New Video: So who is OFMP.ORG?

Introduction to The On Field Media Project from On Field Media Project on Vimeo.

The On Field Media Project is an organization I started a couple of years ago that provides training in photography, videography and social media for small non profits so that they are better prepared to tell the ongoing story of the good work they are doing in the field. In the modern day, building a continual digital relationship between the organization and their supporters is essential. OFMP bridges that gap to give these organization the storytelling tools they need to continually share with backers, donors and allies. We also strive to see these organizations become self sufficient and non-reliant on pro photographers. Not to take any work away from the pro (there will always be work for the pro), but to empower these organization to begin to tell their own story in a powerful and timely way when they can.

If you’d like to help OFMP continue to grow and train you can. You may be aware, there is a big sale going on via Facebook and through other social media called the 5 Day Deal. The 5 Day Deal is a legitimate sale on photographic training resources. A value of $3,300 selling for $127. This is the real deal, it is a valuable bundle of hours of educational videos and ebooks. It has whole courses of trainings from top photographers on topic like child photography, landscape – it contains Photoshop and Lightroom trainings and presets and plugins. There is really valuable learning for photographers of all skill levels. By the way, this is totally new material from last year’s sale.

This deal doesn’t just benefit the photographer, last year the sale generated over $250,000 for several charities. This year they are aiming for over $300,000. As an affiliate I will be donating ALL my earnings to the On Field Media Project for our operating expenses. Last year I did the same and we raised a good portion of our yearly operating budget.

You can help in two ways. One: Just buy the material. As I said, it’s the real deal (pardon the pun). Two: Help us promote this sale and my affiliate link specifically. Here is my affiliate link you can lean more about the “5Day Deal” there as well. Help OFMP make a difference in the lives of nonprofits around the world.


A Killer Deal on Photographic Resources: the 5 Day Deal

What if learning photography was relegated to a school classroom and cost university prices? We’d have a lot less photographers for sure. Fortunately this isn’t the case. In fact there are photography courses all over the net at varying qualities and costs. With that in mind, I have a great educational opportunity for you. Once a year the folks at 5 Day Deal gather photographic resources from top photographer from around the world and bundled them for you for a limited time – 5 days. They’ve done it again, Stating today they have pull together a real, honest-to-goodness, deal. This is not a gimmick, it might sound like one, but it is one of the best values in photographic training material there is – bar none and it only last for 5 days.

Here is how this works. The founders of 5 Day Deal thought up a way to make a profit from bundling a ton of software, e-books, videos and more by selling them at a crazy price. They asked a boat load of photographers who author e-books, videos and e-learning websites to contribute product. This bundle contains $3,300.00 worth of quality photo related instructional material at a ridiculously low price of $127! There are several products in this bundled that are worth the $127 all by themselves. The first one that comes to mind is Lightroom for Landscapes. This is a full video course on Photoshop Lightroom. Granted, it is tailored to Landscape photographers but the reality is every photographer that wants to lead about Lightroom would benefit from this course. This comprehensive, 18 hour course tackles the entire Lightroom workflow. With 20 modules and a total of over 100 lessons, from import to export, you’ll learn every feature of Lightroom in small, manageable pieces in a step-by-step fashion so you can put these new techniques into practice immediately. A $200 value. Personally even at $200 I find it a great deal. But at $127 even better and then added on to the rest of the bundle, it’s a no brainer!

Now if this wasn’t enough, in the past the 5 Day Deal folks have donated a huge chunk of their profits to charity. In fact last year, they raised over $250,000, that’s a quarter of a million dollars for charity! This year they want to raise even more, the goal is over $300,000.

The 5 Day Deal ends in:



What is in this bundle?


5DayDeal-Full-Product-List-1-of-2 5DayDeal-Full-Product-List-2-of-2



Convinced? I hope so, I don’t know how to make it any clearer… THIS IS A KILLER DEAL!

So how do I figure into this? I am an affiliate and I receive a percent of each sale. I will be giving 100% of all of my earnings from this sale to the On Field Media Project. I am asking you to use my affiliate link. . Not only would I like you to buy the product and take advantage of this deal during this limited time, I want you to help us raise funds for OFMP. Whenever you tweet, post or share anything about the 5 Day Deal please use this link above. In this way all profits from the affiliate link will go to the On Field Media Projects operating costs.

Maybe you are asking, what is the On Field Media Project? OFMP is a nonprofit that was established two years ago to help their nonprofit identify and tell their story to the world. So many young charities falter because they are failing telling the stories of their ongoing work, their successes and yes, even their failures. At OFMP we come to the field and work with these organization’s field staff and teach them not only how to identify a story but how to tell it and illustrate it with photos and videos. You might ask ‘why can’t we just go in and shoot these stories for them and given them the images?’ We could, but we want to empower these organizations to stand on their own feet and to be self reliant. Here is what some of our past clients have said about our work:


“They know what I don’t know. So they brought themselves down, they humbled themselves I must say. To be at that level, whereby they can pick up my hand and just bring me up to where they want me to learn what they were teaching me. Those guys are just good. I love them.” -Collins Odhiambo, The Kilgoris Project


This has really, really helped me to improve my photo and video taking and editing. …
Keep going to help NGOs to promote their organization. Because it’s really helpful. This has helped us to promote our NGO. This has been one of my best experience – with On Field Media Project and the other participants.
– Tya Septiani


This training emphasis more on the “telling of a story” and not on the high tech camera. But after OMFP drilled me, gave me/us the rules and the principles in order produce picture/videos that tell a story and that touch and move people. The topic on multimedia gave me a positive outlook. Afterwards, this training gave me the feel of a professional even though I’m still a beginner. The training helped us also remember one the most important people are our patrons and donors.
– Nelson Liberato


Review: Angelbird 512 GB SSD2go drive

Angelbird 512 GB SSD2go drive

Angelbird 512 GB SSD2go drive


Recently, I was sent an Angelbird 512 GB SSD2go drive. This little guy, and little is the operative word here, is built like a tank. It is perfect for people like me who travel. The great thing about SSD drives is because they are solid state they can be pretty much abused and still function perfectly. Seriously, you could drop this off a building and it would most likely survive… and no, I am not going to try that. I like it’s shiny T.A.R.D.I.S. 1 blue case and I don’t want it scratched. By the way, the case – it is honed out of a single piece of aluminum.  This adds to the solid feel of the device. Now I was a little worried when I saw the USB 3.0. cable. I had never seen a drive use a type A to type A cable. But it works like a charm. The cable fits really tight into the unit and into the computer. You can get the back engraved for free. Most people put their website or a contact number. I have never had any contact info on a drive before and frankly, I have never felt the need. I guess because I have never lost a drive before so it didn’t really occur to use it that way. So I had a bit of inspiration added to the the back. Since it is T.A.R.D.I.S. blue in color I added a quote from Dr. Who that fits my ethos. “We’re all stories in the end. Just make it a good one, eh?” Honestly if I was to do it again, I might put my email address because this drive is so small I actually might be able to loose it.


Click on the image to view full size.

