Photographing Your Family’s Everyday

with melissa stottmann

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Study Along seats available!

The reason many of us have delved into the world of photography is to capture the fleeting happenings of our lives. Every day that passes is gone forever, yet your camera gives you the opportunity to record that vanished day. Come join Melissa Stottmann and discuss how to photograph every life event, including the (seemingly) ordinary moments. Together, we will explore the broad genres of family photography and bring it in closer, down to the very small details you are likely to forget. Come away from the workshop with a plan for the everyday, the special days, ideas to stay motivated, and a system for keeping everything in order.
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“I will be forever grateful to Melissa for making me realize how important it is to be part of my family’s everyday images and for showing me how to do this in easy, creative and fun ways. ”
Commitment
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4 weeks

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daily shooting encouraged

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4 hours of work per week

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this course has prerequisites

Prerequisites

Students need to be comfortable with their exposures in camera.

Instructor

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Melissa Stottmann is a newborn, children & family (including her own!) photographer from Wilmington, Delaware. Shooting primarily with her D800, though using film occasionally, Melissa can often be found with a 35mm or 85mm lens attached. Some of her loves: Rainbow flip-flops, the color yellow, design and decorating of any sort, quiet afternoons with her kiddos, yoga and reading everything she can get her hands on! Melissa believes that every moment is significant and uses her camera to bring attention to otherwise ordinary moments. Her portfolio is available here.

The following photographers also participate in discussions and provide assignment critiques as teaching assistants:

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

Categories

Shooting
Beginner

• 6 PDF’s
• 12 Videos
• 1 Set of Collage Templates for Photoshop & Lightroom
• 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

Week One

Reading: “Everyday Photography” The genres of family photography are discovered, discussed, and broken down. Learn to find the details in your photos that matter, decide which moments in your life you want to remember, and photograph your family in a manner that makes your heart sing. Extra Materials: Video “Editing for Impact.”

Assignment: Shoot an ordinary moment in multiple ways

Week Two

Reading: “Extraordinary Days” Discuss shooting during the holidays, vacations, birthday parties, and small adventures of your life. Transcend simply photographing these events (and discuss apprehension you may have about shooting in public) but also how to enjoy them and tell a story without constantly being attached to your camera. Extra Materials: Video on creating collages with included templates for Photoshop and Lightroom.
Assignment: Shooting something extraordinary in your life by using a customized list to capture the important moments.

Week Three

Reading: “Getting in the Frame & Family Portraits” You are shooting for the future, not OF your family but FOR your family. You need to be in the pictures. Look for creative ways to get you in the every day and extraordinary day images, both physically and symbolically. The second half of the PDF is about posing for portraits and loving family images. Discussion and examples will be given for posing an individual, small groupings, your family, and other families. Extra Mini-PDF to get you started with a speedlight
Assignment: Shooting an image of yourself with your family in a creative way or in a way that represents you

Week Four

Reading: “Photographing the Passage of Time” Personal projects come in many forms and this week will explore ways to include your family within your personal projects. To wrap up, we will look at image printing and organization to create to help plan for the future.Extra Materials: Video- Creating a growing family photo album quickly and easily, Mini-PDF- Shooting Video (DSLR), Video- Putting together video footage for a short film (mobile videos & DSLR).
Assignment: Assess original family gallery to monitor your progress with memory keeping and begin a small or large scale project of your family

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.



30 Comments

  • Jackie Voeller says:

    I WOULD absolutely recommend this class in a heartbeat! If you answer YES to any of these questions…this class is FOR YOU!!! :)

    Do you find yourself taking the same pictures over and over again and its getting a little old?

    Are you feeling a little bored or unattached with the images you are currently capturing?

    Is your catalog of images a total jumbled mess and you need help untangling the digital clutter?

    Do you wish you actually DID something with the pictures you took instead of hiding them in your computer never to be seen?

    <<<<<>>>>>

    This class says it is labeled “beginner” and even though I would consider myself to be a budding “intermediate” I got so much out of it and would recommend it in a heartbeat. If you sign up and take the class you will be so glad you did. I know I am. I am so grateful to Melissa for the lessons I learned in this class.

  • Carrie says:

    Absolutely amazing class. Melissa challenges you to reach out of your perfect picture comfort zone and embrace the REAL parts of your every day – whether it be a regular day or something extraordinary. She encourages and shows you how to capture the whole story, from the smallest details to the big picture and all of the emotions in between. I will forever be grateful for the way this course improved not only my photography, but my daily view in general. Every week there are new and creative ways to document life and get yourself into the frame too! For months I have been struggling with the technical side of my photography, almost to the point of removing all joy behind why I was documenting our lives – this course has helped me to let go of perfection, and focus more on finding the joy in my everyday.

