Hanoi Street Photography 1

Hanoi Street Photography

Hanoi Street Photography

Ive recently returned from the street photographers paradise that is Hanoi with five students who came on my course covering street Photography in Hanoi.

We stayed at the ideally situated Tu Linh Legend Hotel located in the Hoan Kiem District of Hanoi which is ideal for walking to all the best locations for great street photography.

Flying into Hanoi airport you can get virtually all your essentials sorted out as you walk through customs such as your local currency, mobile phone card and book a local taxi to take you your hotel.

Some of the Best Locations for Hanoi Street Photography

Id recommend the following locations all within walking distance of the Tu Linh Hotel

  • Hoan Kiem Lake
  • Hanoi Street Train
  • Quan Thanh Temple
  • Yen Phu market
  • Lenin Park
  • Quoc Tu Giam Park
  • Long Bien market
  • Vietnam Military Museum
  • The Old Quater
  • Hang Bac
  • Temple of Literature
  • Dong Xuan Market
  • Chau Long market
  • Temple of the Jade Mountain
  • Tran Quac Pagoda
  • Ly Thai To Park
  • Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum area
  • Quang Ba Flower Market
  • The French Quarter
  • Ba Da Pagoda

My Personal Favourites to visit for Street photography in Hanoi

Hoan Kiem Lake 

You can pretty much walk around the lake 24 hours a day and you'll always find great activity. The Vietnamese people love to socialise and exercise and you will stumble across these at various times. There is one area early evening around the lake that many people gather to exercise which make great photographs. Try and make some unusual compositions and layered images as they go about their daily routines.

At weekends you will also see many couples having their wedding photographs taken around the lake with the temple of the jade mountain in the background. Ive photographed this many times but always try and make them a little unusual rather than just taking another pic of a stationary bride and groom.

You'll also see people just walking and talking , having their portrait painted, playing games and taking mini exercise classes which all make for great photographs taken from varying different angles.

As dusk arrives the bridge across the river is lit in a traditional bright red.

Ba Da Pagoda

Tran Quac Pagoda

Its a little walk from the Lake but well worth it as Ive always seemed to strike lucky here but its a waiting game. A beautiful temple that you must take of your shoes to enter with amazing light streaming in , its a regular place formany both locals and visitors to go to and say their prayers. Put the camera on silent with a wide angle lens and wait for those perfect moments to open up in front of you.

Chang Long market

A great favourite, arrive mid morning to find all the market traders setting up, the small shops opening and people sitting around eating on mini seat. Just wander around with your 35mm lens and be ready to take pictures in all directions. I personally like to find little areas where there is a pool of people and then wait around until I see formations occuring that are pleasing to the eye. Quite often Ill find a street coffe shop nad buy a coffe and just sit and observe and thus becoming a part of the scene I want to photograph.

The Old Quarter

Another favourite is the Old Quarter with small old traditional shops with great characters going about their daily business, its a dream for street photographers .Just wander around and see hwere it takes you as every street and every corner there is something there to be photographed

Quac Tu Giam Park

In Quac Tu Giam Park you'll find people just sitting on benches playing draughts, chess and othe local games. Ive found the best way to photograph these people is to smile say hello and then just watch for a while whilst they become comfortable with you before you start taking photographs. Ive found if you go straight in you will be hit with please go away and no photographs please as they gamble on the throw of the dice. So be friendly and wait and you will be rewarded.

Just a short walk from the park is the Vietnam Military Museum thats well worth wandering around .



A few great places to eat in Hanoi

Cai Mam Restaurant .. Traditional Vietnamese Food

Highway 4 Restaurant 

Luc Thuy Restaurant

Grandmas Restaurant ( a real favourite )

Beer Corner is well worth a visit in the evening, It gets real busy and is a hub of beer stations and small restaurants. It can also be a great place for some twighlight photography.


Vietnamese Coffee

Vietnamese coffee is strong and powerful . French colonists introduced coffee to Vietnam, and nowthe morning cup of ca phe has become a local habit. With many variations Vietnamese coffee has developed a style of its own. Some of the local favoutrites are Egg coffee, Yoghurt coffee and Coffee smoothie, Try as much as you can on your trip to Hanoi

A few Great Coffee Shops

  • The Coffee House   Ha Ba Trung
  • Cong Caphe  ( Go upstairs on the terrace )
  • Giang Cafe
  • T-Coffee
  • Hanoi terrace cafe
  • I'mpresso coffe  ( owned by a local street Photographer ! )


