Welcome to Exploring Grief Through Photography

Below you will find information about this e-course including who it’s for, how it works, and our philosophy behind using photography to explore and express grief.  Before reading any further, though, we encourage you to start with this brief introductory video answering some of the most frequently asked questions we receive about this course.

More about this course…

Your grief story is one of kind. It’s unique to you, your relationship with the person who has died, how you learn to live with your grief, and how you carry your loved one with you into the future.  This course is specifically designed to help you tell your grief story by focusing on you, your deceased loved ones, and the ways in which you continue to honor, love and remember them.

General concepts covered in this course will include: How to explore, express, and communicate your emotions and experiences using photography; Ideas and inspiration for photographing grief; Photography tools and tips.

Who should take this course?

Anyone interested in using photography as a creative outlet for coping with grief. All skill levels are welcome.


Participants should have access to a computer with Internet connection and camera of any kind. A digital camera with manual settings will allow you more flexibility, however, you can create some pretty great images with a smartphone or point and shoot camera.

Is photography really considered “coping”?

Yes, absolutely. Coping comes in all shapes and sizes. It can be big – like taking the initiative to see a therapist – and it can be small –  like exercising for 30 minutes a day or journaling for 10 minutes every night.  We love photography as a grief coping tool because it’s a versatile medium that can be healing in many different ways. Consider the following:

  • Photography provides a respite from grief.
  • Photography can be used to explore and express emotion.
  • Photographing symbols and reminders of deceased loved ones can help maintain closeness.
  • Photography keeps memories alive.
  • Photography can capture symbols of hope and strength.

What kind of camera do I need?

All you need is a camera, it doesn’t matter what kind. A digital camera with manual settings will allow for more flexibility, however, you can create some pretty great images with a smartphone and apps like VSCOcam, Instagram, and a handful of others. For those of you who aren’t quite ready to take the digital camera/Photoshop plunge, we’ll introduce a few apps and programs that can help create images and won’t break the bank.

Who are the course instructors?

The course instructors are Eleanor Haley and Litsa Williams, founders of What’s Your Grief, PhotoGrief, and Grief in Six Words.  Both Litsa and Eleanor have experience with photography and have written extensively on the topic of using photography to explore grief.  They are mental health professionals who collectively have nearly twenty years of experience working in grief and loss.  If you want to get a feel for their work please check out PhotoGrief, What’s Your Grief on Instagram, or Eleanor Haley’s ‘Mother Daughter Life’

How does this course work?

This course is self-guided which means it is up to the participant to “guide” themselves through.  You decide when to log on, when to read lessons, and when to complete assignments. Participants are free to move from lesson to lesson at their own discretion and will have access to the course for a year after registration.  


Course Curriculum

Section One: Photographing Symbols
Exploring Grief Through Photography: Start Here 00:00:00
Exploring Grief Through Photography: Orientation 00:00:00
Exploring Grief Through Photography: Section One 00:00:00
Example One: Photographing Reminders 00:00:00
Example Two: Photographing Signs 00:00:00
Example Three: Photographing markers and memorials 00:00:00
Example Four: Photographing Your Continued Bond 00:00:00
Example Five: Photographing Their Legacy 00:00:00
How To: Symbols as the central element 00:00:00
How-to: Your symbol as a recurring theme 00:00:00
Section One Assignment 00:00:00
Section Two: Photographing Emotion
Exploring Grief Through Photography: Section Two 00:00:00
Identifying Emotion 00:00:00
Perspective 00:00:00
Faces 00:00:00
Landscape and Atmosphere 00:00:00
Symbolism 00:00:00
Color 00:00:00
Lighting 00:00:00
Angles 00:00:00
Movement 00:00:00
Section Two Assignment 00:00:00
Section Three: Self-Portraits
Self-Portraits as a Physical Release 00:00:00
Self-Portraits as a Tool for Capturing Evolution and Transformation 00:00:00
Self-Portraits as Tool for Connection and Continuing Bonds 00:00:00
Selfies as Self-Portraits 00:00:00
Self-Portrait Mechanics 00:00:00
Perspective, Lighting, Color, Angles, and Movement 00:00:00
Section Three Assignment 00:00:00
Section Four: Memories
Exploring Grief Through Photography: Section Four 00:00:00
Exploring Memories 00:00:00
Past Memories In The Present: Dear Photograph 00:00:00
Past Memories In The Present: Old Photographs as Art 00:00:00
Past Memories In The Present: Old Photos Within New Photos 00:00:00
New Photographs: Return To A Place 00:00:00
New Photographs: Objects As Memories 00:00:00
A Note On Composition 00:00:00
Telling a Story With a Photo Essay 00:00:00
Section Four Assignments 00:00:00
Section Five: Symbols of Hope, Gratitude, and Strength
Exploring Grief Through Photography: Section Five 00:00:00
Disposition, Stress-Level and Mood 00:00:00
Chasing The Light 00:00:00
Gratitude 00:00:00
Words and Quotes 00:00:00
Things that make you smile 00:00:00
Symbols of hope, strength, and peace 00:00:00
Section Five Assignment 00:00:00
Section Six: Telling Your Story
Exploring Grief Through Photography: Section Six 00:00:00
Shooting Something Up Close 00:00:00
Blur 00:00:00
Creative Framing 00:00:00
Reflections and Shooting Through Something Else 00:00:00
Section Six Assignment 00:00:00

Course Reviews


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    The material and exercises in this course were fantastic. The questions and prompts really stirred my mind and led it in a direction it hadn’t been before. I felt like I was moving along to a place out there. I’m a point and shoot photographer, hurry up let’s go, but this course awakened my senses…all of them…. and I found myself lost in the moment many times.

    In the beginning of the class I had a problem with finding something, and emailed one of the instructors. Here I am at the end of class and still have not heard from either of them. Consequently for me, I was unable to interact with others in the class or post pictures. I spent way too much time trying to figure it out, and finally just participated on my own. It seems like I was supposed to know how everything worked…and I didn’t.

    • Anne, I’m sorry to hear that you sent an email and didn’t receive a response. We prioritize responding to e-course related emails and would never knowingly let one slip by. Where did you send a message? Do you recall what email or whether it was through the school? I ask not to doubt that you did, but because your comment is cause for concern and it’s important to us that we figure out what may have happened. I’m sorry that you feel denied to chance to participate. We try and provide as much information as we can re: navigating the site in the first few days of the course but based on your feedback we’ll take a closer look at our messaging.

  • $50.00


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