    • Thank you so much for these kind words, Carrie! I couldn’t be more thrilled to hear how much the class meant to you both photographically and personally. This photography thing really does intertwine with life! <3 <3

  • Laura says:

    This class didn’t just help me get better shots, it also helped with how I organize my pictures, and helped me tap into my role as a mother to grow as a more thoughtful photographer. I was surprised at how the course allowed me to step back and look at my family photos in a more objective way but also helped me get into the heart of photographing my family. Melissa was an attentive and insightful instructor. She managed to be positive and encouraging while still giving solid feedback. I have more direction as my family’s photographer, and know what I need to work on to mature as a photographer overall.

  • Stephanie says:

    I am so glad I took this course. I am a hobbyist, and the whole reason that I take photos is to document my family so that I don’t forget. The assignments were inspirational and challenging in the very best way. The course really helped me examine my own work so that I could fill in the gaps in documenting my family, and the feedback that I got from Melissa and her assistants was incredibly thorough and helpful. I have taken quite a few workshops at Clickin’ Moms and this was definitely one of my favorites.

  • Nina Mucalov says:

    I loved everything about this class! Melissa was an amazing instructor and I’m feeling so inspired to be on my own unique journey, shooting things that are meaningful to me and our family. Since taking this class i’ve captured some moments and memories of our ordinary lives i know i’ll treasure forever and it is so freeing to have a plan of how to be more intentional about what I shoot, which files I keep & how i plan to organise/print/share those images. I can’t recommend this class highly enough!

  • This class was a breath of fresh air. I was feeling a little lost in my photography journey and this workshop really helped me to refocus and begin anew shooting (and displaying) the things I love. Thanks again to Melissa for her thoughtful course content and detailed feedback on all submissions. Take it, you wont regret it!

  • Ronne Pierce says:

    I can’t say enough positive things about this class. I took this class after 5 months of intensive back to back classes on CM and I thought I might not have much to give because I was starting to feel burnt out. But this class was EXACTLY what I needed. I had so many preconceived notions about how my family photos should look and what I learned in this class was how to let go and photograph my family from the heart. To show our true everyday not only the seemingly perfect moments. I needed the things Melissa said in this course. She truly set me free to be me, as a photographer, mother, wife, woman and artist. If your whole reason for picking up the camera in the first place was to photograph your children/family and to leave them a legacy then you would be missing the biggest piece of your journey by missing this class. Don’t hesitate. Take the class and take it Full Participation if possible.

  • Alex Mojica says:

    Prior to taking Melissa’s class I was in a six month photography rut. Then I saw an advertisement for this course which stirred something inside me and I signed up. For four weeks the pdfs and assignments inspired me to use my camera to capture everyday life. Prior to this so many of my pictures were posed – but with this class I finally started to explore documentary and lifestyle photography. I was also challenged to get into my family images- something that was missing before. Finally I was able to grasp on a new photo project that has continued to grow and inspire me. I can’t say enough about this class! This course ended my rut and has inspired me to once again reach for my camera and not just my iPhone to take pictures of my family.

    • I’ve loved peeking in on your work since the course. One shot that always stands out to me, from you, is the school bus image! It’s one of my favorites because the story it tells is so wonderful. Hope you are doing well :)

  • Sanja Markovic says:

    This course is everything you thought you knew but you didn’t or you did know but were not doing it! It will get you taking photos of your family that will be so dear to your hart, you will ask yourself why you did not do this sooner. It will give you ideas and tools to capture was is important to you and even better how to preserve that memory and give it a place it deserves. The only thing you can regret about this course is not taking it!

  • Becca S says:

    Melissa’s class helped me take beautiful pictures of my family. What surprised me most is that as a result of this course, those beautiful photos are now in a style that really resonates with me. I think I had gotten a little lost. I feel so empowered to capture personal, intimate moments now. This is a very comprehensive course.

    The discussion of personal projects was a true inspiration to me. I would like to start photographing my kids artwork, my oldest son in his crazy, self-made costumes, and in someway visually document my special relationship with my 92-year-old grandmother. That’s the short list.

    Melissa and the TAs were always available and so supportive. I had some great classmates too. I highly recommend this course!

  • Becca says:

    I highly recommend taking this workshop as a Full Participation. You’ll get so much out of it! This was a fun workshop, and I especially enjoyed taking it around the Holidays. I learned a ton from Melissa’s pdfs, assignments, and feedback. Right from Week 1, it helped me identify my shooting style and editing style. I learned so much from our first assignment alone! This workshop wasn’t the typical technical skills-type class I have always taken at CM. That being said, the critiques were extremely helpful and technical aspects were covered in a helpful way with the CC (such as tips on how to better tell your story using your own images, tips about achieving better WB, post processing tips from both LR and PS, etc). I loved every bit of this class. It was exactly as described in the Course Syllabus, but reached far beyond the description. I learned so much about equipment too; like how to use a speed light. I never would have imagined learning how to use one prior to this workshop since I mostly shoot with natural light, but ever since this workshop, I haven’t been struggling with wonky WB and exposure issues with mixed lighting situations because of my speed light. One of my favorite parts about this workshop was how Melissa not only used her own advice and incredibly helpful insight to each lesson, but she also incorporated tips from other CM instructors from different workshops and breakouts CM has to offer. I know my own personal CM wish list has certainly grown since taking this course. I also loved that we learned how to use collages to help tell and complete our stories. I love that she encourages us to get in the frame. We were there too right?! And we aren’t just taking these pictures for our own enjoyment, it’s for our children/family to enjoy too. If you are into Lifestyle, Documentary, and even prefer the more posed/ Portrait photography, this is a good workshop for you!