What Photographers say after being on a Hanoi Street Photography course

Having visited Kolkata with Mark on a previous course I wanted my photography to go a stage further and get more confidence with ny street photography. The course delivered on all aspects and I honestly cant think of any way Mark can make this course any better. I can highly recommend attending one of Marks courses abroad.   Jim Morgan

Iwas interested in visiting Hanoi with a professional photographer to try and take my photography to another level. Mark always gave great encouragement, support and has an excellent local knowledge of the best locations and when to go to them. Mark has really helped me embrace street photography setting me challenges and giving great instruction. I honestly dont think I could have produced so many images that Im proud of without Mark.. He certainly made the difference !  Rik Grant


If you would like more information on courses I run both in Hanoi and the rest of the world please get in touch

I look forward to hearing from you



Further pics on Hanoi   http://www.vietnam-guide.com/hanoi/hoan-kiem-lake.htm


Easter photography workshop Trapani 2

Easter photography workshop Trapani

Easter photography workshop Trapani, 2018

There are many Easter celebrations that capture the imagination of photographers around the world, and none more so for me than the Misteri di Trapani which is where I take a group of photographers on my Easter photography workshop Trapani.

Trapani, Sicily:

Trapani is the capital of the Province of Trapani on the west coast of Sicily. Travel takes about twenty minutes from the local airport Trapani, reached via a short flight from Milan Linate, or about an hour drive from the Palermo airport which can be reached directly from most UK airports. With warm sunshine the pastel hues of the baroque buildings look beautiful and there are many interesting sights locally such as the famous Marsala region. Reaching out into the Mediterranean Sea, walk along the coastline and visit the busy port. Look out for the local coral jewellery and pottery shops and of course enjoy the amazing local wine and seafood in the many cafes and restaurants. It’s worth taking a cable car ride up Mount Erice on one day. The old train station, early morning fish market and the salt pans and windmills are also of interest to the travel photographer.


We stayed in the modern Hotel Vittoria, within a fifteen-minute walk of the old town and the heart of the procession. As a group I always ensure we have dinner one night at one of the most famous pizzeria restaurants in Sicily, Calvino, established in 1946, proper stone baked base, oozing with Gorgonzola and spicy salami perfect with an Italian beer.

Trapani Easter Festival:

The Processione dei Misteri di Trapani, dates back to the sixteenth century and is the culmination of Holy Week, retelling the passions and death of Christ. Twenty elaborately carved wooden floats are carried through the streets of Trapani before returning to the church the following morning. Each float is the responsibility of one of the Guilds of Trapani including; fishermen, bakers, carpenters, and pasta makers. Each float is incredibly heavy and takes twenty men to carry and is accompanied by a band. The effort of the procession is to reflect the suffering endured by Christ.



The procession lasts around twenty-four hours, and this photography workshop Trapani, is a full-on experience over three days, so bring your camera, walking boots, and stamina!

The photography workshop Trapani starts on Holy Thursday at the hotel and we talk about how best to document the procession to capture the story of the event. We photograph the Guild’s and their families as they prepare the floats in the church, Chiesa del Purgatorio, adorning the carved figures with candles, flowers and silver. In the church we met with photographer Ernesto Bazan with his workshop group. Thursday is also an opportunity to walk some of the streets so that everyone can familiarise themselves with the route.


The many churches in Trapani hold services that start with the traditional washing of the feet. It is worth visiting the Cattedrale San Lorenzo, with many historic paintings including its own Caravaggio on the wall.


Thanks to a local photographer and a friend in the Carabinieri, we are very honoured to have fotografo and stampa passes which allow us in the church on Good Friday and allow us to walk alongside the floats as the process through the streets. This means we can really get up close to the action for our photography workshop Trapani.

We return to the church at about 11 am on Good Friday and it is even busier with the floats receiving their final touches and those who would be carrying and escorting the floats in the church. The crowds take to line the streets and the doors to the church are closed during the last hour of preparations.


The procession begins at two o'clock outside with prayers before the church door is hit with the palm of the hand three times. Inside, two men are lifted up to unlock and open the door to cheers, and the loud clapping sound of the wooden clackers. As the doors open the first band is in position playing, the attendants walk out then the first float.


The bands play a solemn piece that creates a wall of sound in the narrow streets. The musicians and those walking ahead of each float repeat a rocking step which has a hypnotic rhythm and keeps the procession slowly walking through the streets as each band and float join in turn.


We remain within the church for the first few floats then make out way outside to photograph the floats as they make their way through the door and turn to take their place in the procession. We continue to photograph along the route before taking a well-earned break for dinner and rest.


