a guide to creating a documentary project from start to finish

with Lindsey Bergstrom

Class Overview:

Stories live behind closed doors, inside hearts, on street corners, in nursing homes, in children’s hands, at kitchen sinks, in the shuffles of running feet, in screams and quiet prayers. It seems that humans are becoming more and more disconnected from our shared story of humanity.  We retreat to our homes and into our social media circles but, honestly, stories are what connect and bind us to each other.  Stories, even the smallest of stories, allow for empathy and for the space to recognize shared values, experiences, and hopes.  Coming together to understand each other’s stories is more important than ever.  Documentary photography is the slow intimate way of capturing a person’s truth, life, and legacy.  So join me in this workshop and start a project that pushes you to explore and connect with the world around you.  

We will learn how to research ideas, formulate a project, communicate with subjects and contacts, and make critical edits. We will talk about picking the right project and also discuss what “success” means in terms of our own personal journeys and in relation to our projects. We will examine the work of notable photographers to learn about the history of documentary photography but also study their different approaches to photo-based story work. In addition, each participant will present their idea and a plan for a project that they will in turn initiate...just little baby steps to get going and face their fears whatever they may be. We will also do a lot of sharing and discussion. Sharing hopes, fears, and our dreams...our big dreams for our projects. 

What You Will Learn:

  • Finding the “right documentary project” for you
  • Organizing your project 
  • Creating schedule and system to help you stay on track and complete your project
  • Getting started in spite of your fears
  • How to connect and create relationships with your subjects
  • Learn how to adapt and refocus your project when plans go awry
  • Diving deep into the history of documentary photography to understand successful storytelling techniques for any situation (lighting, composition, emotion, sense of place and people)
  • Using storytelling techniques and pre-visualization to get the most out of your time with your subjects
  • Ethical challenges in documentary work
  • Editing techniques for storytelling
  • Culling and storyboard techniques for storytelling
  • Continuing on with Artist in Residencies, Call for Entries and Grants

Class Mechanics:

This three week online interactive class will include:

  • daily interaction from me regarding presented material and discussions
  • video lessons to supplement each of the written lessons
  • individual feedback on all weekly assignments delivered via video
  • Bonus photo challenges to help you stay on top of the material (detailed feedback will not be given on bonus assignments)
  • silent students will have a section of the classroom to interact with one another
  • at the end of the workshop, a PDF will be provided workshop material
  • all class members will be invited to join a private Facebook group after the class ends

Student Reviews:

"Lindsey's approach to documentary photography and her incredible knowledge on the subject added depth to my thinking about photography as much as shadow adds depth to a portrait. This class challenged me personally and professionally, pushing me way out of my comfort zone and into an approach to image-making that has changed everything I do when I pick up my camera. Lindsey is kind but unrelenting, honest and exacting, and her criticism changed the way I think about beauty and meaning. I want to take the class again!"

To read more testimonials from past students go HERE.


In order to participate in this class you need to be comfortable shooting in manual mode with a DSLR.  All photographers: professionals and hobbyists are welcome.  The content of this workshop is geared towards who are looking to do documentary work and not at home lifestyle work.  


Active $250 |  Silent $200 | Alumni $125

To learn more about the different types of seats offered, go to our FAQ section.

Dates of Next Class:



Please message me with any questions HERE.