4 week online exploring creative photography workshop with April Nienhuis 14
4 week online exploring creative photography workshop with April Nienhuis 29 LENSBABY
4 week online exploring creative photography workshop with April Nienhuis 6
4 week online exploring creative photography workshop with April Nienhuis 23

Exploring Creative Photography

with April Nienhuis


$300 Full Participation | $150 Study Along
4 week online exploring creative photography workshop with April Nienhuis 17

Exploring Creative Photography

I believe that everyone is creative. You may not feel like you are but maybe you just need some new tools in your metaphorical bag to help draw the creativity out. With this four week creative photography workshop, you’ll learn how to break the basic rules of photography, exploring how to create truly captivating imagery. Numerous creative techniques will be taught, allowing you the freedom to experiment and find new methods that fit your style. Let’s break out of the mold and tap into your creativity!


Students should be know how to shoot in manual mode and have a solid understanding and experience with the technicalities of photography including ISO, exposure, shutter speed, aperture, and focus. An open mind is a must since we will be exploring our creative photography choices with each lesson.

what you’ll get

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4 PDFs (1 per week, 380 pages total)

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Weekly creative inspiration from alumni

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

Study Along Students have full viewing access.


11 Creative editing videos.


Full participation students will be able to participate in two Live Q&A Sessions where images can be submitted for editing. Study along students will be able to download and view the recorded sessions.

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10 Sky overlays (exclusive to ECP students only)


Lesson One


Textures and how they affect imagery

Where to find natural and added textures

How to apply textures in post processing

Exposure and how it affects the overall texture of a photo

When underexposure and overexposure works

Textures and the intentional application of low and high ISO

How your ISO may affect your color

How to add grain when editing


Find and photograph textures with the discussed techniques.

Lesson Two


Understanding depth and isolating subjects

Creative tools and techniques to add depth

Creating intentional out of focus imagery

Unexpected apertures to draw out depth

Creative focus lenses (Lensbaby and tilt-shifts


The Brenizer method

Using a prism

Adding depth with light (natural and artificial

Creative perspectives

How to add depth and blur when editing


Capture depth in an image to pull the viewer in to your subject.

Lesson Three


How to draw out motion in photography

How to add movement when there is none

Stop motion photography

How to effectively show motion with a slow shutter speed

The techniques of panning

Shutter painting

The purpose of neutral density filters

Capturing fireworks

Star and moon photography


Use the discussed techniques to capture motion in a photo.

Lesson Four


Breaking compositional rules

Effectively cropping your subject

Unconventional lens choices

The meaning of colors in your photography

Atmospheric white balance

Artistic processing

Alternative crop ratios


Use all the information from the workshop and create one final photo that fulfills your vision.

as seen on instagram


"This class was a game changer for breaking out of the shooting rut I was in!"

- Mickie
read more reviews >

about your instructor

April Nienhuis has been a second shooter for the past 10 years and it has encouraged her to find a creative approach to photography. While the main photographer works her magic posing and taking the more timeless images, April searches for unique perspectives and compositions that will be complimentary. April is a self taught photographer located in rural Oklahoma. She lives on her hobby farm with her firefighter husband and their three homeschooled children. She is also the Editor for the Clickin Moms Blog. Her portfolio is available here

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. 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.


  • This class was a game changer for breaking out of the shooting rut I was in! I loved learning how to pan finally, and how to use my prism to get the shots I wanted (beyond many more great concepts). I loved that this class showed us how to break the rules and why it works to break them. Following all the rules of photography can get boring at times, so this class really helped me see beyond the rules, and to just have fun!! April’s critiques were so great and thoughtful, and so helpful to see things in a new light, from a different perspective!

  • S says:

    I am on the fence about this class. For me, it had its pros/cons. Pros: The TAs were wonderful. They gave me amazing feedback on all the images I posted during the four weeks, it did help me to break out and try new things. I was shooting every day and breaking out of my usual. Cons: The promo video was amazing so I assumed the class would have videos behind the scenes shooting those things. They were no behind the scenes shooting video. The only videos were short ones on how to edit. You are not promised feedback except for the one weekly image. And that is exactly what I got. Not once did the instructor comment on any of my weekly threads and the weekly critique images usually took a while to get also. Also, the PDFs were a little light on instruction. It mentioned using a tool but never behind the scenes showing you how it was used just a mention of it. I wish there would have been more information on how certain things were achieved. I did enjoy the assignments and shooting for them. If I could do it again I would just do the follow along. Not spent on the full participation.

