Get Real: Diving into Documentary Family Photography

a self-paced course with Alice Chapman

A deep dive introduction to documentary family photography.


Family life can be hard, funny, challenging, unpredictable, boring, joyful, full of love and a hundred other emotions and moods. With documentary family photography, we attempt to find beauty in the everyday, the extraordinary in the ordinary, and the art amongst the chaos. We don’t pretend that everyone woke up in a good mood, got dressed in harmonious colours and spent their day in a flower field all the while facing the same direction. Yes, that can look beautiful, but we believe that nothing is better than real life.

Buy now

Download the materials to keep and work at in your own time.

This is a course for the curious.

Have you ever asked yourself… ?

How can I get more real than “natural”?

How do I get what I want from my clients/kids if I don’t tell them what to do?

Will clients really like the “warts and all” approach, honestly?

How can I get good photos inside in low or crappy light?

How do I know I’ll get good photos if I don’t know what we’ll be doing or where?

What do I do if I’m not cleaning up the background?

What sort of things should I start to include in the frame and will it really look good?

How can I stop missing moments?

How will I know that I’ll get any good moments at all?

How do documentary family photographers edit?

Why don’t my photographs look more documentary?

Why don’t my photographs feel more documentary?

What actually is documentary anyway?

What happens if I try just a bit of documentary and why does everyone keep talking about rules?

How and where do I actually start?

This course covers:

🌟 Getting ready: understanding the ethos of documentary photography and how it can be applied to your own family photography.

🌟 Getting real: understanding the challenges and the “dos and don’ts” of the genre and how to build your skillset to meet them.

🌟 Real light: how to shoot in different and uncontrolled lighting conditions.

🌟 Real composition: how to use composition to tell real life stories in your photographs.

🌟 Real moment: how to tune into different real life moments that make impactful and meaningful documentary photographs.

🌟 Keeping it real: how to edit your images to preserve the authenticity of your imagery.

🌟 Getting it all together: understanding the mindset of a documentary family photographer and learning how to technically, artfully and intentionally document real family life.

Inside the course:

🌟 a welcome video;

🌟 an in-depth written comprehensive 100+ page coursebook, separated into seven parts of structured and detailed information, with practical guidance, inspiring imagery and carefully crafted advice;

🌟 a separate workbook with over 40 practical, technical and ethos-based assignments to complete along the way to reinforce your learning in your own time.

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“Alice sets up the course with a clear and thorough frame work that covers all key aspects of documentary photography. I absolutely love how she focused on one step at a time and gave me very actionable exercise to practice for each step.” — Amy Dangerfield

This course is for you if:

🌟 Family photography is your hobby, your job or somewhere in between. 

🌟 You’re curious about how to make the documentary work genre for you.

🌟 You appreciate the beauty of real life but you’re unsure how to fully embrace that ethos on a shoot.

🌟 You’d like to achieve a stronger documentary look in your own photography. 

🌟 You’d like to build your technical and creative skills to be ready to shoot in any light conditions.

🌟 You’d like to work on your composition skills to be better able to tell real life stories in your photography

🌟 You appreciate genuine moments in family photography but you want to know how to keep it real. 

🌟 You’d like to improve your documentary editing. 

🌟 You’d like to use the documentary approach for an entire shoot / day in the life .

🌟 You want practical advice and repeatable exercises to really embed and develop your learning

🌟 You want to learn in your own time and at your own pace.

🌟 You’re ready to dive into documentary family photography!

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Thank you for being so generous with your knowledge Alice – a truly fabulous course!” — Kirsty Larmour

This course was previously available on a different platform.
We’re happy to bring it home to Made for Documentary! 

“I have been a HUGE fan of Alice’s documentary family photography work for a long time. She is a true master of turning daily chaos into art. Alice sets up the course with a clear and thorough frame work that covers all key aspects of documentary photography. I absolutely love how she focused on one step at a time and gave me very actionable exercise to practice for each step. Documentary approach is not easy but after reading through the course material and completing the exercises, I feel confident about going into our life and document the stories I see. And for more experienced documentary photographers, this course is still extremely valuable. It is really fascinating to see how Alice sees the world. Even through the very first exercise, I was able to be even more intentional about what I include in my frames for my images. I would highly recommend this course!!” – Amy Dangerfield 


“I’ve long been a fan of Alice’s documentary work and this course is a must have for documentary photographers and those wanting to learn documentary photography. This is a beautiful course with a super in-depth PDF that breaks down the aspects of documentary photography step by step. I wish I’d had this course when I was first starting out, but even experienced photographers will find the exercises and information helpful. I’m a huge fan of the documentary genre, but have branched out in recent years. This course made me realize how much I still love pure documentary photography and made me fall in love with the genre all over again!” – Krista Cox


