Mega list of documentary family photography resources

documentary family photographyI wanted to do a round-up of documentary family photography resources in case this subject has peaked your interest. I know how hard it can be to find good information on a subject and how convenient it is to have it all in one easy to reference place, so I collected the following documentary family photography resources for you!  Even if you don’t have children, I think that if you are interested in documentary photography for friends and family that these are great starting points. I have loved researching this genre, Michelle and I even have a beta set of black and white documentary style presets we’ve been working on in the Foto Rx lab that we will be releasing next year, from rich and sharp to dramatic and gloriously grainy, sure to make editing your sessions a breeze.  We want you to have images that are print worthy!

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Classes

Kirsten Lewis Real Family Photography-The class is long, but Kirsten is one of the top photographers in this field and it’s chock full of information, I can highly recommend.

Felicia Chang the Unapologetic Life-I wrote a review here.

Point of View Documentary photography

The Documentary Approach

Composition Clinic for Documentarians with Zalmy Berkowitz

Documentary photography with Ami Vitale

Tutorials, Interviews + Inspiration

Jennifer Tonnetti Spellman shares many of hers here.

Kirsten Lewis on family photojournalism

Sham of the perfect-I devoured all of their artist interviews in one night. Such incredible insight and inspo.

Community for documentary photographers

Photographer and father of 6 Alain Laboile offers endless inspiration a must visit!

The difference between lifestyle and documentary photography

Equipment/Tools

Your iphone would work for personal work, but if you are thinking o taking on clients here’s some of the equipment the pros recommend-

Full frame camera (we have a Canon 6D in the studio)- Nikon 750 (what Felicia Chang uses)

Sigma Art 35mm (this lens kept coming up over and over again)-For Canon | For Nikon

24mm lens for wide angle shots

50mm lens

Photomechanic for culling images

$10/mo Adobe Creative Cloud plan

Foto Rx Black and White documentary style presets (coming soon!)

photo by alain laboile

Documentary Family Photography

felicia_chang_documentary_family_photograher_viabesottedblogWhen Michelle and I were working on choosing a focus for our business one of the questions we asked is ‘what would we regret if we didn’t do?’ I knew that I would regret not documenting my daughter’s life and I don’t mean documenting it in that polished way for Instagram (you know what I mean), but truly documenting moments and time. We both decided we wanted to have a photo-centric business, but not in the usual capacity, (because well, we don’t do anything the usual way). From the day we made our decision I have spent countless hours studying and refining my eye and craft, not always hands on with the camera, but really exploring the medium. I have read books (many I plan to share one day soon) and taken classes from photographers I admire and I don’t plan on stopping my education anytime soon.

I recently had the pleasure to take a class from Felicia Chang, a Canadian documentary family photographer. I highly recommend her class for anyone that has an interest in this style of photography. Even though I love a clean and polished image, with beautiful light and all the stars aligned, etc. the reality is I have more moments on the daily of a 4 year old that believes clothing is optional and my dining room often has markers and Legos 10 inches deep. These are memories I want to remember as well, these are memories that I don’t share on social media but I don’t want to forget. The good, the bad and the ugly, it’s what makes life beautiful and authentic. I prefer the candid photographs and honestly I think my heart would break a wee bit if she started to say ‘cheese’. Of course sometimes I get lucky and get a great candid and I do think in documentary photography luck plays a big role, but I also wanted to know what I needed to set myself up for so I could have some more ‘luck’. The class is brief, there’s an in depth PDF that you can refer to that goes over all the concepts in the videos, it even has a great list of equipment Felicia uses and books she recommends. The class is hosted at Click Photo School, which is part of the forum Clickin Mom’s, the name is a misnomer, you don’t need to be a mom to be in the forum (I was a member for years before I had a child) and you don’t need to be in the forum to take the class BUT if you are in the forum, you can ask questions of the teachers and also the students, it’s a great way to really get as much out of the classes as possible. My most favorite part of their photography classes (and Felicia’s class is no exception) is the way they are taught, they feel very much as if a friend that knows a little more than you is giving you a one on one lesson, they are able to break down hard concepts into ways that are extremely easy to digest without ever dumbing anything down. I always walk away inspired and ready to try a new technique or concept. Felicia’s class ‘The Unapologetic Life’ is currently $25USD but should easily be 3 times that amount! If you have an interest in family documentary style photography this is an easy intro class and if you have been shooting this style for a while, it’s always great to hear another perspective from someone else successful in the field!

