uncovering magic

with sally molhoek

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registration begins
january 9, 2017
current run
february 13, 2017
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Full Participation sold out.
Study Along seats available!

When we were children, we believed in nursery rhymes, fairy tales, legends. We whispered about monsters and dragons in the shadows, played superhero, donned our costumes, stocked our play kitchens, held secret clubs in the woods, and exercised our imaginations to the fullest. As we grew up, we tucked some of those childhood fantasies away as reality set in, but those idealistic and whimsical moments are now captured in the imaginations of the children we know and love.

As photographers, we can take the unique opportunity to unveil magic through the child’s-eye- view, to take a real moment and bring to life their dreams and imaginations. Through study, practice, and creative development, we can reach into the heart of a child and infuse these discoveries into a photograph. More than just conjured magic, it’s the authentic magical world that has been there all along. All of the energy, the interactions, the giggles, the tears, every organic expression – these are all part of this extraordinary child’s world we seek to capture in our photographs.

Throughout this course, Sally will guide you through the steps she follows to uncover this magic in a plethora of ways. She’ll show you how she “sets the scene” to provide the foundation for stories (and when to release the reins), how she uses natural light for atmosphere and magical mood, how she encourages natural expressions and connection with her subjects, and how she completes the vision during post processing. You’ll also learn Sally’s favorite processing secrets plus plenty of tips and tricks for escaping the inevitable “creative rut,” including daily introspective journal questions and exercises.

This course includes 5+ PDFs, shooting videos, over 23 processing videos, and many other little bonuses. A truly interactive course, Sally will be ready and available to share, discuss and challenge students to uncover the magic. (Are you an alum of Sally’s old course, Creating Magical Moments? If so please contact us before signing up to find out more about overlap between the old course and the new course.)

“As photographers, we have the unique opportunity to take a real moment and infuse it with magic.”


4 weeks


daily shooting encouraged


6-8 hours of work per week


this course has prerequisites


All students must have a DSLR camera and be comfortable shooting in manual mode. A variety of lenses is encouraged, but not required. A notebook for daily introspection and exercise is strongly recommended. Students should have a basic knowledge (or at least access to) Photoshop, as Sally will be using Photoshop and Lightroom in some of her editing videos.



Sally Molhoek is an artist and photographer, a downright shooting addict, and in any given week, could easily be spotted around her home in Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas, chasing an epic sky, dragging couches into fields, or asking her daughter to twirl to the light of a brilliant evening sun. Sally is passionate about photographing families, couples, maternity, and especially children, and gets gleeful when she captures just the right expression, an act of affection, a crazy-beautiful sky, and the perfect ray of golden hour sunshine. A touch of whimsy, a sprinkle of atmosphere, a cup of joy, and a twist of color, all blended and finished off with creative processing, make the perfect recipe for capturing her special blend of Magic. When she’s not busy tending to (ahem, chauffeuring ) her five children, Sally works with families, children and couples in the Dallas Metroplex, as well as during her frequent trips around the country. She also stays busy conducting in-person workshops. And in between, she’s probably shooting something. You can see more of Sally’s work

The following photographers also participate in discussions and provide assignment critiques as teaching assistants: Jan Tyler, Jessica Nelson

A number of course alumni are invited to engage in discussion, share insight with students, and provide feedback and encouragement throughout the course.


Shooting and Processing

• 8 PDFs
• 23 editing videos
• sky overlays and actions
• Instructor-Led Online Q&A for Each Lesson

Full Participation students engage in an interactive online classroom experience that includes instructor-led group discussions and detailed, personalized guidance for the duration of the workshop. Full participation students receive instructor and TA critiques of the posted assignment each week and have lifetime access to a Workshop Alumni forum for continued peer discussion after the course concludes.

Study Along students will have access to all materials and will be able to view all content and conversation in the main workshop forum and receive access to their own private subforum for peer study groups and image shares. Study along students will not be able to ask the instructor questions or request instructor feedback on their assignments.

Welcome & Preassignment

Child Storytelling “Interview”

Week One

Reading: Finding magic in the ordinary in Photography, “setting the stage” to invoke the authentic child’s heart
Assignment:Choosing inspiration and designing plans (simple or complex) for concept shoots, small themed shoot with 4-5 photographs

Week Two

Reading: Putting it all together: designing and styling sessions, and encouraging connection and organic expression (two shooting videos included)
Assignment: Photo shoot with multiple subjects (objects and pets are fine as a second subject!)

Break Week

Week Three

Reading:Breaking out of creative ruts through a variety of troubleshooting methods, and new tricks and tools to add to your arsenal and equip you for potential roadblocks
Assignment: 3 mini shooting assignments emphasizing variety and encouraging a break from the norm

Week Four

Reading: Processing: Sally’s 20 best processing secrets for carrying out your vision
Assignment: Five of your best images from the course with creative edits applied, include SOOC with each image

The CMU workshop is a 100% online classroom experience. Once you sign up, you have access to a course forum that is open 24 hours a day so that you can learn and join discussions on your own schedule.

