What is this?

The Documentary Department is a documentary photo retreat.  That’s right. We said retreat, not workshop. Because we want you to come and hang out for a weekend to focus on documentary photography and reconnect with that little voice that tells you when to press the shutter.

Will there be a formal instruction and education?

Not so much. If you know how to operate your camera and you know what documentary photography is, it’s not that hard to take a documentary photograph. What is really hard is taking a good documentary photograph, and that has less to do with instruction and more to do with honest, diligent practice. Our retreat will give you some time out from your routine to do just that, practice. However, our leaders will  give you some basic guidance and be available to answer your questions.

But will you learn something?

Yes. Our weekend will have an emphasis on critique. One of the best ways to learn about what makes a good documentary photograph is by analyzing your own work and the work of others. Additionally, our in the field time will be with intimate groups so you can have easy access to your shoot leaders to ask any questions. You will also be able to snag some dedicated one on one time with our retreat leaders to ask any questions you might have regarding shooting, projects, and/or business.

So what will we be doing?

We will be facilitating discussions about various aspects documentary photography. We also have two incredible presenters lined up to talk about their work, building personal projects, and getting your work out there. Additionally, each participant will be able to go out and shoot street and/or family work with one of our shoot leaders to guide them and answer questions. Finally, each participant will have a selection of their work critiqued by Erika and Natasha. This critique will be discussed openly with other retreat participants in order to push our discussion about documentary work and photographic voice even further and help create connections to each other and reconnect with our own work.

Are there prerequisites?

You must know how to use your camera in manual mode and understand the basic concepts of the exposure triangle. Whether you actually shoot in manual mode over the weekend is entirely up to you. We will also need you to provide us with a few documentary images of your own prior to the retreat for us to review and discuss at the retreat.

What equipment do I need?

Your camera and a normal to wide angle lens. 50mm is okay but a 35mm, 28mm or even 24mm is going to hit the sweet spot. You will also need access to a laptop and a thumb drive to upload, edit and share the images you shoot over the weekend.

I am a wedding/lifestyle/portrait/pet/food/whatever photographer, can I still come?

As long as you are willing to challenge yourself and dedicate to shooting with a documentary approach for the weekend we would love to hang out with you.