“Documentary photography can be daunting – getting images that are visually stimulating with personality and enough points of interest to draw in your audience is a finely tuned skill. And in this course Alice shares an absolute wealth of skills to do just that – AND so much more!!! She makes those ordinary, everyday scenes that we want to treasure into pieces of art. Not just art, but art with impact and meaning, and here she shares tools and exercises that each of us can practice ourselves to do that in pulling together snippets of our own lives. As someone who practices a hybrid style of photography between lifestyle and documentary this course has given me so many points to consider and reflect on which I know i’ll be implementing in both my personal and client work from now on in.Thank you for being so generous with your knowledge Alice – a truly fabulous course!” – Kirsty Larmour


“As an outdoors fine art photographer, I am always afraid of shooting documentary. For me it is stressful not having complete control of light, colors, composition and whatever is included in the frame. However, after going through Alice’s lessons and proposed exercises (both technical and creative), I feel more confident about taking a dive into this photography genre. Alice clearly explains the process and the different steps to it, sharing her knowledge on what you need to know and what you need to look and aim for. Her written material is pretty good, and her exercises for each lesson are just amazing and so valuable. As everything, mastery comes through practice, and her exercises are so actionable and perfect for this. Thanks for motivation and inspiration, Alice!” – Paty Decker


“This course is the paradigm shift I didn’t even know I needed! I wanted to document my daily family life when my son was born and I had no idea what I was doing. But I knew enough to be always frustrated with my pictures. So I took a few courses and as I began to understand manual mode, light, composition, colour, editing, etc. The technical and artistic quality of my pictures improved a lot, but I started to become a little impatient. I wanted to make art every time I clicked the shutter but I started fighting reality. I began to displace objects at home, to manipulate light, to crop things out, and sometimes I would even direct my son to look in a certain direction or to do certain things for the picture, which would make me impatient when he wouldn’t cooperate. What a relief to embrace reality as it is! How liberating it is to not have to polish anything, prepare anything, direct anything, deny anything. And how delightful it is to sit back, slow down and observe what is just as it is. I’m very grateful to Alice for showing me that photography could be a meditative practice. This was the first course I took that changed something important in my life beyond photography. It has broadened my capacity to embrace all circumstances, all lightiing conditions, to enjoy photography again and even relax in many life events. I see interesting stories and characters everywhere. There’s so much beauty in the world. And humour. And love. It made me fall in love with my camera and with my real life all over again. Now I have a more clear sense of what I want with my photography journey: I want to look back at my photos and not only see a curated version of what my family life looked like but mostly what it feels like to be who we are. More than rating the course, I’d like to thank you for it.” – Dora


“I loved how thought provoking this course was. Alice didn’t just feed a bunch of helpful information, but in addition to that she supplied great challenges and questions to ask myself. Answering these questions helped me to internalize the why and understand what and how to “see” better what is most meaningful to me. This course is also full of techniques to try and practice. A very worthwhile investment to have under my belt. Thank you Alice!” – Jennie More


“I have absolutely been in awe of documentary photography. I have learned little bits here and there but this course MAKES SENSE!! Thank you so much for this course, I feel like this is the course I have been waiting for. I love documentary photography and with this course I truly believe I can start doing something I truly love to do, capturing families in their natural spaces making genuine connections with each other that they will be able to share for years and years because of the pictures I take of them! I can’t say thank you enough!!” – Karyssa Rosales


“Such a wonderful course! Alice walks you through step by step to explain exactly what documentary photography is and isn’t as well as what you should and shouldn’t do. Each section is filled with several activities to build your technical and creative skill set along the way. No aspect is skipped over. For me, the best part it how Alice explains the adjust that moving to documentary family can be and the constant reminders that she gives on how long and how frustrating the process might be. This is something we tend to forget when learning something new. If you want to learn how to shoot documentary and create not just important keepsakes, but art, this is definitely the course for you.” – Jess Delany

Buy now

Download the materials to keep and and work at in your own time.

Your Instructor

Alice Chapman

Alice has been a family photographer since 2011. The moment she realised documentary family photography was an established genre was the moment everything started to make sense. Alice is passionate about enabling families and children to be themselves in their family photos so she can champion their individuality. Alice has been listed five times as the top UK family documentary photographer by the Family Photojournalist Association, winning many awards. Alice is a This is Reportage Family multi-award winner and a Documentary Family Awards finalist. Her work has been featured in many international publications, platforms and exhibitions, including the Royal Photographic Society, Digital Photographer Magazine, Photo Vogue, Shutter Hub, Click Magazine, PhotoPlace Gallery and the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts. With 15 years’ people management experience, being a qualified coach and experienced mentor, Alice is passionate about helping photographers thrive.