Turning Chaos into Art

a 24 week creative mentorship with award-winning photographers Antonina Mamzenko and Emma Collins

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Enrolment for the next cohort opens soon. Add your email below to be the first to know when it does and for exclusive waitlist-only early bird discount.



Turning Chaos into Art is an intensive and interactive group mentoring programme which will enable you to become a better and more intentional documentary family photographer.

Our students’ work

These are just a few examples of the work our first cohort of students have created during the mentorship…

During this mentorship, we will give you the insight and the tools to consistently create rich, complex and beautiful documentary images and you will graduate with the knowledge that you can walk into the chaotic environment of a documentary family photoshoot and consistently craft powerful, storytelling images, whatever the session throws at you. 

You’ll learn how to…

Image © Emma Collins

  • use the documentary ethos in family photography to create successful storytelling images
  • stop chasing the shot and start shooting intentionally
  • use different techniques to infuse a photograph with sense of mood and feeling
  • create dynamic images that excite the eye of the viewer
  • amplify details in a photograph to elevate an image from nice to powerful
  • use composition and organise elements in a frame to make sense of complex scenes
  • and so much more…

Here’s what you’ll get:

  • 24 weeks of intensive learning and mentoring with Emma and Antonina in a intimate online group setting
  • the benefit of two experienced working documentary family photographers guiding you and giving you feedback at regular intervals, pushing you to do things you never make time for on your own
  • an improved confidence as a documentary shooter, a deeper understanding of how to craft more impactful photographs and an elevated vision for intentional shooting
  • practical assignments that will make you focus on specific techniques to confine concepts to muscle memory so you’re ready to use them in the field
  • personalised feedback at every step of the way (because this is the BEST and FASTEST way to grow as a documentary photographer)
  • two 121 calls with Emma and Antonina, one at the start to assess your current work and set out your objectives, and one at the end to review your progress and curate a strong portfolio
  • a combination of written and video instruction that break down the key elements of a documentary image, accompanied by assignments designed to underpin the lessons
  • live group critiques every two weeks and 24/7 access to a private Facebook group for extra support
  • be part of a supportive group of like-minded photographers who will inspire you, cheer you on, and keep you accountable
  • a timetable of commitments from day one so you can plan your diary and know exactly what to expect and when it will happen

Image © Antonina Mamzenko

Here’s how it works:

The more work you put in, the more active you are in the group, the more growth you will achieve. Being a photographer can be lonely and gaining a support network of like-minded people that you can call upon, share your struggles and successes is invaluable.

You also get the benefit of watching and learning from critiques of your peers. You’re less emotionally attached to the work of others, giving you an objective understanding of their critique which reinforces the feedback that you get about your work and progress.

It’s mentoring on steroids.

Don’t take it from us

Here are just some of the kind words our first cohort had to say about their experience with Turning Chaos into Art:

“This course has almost been a sort of lifeline! I’ve done my fair share of online courses over the years but this has been absolutely one of the best – teaching, content, pace, community and people all exceptional.”
Rebecca Lewis

“Turning Chaos Into Art does what it says on the tin. It takes all the swirling ingredients that make up a really good documentary image and it breaks it down into each individual element. Then it slowly helps you to build those pieces together to allow you to make photos you will be proud of. I have purchased a fair few photography courses over the years but TCIA has been, by far, the best investment I have made for my own creative development. In fact I wouldn’t really call it a course, or a mentorship, it has been more like an inspiring journey with friends.”
Vicki Cracknell

“I’m absolutely loving it. It’s the best thing I’ve done since picking up the camera in the first place. I’m going to miss it so much – it’s totally changed everything for me.”
Michaela Strivens

“I cannot say enough great things about Emma and Antonina. They are amazingly talented photographers and excellent instructors. I walked away from this course having learned so much. They carefully broke down a different technique each week and gave insightful and constructive feedback that enabled me to grow as a photographer. I watched as my work improved over the course of 6 months and was able to easily apply what I had learned to make my images stronger and more impactful. I’m so glad I decided to sign up for Turning Chaos Into Art and I can’t wait to enroll in another course!”
Samantha Vaupel

“For some time I had been feeling a level of frustration with the work I was producing as well as the work I was seeing. I felt stuck creatively and knew I needed to shift gear drastically but didn’t quite know how to go about it. Signing up for ‘Turning Chaos into Art’ has given me the best push that I needed to drive into the next phase of my photography practice. I’ve only just scratched the surface of the rich and complex techniques taught by Emma and Antonina and I know that I will be practicing and perfecting them for many, many years to come. A huge thank you to Antonina and Emma who have been so generous with their time during this rich and in-depth mentoring course.”
Amanda Jane Dalby


Who is this programme for?