Now for the most important part – the speed. This drive is fast. According to the the manufacturer the drive is capable of a Sustained Read Speed up to 450MB/s and a Sustained Write Speed up to 390MB/s. Now to be fair, I tested it with my Blackmagic Design Disk Speed Test and didn’t quite get those speeds. I got Read speeds up to 420 MB/s and Write speeds up to 367 MB/s. Still impressive.

Let me tell you why this is important and what I plan to do with this honey of a drive. A few month back I was getting really frustrated with the speed of my Lightroom catalog. It would take forever to load images and when I made changes I honestly had to wait a few seconds for those changes to take effect. I optimized my Lightroom catalog but that didn’t really help much. So why was my Catalog acting so slow? The problem was I was running my catalog off my WD My Passport drive. This was/is a slow drive and the catalog just wouldn’t keep up with my changes due to the lack of speed supplied by the WD drive. My personal Lightroom Guru, Piet Van den Eynde suggested I get an SSD drive and things would run better. At this point you might be asking, why I couldn’t just put my catalog on my computer’s drive? My answer to that would be, which computer? I travel, it’s what travel photographers do and as such I work off of two computers. I have my large iMac that I run two monitors on at home and my Macbook Pro I travel with. What I needed was a portable SSD drive to house my Lightroom Catalog. I looked around and found a few options. One I almost went with was the Lacie Rugged USB3 Thunderbolt Series 500GB SSD. But it was large and very bulky. The Angelbird is small,  3.5 x 2. 75 x 0.41 inch (89.0 x 69.9 x 10.4 mm). The Lacie Rugged drives are a bit overkill with the rubber bumper they add. The fact is it is an SSD, there is no need for that bumper anymore, there are no moving parts! So I went with the Angelbird and now my Lightroom catalog zips.

If you would like to hear how specifically you can use this drive in your Lightroom workflow. I would advise you to visit Piet’s blog where he reviews this same drive but goes into greater detail how to use it in your workflow.

In conclusion: I am very happy with the choice of this small, sexy drive. I really can’t find a downside. If you pushed me to find one it might be the price, at $450 it is not cheap. But then, you know what they say? You get what you pay for and this is certainly true here. With that said I am giving the Anglebird SSD2Go Drive 5 Trekkers.



  1. A reference to the blue police box in Dr. Who

Protection for your other Camera


You know that a good camera bag is an essential. You also know that you can never seem to find the right bag, right? If I ask any given photographer how many bags they have I usually get an embarrassed eye-roll and then a number between 5 and 20. Seriously, bags are important, first and foremost for protecting your camera and lenses. But what about your other camera? You know, your phone.

Today, most people don’t leave a room, let alone the house without their all purpose point-n-shoot camera aka their smartphone. Yet, how protected is it? How many phones have you destroyed? I have ruined two at least, my daughter on the other hand… well, we won’t go there. So when my family moved back to the U.S. for the year we got new cell service and new phones. I opted for the iPhone 6 (not the Plus… too big!). But after hearing so many complaints about the iPhone 6 bending and knowing how rough I am with my phones and how often I loose them, I wanted a case that was bombproof, easy to see and could be dropped from the stratosphere and survive. You think I am kidding? Well, enter the Urban Armor Gear case or UAG. Specifically the Outland case for the iPhone 6.

The Outland is a composite case and by composite they mean both hard plastic shell and a soft plastic liner giving the phone its protection. This case is slim and has a great feel to it. There is no rubbery tacky stuff on this case so it slides into and out of your pocket with ease. I have owned a case or two in the past that the designers felt they needed to make grippable by adding a rubberized finish to it. The problem is it makes the phone impossible to get out of your pocket without pulling out every bit of paper bills along with it. So I am pleased with this slick yet matte finish. The inside black plastic is honeycombed  and not only looks good but I assume provides extra strength and protection. The case front has the black plastic protruding ever so slightly above the glass to give the glass protection. All four corners are reinforced with the same black plastic to give extra protection when the the phone drops on the corners. Speaking of protection this case is rated to military drop-test standards (MIL STD 810G 516.6), impressive. It is at this point I need to confess that I have dropped this case several times already and so far, so good. Not even a scratch on the case.


Note the honeycomb pattern of the black plastic lining.

Note the honeycomb pattern of the black plastic lining.

When you buy the UAG case they include a screen protector as well. But to be frank I tossed the free one and opted for the more costly tempered glass screen protector. I used one on my iPhone 5 and it worked like a charm. The back of the case that has a nice cutout for the camera. With the black surrounding the cutout you wont get any glare or reflection on the camera. This isn’t a huge complaint with many cases, but it has happened. The case has a nice industrial design look to it, with the orange it gives it almost a tactical feel. There are two cutouts on either side of the UAG branding on the back, I have no idea what this serves. They don’t match up with the Apple logo, in fact they only show part of the words “iPhone”. To me this is odd and doesn’t make much sense. Why have them if they serve no function and only serve to allow dust into the back of the case? This side of the case also sports four skids along the four corners that create a nonskid footing for the case and protect the harder plastic shell. Little attention to details like this make this case what it is.

The camera… er phone goes into the case easy enough. Slide it in volume rocker side first and then the other side just pops in. Sometimes doing it this way turns on the phone – no big deal. Getting it out is a little more difficult but still not a huge issue.  The cutouts on the bottom of the case are large enough to allow for third party accessories. Don’t underestimate this. The last case I owned wouldn’t fit my third party Lightning to USB charger, only the Apple charger would fit. Not an issue here.

The bottom of the case has well placed cutout that allow for third party accessories.

The bottom of the case has well placed cutout that allow for third party accessories.


Over all this case is a winner. I chose the Outland as it is orange and make it easy for me to see, but if I did it again, I might go with the clear version called the Maverick. It has a very cool look as you can see the honeycomb pattern through the back of the case. UAG also make a folio style case that rocks as well.

So, for $34.95 it is a winner and I give this little guy 4.5 stars.

Now for the fun part. Remember that comment about being able to drop my case from the stratosphere? Watch this:

Fujifilm Podcast With Piet Van den Eynde 2015

Piet & other X-photographers on our past India workshop take a break to talk about what Fujifilm is serving up.

Piet & other X-photographers on our past India workshop take a chai break to talk about what Fujifilm is serving up.


Welcome Fujirumors Readers.

It’s always fun when I get together with Piet Van den Eynde and we compare notes on the latest Fujifilm gear. This podcast was not different. This episode is about our thoughts on the latest lenses and a few interesting accessories.

We promised we would list out the reviews and posts we talked about in this podcast, so here you go:

Learn more about Matt & Piet’s North India Workshop HERE.

