When 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!