    • April Nienhuis says:

      Thank you for your honest review, S! Of course I love hearing how much people loved the class but knowing what students would’ve liked to see included only helps me make future classes better. I’d love to hear what you would’ve liked to see more of – you can email me at april@aprilnienhuis.com :)

  • Katie says:

    Exploring Creative Photography is an amazing, must take, course. I took this at a time where I felt I had all the “basics” down in photography but I needed a creative push. I could properly expose an image, compose, and get good focus. But I was struggling with getting images that really stood out. ECP was the absolute perfect course to push me creatively. April teaches you how to break the “rules” to compose beautiful images that you may have never attempted prior. This was one course that I really wished was longer. You will not be disappointed!

  • Joanna Nimeck Satel says:

    I can’t say enough positive things about this class. This is the first full participation class I took and it really helped me grow as an artist and know I can take chances and do things I think are hard. April provides wonderful feedback and engaging materials. I encourage anyone on the fence about this class to jump in and see how far you can run with it.

  • Kristin says:

    Exploring Creative Photgraphy was definitely one of my favorite and most productive courses yet! April pushed me out of my comfort zone and I found so many new techniques that I either didn’t know about, how to do or was just scared to try but I ended up loving them. The lessons made me really think about why I am doing what I am doing, from my settings to what is in my viewfinder. I wish this class was twice as long. If you feel like you are in a creative rut or getting bored with your photography, or just want to learn some new techniques, take this class!! I found myself more willing to take a break from client work to actually shoot for myself, something I often neglect doing, and I was really excited to do it. This class is one that I will definitely keep going back to.

  • Jennifer says:

    I have taken many breakouts and workshops as a study along member but after much research I ended up selecting Exploring Creative Photography as my first Full Participation class and I am SO glad I did! April packs in so much information into each week and really gets you thinking about why you are using certain settings and then challenges you to use them in a different way! I think I learned more about my camera in 4 weeks than I have in the last 2 years! I was more intentional with my settings to execute my vision than ever before and loved that I learned something new each week. The amount of student, AH, and TA participation was excellent and really pushed me that much more! I can’t recommend this class enough – it has produced some of my favorite images this year and definitely ones that I will cherish forever!

  • Cathie says:

    Exploring Creative Photography wrapped up over 3 weeks ago but I’m just now getting a chance to share some of my images! I really loved this workshop! We explored creative use of exposure, focus, ISO, shutter speed, color, movement, aperture, lens choice, composition-you name it! As I often find with CM workshops-the material was extensive, thorough and filled with inspiration! April is a fantastic instructor and was so helpful in guiding us through the material and answering our many questions! Thanks to April and to all the TAs for all the wonderful feedback. Thanks also to all the alumni helpers!

  • Mona says:

    I just wrapped up ECP with April Nienhaus and it was just what I needed. I’d been feeling creatively stuck and April’s materials got me out of it. There are creative things that were taught that I was already doing, but I really wasn’t aware of WHY I was doing them or WHY I liked the looks that they achieved. It was a real eye opener. If you are considering taking this class, definitely go for it, the payoff is huge, and going forward, you will always have these teachings in your mental toolbox. Now I am shooting more purposefully and I have more confidence in what I’m doing and why I’m doing it, as I have the knowledge I was lacking. Lots of pics here, but just wanted to share. Thanks for looking:love it Thank you again April.

  • Kimberly says:

    I had a lot of fun with this class, even though it was a SUPER busy time for me! Many thanks to April for putting together such a wealth of information and inspiration! I still have a long way to go, but I am seeing a lot of progress in my images since joining CM!

  • Eve says:

    The PDF’s were awesome and jam-packed with a lot of ideas to try, and had so many beautiful examples from photographers I really admire. This class definitely pushed me to try things I had never tried or even considered and I’m grateful for the knowledge I’ve gained. I highly recommend this class if you need an extra push to exploring different ways to utilize your camera than you’re used to.

  • Val says:

    First of all, you should know, I’ve wanted to take this workshop since it was first debuted two summers ago (I’m a little crazy over April’s work and after reading the syllabus I knew it was a must for me) so, last summer, I treated myself for my birthday and signed up! Absolutely no regrets.

