SDN education

Welcome to SDN Education, an initiative of the Social Documentary Network offering classes taught by outstanding instructors for photographers and people interested in advancing their knowledge and skills in the field of documentary photography and photojournalism. In addition to studio classes on the theory and practice of creating documentary projects, we are now offering lecture classes in photo history, discussion groups, and more. 
 

Spring 2023 Courses
In-person and Zoom classes begin March 7, 2023.
Select courses have option of paying a 25% deposit now with balance due one week prior to start of class.
 

Information on scholarships.


Ricky Pictures Returns

Instructor: Donna Ferrato
6:30–9:00 pm Eastern 
Eight Thursdays Beginning March 9
Location: In-person in Manhattan
Level: Intermediate and above
Course fee: $900  (includes tuition and studio fee.) 

Photo by Donna Ferrato

Be prepared to take risks in this class. You will learn to make real stories of real people. Donna will challenge your perceptions because as she is fond of saying, “it is not safe to be behind the camera.” Class will start with sitting around Donna’s studio talking about photos—yours and others. Later in the class Donna will lead you through the streets of New York taking photos at night and in dark places. Students are encouraged to continue photographing on their own between classes and bring work in the following week to discuss. As Donna explains,  “The last four classes we go gonzo in the streets, where it's beyond dark. I'll take you places where you can keep going as long as you wish.”

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Decoding the Message
Learning to Read Photographs

Instructor: Michelle Bogre
7:30–9:00 pm Eastern via Zoom
Eight Tuesdays, Beginning March 7
Course fee: $475

Photo by Glenn RugaPhotography has become the pulse of our culture and the most universal and versatile language of the 21st century. It also may be the most complex and varied visual discipline ever and because of that, it is the discipline most in need of explanation.  Photography is a paradox.  It is multifaceted in its depth and breadth; it is object and idea; art and science; reality and representation; evidence and witness; truth and fiction; objective and subjective; self-initiated and indelibly socially connected; fixed and floating; important and frivolous. Through lectures, curated readings and photographs, this discussion-based class will introduce key photographic theory to help you learn to decode photographs and expand your understanding of images beyond the superficial.

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Making the Invisible Visible
Conceptual Approaches to Documentary Storytelling


Instructor: Michael O. Snyder
6:30–9:00 pm Eastern via Zoom
Eight Wednesday, Beginning March 8
Level: Intermediate or above
Course fee: $700

Photo by Michael O. Snyder

Making the Invisible Visible is a practice-based course for photographers who are interested in exploring conceptual and non-traditional approaches to documentary storytelling.  This highly creative, emerging field of photography blends photojournalism, research, advocacy, and fine-art methodologies, resulting in powerful bodies of work that explore the often unseen impacts of social and environmental issues.

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Photographers' Tool Kit
Real World Tools for Documentary and Editorial Photographers


Instructor: Amber Bracken
6:30–9:00 pm Eastern via Zoom
Eight Tuesdays, Beginning March 7
Level: Open to all levels
Course fee: $700

 

Photo by Amber BrackenIn this eight-week hands-on course, we will revisit the fundamental building blocks of documentary and editorial storytelling. Our sessions will include lecture, readings, and critique. Each week, students will be given specific real world assignments designed to equip photographers with sharper skills and important visual tools. Assignments can be executed either as part of an ongoing project or as stand-alone exercises, but students must budget at least a few hours each week outside class time for this work. In either case, students can expect to be challenged creatively, technically and theoretically. Strengthen your skills for photographic relationships, storytelling and execution for your next big adventure.  

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Strengthening Your Photographic Voice
A workshop on making aesthetic choices conscious rather than accidental

Instructor: Natalie Keyssar
Saturday, March 25: 9:30 am–5:00 pm ET
Sunday, March 26: 10:00 am–5:00 pm ET    
Location: In-person in Manhattan

Level: All levels are encouraged to enroll
Course fee: $600 (Includes tuition and studio fee)

Photo by Natalie Keyssar

In this in-person weekend workshop held in New York City, photographers will learn how develop and strengthen their personal voice and aesthetic in their documentary or editorial work. With a focus on editing existing portfolios and shooting new work, the workshop will discuss how different approaches to light, color, composition and other formal aspects within the frame both informs the message but also puts a powerful and personal stamp on the work.

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Developing a Critical Practice in Photojournalism

Instructor: Sebastián Hidalgo
6:30–9:00 pm Eastern via Zoom
Eight Thursdays, Beginning March 9
Level: All levels are encouraged to enroll
Course fee: $700

Photo by Sebastián Hildalgo

In this studio-style class, we begin with discussing how early photographers of the Workers-Photography Movement utilized engagement methods to document labor and human rights issues in Europe, the United States, and Mexico and pair the lessons to more contemporary practices. Participants will then transition into learning engagement techniques. We will work to personalize your craft by practicing mindfulness and generosity––a vital element to a work that constantly puts us in frontlines of any news cycle. Practitioners will self assess their fears and write past them, among other tools. So along with your camera, bring a notebook and pen! 

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Copyright: The Basics

Instructor: Michelle Bogre
1:00 - 5:00 pm Eastern via Zoom
Saturday, March 11 (one day only)
Course fee: $175

Much of what you think you know about copyright just might be wrong, in part because there is a lot of misleading information on photography sites and blogs. This four-hour workshop will demystify copyright law and clarify misconceptions. It will introduce the essentials of copyright law that you should know so you can properly protect your work. You will learn, among other things, the protections that current law provides; what copyright protects and what it does not protect; how copyright attaches, how and why to register your work; how to protect your work online; and when and why you need a model’s release. Taking this class might just be among the best four hours you can spend for your career.  


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