Beauty in Your Backyard: A Wildlife Workshop

with Jessica Nelson


$225 Full Participation | $112 Study Along

Explore and photograph the beauty in your own backyard!

Beauty in Your Backyard will take you on a journey to observe and capture the wildlife that surrounds us. Whether you are close to home or out in remote locations, you’ll learn the ethics of wildlife conservation and photography, how to find wildlife (and how to lure more birds to your spaces to see them up close), and what gear and settings to use. We will also discuss light, timing, and animal behavior (and how YOU can become an expert!). We will put it all together with a section on compelling compositions, showing you how to minimize distractions when shooting in the field.


Familiarity with your camera and the basics of the exposure triangle. A long lens, preferably 300mm or longer but a 200mm would be sufficient.

what you’ll get

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3 PDF lessons on photographing wildlife

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Weekly shooting videos as well as other instructional videos to explain recommended gear.


Full participation students engage in instructor-led discussion and Q&A for daily interaction and support. Study along students have full viewing access.


Bonus PDF lesson on editing basics, shooting insects with macro lenses and telephoto lenses and freelensing. Bonus Editing video.

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Full Participation students receive extensive personal video critiques of weekly assignment submissions.

Study Along Students have full viewing access.




What to expect

Birding basics

References and Apps


Lesson One


Wildlife conservation

Patience and Observation

Gear, lenses, tripods, teleconverters

Camera Settings for wildlife

The different natural light for outdoor shooting


Go on a nature walk and just observe

Practice with a telephoto in different lighting situations on stationary objects

Practice with different camera settings on stationary objects

Lesson Two


Where to find subjects to shoot

Using your own backyard

Travel to the animals

Where to hide to not disturb wildlife


Research local hot spots for wildlife

Practice with shooting wildlife that you find either at home or on location

Lesson Three


Shutter speed and why it is important

Bursting mode

Lock and Hold techniques

What to do when you spot subjects

Stabilizing tricks

Light, revisited

Composition techniques while shooting

Capturing emotion


Look for ways to control environment (light/composition) while shooting wildlife and post your favorite composition

Bonus Materials


Editing (culling, cropping, basic edit

Macro lenses for insect shooting

Freelensing and reverse freelensing


Review bonus materials and can post CC on either Editing, Bugs shooting or Freelensing

as seen on instagram


"I’ve been waiting for a class on wildlife and was thrilled that Jessica was leading one"

read more reviews >

about your instructor

Jessica Nelson is a part-time wildlife and nature photographer based out of central Maryland where she lives with her husband, three children and a spirited rat terrier. Getting her start as a kid in her father’s dark room, she now dabbles in lots of photography including natural light, studio, film and macro but her real passion lies in wildlife and nature. She is drawn to all living things big and small and strives to capture much of our natural world.

how it works


download weekly lessons

Each week, students receive a set of course materials, which generally include a PDF and instructional videos. All course materials are yours to download and keep.

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chat online

Your workshop registration includes access to a private online forum for sharing and discussion. The classroom forum is open 24 hours a day so that you can learn and join discussions on your own schedule.

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study & ask questions

Study on your own time, and check in on the classroom forum for interactive learning. The instructor is present in the forum every day to answer questions and offer encouragement.

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complete weekly assignments

Students receive an assignment to complete each week that pertains to the topics covered in the course materials and builds upon 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 critique each week.


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.



  1. Helen Kohn October 6, 2018 at 10:05 pm - Reply

    Jessica has created a beautiful workshop which covers the basics of her gear, her process, and some of her editing thoughts, which was so helpful. It was an enjoyable and relaxing 3 weeks where you could just focus on learning skills and enjoying nature. It was great to get the kids involved without making them the subject of the photo. My kids enjoyed getting out and about and looking for all the ‘B’s (Birds,Bugs,Beasts and Bees). I only wish that we could have had 3 more weeks!

    • Jessica Nelson October 8, 2018 at 8:15 pm - Reply

      Thank you so much for your wonderful review. I am so glad to hear your kids enjoyed scouting for wildlife too! I wish we could have done 3 more weeks too. :)

  2. Lee Ann Posavad October 6, 2018 at 9:10 pm - Reply

    This was a great class. I loved the way Jessica eased everyone in to stepping outside their comfort zone to start shooting wildlife. So often wildlife photography is intimidating and exotic. This class focused on looking a animals you see everyday. I really appreciated the feedback on all the images we shared, not just the assignments. Thank you Jessica

    • Jessica Nelson October 8, 2018 at 8:13 pm - Reply

      Thank you so much for your kind words. I am really glad to hear you loved the class!

  3. Lisa Dunham October 4, 2018 at 3:22 pm - Reply

    I really enjoyed this class. I’ve been an admirer of Jessica’s work since joining Clickin Mom’s and was so happy to see her do a class on wildlife. I learned so much, not only great photography tips for shooting wildlife but about wildlife in general. Jessica is so knowledgeable on this subject. She knows her birds! If you are interested in shooting wildlife, this is a great class!

    • Jessica Nelson October 5, 2018 at 12:55 pm - Reply

      Thank you so much for your kind words. It was wonderful having you in class and I just loved being able to spend 3 weeks talking all about my passion!

  4. Lacey Cloud October 4, 2018 at 12:18 pm - Reply

    This workshop offers something to those that have not shot wildlife before and to those who are looking to improve on their skills. I especially enjoyed Jessica’s videos on habitat and attracting birds, along with her tips on building a bird feeding station. The feedback from Jessica was prompt and very helpful. I think that anyone looking to improve their wildlife skills would enjoy this class.

    • Jessica Nelson October 5, 2018 at 12:55 pm - Reply

      Thank you so much for your kind words about the workshop. I am so glad you enjoyed it.

  5. Jeannine Clifford October 4, 2018 at 10:50 am - Reply

    I was super excited to see this workshop come up as wildlife is one of my favorite things to capture. Jessica had great information and tips to get better photos. It was also fun to see all the different types of wildlife that were in people’s towns across the world. I would definitely recommend this class to anyone who want to get more comfortable at photographing wildlife!

    • Jessica Nelson October 5, 2018 at 12:54 pm - Reply

      I am so glad you love wildlife as much as I do and I am glad to hear that you loved the class. It was wonderful getting to know you!

  6. Joan Showers October 3, 2018 at 10:18 am - Reply

    I’ve been waiting for a class on wildlife and was thrilled that Jessica was leading one. She knows her subject after many years of shooting birds and other wildlife. Jessica is so well-prepared and covers all we need to know about shooting all types of creatures. I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in extending their photography repertoire.

    • Jessica Nelson October 5, 2018 at 12:52 pm - Reply

      Thank you so much Joan. I am honored that you were able to attend my first run!

  7. Kim Sidwell October 2, 2018 at 8:55 pm - Reply

    Jessica offers a wonderfully prepared workshop. Covering everything from introduction into wildlife photography, to editing a final product, the materials and resources in this workshop are incredibly helpful. It is obvious that Jessica is fully invested in the workshop as an instructor.
    As a Study Along participant, access to view the forum and critiques, allowed this class to be an exceptional learning experience.

    • Jessica Nelson October 5, 2018 at 12:51 pm - Reply

      Thank you so much for your review Kim. I am so glad to hear you loved the workshop!

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