    It’s easily one of my favorite courses thus far with CM. I’ve taken a lot of courses here, some essential for learning light, composition and a few more about purpose and vision, and a couple geared towards business. ECP was the perfect mix of all aspects of photography. This was definitely the “game changer” for my style and vision as a photographer. April has put together a workshop that pushes you, ever so gently, to explore your camera and the environment around you, giving you license to do what you’ve always wanted but didn’t think you could. There was never a sense of pressure during the four weeks, it was all about exploration and there was no right or wrong which was very refreshing and allowed you to be comfortable stepping outside of your comfort zone.

    The biggest take away for me was finding out what my equipment is capable of and how to make it work with my vision. I really can’t say enough about my experience, maybe it was the right course at the right time in my photography journey, but it made a significant impact on me, my work, and what happens when I pick up my camera.

  • Julie says:

    This class and the lovely April just knocked my socks off!!! We looked at creating photographs using techniques that most try to avoid such as: underexposure, overexposure, high iso/grain, shutter speed (have you tried shutter painting?), focus, etc and holy wow was it fun for me. April’s pdfs, feedback, and openness to letting us create however we wanted was a breath of fresh air. If you want out of your box, then this is the class for you!

  • Sonja says:

    This workshop is packed with information about how to get the most out of your camera and how exposure, shutter speed, ISO and other components can help you to enhance your vision. I incorporated many of the techniques into my daily shooting. Every time I take a photo now I think of the creative tools April tought us.

  • Ana says:

    April and the TAs are amazing! The lessons have a lot of information but this isn’t a technical “how-to” course. April discusses different camera settings and explains how they can affect your story. The image discussions are great because they get you thinking about the “rules” of photography and are great examples of how to effectively break the rules. I felt like I was in a rut before this class but not anymore! You will not be disappointed. I enjoyed this class so much!

  • Meredith says:

    This class exceeded my expectations in so many ways. It felt like a higher level class than a 200 level — in a good way. My mind is overflowing with new techniques for purposefully creative imagery – from exposures, to shutter speeds, to aperture variations and more. It’s true what they say…you need to learn the rules before you can break the rules. And even if I am “shooting life as it happens,” I can do it with more intention now. It’s funny how the more I learn about rules or even the rules of rule breaking…the more liberating it feels. ECP is a must have for a solid photographer tool kit, in my opinion. This class is the second time I felt a surge in my photography. The first was when I took Sarah’s Composition and Creativity class. I’m a very happy alumni (of both classes actually). So, here’s my share. Thanks for looking.

  • Laura says:

    What a wonderful class this was! It really pushed me to think about exactly what I want to say in my image and what mood I want to convey before clicking the shutter- and more importantly, it teaches you HOW to achieve your desired effect through creative use of camera settings. The course was truly a great experience and I enjoyed working on the topics every week. I felt that the material was easy to understand and very accessible. I created some great work during the run of this class, and highly recommend it to anyone- it will have a profound effect on both your personal and professional work. Thanks for a great learning experience, April!

  • Lisa says:

    Shooting 202 was AMAZING with the fabulously talented, April Nienhuis, her teaching assistants and my very talented classmates. The PDF’s are gorgeous and filled with so much material that I know I will be revisiting it for a long time. This class helped me to move past traditional photography and begin to pursue creativity and art in my work. I highly recommend this incredible workshop!!!

  • Elaina says:

    I want to thank again April for such an inspiring class and helping me push my limits and comfort zones. I gained not only a deeper understanding of exposure triangle but getting cozy with cranking that ISO up and feeling good about it..
    I loved her PDF’s and all of the TA’s support and love. But really I gained more confidence in my creativity, and just left with so many “aha’s”. This class was essential to my growth in all ways!! It’s a must to take and run to sign up if you can!

  • Heather says:

    I really cannot express how much I enjoyed this little adventure with April and the rest of the crew. It was ahhh-mazing. Images shared here: http://www.clickinmoms.com/forums/showthread.php?t=294026&highlight=exploring

  • Kristen R says:

    If you are considering this class, I strongly encourage you to sign up! April and her materials push you to explore creative choices that will allow you to intentionally control the mood and artistic expression in your images. Whether you have just mastered shooting manual or you are further along in your journey, this course will encourage you to try new things and step out of your comfort zone. There is no question, Exploring Creative Photography will push you to become a more creative and intentional photographer, allowing you to create more unique images that express your individual vision.