Matt’s Posts

  1. Fujinon 50-140mm f2.8 LM OIS WR: Review
  2. First Look: Fujinon XF 16-55 mm f/2.8 R LM WR
  3. Views of Kenya with the Fujinon XF 16mm f/1.4 WR
  4. Fujifilm’s 90mm Makes a Colorful Splash on the Set of Indian Summers 2

Piet’s Posts

  1. My 10 favourite accessories for Fujifilm X-cameras – Part 1
  2. My 10 favourite accessories for Fujifilm X-cameras – Part 2
  3. 10 reasons why I love my Fujifilm X100T
  4. Review: The Jinbei HD 600 II: Portable Flash Power for my Fuji X cameras
  5. Review: Godox V850 manual Li-ion flash: a perfect manual flash for my Fujifilm X-cameras

2015 Fujifilm X-Photographer’s Book


Child on the set of Indian Summers, Holi Celebration. Penang, Malaysia



Ladies under a tree. Pachewar, Rajasthan, India



Bishnoi farmer. Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India

Fujifilm is contacting it’s X-Photographers (I assume all of them, but I don’t know for certain) and asking them to submit one image for their 2015 book highlighting their X-Photographers. Honestly, it’s a marketing tool saying, “Look at how good our cameras work in the hands of our X-Photographers!” That’s OK with me, I understand that marketing needs to be done and it provides another nice showcase for many people’s work – a win, win. I was asked by Fujifilm Malaysia to submit one photo. But I have thousands. So which one do I give them?

The first step I took was to open up Adobe Lightroom and use it’s nifty library filter feature and select only photos taken with Fujifilm X-series cameras. I then narrowed it down to my 5 star images. From that point it was a matter of just plowing through the 5 stars and finding a few selects. I was able to narrow the first draft to about 23 images.



Then after just looking them over and staring at my computer screen for a few days I managed to whittle them down to 6 images. I had already planned to get some Facebook friend’s feedback but after Piet Van den Eynde had posted his final choices on his Facebook account, and got such great feedback I thought, (why not try it as well). So I did. By the way, some of you would make great art critiques. 😉 In only a few hours I had well over 200+ comments and they keep coming in.

In the end there were three stand outs and I had to make the ultimate choice. It was not easy. It’s like having to choose between three of my closest friends and saying, “I like you the best and your second, ect…”. I don’t work that way. I am more like, “I like you because of this and I like you because of that…” and so it was with these photos. I like the color one because of the melancholy expression, the intense color and the super sharp eyes. I felt like it really shows off Fuji’s claim of great color reproduction. The black and white crowd shot I liked because it is full of story. So much going on in this photo. The texture is rich and rough as if you could touch it.  As someone said in the Facebook comments, it has a Salgado (Sebastião Salgado) feel to it. I would never dare to compare my work with his, but I think I know what they meant. I think they meant, his images tend to be high contrast black and white with a grittiness to them that seems to pull the viewer into the photo. Lastly I like the black and white portrait for many of the same reasons I like the black and white crowd shot, except as a portrait it stood out because there was a sense of solemnity and contemplation to the subject – a sense of intimacy that is indicative of my portraits.

I had to choose just one. The Facebook poll leaned heavily to the color image, then the black and white portrait and lastly the crowd shot. Fujifilm told me it needed to go on a B5 size page (6.89 X 9.843 inches). I felt the color image is really strong and perfect for Fujifilm’s promotion, but I was afraid it would get lost on a horizontal page. The black and white portrait is strong and where it may be representative of my work, this type of portrait is not unique to me. The crowd shot is unique and became my choice. But, right at the last moment, I found out that the book will be a horizontal format after all, not vertical. This means the very thing that I feared about the color portrait, being lost on a horizontal page would in fact happen to the black and white crowd shot. With this in mind, I want the most real estate for my one photo and so I choose the poll’s favorite, the color portrait.

Was this a wise choice? What do you think?

By the way, if you want to photograph similar subjects join me for the 2016 North India Workshop. We will be visiting Old Delhi, Agra (home to the Taj Mahal) and Varanasi. It is going to be epic by all accounts. Learn more HERE.

New Workshop Announced: Delhi, Agra & Varanasi

  • North India has always been looked on as a photographer’s paradise. It feels as if a photographer can’t take a bad photo while visiting its many exciting cities or streets. Of course this isn’t true, but what is true is that it offers the photographer unlimited potential for amazing photos of people, ancient buildings and monuments and lest we forget colorful festivals.

    Having explored and photographed these cities and streets for over 25 years, Matt Brandon will give you photo opportunities like few other photographers can deliver. Matt and Alou Brandon and Belgian photographer Piet Van den Eynde who also spent his share of time traveling through Asia in general and India in particular, are uniquely suited to give you a photo tour that you will never forget.

    During this trip we will be visiting Delhi’s old city and walking the streets and alleyways photographing life as it unfold before us. Old Delhi’s architecture dates back to the Mughal Empire and provides a fascinating backdrop to our photography. From Delhi we drive to Agra, the home of the Taj Mahal. Know as a monument to love, the Taj is one of the most photographed and well know structures in the world today. We will help you get the photo of the Taj you want, whether it’s the classic frontal shot from the reflection pool or something more creative. You’re in good hands! We leave the Islamic influenced cities of Delhi and Agra and we travel by train to Varanasi, perhaps the holiest Hindu city in the world. It is believed that Varanasi began in the 11th or 12th century BC, placing it among the world’s oldest continually inhabited cities. Rich with culture and symbolism and as such one of the most visually exciting places to visit in India. We will walk the bathing ghats and photograph street life and bathing rituals. Because so much in photography depends on your perspective, we will travel up and down the river to photograph the same things from a different angle.

    There will be teaching sessions throughout the tour: some of those will be formal and scheduled, others will be impromptu while we’re in the car or on a train. Matt’s going to teach – amongst others – composition and storytelling, while Piet will focus on using off-camera flash. You can also pick Piet’s brain about anything Lightroom and Photoshop related. Throughout the tour, we’ll also have an English speaking ‘fixer’ for us who will provide invaluable in establishing contact and help you to get the shots you want. There will also be a number of evening ‘image reviews’. Our past participants have found these sessions, in which we look at one shot of each participants, particularly enlightening and inspiring as they can help you to see how others approached a similar scene.


    Dates: Feb 14 – 24, 2016

    Leaders: Matt Brandon, Piet Van den Eynde

    Price: $4,850.00

    Payment Policy:
    • A deposit of $1,000 due upon registration
    • Balance due November 17, 2015


    This price is quoted offering a double room. If you would prefer a single room, that’s entirely possible: the single room supplement is $1,000 and can be booked as an option on the checkout form.

    This trip will see a variation of accommodations. From the Double Tree by Hilton in Agra to a heritage hotel on the Ganges.

    What’s included: Just about everything.

    • Double room on sharing basis.
    • Meals during the tour.
    • All transfers and sightseeing by air-conditioned Mini Coach as per the program.
    • Entrances to the monuments as per the program.
    • Services of English speaking local guides for sightseeing as per the program.
    • Train fare from Agra to Varanasi.
    • Bicycle Rickshaw ride in Delhi and Varanasi.
    • Boat rides in Varanasi as per the program.
    • Bottled water in the Mini Coach.
    • Train fare from Agra/Varanasi/Delhi.
    • Assistance at all the airport/hotels by our representatives.
    • Tuition by Matt and Piet

    What’s NOT included:

    • Any expenses of personal nature like tips, laundry, all beverages, telephone calls etc.
    • Any expenses caused by factors beyond our control like flight cancellation, road blocks, vehicle malfunction etc.
    • Any medical or evacuation insurance
    • Your international flight to and from Delhi

  • Tour itinerary:

    Day 01: Arrive Delhi
    Arrive in Delhi. On arrival, you will be welcomed by our representative at the International Airport and transferred to your hotel in Delhi.

