In the computer vision and pattern recognition fields, image classification represents an important yet difficult task. It is a challenge to build effective computer models to replicate the remarkable ability of the human visual system, which relies on only one or a few instances to learn a completely new class or an object of a class. Recently we proposed two genetic programming (GP) methods, one-shot GP and compound-GP, that aim to evolve a program for the task of binary classification in images. The two methods are designed to use only one or a few instances per class to evolve the model. In this study, we investigate these two methods in terms of performance, robustness, and complexity of the evolved programs. We use ten data sets that vary in difficulty to evaluate these two methods. We also compare them with two other GP and six non-GP methods. The results show that one-shot GP and compound-GP outperform or achieve results comparable to competitor methods. Moreover, the features extracted by these two methods improve the performance of other classifiers with handcrafted features and those extracted by a recently developed GP-based method in most cases.