Each week students receive a set of course materials– these materials generally include a PDF and/or videos. Throughout the week, instructors and TAs are present in the forum every day to answer questions and offer encouragement. Students receive an assignment each week that pertains to the topics covered in the course materials and class discussion throughout the week.

Full Participation students engage in an interactive online classroom experience that includes instructor-led group discussions and detailed, personalized guidance for the duration of the workshop. Full participation students post their assignments in the forum and receive instructor and TA critiques each week. They also have lifetime access to a Workshop Alumni forum for continued peer discussion after the course concludes.

Study Along students have access to all materials and are able to view all content and conversation in the main workshop forum. They also receive access to their own private Study Along subforum for peer study groups and image shares. Study along students will not be able to ask the instructor questions or request instructor feedback on their assignments, but they can follow along with instructor critiques of the Full Participation assignments.

Whether you are a Full Participation student or a Study Along student, the course materials are yours to keep.


  • Kellie Llewellyn says:

    I loved this class

    • Sorry it cut me off. I love this class of Sally so much that when she offered it again with the new videos I took it again. There is so much information included that is well worth it. You will learn new tools to help make a more creative beautiful pictures. I love the way Sally teaches and her critiquing. Take the class you’re going to love it!

  • beth smith says:

    I loved this class. Everything Sally does is amazing, and this class did not disappoint! I already had a couple of Sally’s breakouts, but this class contained so much more and was not duplicative at all. Plus, it really gave me the push I needed to start creating! I highly recommend this class. I can’t say enough good things about it!

  • Claudia Gaimaro says:

    I can not recommend this class more. Sally gave me the push I needed to create some magical moments out of the every day. It was packed with amazing info and the things I learned stay with me while I plan a shoot, during a shoot, and after. Couldn’t recommend this more.

  • Stefania Richelson says:

    This class was so amazing. Sally is not only an incredibly inspiring photographer, but as an instructor is so encouraging and shares so much information. The exercises, and assignments were fun and challenging, the feedback from her and the TAs and AHs was so valuable, and the PDFs and videos are a goldmine! I really loved that she covered everying from coming up with a concept (big or small), and then helped see it all the way through shooting and editing to help it all come together in the end. Can’t say enough about how much I loved this class!

    • Sally Molhoek says:

      Thank you so much for being a part of our class, Stefania! It was a joy having you and I’m so glad you loved the class and learned so much from it. xoxo

  • Janice Paredes-Alvarez says:

    The first ever breakout I took with CM university was Wonder and Whimsy by Sally and I have loved it to pieces, so it was a no brainer for me when she announced she had launched her workshop. I took the full participation class because of the ability to submit work and get that invaluable critique from her. It was the best $300 spent for a 4-5 week workshop, with her being ever present daily to answer anything you ask her, the enormous amount of information on the beautifully laid out PDFs, the editing videos and the extras she gave us, and of course the critique from her and the teacher’s assistants. This workshop brought out the best in my photography and processing skill and pushed me to be more creative in ways I could have never imagined and for that, I am thankful! I can definitely say that after this workshop, I have more tools under my belt to uncover the magic! This workshop will not disappoint!

    • Sally Molhoek says:

      I’m so glad you joined us, Janice, and I’m so happy to learn that you got so much out of it and are feeling inspired and invigorated! You were truly a pleasure to work with and I can’t wait to watch you take off!!

  • Jhan Ausecha says:

    Wow!!! I have taken several workshops to help inspire me with vision and editing, but those failed to produce amazing results. After taking Sally’s Uncovering Magic I can’t help but wonder how come I didn’t join this earlier. From helping me push beyond my comfort zone to little editing tricks that help bring the image up a notch, this class is ah-mazing. So much is covered. You will not regret it, I recommend it 100%. I realized I had so many bad habits that really hindered my growth. Thank you Sally for putting together such a class. :0) Loved it.

    • Sally Molhoek says:

      Wow, thank you so much, Jhan! I loved having a “dude” in the class, and your creative eye and willingness to dive right in and learn everything you can was truly inspirational. Thank you!

  • Jana Wolf says:

    This is, by far, the best photography class I have ever taken part in. It will open up your creative mind and push you outside your comfort zone. Sally and all the great mentors will give you the tools you need to execute the magic you have always dreamed of. I finally feel like “I” am part of every image I take bc of this class. 100 percent recommend! You will not regret it!

  • Katie Dowens says:

    100% worth your time! This workshop really pushed me in every aspect of my sessions from planning to execution to editing. The critique’s were so helpful and thorough, I found them so helpful. I felted challenged in the best way each week, but never overwhelmed or scared to try new things. Take this workshop!!