    Overnight in the Hotel

    Day 02: Delhi
    Breakfast at the hotel and an orientation meeting will be followed by a walk through Old Delhi’s Chandni Chowk Market. This is as bustling as it gets! We will explore the back alleyways of this ancient city. We’ll visit old mosques ranging from the laid back small Fatehpuri Masjid to the magnificent splendour of the Jamma Masjid. From the streets of Old Delhi we travel the holy shrine of Sufi saint Hazrat Nizamuddin. If we are lucky we might be able to enjoy the local faithful as they sing qawwali songs in worship of this saint. The Nizamuddin area is off the beaten tourist-track, and therefore extra rewarding for photographers.

    Overnight in the Hotel

    Day 03: Delhi-Agra (By minibus)
    Morning train to Agra. On arrival, transfer to the hotel for check-in.

    After breakfast we drive to Agra (appx 3-4 hrs). Agra is home to the world’s greatest monument to love: the Taj Mahal. The Taj was built by Emperor Shah Jahan over a period of 17 years from 1632, in memory of his beloved late wife Mumtaz Mahal. It is best photographed at sunrise or sunset when the light reflects off the marble and gives it a special radiance. Needless to say, we’ll have opportunities for both and we’ll get you there at the right time and the right spot! Agra has other treasures worth visiting as well, such as the beautiful Itmad-ud-Daulah’s tomb and the brilliantly constructed Agra Fort from which you also have terrific views over… the Taj Mahal!

    Late afternoon sunset visit to Taj Mahal.

    Overnight in the Hotel

    Day 04: In Agra
    After yesterday’s sunset visit, we’ll revisit the Taj Mahal at sunrise for a completely different look.
    After breakfast at the hotel, we’ll visit Agra Fort.
    Late afternoon visit to Itmad-ud-daulah as well as a drive to the other side of the river to see the sun set on Taj Mahal from a different perspective.

    Day 05: Agra/Varanasi (Train)
    We want you to make the most out of your time in and around Agra so on our last day here we’ll visit Fatehpur Sikri, an ancient capital of the Mughal Empire and now a Unesco World Heritage site. Then we return to Agra for our connection to Varanasi. There’s nothing like catching a glimpse of Indian everyday life as catching an Indian train! We’ll take the convenient night train from Agra to Varanasi.

    Day 06: Arrive Varanasi (by Train)
    After our transfer to the hotel (a beautiful and characterful haveli), we’ll have breakfast and a mid-journey relaxing day for those who wish. Alternatively, you can already start to explore the city!

    Day 07: Varanasi (boat ride)
    We wake up early and experience the life of this ancient city by boat. The boat ride passes along some of the 100 ghats (bathing places), with numerous palaces built by Hindu kings. You’ll be able to experience first hand the early morning rituals being performed by the Hindus.

    In the afternoon, we’ll drive to Sarnath, 9 km from Varanasi, one of Buddhism’s major centers in India. It was here that Buddha gave his first Sermon after attaining enlightenment.

    We’ll conclude our first day with an evening walking tour on the ghats.
    Overnight in the Hotel

    Day 08-10: Varanasi
    Three full days to photograph the ghats and the alleyways and colorful shops scattered throughout the old city along with morning and evening boat rides over river Ganges. We’ll practice shooting for storytelling, composition and how to use flash to balance the harsh Indian sunlight.

    Overnight in the Hotel

    Day 11: Depart Varanasi
    A last morning in this stunning city to make (or remake) the shots you didn’t get.

    Late afternoon transfer to the station to board the overnight train for Delhi.

    Day 12: Arrive Delhi

    Transfer to airport to board flight for onward destination.

  • matt-hat

    Matt Brandon is a Malaysia based humanitarian and travel photographer, who collaborates with NGOs to tell their stories and to train their field staff to do the same. Well known as a photographer and international workshop instructor, Matt’s images have been used by clients such as Partner Aid International, NeighborWorks, the BBC, Honda Motor Corporation, and Bombadier Transport Corporation, Asian Geographic, KLM Airlines and others. His photographic pursuits have taken him to the countries of Egypt, Tibet, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Maldives, Philippines, Malaysia to name a few. Matt also is known for teaching presenters how to present their message in the most effective and memorable way. This makes Matt a great teacher to any workshop or classroom. Matt is also a key member of the International Guild of Visual Peacemakers, he’s on the advisory board for Focus for Humanity and on the design board for Think Tank Photo, a camera bag manufacturer.

    For more information on Matt, read his complete profile at PhotoShelter.

    Matt’s Books:
    Visit for Matt’s book of images from Kashmir titled “Kashmir, Mystery“.




    Piet Van den Eynde (pronounced “Pete”) is a Belgian freelance photographer specializing in travel portraiture. He has written five Dutch books on Adobe Lightroom and currently has nine English ebooks for, such as ‘Making Light’ and ‘Making Light 2’ about off-camera flash. He also has a seven hour ‘Photoshop for photographers’ video course and a couple of Lightroom books. Finally, he has created two sets of Lightroom preset packages, one Black and White and one for Color Grading. He contributes articles to photography magazines and gives trainings worldwide about digital photography, working with small flashes and post-processing. He’s an Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Certified Expert.

    In 2009, Piet threw his camera, a flash and an umbrella in his bicycle panniers and cycled 5000 miles through Turkey, Iran, India and Indonesia for a photography project called Portraits Of Asia.

    Piet is a prolific author and has a whole list of e-books to his credit. Find them here at Craft & Vision. Learn more about Piet on his blog More Than Words.

    Piet will be teaching off-camera lighting skills as well as some Lightroom post processing throughout the photo tour.