  • Heather Dost says:

    Melissa’s class brought me back to why I picked up my camera to begin with. I had gotten so caught up in perfection and the technical part of photography I had lost the enjoyment of capturing the moments I really want to remember. I want images that I will look back on that will spark a memory for myself and my children. I want my children to see ME in the images. This class helps get you to that place of thinking about what is important and why. It always helps you organize you thoughts going into an event, so you can get the shots you want and still be part of the moments. Melissa also gives you a mini lesson on flash and film that helps capture moments you might otherwise miss. A REALLY terrific class that brought me back to why I fell in love with photography in the first place.

  • Nadia Farrish says:

    This class really opened my eyes on everyday moments in my life. I always liked everyday photography but after taking this class I’ve noticed I started paying more attention to what moments I am going to miss once they are gone and how to enjoy those moments without constantly sitting with my camera and annoying my kids…:) Thank you Melissa! I wish the class lasted longer! I am still having Aha moments after reading through the pdf’s again and noticed that I finally started having a vision of my shots and a certain pass that I want to go in my everyday photography. And yes, this class helped me to make our everyday photography fun again! – I was always afraid to shoot indoors because the light in my house is the tricky one but I did overcome my fear and shooting full force everyday and so glad that I am! Already, there are so many moments that captured that are so dear to my heart!

  • Heide says:

    I absolutely loved this class! Melissa is an amazing instructor! She shared key information, great tips and, above all, was very encouraging and helpful in helping me identify the gaps in my family images. I will be forever grateful to Melissa for making me realize how important it is to be part of my family’s everyday images and for showing me how to do this in easy, creative and fun ways. I learned so, so much and would highly recommend this class to anyone looking for inspiration and ways to photograph their everyday: the beauty, the chaos, the emotion, the stories, the milestones and all the important details we often don’t consider vital, but which truly matter in the long run.

  • Melissa Cottle says:

    Great class! It changed the way I was shooting and stopped me from shooting things that aren’t me and my family. I think we all love and admire the work of others, but while they are making beautiful images, they are that person’s life. This class put it in my head that I need to represent “my” family and the way we really are. I might admire a technically and artistically beautiful photograph of my family purely on the artistic and technical level, but what’s lacking is the heart. This class will teach to stop worrying about the technical so much and get the camera out! Any camera! Shooting a family event isn’t so daunting anymore. I’m happy I am reminded to capture those moments before they are gone and how to do it best when things don’t go our way photographically. Melissa will provide a ton of ideas, tools and examples for you to expand on your family photographs. I was never one for getting in front of the camera, but I think that was the biggest week for us all in the first run. We all had our doubts, but by the end of the week we didn’t care. We loved it no matter how we looked! Take the class and have fun again with your camera(s)! She’ll also get you thinking about what to do with you 5 billion images sitting on your computer. They should be printed, displayed or made into a book somehow. Oh and there’s a little section on flash which really opens up a lot of possibilities. It’s so simple, you wonder why you’re so afraid of flash! I have to say, after this class I’m so much more relaxed about shooting and having more fun with my family.

  • Christie says:

    Photographing my family’s everyday is why I picked up my camera in the first place, but sometimes I get so concerned with getting portfolio-worthy images that I forget how important it is to document the choas, clutter, & imperfection that define our everyday. This workshop helped me to remember why it is important to photograph our “real” lives (chaos & all!) and gave me the tools to do it well. Melissa helped me to identify the elements that were missing from my portfolio of family photos and why these pieces are important in telling our story. The workshop was also pivotal for me in improving my workflow, including getting my images culled, edited, protected, & in print – FINALLY! I will go back to this material again and again when I need inspiration or lose focus. These are the nuts and bolts of why I do what I do.

  • Gretchen says:

    Melissa’s class truly helped me remember why I started committing myself to photography: to be able to more beautifully capture the fleeting moments and details of our family’s life. Too often I was getting caught up in perfecting my photos, and losing sight of the everyday moments that were the reason I was shooting in the first place. Melissa pushed us to find was to capture these times thoughtfully, creatively, and fully. Simple things that I wouldn’t have made a priority before — like getting in the frame, or taking a few moments to plan ahead in ways that allow you to both document and experience the moment — now seem not only very important, but eminently practical. For me, this class helped make photography fun again, and I believe that is reflected in my images of my family… and isn’t that the whole point?

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