  • Terri says:

    SIMPLY AMAZING! I took the study along part of the program, and I regretted it every day after this course began. Spend the extra money and take the full participation. In study along you can see all the posts and feedback, but you will keep wishing you could submit your work for critique. You will also practice and participate more if you take the full participation. I was always sitting on my computer envious of all the full participation members. Sally is extraordinary. In watching posts I noticed that she answers every question and provides real and quite detailed feedback. If you have a hard time grasping a concept, she takes extra steps to help you-which often was creating a specific video targeted to that question and detailing the specifics. The amount of information she provides in this course is well worth over the price of the course. The PDFs are detailed and full of valuable information. What will really blow you away though is the videos. The editing videos alone are worth a separate price. I’m a hobbyist just wanting to take better pictures of my daughter and family….with hopes of someday being pro. I edit mostly in lightroom, with some basic photoshop….I feel like Sally’s videos were easy to follow, and I actually understand photoshop much better just after taking this course. Sally’s class will inspire you, captivate you, and help you polish up your work in ways you didn’t think of. I cannot recommend this course enough. It’s the best money I’ve spent to date on CM.

    • sally says:

      Oh my gosh, Teri, that is such a sweet review and you’ve totally made my day with your kind words. I am so thankful you took the time to write it and thrilled that you came away with so much! <3

  • Jill Zelizer says:

    I signed up for this workshop hoping to add a few new tricks up my sleeve for editing my photos. I got much more! You will truly learn to create magic in your photos. As the class progressed and I learned more and got more comfortable with new techniques, the more creative I got. Knowing that I had these editing tools in my belt made me look at my photos in a whole new way! I started to see beyond what was there, to what could be there or what I wanted to be there. So fun! Thanks Sally for this awesome class! I truly learned a lot and am looking forward to all the new ways I can ‘create magic’ with my photography!

  • I learned so much from this course, from using props in a way that it makes it look like they belong and aren’t cheesy or overdone, to editing tricks that I doubt I would have ever learned otherwise! Sally is an amazing and KIND teacher, and the TA’s also provided amazing feedback! I would recommend this class to anyone and it has changed my business permanently for the better!!

  • Marcie Reif says:

    This workshop has been amazing! I can’t say enough great things about Sally and how she has run this class. She was extremely present! If I ever posted a picture share or tagged her in a thread it was within the day that I had a response from her. To me, no matter how great the class is, it’s not much without an active instructor. Sally’s PDF’s are FULL of amazing content. She has left nothing out on how she creates these magical images. She has a lot of videos that are amazing to watch her transform an image that might not seem like a keeper and completely transform it into magic! Her weekly CC was almost instant from when you post your assignment. It is so detailed and kindly done. She also was able to open my eyes to many new things! Her assignments are very challenging but rewarding. I left her class creating images and using Photoshop in a way I never thought I could. I could not more highly recommend this class!!

    • sally says:

      Thank you so much, Marcie! <3 I so enjoyed having you in class, and seeing you grow so much as an artist, and so quickly too! It was a pleasure getting to meet you at CA too!

  • Traci Van Horn says:

    I was blown away by the amount of content in this class. The daily introspectives and weekly assignments are so well thought out and lead me step by step through the creative process. It helped me break out of my usual habits and push towards making the images that I have always wanted to create. The PDF’s alone make this class a stand out, but the editing videos put it in a league of it’s own. It’s like 2 classes in one. Thank you Sally for this wonderful class.

  • Alicia Moss says:

    This class was perfection! It completely changed my way of thinking, and taught me to infuse magic into each one of my photos. This class has served as a turning point in my photography journey, and I’m so thankful for the wonderful videos and lessons. What I learned in this class will stay with me for years to come! Thank you Sally!

  • Melissa Hunt says:

    This class was beyond amazing! The moment I saw this class, I had to have it and Sally did not disappoint! This class is not only jam packed with information, Sally really poured her heart out into this class. I really recommend taking this class full participation because the feedback from Sally is priceless. Sign up and add some magic to your photos :)

  • This workshop has really been so much fun, and pushed me to really start tackling some of those “dream” images that I have in my head….as well as dream up some new ones. I really loved how Sally pushed us in other ways with the Daily Introspectives. I think that understanding what drives your photography and methods of shooting are so important, and Sally’s Daily Introspectives really helped me gain some insight on my struggles with creating my “dream” images. Sally did an amazing job being present during this workshop throughout the week, and it truly makes such a difference in the class experience. She discussed methods to prepare a styled shoot for both the planners (like me) and the non-planners out there. I feel like this workshop will really help to give my family lifestyle photography that extra something to really stand out. So thankful to Sally for giving me so many great tools throughout this workshop that I can use over and over again to keep creating “magical moments”.

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