  • Here is what people are saying about our Photo Tours & Workshops:

    “My second photography trek/workshop with Matt, Piet & Alou, and it won’t be my last. Ladakh is a more challenging trip than Rajasthan, both physically and photographically, but the experience is unique and very rewarding. I never thought I would be camping in the Himalayas, but now I have! Matt & Piet are very giving of their time and their experience, and help participants come away with photographs beyond what they thought they could achieve. Alou’s contributions as a translator and handling the logistics keeps things running smooth. Even when faced with unavoidable problems such as the terrible flooding in Kashmir, Matt, Piet & Alou were able to modify the plans and still deliver an extremely rewarding experience. I’m already looking forward to my next trek.”
    -Mike Alexander


    I came hungry for images and stories, and eager to improve my photo technique and storytelling skills. I feasted for two weeks on an incredible buffet of professional excellence, visual excitement, stimulating assignments and personal coaching. This workshop takes you beyond photography: above all Matt teaches by example how to discover, respect, explore, embrace and document the culture, the people and the daily life of the host country. Piet’s expertise in post-processing and off-camera lighting tips provide further value for refining our images to perfectly reflect what we saw at the moment of capture. People are at the heart of the program. This not only shows in the approach of the subject matter, but equally in the welcoming and caring support from the workshop leaders. It did not take long for us to travel as a close and joyful troop.
    -René Delbar


    “As a first timer on anything like this, I can only say that the bar for any future tours has been set extremely high! Matt’s patience, individual attention, knowledge and teaching skills left nothing to be desired. The daily group critiques added to the experience, reinforcing learnings from the assignments, assisting with improvement and helping understand image shortfalls, all these leading to a noticeable improvement in my personal images. Finally the addition of Piet as guest Photographer / Lightroom Guru, and Alou’s logistical planning, assistance with all things non photo and keen eye made this a truly unforgettable experience. I look forward to another in the future. Thank you!”
    -Eric Bunn


    “Matt & Piet have created a culturally sensitive, learning-oriented workshop that opens up Rajasthan for photographers keen to create memorable images & hone their photographic craft.”
    -Fernando Gros


    “I had such a wonderful time on Matt’s 2013 Rajasthan Photo Trek and Workshop that I would love to go back and do it all over again. Yes, all of it! Two weeks of fun, photography, laughter, discovery, and pure enjoyment, along with excellent company and delicious food — I can’t imagine a better introduction to India. Best of all, the photographic learning experience was priceless: Matt is an inspiring teacher and mentor who really cares about helping his students push their boundaries and learn how to create better images, while Piet’s expert assistance with workflow and post-processing issues was a real bonus. Highly recommended!”
    -Andrée Lawrey


    “This workshop was everything I expected and more than I hoped for! Matt and Piet did a great job of reinforcing the basics and helping me explore new areas in my photography. Rajasthan was the perfect backdrop for shooting a wide variety of pictures and wonderfully diverse cultural experience. I’m already thinking about taking another trip with them!”
    George Neill


    “Stunning scenery, unique photo-opportunities, authentic environment and remarkable people; meeting locals up-close-and-personal. All of this in the absence of mass-tourism. Add focus on photography in a small group and you have the recipe for this trip. Is that what you’re looking for?”
    -Geert Delmulle


    “As a first time photo tour participant and reasonably new to photography, the tour surpassed any expectations I had. I was made to feel an important part of the tour, despite not being at the same level of photography as some of the others. That lack of experience worried me before I met you, but your method of guiding allayed any fears I had. I have come away the knowledge and ability of new techniques, not afraid to lie down in dirt to get ‘that’ special shot and above all learnt patience to wait for that someone or something to walk into my point of view, enabling me to tell the story I want others to see. Once again, thank you and I will be definitely joining you again on another photographic journey in the future.”
    -Brendan White


    “Don’t hesitate to subscribe to this workshop! Matt and Piet are great instructors who generously share their time and knowledge with all participants (novices and seasoned photographers alike). You will be given daily assignements on this tour which are optional but help you so much if you accomplish them and listen with an open mind to all the useful feedback you are getting during the critique sessions. And they are just fun to do too.
    Matt seemed at first to be a magnet who magically attracts photogenic situations but don’t be mistaken: the man knows how to create photographic opportunities and how to share them with other photographers. Piet’s skills are complimentary with Matt’s as he is an expert in postprocessing and the use of off-camera flash. (But don’t underestimate Piet as a photographer). And last but not least: these guys are warm and caring human beings just as Matt’s wife Alou who takes care of all the logistics and even buys you water and soft drinks so you can concentrate on becoming a better photographer while enjoying a fascinating country.”
    Dannie Goossens

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    • Please note: You may fill out this form and register, but your spot will not be guaranteed until we have received your payment of at least $1,000 deposit.



  • Terms & Conditions


    Throughout these pages the words “tour” and “workshop” will be used interchangeably.

    “This is a photo tour, will there is any instruction?”

    Yes! This of this as a photo tour with a teaching element. Most of the teaching will be done in the field or in the evening in an organic fashion. We just didn’t want to give you the impression we would have scheduled classroom work. Often there will be times of review and informal teaching in the evenings to cover events from the day and prepare for the next. If you desire a portfolio review, Matt or Piet will take time to give you one as long as it’s scheduled early in the trip. There will be time for everyone, those who want one-on-one time with either Matt or Piet will receive it. Those who want to simply shoot will get it. We’ve built the tour around flexibility, community, discussion, freedom and your ability to learn what you want from your instructors while also having the opportunity to shoot what you want, it is your trip! Just know that even though we may have a “fixer” at a location or two, there will be no flag-toting tour guide for us to follow in these cities.



    We aim to provide a first-class service to all clients and we do our best to plan as much as we can in advance. However, the locations that we visit are often unpredictable in nature and we ask clients to understand that circumstances can change, transport and accommodation arrangements can vary from those advertised and we may need to adapt or amend the workshop itinerary at short notice in order to take prevailing conditions into account. You will need to provide the following:

    • $1,000 Deposit payment when booking your place
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    You warrant that the information provided by you at the time of registration and in subsequent correspondence is true, accurate, current and complete in all regards.

    Deposit and Payment Schedule

    Your place on the photo tour will be confirmed as soon as your deposit payment has been received and cleared. A deposit is considered to be $1,000 or more of the total advertised workshop cost. Your balance payment must be paid and cleared no later than 90 days before the advertised workshop start date. Payment may be paid via PayPal (an invoice will be provided) or into our US bank account (details provided upon request). Clients should ensure that any bank transfer fees are paid at source. We reserve the right to pass bank transfer charges back to the client, where applicable. The tour cost includes all in-country transport as per the tour itinerary, accommodation, meals (as published), tuition and advice from the workshop leaders. The tour cost does not include your international air fare or return transport to the workshop start location. It does not include your personal and incidental expenses such as beverages, laundry, souvenirs, communication expenses, tips, extra-curricular entrance fees, and personal items.

    Cancellation Policy

    Cancellation of your workshop reservation must be made in writing to Matt Brandon. On cancellations more than 120 days prior to departure, all monies are refunded less a $275 administrative fee.

    • Less than 120 but at least 90 days prior, total deposit amount ($1,000) is forfeited.
    • Less than 90 but at least 75 days prior, 50% of trip price is forfeited.
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    Additionally, we will pay no refunds if the client leaves the tour once it has commenced. No refunds will be made for accommodation, transport or other services not utilized. We reserve the right to cancel all or a portion of the workshop on account of terrorism, natural disasters, political instability, or any other circumstances beyond our control. In the event of such a cancellation, full or partial refunds will be given at our sole discretion.

    Should the workshop be cancelled for any reason, we are not responsible for your incidental expenses including vaccinations, non-refundable flight tickets or other transport, passport, visa applications, gear purchases, etc.

    Itinerary changes

    Although we do our best to maintain the itinerary as published, it is sometimes necessary to be flexible and to change the workshop itinerary, when circumstances are beyond our control. We will inform you with as much notice as possible and make our best endeavors to replace any cancelled activity with a similar, substitute activity. The client acknowledges and accepts that changes to the published itinerary may be necessary and that no refunds will be made for any unused facilities or services resulting from changes made to the tour itinerary.

