YPA’s Mentoring Program

The YPA Mentoring Program gives students the opportunity to work with successful photographers to fine-tune their craft, create images for their portfolios, develop business and marketing skills and explore markets for their work. At the same time, the program demonstrates the power of photography to build community, national and international awareness and support for an important environmental or social issue.

The YPA Mentoring Program picks up where school leaves off by providing the opportunity to work with some of today’s most successful professionals. The program takes place over the course of the summer pairing up college level students and young photographers with industry professionals. You will meet as a team for a series of 6-8 two hour sessions over the course of 6-8 weeks.

You must have a flexible schedule and be willing to devote necessary time to complete the program and follow instructions provided to you by YPA and your mentors.

How you will benefit:

  • Both the program and your work will be prominently displayed to a worldwide audience.
  • The results of the program will be featured in an exhibition in NYC.
  • Gain experience and insights from leading industry professionals.
  • Learn business skills necessary for an emerging young professional.
  • Create exciting new work for your portfolio.
  • Push yourself to expand your boundaries and potential.
  • Work together with your team to promote both yourself and the program, all while experiencing the power of photography to build community awareness and support around an important social issue.

Please take a look through our past Mentoring Programs.

2018 Theme: Silence

Six teams met in five cities in 2018: Two in New York and one in Boston, Los Angeles, San Diego and Portland, Oregon. Please see how our participants approached the theme here.

2016 Theme: American Landscapes

YPA’s 2016 program included 24 students from four cities: New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles. In all, we had seven very impressive teams who interpreted the theme in many surprising ways. Please click here for the summary page of all 2016 essays and images contributions.

2014 Theme: Boundaries

In 2014, YPA organized mentoring for 12 teams in the US, Canada and England. In all, 46 college photography students received coaching from 27 professionals, photographers and photo editors, over the course of the summer. Our Exhibition was held at The Art Director’s Club in New York.

 2013 Theme: Escape

Our largest program to date! In 2013, YPA organized mentoring for 19 teams around the world: US, Canada, England, Scotland, and India. In all 72 college photography students received coaching from 36 professionals, photographers and photo editors, over the course of the summer. We held an exhibition at the Calumet Gallery in New York.

2012 Theme: Hometown

YPA’s 2012 mentoring theme explored what “hometown” means to emerging photographers. Home is where the heart is and it’s a place that often fills us with pride. For others, it is the opposite, a place from which to escape. How we feel about our hometown, or how we define our hometown, can change as we evolve and gain experience. The program drew 76 college photography students helped by 33 professional photographer mentors and included 17 major cities worldwide.

2011 Theme: Energy is Everything

Participation grew in 2011 to include 62 college photography students helped by 27 professional photographer mentors in Canada, China, Scotland, the United Kingdom and across nine states in America. YPA invited the next generation of photographers to explore the theme of energy, to discover the powerful forces that shape our world, our politics, our environment, our lives and ourselves. This mentoring project sent teams of talented college students and emerging photographers along with their professional photography mentors into the field to find unique and inspiring perspectives on the meaning of “energy” as it affects us in the 21st century.

2010 Theme: Answering Adversity

For our inaugural year, 38 college photography students were helped by 12 professional mentors. Locations included cities in Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States. The theme was explored from a variety of vantage points; portraiture, photojournalism, landscape and architectural photography. Each student was encouraged to find his or her own unique perspective and interpretation. The students learned to push the boundaries of how photography can shed light on a subject in new and innovative ways.