The crowds are waiting for the float of the Madonna and by the time we re-join the procession, it is dark. The Madonna is positioned to look into either side of the street as they make their way slowly along the route, the priests praying and rose petals are cascaded from the balconies overhead.


In the narrow streets, the floats take on an atmospheric quality with the candle lights and shadows being cast upwards on the buildings.


The procession continues through the night, although the bands stop playing at midnight. We return to the hotel to sleep before going out early on Saturday morning to document the floats as they make their way back to the church.


The atmosphere is emotionally intense, there were smiles and hugs as people greet each other, but for many, the overwhelming responsibility of the procession brings moments of quiet reflection and tears. It is really important to steal your own emotions from the situation and record what you see, but it is not easy.


The photography workshop Trapani, is not just about being out on the streets photographing the procession, in the afternoon is spent editing our images; I took around 3000 over the three days; top tip 1 when you are going out to photograph an event like this you must take extra charged batteries and spare memory cards with you. The aim is to get 10-20 images that tell the story of Misteri di Trapani.


For me I edit my Trapani images in black and white as I feel is reflects the solemnity and emotions of the procession.  I recommend photo mechanic for quick importing and identifying your best photographs, and then photoshop and silver efex for processing your images into high contrasting black and white images. Ultimately the images can then be put into a slideshow presentation accompanied by some of the procession music; top tip 2 taking all your photographs landscape will create a more professional looking slideshow.


After dinner, we have an open critique of the photographer's work and complete this on the Sunday morning after breakfast. The critique is a very important part of the photography workshop Trapani, as everyone has the chance to share their images and learn from each other.


What do you need to get great documentary photography?

All the photographs I shot during the workshop were taken using the phenomenal Zeiss lenses 35mm F28, 18mm and 25mm Batis lens

For more information about the individual lenses visit the Zeiss website here


Workshops around the world;

Have you been inspired to join me on a photography workshop? We have many courses booking to develop your documentary photography through experiencing the real life of a county and it's people, and of course, you can book for Easter 2019.

Here's a taster of one of our  photography workshops  in Jodhpur, India.


Myanmar Photography Workshop 2018

Myanmar Photography Workshop 2018

Myanmar Photography Workshop 

This February I took a group of photographers on a Myanmar photography workshop, with Nikon School UK. The group included professional working photographers and keen amateurs, but everyone had a passion for photography and was ready for an adventure.

We all flew into Yangon (Rangoon), with an opportunity to photograph the street life of the capital city, before taking an internal flight on an old prop-plane down to Myeik in southern Myanmar and spending the next 14 days working our way back photographing the villages and local life of Dawei, Ye and Mawlamyine, before returning to Yangon and then home.

Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, has only become open to Western tourists in the last few years, so it is still pretty unexplored and a great source for observational documentary street and travel photography.

My workshops are a total immersion experience, we stay, travel and eat alongside the locals, and spend every day exploring the streets, markets and temples, photographing, with the evenings reviewing and editing our images and talking all things photography.

Highlights of Myanmar

Some of the highlights of Myanmar photography workshop,  include the fishing harbours, where you will photograph the workers shifting huge blocks of ice to be chipped for storing the fish as it’s transported around Myanmar, and the abundance of fresh fruit, vegetables and meat being sold in the marketplaces. Myanmar has been in the news recently regarding the religious conflicts, the country remains predominantly Buddhist, and there are many monasteries and temples to visit.

In Yangon, we took a water taxi across the river to photograph at sunset, and spent a night in 19th Street in China Town. In Myeik we took a boat across to the island to photograph the famous reclining Buddha and local monastery. Travelling by minibus to Dawei we photographed basic roads being constructed by human labour, a hot and arduous occupation by both women and men. We also go to take a little time out to enjoy some time at the unspoiled beach of Dawei.  We took traditional boats along the River Ye to a rural village, and we even waded out into the water to photograph the local fishermen up close. In Mawlamyine, we took some interesting photographs of the traditional pancake/wraps being made on a blazing hot plate by hand.

The people are incredibly welcoming and you will find yourself being invited into temples, shops, and homes to photograph everyday life. One thing you will notice is the makeup/sunscreen that the women and children apply to their faces in broad stripes, thanakha, made from ground bark and water.

Documentary photography in Myanmar

Myanmar photography workshop enables me to develop some of the key documentary techniques with the photographers on the course; environmental portraiture, making the most of natural light to add dimension and texture, as well as lighting the focal point/subject, composition including photographing landscape and using thirds, separation and heads in spaces, layering, consistency, and the most important skill for getting great documentary photography on the streets, staying with the moment. By the end of the workshop, everyone was able to reflect on their individual experience of Myanmar through their images, making connections with the people and daily lives in contrast to their own.