    Passports and Visas

    The client should ensure that they have a passport valid for at least 6 months beyond the published conclusion date of the photo workshop. You will be asked to provide a copy of your valid passport when making your deposit payment. It is the client’s responsibility to ensure that they have a valid visa for the country or countries being visited. Please be aware that visas often commence from the date of issue, so plan accordingly. You will be asked to provide a copy of a valid visa or visas prior to the tour start date, unless you are obtaining a visa on arrival. Please check the visa conditions for the country/countries to be visited well in advance.

    Travel Insurance

    To allow for any unexpected contingencies, all participants are strongly urged to purchase trip cancellation and interruption insurance.

    Travel insurance is highly encouraged for all participants. Your travel insurance should provide cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. We also recommend that it cover protection against personal accident, medical expenses, emergency repatriation, and personal liability.

    We recommend that you take out travel insurance soon after reserving your spot on the tour. Matt Brandon, Piet Van den Eynde or staff affiliated with this workshop will not be held responsible for losses you incur due to cancellation, loss of luggage, personal accident, medical expenses, emergency repatriation, and personal liability. It is for this reason we strongly urge you to purchase travel insurance.


    Clients should be in good physical condition. The main physical activities of this tour are walking city streets with a camera in warm/hot weather. Participants need to be fit and active. We recommend a trip to your local travel clinic or doctor to find out about any necessary vaccinations. Please contact us if you have any questions about the physical demands of the workshop or if you would like to discuss your particular health issues in detail. All conversations are held in the strictest confidence. If you have any allergies or health issues that the workshop leaders should be aware of, please make sure that you provide us with full details before the tour start date.


    Due to the nature of the varied locations that we visit on photo workshops, it is not always possible for us to guarantee to meet each client’s specific dietary requirements. We will eat our meals in local food outlets and sample the local cuisine. Please bear this in mind when planning to attend the workshop.

    Cultural Policy

    Photo workshops/tours often take place in locations where it is important to be aware of the prevailing cultural conditions. It is a condition of your participation in the photo workshop that you accept the following policies, designed to ensure that all participants respect and appreciate the culture of the locations we visit.

    • The laws of the country or countries we are visiting will be obeyed at all times.
    • Recreational drug use and excessive alcohol consumption is prohibited.
    • Appropriate clothing will be worn at all times. For example, we may be asked to remove shoes or cover our heads when visiting places of worship.
    • No photographs will be taken at locations where it is expressly forbidden or when the workshop leaders expressly request that you do not photograph.
    • The workshop leaders will determine how we approach the photographing of locations and of individuals at different locations. You agree to respect the prevailing cultural conditions and to abide by any decisions or requests made by the workshop leaders without question or hesitation.

    Our Cultural Policy is designed to ensure that the impact of our trip is kept to a minimum and that visitors who arrive after we have departed are welcomed and treated with the respect and hospitality that we would wish to enjoy.

    We expect all workshop participants to adhere to our general approach, which can be best summarized as
 “Leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but photographs”.


    Completion of an electronic registration form and/or payment of a deposit constitutes full acceptance of these terms and conditions.

Fujifilm’s 90mm Makes a Colorful Splash on the Set of Indian Summers 2


The lush focus drop off of the new Fujifilm XF 90mm f/2.

The lush focus drop off of the new Fujifilm XF 90mm f/2.


 Every image in this article is shot with the FX 90mm f/2 (With the exception of the image of the lens it’s self.). To view the EXIF data for ech image click the image.

Fujifilm has a history of producing amazingly sharp prime lenses in their lens lineup. The latest is the newly announced Fujinon 90mm f/2. Like all of my lens reviews, I will not pretend to know more than I do. No focus charts or color bars. I wouldn’t know what to do with them once I photographed them. Frankly, pixel peeping is all fine and dandy, but the real question is how does the lense perform. But there’s a catch: I was given a “pre-production” lens. To be fair, this limits what I can say. Here is how I am going to address this dilemma. I can comment on the looks, the construction and the focal length and hopefully help you decide if you really need this lens.

f/2, 1/1600 sec, at 90mm, 400 ISO, on a Fujifilm X-T1

Indian Summers 1st Block Director of Photographer (DP) John de Borman gets pushed down a camera track. Tatjana Jakovleva the Assistant Director (AD) watches on.


So to put this lens through its paces I brought it to the set of Indian Summers, season 2, the British (Channel 4) period-drama filmed here in Penang, Malaysia. You may recall I was the Still Photographer for the series last year and I’m back for the first block this year. Sadly, with my return to the USA this summer I’ll miss the final two blocks of shooting.


DP John de Borman, himself a Fuji X-T1 shooter is also the President of the British Society of Cinematographers since 2010.

DP John de Borman, himself a Fuji X-T1 shooter is also the President of the British Society of Cinematographers since 2010.


NEWS FLASH: for all my American readers, Indian Summers, season 1 will be released in the U.S. in Sept’ on PBS. Also, check out the new cast list HERE. I asked Channel 4 if they would let me release a few behind-the-scenes shots and a few cast portraits (all using the new Fujifilm 90mm f/2) and to my delight and amazement they said yes –  as long as they could vet them. We wouldn’t want any spoilers would we? But enough talk, let’s get on with the photos and a look at the 90mm.


Often my shots happen during rehearsal such as this one. Note the car in the background. During a take the traffic will be stopped.

Often my shots happen during rehearsal such as this one. Note the car in the background. During a take the traffic will be stopped.


The official title of this lens is the “Super EBC XF 90mm f/2 R LM WR” with a ∅62. What the heck do all those letters mean? Good question. “Super EBC means Electronic Beam Coating” that eliminates flares and ghosting. I guess this is good, but frankly, I love a good sun starburst at f/16 or f/22. I happen to know, so does the crew shooting Indian Summers. I’ve seen  them set up a shot just to get a nice lens flare. Moving on… “XF” means it’s a lens made for their X series of cameras and generally means they have metal barrels and wider apertures. Read “pro level lenses.” “R” simply means it has an aperture ring. This is one of the main reasons I shoot Fuji X. You may think I am a little nuts, but I like having the aperture ring where it’s suppose to be – on the lens – not buried in a menu somewhere. Now, with that said, this is not a mechanical aperture, it’s an electronic aperture. If you remove the lens and move the ring nothing happens. But this is good, because with an electronic aperture you can use the remote app on your phone or iPad and control the f-stop. If it was mechanical, that might be rather difficult. “LM” means Linear Motor used for lens element movement during autofocus. Interestingly enough this lens is alike the ATV of Fuji lenses as it has a Quad Linear Autofocus Motor. This new quad linear motor is suppose to be fast, quiet and accurate, using four magnets for higher torque (or so Fuji says). Lastly “WR” stands for weather resistant so this lens features a weather-and-dust-resistant structure with seven seals on the lens barrel. It can work in temperatures as low as -10℃.


