Turning Chaos Into Art: Elevating the Documentary Image by Real Life Photo Academy

Turning Chaos Into Art: Elevating the Documentary Image


a 24 week creative mentorship with award-winning photographers Antonina Mamzenko and Emma Collins

starts 11th January 2021
only 12 spots available

Here's what you'll get:


  • 24 weeks of intensive learning and mentoring with Emma and Antonina in a small online group setting

  • an improved confidence as a documentary shooter and an elevated vision for intentional shooting

  • personalised feedback at every step of the way (because this is the BEST and FASTEST way to make bigger strides towards your goals)

  • monthly group coaching calls to keep you accountable and 24/7 access to a private Facebook group for daily support

  • two 121 calls with Emma and Antonina, one at the start to set out your goals, and one at the end to review your portfolio and website, getting you ready to rock it as a documentary family photographer


  • a deeper understanding of how to craft more impactful photographs and curate your online portfolio so that your work stands out

  • bite-sized, easy to follow lessons and exercises designed to stretch your ability as a photographer

  • modules and assignments focusing on the key elements of a documentary image and how to combine and prioritise them

  • an understanding of how to use the documentary ethos to create successful individual photographs, storytelling series of images and powerful portraits 

  • expert guidance in how to curate a successful portfolio full of images that will attract the right clients for you

Here's how group mentoring works:

The more work you put in, the more growth you will achieve. We don't promise magic results, but we promise we'll be there for you every step of the way, pushing you to do things you never make time for on your own and keeping you accountable.  You will get the benefit of two experienced working documentary family photographers guiding you and giving you feedback at regular intervals.

We'll start by looking at your current portfolio and identifying what drives you, where you want to be and what you need to do to get there. Then, through a series of specially designed exercises and challenges you will work through - and practice - different elements of what makes great documentary photographs and portraits. 

This will culminate in a website and portfolio review where we will help you to curate a powerful body of work that will attract the perfect clients for you.

You will graduate with the knowledge that you can walk into the chaotic environment of a documentary family photoshoot and consistently craft powerful, storytelling images, whatever the session throws at you. 

Don't take it from us...

This may be the first run of this particular mentoring programme, but we've mentored many photographers before, and here are just some of the kind words they've had to say:

“Antonina is an incredible mentor and teacher.”
Ann Owen

“Emma is friendly, yet firm, and offers follow-ups to ensure you stick to your plan. Her advice was invaluable and she has given me a big boost of confidence.”
Diana Hagues

“What’s so brilliant is that Antonina doesn’t hold back on advice that actually works!”
Amanda Dalby

“Antonina is a wonderful mentor and business coach. Thank you so much for being so helpful and inspiring!”
Olga Kuzminskaya

“I highly recommend working with Antonina to help take the next step forward, to review your portfolio and help focus your business in the right direction”.
Tracy Warren

Your Instructors

Antonina Mamzenko

Antonina is a recovering lawyer who moved from Russia to the UK in search of an adventure and found her home. She started her lifestyle family photography business back in 2009 and after getting tired of telling people what to wear and where to sit, transitioned to a more documentary approach in 2015. Over the past 10 years she has become one of the leading UK family photographers working with clients from all over the globe. Her superpower is documentary portraiture and capturing authentic moments of humour and connection. An introvert to the core, she is passionate about teaching photographers how they can run a profitable photography business while playing to their unique strengths – and without burning out.

Emma Collins

From humble beginnings of wrapping newborn babies back in 2010, to having a successful lifestyle business, Emma has become one of the leading documentary family photographers in the UK and has won several Documentary Family Photography awards, including Best Overall and Environmental Portrait categories twice in a row. Her heart has been won by the powerful stories that documenting family life offers, showing families that life doesn’t have to be manicured, that what they have together is their perfect. She is passionate about spreading this message, raising the profile of the genre and teaching photographers how to elevate their images to create art from the everyday chaos.

FAQs

Who is this programme for?

This is for all photographers wanting to take the leap into the documentary family photography genre, no matter what their level. Whether you're at the beginning stages of your career, or if you're a working lifestyle photographer and want to shift to more documentary work, this is for you. The programme will guide you through all the peculiarities and the different technical and creative skills required to shoot a successful documentary session. It's will improve your understanding of how to elevate a pretty portrait or a snapshot into an artfully crafted documentary image that tells a story and will set you apart from the competition.

Have you run this programme before?

This is our first run of this particular programme, which is reflected in the price (at the next run of the programme we anticipate the price will double). We are confident in the content and the transformation it will deliver, but we want to test-run the platform and the content flow with our first cohort. That said, Antonina runs group business mentoring with wonderful feedback, and Emma has mentored a number of photographers individually. Both Emma and Antonina have received numerous awards for their work, and have been invited to judge several documentary family photography competitions. You're in good hands here.

What happens after I enrol?

Once you enrol, you will receive an automated order confirmation email. Approximately one week before the programme begins (11th January 2021), you will receive instructions on how to access the learning platform, the private Facebook group, and any other information. 

How much time each week will I need to dedicate to this mentorship?

Because this is the first time we've run this, we can't be too sure - this is part of the deal when you sign up for the Beta run, there are certain things we need to test-run with your help. We know that you'll need to shoot every week in order to apply what you learn, how long that will take will depend on what we are working through and whether that can be done using your own family or arranging for a portfolio building shoot. You will also need to allocate time for monthly group mentoring calls, and 121s with Emma and Antonina at the start and the end of the programme.

What if I can’t attend the group Zoom calls?

You will receive dates for the group mentoring Zoom calls in advance. We try to schedule these to accommodate different time zones and life commitments. If you know you won’t be able to make it live, you will be able to submit questions in advance. All calls will be recorded and posted on our education platform so you can watch (and re-watch) later.

I don't think I can afford it right now, can I join another time?

We are passionate about pushing the boundaries of the documentary family genre forward by improving the standard of imagery available, so we have tried to make this mentorship affordable and great value for money by packing it full of material and guidance. Think of it this way: not only are you getting all the learning materials, but you are also getting two highly experienced mentors to guide you and speed up your progress, saving you potentially years of figuring it all out yourself, at just over £50 per week. How much is that worth to you? We have provided an easy way to pay in 6 instalments, and most importantly don’t forget, this is the first time we are running this course, so you are also benefiting from a "beta" price to enable us to iron any hiccups with our first cohort, it will never be this low again!

How many spots are available?

This group mentorship is limited to 12 students to ensure an in-depth experience and so that each participant can get regular individual feedback.

How long will I have access to the course materials?

You will have access to the materials and the Facebook group for the duration of the mentorship and 6 months afterwards. You will also be able to download any content you want to keep before the end of that period. 

How quickly will I start seeing the results?

It really depends on how much work you are able to put in! Unfortunately there are no shortcuts and you have to do the work in order to progress.

How much face time will I have with the mentors?

Each student will have two private Zoom sessions with Emma and Antonina, one at the start of the programme and one at the end. You will also get monthly group mentoring calls to review the work that you have produced in response to the assignments. There is also a private Facebook group to ask questions and request feedback in-between the group sessions. 

I have more questions!

Great! Email us at hello@reallifephotoacademy.com and we'll answer any questions you might have.