This is for all photographers wanting to take the leap into the documentary family photography genre and learn how to create storing storytelling images, whether you are shooting for yourself or are running a documentary family photography business. This is an advanced programme and you need to have a solid command of the technical aspects using your camera in manual or semi-manual modes. The programme will guide you through all the peculiarities and the different technical and creative skills required to shoot a successful documentary session. It’s will improve your understanding of how to elevate a pretty portrait or a snapshot into an artfully crafted documentary image that tells a story and will set you apart from the competition.

What happens after I enrol?

Once you enrol, you will receive an automated order confirmation email. Approximately one week before the programme begins you will receive instructions on how to access the learning platform, the private Facebook group, and all other information to get your set up and ready to learn.

What if I change my mind?

Because of a personalised nature of this mentorship and the limited number of spots available in each run we expect our students to be fully committed to the programme when they enrol. With this in mind, the mentorship fee is non-refundable. Please read our full Terms and Conditions here: https://learn.madefordocumentary.com/terms

How much time each week will I need to dedicate to this mentorship?

Every two weeks there will be a new module and assignment combination released, which would take you about 30-60 minutes to read and watch, and a few hours ever week to shoot (this can be photographing your own family, arranging portfolio building shoots, or practicing during client sessions). At the end of each two week period, there is a live group critique conducted via Zoom which typically take about 3-4 hours. Each critique is also recorded, so if you can’t make it, or can’t watch it in full, you can access the recording later. You will also need to allocate time for 121s calls with Emma and Antonina at the start and the end of the programme.

What are the timings for the group critiques?

The timings will be set in advance and published when the enrolment opens. Please see the exact schedule in the course description above.

What if I can’t attend the group Zoom calls?

You will receive dates for the group mentoring Zoom calls in advance. If you know you won’t be able to make it live, you will be able to submit your images and questions in advance. All calls will be recorded and posted on our education platform so you can watch (and re-watch) later.

I don’t think I can afford it right now, can I join another time?

We are passionate about pushing the boundaries of the documentary family genre forward by improving the standard of imagery available, so we have tried to make this mentorship affordable and great value for money by packing it full of material and guidance. Think of it this way: not only are you getting all the learning materials, but you are also getting two highly experienced mentors to guide you and speed up your progress, saving you potentially years of figuring it all out yourself, at just over £60 per week. How much is that worth to you? We have also provided an easy way to pay in 6 instalments. 

How many spots are available?

This group mentorship is limited to 12 students to ensure an in-depth experience and so that each participant can get regular individual feedback.

How long will I have access to the course materials?

You will have access to the materials for the duration of the mentorship and will be able to download any content you want to keep before the end of that period. You will have access to the Facebook group for the duration of the mentorship and for as long as you wish afterwards. Each cohort will have their own Facebook group so you can continue to benefit from peer support in your group after the course.

How much face time will I have with the mentors?

Each student will have two private Zoom sessions with Emma and Antonina, one at the start of the programme and one at the end. You will also get live group mentoring calls every two weeks to review the work that you have produced in response to the assignments. There is also a private Facebook group to ask questions and request feedback in-between the group sessions. 

I have more questions!

Great! Email us at hello@madefordocumentary.com and we’ll answer any questions you might have.

Your Instructors

Emma Collins

From humble beginnings of wrapping newborn babies back in 2010, to having a successful lifestyle business, Emma has become one of the leading documentary family photographers in the UK and has won several Documentary Family Photography awards, including Best Overall and Environmental Portrait categories twice in a row. In 2021 she has been shortlisted for the Alpha Female Award by the World Photography Organisation. Her heart has been won by the powerful stories that documenting family life offers, showing families that life doesn’t have to be manicured, that what they have together is their perfect. She is passionate about spreading this message, raising the profile of the genre and teaching photographers how to elevate their images to create art from the everyday chaos.

Antonina Mamzenko

Antonina is a recovering lawyer who moved from Russia to the UK in search of an adventure and found her home. She started her lifestyle family photography business back in 2009 and after getting tired of telling people what to wear and where to sit, transitioned to a more documentary approach in 2015. Over the past 10 years she has become one of the leading UK family photographers working with clients from all over the globe. Her superpower is documentary portraiture and capturing authentic moments of humour and connection. An introvert to the core, she is passionate about teaching photographers how they can run a profitable photography business while playing to their unique strengths – and without burning out.