Want to join us?

If you are interested in joining me on a photographic workshop adventure there are lots of courses available to book on the Nikon School UK website and contact me directly for more information. In 2018 we are travelling to Sicily, India: Pushkar, Varanasi, Mumbai, Jodhpur, Kolkata, Sonepur, and Vietnam's capital Hanoi.

Read about Jodhpur photography workshop 2017 https://www.shootthestreet.co.uk/documentary-photography/photography-workshop-training-jodhpur/

find out and book on a street photography course with Nikon School UK https://nikonschool.co.uk/courses/street-photography

Myanmar photography workshop


TESTIMONIALS from the Trip

Mark Ashworth

I had an amazing experience in Myanmar 2018 with Mark Seymour on the street photography workshop.  I have been a professional photographer for over 20 years mainly in social photography which a bias towards studio work.  I wanted to challenge myself and take images for personal development.  Mark’s enthusiasm, energy and attitude helped me to understand that the barriers photographers have which this genre are often only in themselves.  If you approach things with the right mindset and put your fears to one side, you can and do achieve amazing results.  Its fairly easy knowing how to take great images, but if you put yourself where others wouldn’t your images will be even better.  I have learnt so much from this course, and much of it being about taking a new approach, having the right attitude and staying with scenes long enough to develop into stunning street images.

David Huggett

I first saw this course advertised online and was really tempted to sign up.  However, I do have a few reasonably significant disabilities which restrict my levels of physical activity and the last thing I wanted to be was in the way or a burden on the group.  To this end, I rang Mark and discussed things with him.  He put all my fears to rest, discussing the itinerary, its flexibility and what was required from participants.  After putting the phone down I booked my place.
On arriving in Myanmar I found myself in a group of amazing people, whose ability covered a whole spectrum of photographic levels.  The atmosphere was excellent and I did not hear one negative word the entire trip.  We kept alternating the smaller groups we worked in, and everyone was happy working with and helping everyone else.
The list of what I learned is long.  Very long.  It encompasses the technical use of camera systems, photographic composition, interacting with and directing subjects, finding the moment and seeing the light. I also learned significantly more about myself and my enjoyment of different types of photography.
It was a privilege to attend Mark’s course and to meet the other people on it, the group of us now being good friends with a collective experience that will stay with us for life.
I fully intend do attend more of Mark’s courses.  I highly recommend them and look forward to meeting new friends there in the future.
Keith Owen
What a fantastic opportunity to visit a fascinating country, and learn from street photographer Mark Seymour, one of the best in the business! Mark had scouted many locations beforehand, so we were able to get a flying start, immersed in the rich and vibrant sights of Myanmar from dawn until dusk. With a small group of just 7 (including Mark), the workshop provided excellent group and 1-on-1 tuition time, as well as enjoyable discussions and reviews over dinner in the evenings. Thoroughly recommended if you want to improve your street photography skills!
Andy Mac

"Having been on a number of Mark Seymour's photography workshops abroad I am always so brilliantly surprised by how much more there is to learn, how much more fun we seem to have on each adventure and how much better my photography becomes as well as the level of confidence in photographic travel that I seem to build.

The photography course in Myanmar was an adventure through a country where quite often, I felt like the first Western-looking person that many locals may have seen with their own eyes.  The hustle and bustle of the markets, the smiles and kindness of local people, a truly different way of life that is rarely documented in the West, really makes for a life-long memory with an abundance of great pictures to hang on my wall.

More than this, however, is the great company that Mark provides - the course is made special by his personality, his humour, his down-to-earth approach, his friendly humility and the teachings of all things photography when out shooting in the day as well as back in the hotel in the evening - going through images and critiquing how we could each improve the next day.

Highly highly recommended"


Want to find out about more of my courses.... just fill in the contact form and you'll be amongst the first to know https://www.shootthestreet.co.uk/contact or visit https://www.shootthestreet.co.uk/street-photography/street-photography-in-myanmar/ 


Photography Workshop Training Jodhpur 3

Photography Workshop Training Jodhpur

Photography Workshop Training Jodhpur, India - The Blue City of India's Rajasthan

Jodhpur, the famous blue walled city of Rajhastan, captures the romantic traditional vision of India with its intense colour and scents and is an incredible source for dramatic and dynamic photography for my Indian photography workshop.

Based at The Kings Retreat, at the base of the Mehrangarh Fort, we explore the old city and the wider villages of the Thar Desert and Rajhasthan, with a mixture of documentary street photography and travel photography.

