In the last shot for Unit 1, I had to demonstrate that I can use the hyperfocal distance principles to get a view that stretches as far as the eye can see, with a great depth of field. In order to do this, we need to set the lens to a small aperture. In this case, I set my camera at f/22, with a shutter speed of 1/125 to try and make everything in focus, all the way to the horizon. For this shot, I wanted to get a bit of a close up of the iceberg so set my focal distance at 85mm. My instructor said the shot was good but suggested to use a wider focal distance to really maximize the effect.

NYIP Unit 1 Assignment - Feeling of Distance


I am loving this course and I really can’t wait to dive into the next Unit!!

If you are interested in learning about other sections of this course, here are the other units I completed and reviewed:

Unit 2 – Harnessing the Light

Unit 3 – Harnessing the Light

Note: This post is not sponsored. The opinions expressed in this post are my own.


  1. Dalefty says

    Keep pressing with the NYIP course… Yes there are a lot of on line courses and tips but I felt the one on one with your instructor and the best part at your own pace to work at is a blessing… I just completed Unit 6! Happy shooting Ellie…

  2. says


    I really feel excited while reading this post, i have always wanted to join the NYIP, and this definitely pushes me to do so.

    Many thanks Ellie

    • Ellie says

      This is great Amely, glad you enjoy it! Let me know if you have any questions on the program!! I am doing unit 4 now and still learning lots and loving it!

  3. Matthew says

    Hey Ellie,
    I never leave a comment on sites, but your article was exactly what I need to hear. I’d been looking for info on the NYIP program before taking the plunge. Well layout and wonderfully informative. Thank you!

    • Ellie says

      Hi Matt, thanks for your comment. Glad you enjoyed my article and good luck for your photography adventure! Do not hesitate to email me if you have further questions about the course! Cheers!

  4. says

    A DSLR camera got dumped into my lap and I have been searching a long time for the perfect course to fit in with my time as a wife/mother/business owner that is affordable and I don’t have to go to a brick and mortar school. I have all of the enrollment information about NYIP just needed to read your reviews to make a decision. THANK YOU for reviewing I can’t wait to get started !!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *