Alice Chapman

Get Real: Documentary Family Photography


Nothing is better than real life.

This 7 part, limited run course covers all the bases for documentary family photography. It's a course for the curious, for those who value authenticity, for photographers ready to push their creativity in new ways.

So pick up your camera, step back from styled and staged, and discover the art of capturing unscripted, unfiltered moments in this immersive introduction to the genre.
with Alice Chapman
through July 13th
available to purchase
through July 28th
to study, practice,
and create your final project

let's talk about

What makes it different
Rehearsed demos and concept-driven shooting videos run counter to a genre that prioritizes intimate, unplanned moments.

Instead, this course takes you step-by-step through comprehensive written lessons, reinforces your learning with over 40 carefully crafted exercises, and delivers a deep understanding of documentary principles and techniques.

here's a look at

What you'll get

A step-by-step, hands-on process for trying out the genre (so you can decide if documentary is for you)

Clear dos and don’ts to help you apply photojournalism principles to everyday family life

Powerful techniques and new approaches to light, composition, moments, and editing

Technical and creative exercises to reinforce concepts at each step

Skills you can call on at any moment (because real life doesn’t stick to a schedule)

Meaningful photos along the way – and a final documentary project that brings it all together

"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."

check out what's in your classroom
“Get Real” Coursebook
A comprehensive 111 page PDF coursebook broken down into 7 parts and packed with practical guidance, examples, and advice, from the ethos of documentary right through to what to do when nothing is happening. It's everything you need to build your skillset to meet the challenges of the genre.
“Get Real” Guided Workbook + Final Project
Over 40 targeted questions and intentional exercises structured to reinforce each chapter and guide practical applications of each topic we cover. The workbook will prepare you mentally, technically, and creatively to complete a final documentary project that captures a day of real family life.
Interactive Discussions
As part of this limited run, you’ll be invited to join in prepared activities and discussions that are designed to get you in the documentary mindset, ignite your curiosity, and cultivate a safe and thoughtful space for growth alongside peers.

you’ll have new ideas and effective techniques to see, anticipate, and capture family real moments - and a framework for continued growth as a documentary photographer.

meet 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 that she can champion their individuality. She has been listed four times as the top UK family documentary photographer by the Family Photojournalist Association, and she is a This is Reportage Family multi-award winner, a Documentary Family Awards finalist, a Made For Documentary Co-Founder, a Click Voice winner, and a Click Pro Elite photographer. With 15 years of people management experience, Alice only misses two things from her corporate days: office cakes and developing people’s skills. A qualified coach and experienced mentor, Alice is passionate about helping documentary family photographers thrive.

34 thoughts on “Get Real”

  1. 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!

    1. Thank you so much Krista, I’m so glad you got so much out of the course even with your experience. Many thanks for your review.

  2. 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! Congratulations.

    1. Thank you so much Kirsty. Here’s to creating those impactful and meaningful pieces of art, and all from real life!

  3. 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 (10 years ago) 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 began to have ideas on what my photos should look like. I wanted to make art every time I clicked the shutter, and I started pursuing the Wau effect. I started fighting reality. I began to displace objects at home (which never bothered me before) for the picture because they would be distracting. I began 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. Going to the beach or visiting a monument or a museum became annoying, sometimes, because in my photos I was trying to pretend we were the only ones there and I saw other people as obstacles to my creative vision or to my preconceived idea of how a trip to these places should look like.
    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. We may discover so much beauty when the quality of our attention is still enough to be receptive and able to recognise the moments that are already before our eyes without us having to do anything.
    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 lightning conditions, to enjoy photography again and even relax in many life events. The crowds at the beach don’t bother me at all, now, regardless of whether I take a picture or not. I see interesting stories and characters everywhere. I’m much more compassionate towards people when I´m not trying to get rid of them. There’s so much beauty in the world. And humour. And love. Even the wind at the beach became interesting all of a sudden. I’m loving it! 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.

    1. Wow Dora, well that made my day! Thank you so much for putting that into words. I wish you many years of happy photography ahead.

      THIS is what the genre can do.

  4. Jenny Rosenbring

    What a beautiful course. I am so intrigued by documentary photography but have never really delved into it. I absolutely LOVE the points that Alice makes about real life and why it is important. It has made me think about my everyday life in a different way; instead of seeing it as an obstacle, I see it as beauty and real. This course is broken down into different areas and it makes it really easy to follow. It is also extra helpful that there is a workbook to help getting started and dipping into real moments. As a controlfreak, that has been very helpful for me. This is a class that I will keep coming back to. If you want to get started in documentary work or evolve your documentary work this is definetely a class for you.

    1. Thanks Jenny! I’m so glad the course has helped you think about everyday life like this. Shooting documentary can be such a liberating process. As a fellow control freak, I appreciate that the workbook worked for you! Thanks for your review.

  5. I have taken quite a few documentary photography classes, breakouts and courses in the past. When I saw this one offered by Alice Chapman who is known in the genre and who’s photographs I admire, I jumped on the opportunity right away. Even though I am familiar with the genre, Alice’s teachings helped me to learn new things that I had not considered before. If you are curious about documentary family photography or your already know the genre, I guarentee you will learn something new!

    1. Thanks for your kind words Emilie. It’s great to hear that you learnt something new although you’re already familiar with the genre. I’m so passionate about continual progression and that we never stop learning, however experienced we are. Thanks for your review.

  6. 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!

    1. Thanks Jennie! I’m so glad the course helped with your why and your seeing too – both such fundamental aspects of photography and neither involving a camera! Thanks so much for your review.

  7. I’ve really enjoyed this course. I’m a huge fan of Alice’s and enjoy taking a documentary approach to my photography so I couldn’t wait to get stuck in! Alice’s passion for the genre shines right through all the materials, and she is so generous with her knowledge, expertise, and support to participants’ questions. I found her approach refreshing and there were lightbulb moments along the way. It’s great value for money as she provides a solid foundation and loads of practical exercises for those looking to persue documentary photography.

    1. Thanks for your very kind words Hilary! I’m so glad you had lightbulb moments and that the passion shines through. Documentary family photography can take a lot of work, and I really wanted to deliver something practical that photographers can use to build their skills to give them a shot of falling in love with it too! Thanks for your review.

  8. I have been lucky enough to have been taught by Alice in another course and was so excited to hear that she created this one! I generally don’t have time to myself, let alone to take a course, but this was so extremely easy to follow and do on my own(albeit in the early morning hours or much too late at night, but still)! I love all of the images associated with each lesson to give visual examples as well as the exercises to keep in mind while off on your next shoot! What I love MOST is that she’s interacting with her students in the comments section of each lesson! You feel like you’re not alone and don’t feel stupid asking a question, it feels like more of a community and less like you’re just reading paper off of a screen. You can post your photos and get actual feedback from fellow classmates as well as Alice. I love it! It’s much less scary than an in-person critique….which ends up making my heart palpitate! Alice is a phenomenal teacher but what she brings to this course is her experience in photographing families and how she’s easily broken it down to help you make better photos for your own family or clients. Highly highly recommend this course for anyone new to documentary family photography or even those that need a refresher and are in a rut!

    1. Thank you Sarah! Very kind words about my teaching thank you :) I love the ‘in a rut’ comment. I think that we can all get stuck sometimes and I really hope the exercises work for those who just need that push as well as those who are diving in for the first time. Thanks for your review!

  9. Melissa Foxman

    What a wonderfully comprehensive look into documentary photography! I was drawn to this course because I used to work as a TV news reporter, and I realized our confines on timing and subjects were so similar to the documentary photography approach. No directing, and just one chance to get that scene on film. I fully appreciated Alice’s discussion of how documentary images are photojournalism. Her workbook is incredibly well structured, and one heading caught my eye, “Photographs should tell the truth.” Throughout the course there are discussion prompts, and it was very clear very quickly that Alice is an expert in this field! I enjoyed reading her answers to the other participants’ questions, and found her viewpoints to be such a complement to the lessons and workbook. I highly recommend this class for anyone looking to explore this genre. You will absolutely learn something new. So well done!

    1. Thanks so much Melissa, and I’m especially pleased to see you appreciated the course from a photojournalism background. Telling the truth with a camera feels like it should be easy, but there’s much to understand before we can achieve that artfully. I do hope the course prompts lots of people to dive in and try the genre. Thanks for your review.

  10. Karyssa Rosales

    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!!

    1. Thank you Karyssa! I worked so hard to make the course content accessible and practical as documentary can be a hard thing to learn. I’m so glad it’s made such a difference to you.

  11. Wow! What an amazing course! I’m always moved by documentary photos. This course broke down the how and why behind making impactful documentary images. I am compelled to make stronger storytelling photos for future generations of my family, and now I believe that I will have the tools to do so. I’ll be coming back to the workbook often for inspiration on skills to practice. You won’t want to miss out on the content provided in this course!

    1. Thank you Rebecca, I’m so glad you like the course so much! I really wanted both the how and the why to come across, so it’s wonderful to see you mention that. And as so much of the course is about building a skillset, hearing that you feel you have the tools now is great! Do continue to practice and enjoy the storytelling! Many thanks for your review.

  12. When I saw this breakout, I wanted to get it straight away. I really admire Alice’s work, and knew I would be learning from the best of the best in the documentary field. I have done a lot of documentary photography learning, but I like how Alice has broken the sections down into different aspects of the genre and shares her passion for why we should be telling real life stories in an exciting and informative way.

    1. That’s so kind of you to say Angela, thank you so much. I’m glad the passion came through! Enjoy shooting doc and many thanks for your review.

  13. 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.

    1. Thanks so much for your review Jess. I love that you appreciate the deep explanations and activities and found it comprehensive. Mostly I love that you liked the frustration notes! It absolutely can take a while, especially if learning from scratch. I’m hoping that photographers will do the exercises again and again and keep building up that skillset. Here’s to all the art that’s on the way to being created!

  14. This is an absolutely wonderful course. Documentary is a difficult practice to understand and grasp, and Alice was able to tap into what makes documentary photographers so unique, the immense thought and observation they have in their work. I enjoyed the way she set the course up and I felt that each stopping point was a great place for reflection. The questions were thought provoking and even if one doesn’t want to shoot documentary full time, it gives a photographer and wonderful lens through which they can examine their work and how they approach their work. I hope that everyone gives this course a shot because it is 100% worth it.

    1. Thank you Wendi, I’m so glad you found the course wonderful! I 100% agree that we need immense thought and observation in the genre, and I’m glad you found the structure of course helpful in digesting and reflecting on each stage in turn, in order to really absorb the details and ethos of the approach. I’d love for everyone to give it a shot! Many thanks for your review.

  15. 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!

    1. Oh yes to it being stressful to not have control if you’re not used to it! I recognise so much what a challenge that can be, which is why a lot of the early parts of the course face this head on. I’m so glad the course gave you confidence and inspiration and that you found the exercises so valuable too. Many thanks for your review Paty. Enjoy all the practice and have fun shooting doc!

  16. I highly recommend this course to anyone wanting to dive into documentary photography. You will want to take advantage of this opportunity to learn from Alice. Her material is easy to follow, and she breaks down the essential components to successfully shoot this genre. This course will inspire and teach you how to shoot excellent documentary family photography, whether it is for clients or your own family! Thank you, Alice, for creating this content for the community.

    1. Thank you so much Kristin, I’m so glad you like the course so much! I’ve focussed on breaking things down into essential elements that will make a real difference, so I’m very glad this came through in your experience of the course. Many thanks for your review!

  17. 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. I am so glad that I took this class. Alice set 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 everyone to take this course!!

    1. Thanks Amy! That’s so kind of you to say. I’m so glad you appreciate the structure and practicality of the course. Yes, documentary isn’t easy, and I really hope that this course makes it more accessible to lots of people. It’s insightful that you mentioned intention – I honestly feel that’s the key for growth in the genre. Thanks so much for your review.

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