    A sample of my favorite images from this class can be found here: http://www.clickinmoms.com/forums/showthread.php?t=307467&page=2

  • Maggie (sandersmr) says:

    I tend to be a “safe” shooter and my photos reflected that. This class pushed me out of my comfort zone and showed me it was ok to experiment and to push it to another level. Yes, my experiments don’t always work but I’m not afraid to experiment now. I would recommend this class to anyone that wants to take their photography to the next level, whether you are hobbyist or pro.

  • Kristin says:

    I like to push myself creatively, and experiment! Exploring Creative Photography did not disappoint. At first it was hard to break the rules that you have learned and that have become second nature to your style. But after pushing through your own boundaries there is just so much to learn about yourself and your photography. I shared some of my favorite images from my run in November here: http://www.clickinmoms.com/forums/showthread.php?t=306172

  • Jessica says:

    I took this class FP, and thanks to the awesome material and daily shooting, I now have so many more creative “tools” at my disposal. I’m finally able to visualize and intentionally create photos that have meaning and cohesively tell a story. All those rules you learned along the way are meant to be broken, and April teaches you how, when and why

    I would highly recommend this class to those who are already very familiar shooting in manual mode and have conquered the basic rules of exposure. April teaches you how and when to break the rules to achieve a creative result and help convey a tone/message/story/etc with every photo. She encourages everyone to shoot, share and critique daily, which helps the material really sink in!

  • Amy says:

    I can’t say enough good things about this workshop – it challenged me to think differently about my photography and reminded me of my younger self, who didn’t think twice about experimenting with color and light. April and her TAs had excellent feedback, and, with the ongoing CC of the other (very talented) class members, I was inspired to overcome the obstacles which generally prevent me from shooting daily. Highly recommended!

  • Alexis says:

    This class is wonderful! If you are looking to add some new techniques and literally creativity to your work, this is the class for you. I was very bored with my work. It did not have depth. This class gave me the tools to achieve what I wanted in my head to my camera and then my actual pictures. Things I didn’t use to like I now do. I am amazed at how much this class has pushed me to another level. You might come away addicted to black and white photos and learn to love a new style. I know I have.

  • Courtney says:

    Please take Exploring Creative Photography!!! There was so much knowledge I learned and some enabling of myself of tools out there to really drive my creative photography journey. You will not be disappointed with the material in this workshop. To top it off the feedback given from April, Celeste and Caroline is really wonderful. Having so many unique perspectives really pushes you to think outside the box and help you further explore and discover your way with photography and how you view it as art. This workshop really tested my creativity and pushed me outside my normal shooting avenues, BIG TIME! I may have even found a want for shooting something other than my kids!!! This material this is constantly in my mind while shooting now and will continue to help my develop into my artistry! Seriously wonderful and I plan to work through the material again because there is so much to explore with everything that is learned.

  • Eva says:

    This is a wonderful workshop! I loved every minute of it. It will stretch your boundaries and get you thinking outside of the box. It has taken my photography to a completely new level and I understand how to creatively control and set up an image for maximum impact. It was just what I needed after getting a solid footing in manual. You start to experiment with different apertures, shutter speeds, ISO, grain, perspectives, crops, lenses to name a few. April’s photos are so beautiful and she encourages daily shooting and posting. April is always available, encouraging and so helpful with her cc as are the wonderful TAs. I loved taking it FP.

  • Nicole says:

    Prior to Exploring Creative Photography I lived in a happy low ISO, wide aperture, fast shutter speed, rule of thirds bubble – and I was pretty content but bored. I saw amazing photos produced from others that broke the “rules”, but just couldn’t make that rule breaking work for me. Enter April and her amazing TAs – I learned so much from the lessons, daily shooting, discussion images and feedback, and I can’t believe the things I shoot now that I would never have felt comfortable with before.

  • kara says:

    exploring creative photography is one of those workshops that really helped me find my way. it has changed the way i shoot for the better. prior to this course, i was familiar with what each of the components of the exposure triangle is responsible for. but after ecp, i am now more intentional about selecting each component and those decisions further impact the story i am trying to tell with my images. the equation for finding proper (or purposefully improper) exposure got more complicated, but the results are so worth it. ecp allows you to slow down, experiment, and break some rules and you might be surprised by some of the things you like.

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