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Photographer Felica Chang

The Unapologetic Life (class)

Incredible photography forum

Roost Tribe Membership

roost tribe membership via besotted i

We are such fans of surface pattern designer and Adobe Illustrator expert Bonnie Christine, everything she puts out works so flawlessly with the brand she has built (an excellent example of cohesive branding). If you are a creative, doing illustration, lettering etc. and are wondering what outlets there may be to build your work into something more Bonnie is a great starting point!  Bonnie has a monthly membership based site called The Roost Tribe, it is a community of creatives but even better it is an immensely jam packed resource.  Bonnie is truly a resource powerhouse, her classes on Skillshare are among the most popular on their site (from experience this is an incredibly difficult task to accomplish), she has years now of experience creating successful textile collections and she is happy to share her  endless knowledge.  We thought we would share some of the monthly topics she tackles in her Roost Tribe (link below for detailed next 6 months)–

May– Getting started with an industry (fabric, wallpaper,stationery).  Video tutorial on creating mock-ups.

June-Marketing 10. Bonnie shares the marketing strategies she uses (she’s everywhere so I think she’s figured this topic out),

July-Leverage your handwriting (I think a lot of you could get behind this!)

August-Getting noticed and charging for your work

We have teamed up with Bonnie to giveaway one full year of a Roost Tribe membership! A $149 USD value, we are positive that if you participate in the tribe you should walk away with a ton more knowledge and inspiration and we hope a new flourishing career! So if you are ready to change your life and take your illustrations or lettering to another level then enter to win by:

-Leave a comment below

-Follow Bonnie Christine on Instagram

Winner will be chosen randomly and announced Tuesday May 16, 2017.  Good luck!

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Bonnie Christine Instagram

Learn about The Tribe

Roost Tribe Yearly Plan of Attack

Bonnie Christine courses

Tristan B. is the co-creator of the world’s best + easiest product photography editing tool-Foto Rx | Shopkeeper’s Helper and one of the writer’s of this delightful blog.

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Easy watercolor leaves, wreaths, feathers and moons!

how to watercolor leaves and feathers via besotted

Michelle and I have been dabbling in watercolor exploration for about a year. Actually dabbling sounds like we have spent more time on it than we actually have, the last time we brought out our watercolor set was last summer so more like ‘dibbling‘ than dabbling. After starting the botanical sketching, I really wanted to try my hand at some loose abstracts and fluid botanicals. It seemed easy enough, but I failed, I failed a million times over and I’m not just being humble here, my three year old was doing a better job at washes and blobs.  At one point Michelle even suggested I ask my toddler to teach me, which I would have but three year olds aren’t particularly known for their patience. Luckily I found a couple of on-line teachers, that are patient and really, really good at explaining things. I can not believe that in 2 mini lessons I learned how to draw leaves and a feather! That actually look like leaves and a feather! Just that little bit of knowledge gave me such confidence and then I learned how to watercolor a moon? My goodness! I have started to feel some rays of hope. There is great satisfaction for someone that wants to do something to actually be able to develop the skill set to do it!  If you have tried your hand at watercolors and felt hopeless I hope these classes will give you some confidence. If you only paint watercolor leaves for the rest of your life, it would be a great skill to have/learn, they are so relaxing and satisfying and super duper easy to do!

Let us know if you try it, or if you have found any secret resources. I do want to forewarn you, the graphics associated with the class/tutorials may seem either child-like (one is aimed at children) or maybe not your style, please don’t let that dissuade you, there are real gems here, plus they are super speedy, so you will be in and out in no time and painting something that is recognizable, which is truly exciting! I have become a huge fan of one of the teachers, Peggy Dean, love her teaching style and I truly hope she produces a ton more classes!

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Learn to watercolor leaves, wreaths + feathers (and more!)

Watercolor a full moon (all their tutorials are great)

Brushes (I am using cheapies, but will be buying the ones Peggy mentioned in class)

Watercolor pan set (good colors, inexpensive can be chalky)

Watercolor highly pigmented (GREAT price + colors)

Tube set with palette

Watercolor paper (this is good and inexpensive but it does warp)

Photo edited with Foto Rx

Tristan B. is the co-creator of the world’s best + easiest product photography editing tool-Foto Rx | Shopkeeper’s Helper and one of the writer’s of this delightful blog.