Fujifilm EBC XF 90mm f/2 R LM WR

Fujifilm EBC XF 90mm f/2 R LM WR


Let’s move on to the lens construction. Remember, this is an XF lens, so we expect the metal barrel and Fuji does not disappoint. This lens, like all of the XF lenses’s made like a tank: solid and well constructed. The aperture ring is tight, but not too tight to move easily with well defined clicks between stops. The lens is said to have 11 elements. I just have to trust that is so. How the heck would I know short of taking it apart? The maximum aperture is f/2 and the minimum is f/16. Speaking of aperture, it has 7 rounded aperture blades so the bokeh should be nice. I can confirm it is pretty stinking nice! Officially it weighs 540g or right at 19 oz. I have quit saying this lens is light or heavy or big or small as it is all subjective and I always get challenged on it. Frankly, I expected a bigger lens over all so when I saw it’s relatively compact size, I was pleased. Below you can see it compared against the 56mm f/1.2, and the 50-140mm f2/8.


Fujifilm XF 50-140mm f/2.8, XF 90mm f/2 and the XF 56mm f/1.2

Fujifilm XF 50-140mm f/2.8, XF 90mm f/2 and the XF 56mm f/1.2


Being a 90mm or in full frame speak a 135mm means you have a very narrow angle of view.  This is a focal length favored by portrait photographers. Why is this important to mention? Because in many way this will define how you will use this lens. The focus fall off on this lens is dramatic and the bokeh is impressive. For portrait photographers who want to isolate their image by cutting out the amount of busy background this lens works hard at that. Its narrow angle keeps little outside of the subject in the frame and what is there drops off into a milky mess, as seen in many of these images.


This beautiful young lady is on of the "Indian" extras on the set. She is a local here living in Penang. The color is from the day we shot a holi celebration.

This beautiful young lady is on of the “Indian” extras on the set. She is a local here living in Penang. The color is from the day we shot a holi celebration.


However, with that in mind, this lens is not a versatile lens. It is a prime (aka a fixed focal length). There is no zooming except with your feet. For the style of photography I do, it was very limiting. Using a 90mm on the set the day we shot indoors at the “Viceregal Lodge” was almost impossible. To get the shots I wanted I needed to be 10 to 15 ft away from my subject and there just wasn’t enough room with the crew running around doing their job. However, once we shooting moved outdoors, things changed. I now had the space to move around and move forward and backward to get the frame I wanted and in this situation, the lens came into it’s own. Thus has less to do with the lens specifically, it must be noted, and  and more to do with  the focal length of it.


f/2, 1/210 sec, at 90mm, 400 ISO, on a Fujifilm X-T1

Actor Nikesh Patel on the set of Indian Summers 2 between takes. Check out the fall off of focus on the 90mm at f/2.


I never owned a 135mm when I shot my Canon 5D or 1Ds so I can’t comment or compare how this lens stacks up. I will say, I am impressed with the short focus distance I can achieve with the 90mm. I am finding I can get around 2ft (ish) from a subject before it can’t focus. This lens is not a macro lens, but it can get very close. I shot this image of my lunch and the drop off was amazing. I think this lens would work very well for food photographers – using a tripod. The one thing that surprised me was the lack of OIS (image stabilization). f/2 isn’t exactly slow, but it isn’t exactly fast either. One of my frustrations with this lens was shooting in low light. Even shooting wide open at f/2 I still needed to crank up the ISO up to 1000 to get a shutter speed that would keep things sharp. When I shot at 400 or 800 ISO I was getting shutter speeds of 1/40th and 1/60th of a sec. It will be next to impossible to keep a 90mm lens sharp at any of these shutter speeds.


f/2, 1/110 sec, at 90mm, 800 ISO, on a Fujifilm X-T1

I think the Fujifilm XF 90mm will be a great lens for food photographers.


The XF 90mm f/2 could find it's way onto the camera of food photographers.

The XF 90mm f/2 could find it’s way onto the camera of food photographers.


To remind you, this was a pre-production model so I’m not going to comment on the sharpness of this lens. Other photographers I know swear this lens is among the best of the best in Fuji lenses for sharpness. One issue I did have was focusing in lower light but again, the lens I used was a pre-production sample.


Actor Blake Ritson new to the cast this season.

Actor Blake Ritson new to the cast this season.


Actor Henry Lloyd - Hughes plays the lead character, Ralph.

Actor Henry Lloyd – Hughes plays the lead character, Ralph.


Actor Art Malik plays the Maharajah this season.

Actor Art Malik plays the Maharajah this season.


Who would use this lens? It is always the case of “the right tool for the right job”  As I said earlier, this focal length has been favored by portrait photographers for years. A photographer using this focal length needs to be able to place his subject at a distance and be able to move forward and back without running into walls or other people. I can see it being used in a large studio for portrait work. I think it is perfect for portrait/fashion photographers. By portrait photographers I am not talking about the street photographer who shoots in tight places or does environmental portraits. This focal length would not work would well for these types of images. The angle of view is so narrow that to get any environment into the frame you would have to be standing in the next county to achieve this. However, it would work very well for food photographers. Most food photographers want to isolate the dish they are shooting and drop off the background to a milky pleasant blur. This lens will do that perfectly.


f/2, 1/320 sec, at 90mm, 1000 ISO, on a Fujifilm X-T1

The 90mm’s weather resistance comes in handy.


I am certain, even though I only have the pre-production version, Fujifilm has another winner on their hands. If paired with the right subject and location this lens will be a killer option.


Alan Finlay a local "British" extra.

Alan Finlay a local “British” extra.


Indian Summers season 2 Director for block 1 John Alexander. He's got great taste in hats. ;-)

Indian Summers season 2 Director for block 1 John Alexander. He’s got great taste in hats. ;-)

Director John Alexander and Producer Dan Winch discuss the day's shoot.

Director John Alexander and Producer Dan Winch discuss the day’s shoot.


Focus Puller Justin Brokensha shoots his personal photos on the set with his Fujifilm X-T1.

Focus Puller Justin Brokensha shoots his personal photos on the set with his Fujifilm X-T1.


Young Syed Jasim Reza Ali plays a short but significant role early in season 2.

Young Syed Jasim Reza Ali plays a short but significant role early in season 2.


"Boy 2" Mohammad Faiq

“Boy 2” Mohammad Faiq


Syed Jasim Reza Ali, Mohammad Faiq and Padmessh Kalyan Kumar run through the bazaar.

Syed Jasim Reza Ali, Mohammad Faiq and Padmessh Kalyan Kumar run through the bazaar.


Another local Indian extra.

Another local Indian extra.


Sudarshan Chandra Kumar aka Sergeant Singh

Sudarshan Chandra Kumar aka Sergeant Singh

The On Field Media Project, Teaching NGOs to Tell Their Own Stories

Digital Storytelling.001

“Photographs are the portal to one’s first impression of a non-profit’s mission via their website. Having amateurs do that work is always a serious compromise. The staff might know the stories but that doesn’t mean they can translate them into effective visual narrative. Just my opinion.” This was a recent comment addressed to me on Facebook after I posted about our recent On Field Media Project training in Africa. I left this persons name off the quote because they deleted the comment, I am not sure why. Maybe they had a change of heart. But I know there are other photographers who feel this same way. To me, this is old, classic, and somewhat colonial thinking. It’s a antiquated mindset that has to be challenged.

To the professional photographers who may be threatened by an organization hoping to empower other organizations to tell their own story through photos, let me make a few things clear.

I know a lot of professional photographers and a hand full of those call themselves, “humanitarian” photographers. By that I mean, only a handful of them try to make an earning by photographing non-profits exclusively. Having traveled down that career path myself I can speak with a certain amount of authority – most humanitarian photographer struggle to find work because most of their potential clients have little, if any, budget to hire them. Within my world, I know of only two humanitarian photographers living off their work as humanitarian photographers: Esther Havens and Gary Chapman. I am sure there are a few more that I don’t know about. Other photographers like myself, supplement their income from humanitarian work through other work such as photo workshops, ebooks, video tutorials, wedding photography etc. I also know of a few photographers doing their humanitarian work pro-bono. Trust me when I say nobody is in danger of losing work by teaching a non-profit to take their own photos.

Even if an NGO wanted your services and could pay you your rate, there are still thousands, maybe millions of NGOs left over that can’t pay. Let’s look at just one country, India. India alone has over 3.3 million non-profits.1 That’s more than the number of primary schools and public health centers in India combined. This is an old study done in 2008, so think about how many more non-profits there are in India in 2015! I don’t believe there are enough photographers out there that are willing to do this much pro-bono work. As such, we have a huge amount of non-profits that are not be serviced with fresh images.


bresson quote

Let’s address the concern that, just because “the staff might know the stories … doesn’t mean they can translate them into effective visual narrative.”? I think this is a bit of an elitist attitude. So is the author saying that, just because someone isn’t trained as a photographer, they can’t learn the art of photography? That doesn’t even make sense. Photography is taught everywhere: On the internet, in classrooms, in photo workshops, in mentorship programs, everywhere! Henri Cartier-Bresson, the father of modern day photojournalism2 once said, “In photography, visual organization can stem only from a developed instinct.” How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice. You can learn composition, you can be taught visual weight, you can be guided by the rule of thirds. I teach the geek this stuff at every photo workshop. It goes the other way as well. You can teach f-stops, shutter speeds, IOS, exposure compensation and more. The West, the affluent, and the privileged do not hold the corner of knowledge, art, and skills.

Maybe this person thinks we are just passing them a camera and saying “Take images as good as Matt Brandon’s or Esther Havens”. They can’t do that right away. In fact many may never be able to take photos on par with Gary Chapman or David DuChemin. But they don’t have to. It’s less about a fine art image and more about capturing a moment. In fact, these NGO workers are uniquely suited for finding great stories and being their when it unfolds.

In a recent study commissioned by the NPPA on what make a photograph worth publishing3 Sara Quinn, the researcher, tested 52 people with 200 images and in her summary of what she found she states, “Quality matters, [the 52 people tested] said . And quality in photojournalism is all about strength of story, a genuine moment, rare access, and a perspective on what’s happening in the world.” Let me repeat that, “strength of story, a genuine moment, rare access and a perspective on what’s happening in the world”. That is a beautiful description of non-profit field worker.

The non-profit field worker experiences strong stories daily. On this past trip to Kenya to train The Kilgoris Project‘s senior staff how to identify, tell, and photograph a good story, their staff caught on quickly. I was in a Land Cruiser with Collins, a staff member with TKP, as we passed some donkeys carrying charcoal and he casually said, “You know, that would be a good story”. “Ok”, I said, “tell me.” He went on to tell me an amazing story about how these ladies walk 30 kilometers over the course of three days to collect the charcoal and, on this trek,  they suffer many hardships, such as severe weather and sleeping outside among wild animals, like hennas and leopards. Then, right as their trip concludes, it is not uncommon for corrupt officials to snatch their charcoal without payment and for their own personal use. Throughout the week we kept hearing story after story just as strong as this.

Because field staff like the TKP’s are locals, they have an intimate and rare access to life that outsiders like me will never see. A local NGO staff is made up of the majority of what is known in sociology as cultural “insiders”. According to a paper by Ghassan Hage, “Insiders and Outsiders in Beilharz and Hogan”4 an insider is defined as, “… someone who perceives that this collective order of things is their own. Thus, they feel that their ‘I’ can legitimately speak the ‘we’ of the collective identification with the law. He or she can say ‘this is our law’ or ‘this is our way of doing things’. ” In other words, a unique  “perspective on what’s happening in the world” and because they are insiders they are allowed into moments in which someone like me could only hope to experience someday. I lived in India for 13 years and, at the end, people would still point to me as I entered a restaurant and say rather loudly, Aṅgrēza! or Englishman! In India, even though I speak Hindustani, even though I wear local traditional clothing, no matter how much I contextualized, I remained an outsider. But the TKP staff like all local field staff will never have this boundary. They are insiders that can identify a story, get rare access to that story, be there when that genuine moment happens, and then photograph it with a unique perspective on what’s happening in their world.

So really all that’s left is to teach them is the mechanics of a camera and help them, as Bresson says, to develop visual organization, or the eye. By the way, the genuine moments in photography always trump technical perfection and even composition. Go back and look at some of the great images in photojournalism and you will see. You can start with this old post of mine HERE.

All that being said, these local field staff can be taught to use a camera and how to see and photograph a quality image. Here are some examples from OFMP’s last training In Kilgoris, Kenya. I want you to understand this was their first assignment. Not their fifth or sixth. Frankly, this is on par with some of my Western workshop participant’s work. That is not to take away from my Western workshop participants, it is to say that most of my workshop participants have really nice cameras and years of practice. For Willy, David, Collins, and Juma this was their first time photographing a story like this. In fact for a few of them, this was the first photo lesson they had every had.


"How a Cell Tower Change Kilgoris" Photographed by Collins Odhiambo

“How a Cell Tower Change Kilgoris” Photographed by Collins Odhiambo


 "The Brick Maker" Photographed by Wilfred Lemiso

“The Brick Maker” Photographed by Wilfred Lemiso


The Day in the life of a 'jiko' Maker" Photographed by Sa'Konzoni Z Juma

The Day in the life of a ‘jiko’ Maker” Photographed by Sa’Konzoni Z Juma


"The Gardener" Photographed by David Lemiso

“The Gardener” Photographed by David Lemiso


So what does that lion at the top of the post have to do with this article? For centuries, the West has told the story of the people of Africa, India, and many other less-developed countries. It’s time they started telling their own story. OFMP wants to empower them to do just that. We want to give the lion back his voice.


  1. GuideStar India, 2009
  3. “Eyetracking Photojournalism: New research explores what makes a photograph memorable, shareable, and worth publishing”, by By Sara Quinn,
  4. “Insiders and Outsiders in Beilharz and Hogan” by Ghassan Hage,