The Clock Tower, Ghanta Ghar, is the central point for our street photography of the Sardar market and bustling narrow lanes of the surrounding bizarre. Also home to the famous Shahi Samosa and the Makhaniya lassi, favourites for our lunch whilst photographing! The busy markets are a great source of inspiration for storytelling images; it’s really important to look for heads in spaces to compose the best image possible. Developing your photographer’s eye is key here, and look for the unusual in the usual.

The Blue City was made famous by Steve McCurry, and we spend time capturing environmental portraits of the Babas with the background of the narrow blue streets, stepwells and temples of Mandore Gardens. Working with the Baba’s we focus on developing posing in portraiture skills and the importance of communication with your subject.

We spend a day visiting the Bishnoi tribes in their homes and get to take part with a Ramu holding a traditional Kal ceremony. We visit the famous clay potters who still use a stone wheel and make the spherical water pots which naturally filter the water and keep it cool, and a weavers homestay, that continues the tradition on making hand-woven durry carpets. A local family make us a traditional Rajasthani lunch based on millet. This trip is about experiencing India as well as providing a range of different photographic opportunities.

We take a drive out for an overnight stay at The Country Retreat Farmstay, which feels likes a tranquil oasis of rural India compared to the busy tuk tuk filled roads left behind in Jodhpur, with an incredible meal prepared on the rooftop and a night sleeping under the stars.

This is where we explore some travel photography, capturing the dramatic red of the Reika tribemans’ turbans against the dusk sky. We visit the Reika tribes in their homes the next day and a settled Yogi, nomadic gypsy, village for real-life portraiture. The focus of these portraits is to capture the story of these individuals, their life, what is important to them, where they live and work.

Next year we are planning to extend our stay at the farm so that we can spend time walking with the Reika herdsmen and following their daily lives in their homes.

We visit a Government village school who I have developed a relationship with to support with equipment and resources – the wonderful thing is they know that I visit every year and the teachers report much higher attendance as a result.

You might be aware that the Hindu faith has 33 million Gods, but you may be surprised to know that one of the more recent deities, is the Motorbike God Om Banna, based on the story of a young man that had an accident in his Royal Enfield motorcycle. He site has grown over the last few years of visiting, and now there is a shrine around the bike which visitors come to daily to show their respect, even pouring over bottles of whiskey, stalls and a hotel. It makes the perfect half way stop on our journey.

This year I was in Jodhpur early enough to spend Diwali with our wonderful host and owner of the Kings Retreat, Vishal Bali and his family. He also invited us to a traditional wedding celebration.

As I am always looking for ways to develop my workshops I hired a driver for a couple of days and explored the famous Pushkar, which was every bit the experience I had imagined it would be, so much so that next year’s Jodhpur photography workshop will include an overnight stay in Vishal’s traditional farm and an opportunity to photograph the camel fair.


More Info on Nikon Documentary & Street Photography Workshops

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Photography Training Workshop Kolkata India 4

Photography Training Workshop Kolkata India

Photography Training Workshop in Kolkata, India


Every year I visit India to lead a series of photography training workshops, read this and join me next year!

Kolkata, capital of West Bengal, is the third most populated city in India, with an urban population 14.3 million, and believe me, you absolutely feel it! A city of diverse lifestyles, being the principal commercial city with modern tower-blocks, hotels and businesses, alongside some of the oldest and most extensive areas of homelessness and communities that have built their homes in temporary shacks alongside the city’s canals and railway lines.

Kolkata takes documentary street photography to another level; as a photographer, you can become overwhelmed by the intensity of the daily life that you see as you walk around, so during my photography training workshop I focus on key aspects and choose locations to develop these skills with my photographers.

Markets are the life-centres of Kolkata and we take early morning visits to two of the largest and busiest fish and vegetable markets near the Sealdah Station area of the city. We also visit the local market within walking distance of the hotel at different times of the day, which gives us opportunities to revisit and consider what we are going to focus on photographing. Getting your exposure right is key and using back button focus means you can concentrate on getting great shots of the action, and work the scene moving slightly to micro-compose what you see in the camera frame.

The Malki Ghat, flower market, that runs along the Hooghly River and ends beneath the Howrah Bridge, is the home to some of my favourite Indian portfolio. Not only are there many stalls selling flowers, petal, garlands and arrangements for the hotels, businesses and temples, but you will see the daily life of the locals washing their clothes and cooking implements, bathing and washing their teeth in the river, alongside rituals and ceremonies in the water that is considered holy as the river forms a distributary of The Ganges. There is also a temple with a collection of shrines, and large cauldrons on open fires preparing simple vegetarian food for those who need it. So many people all immersed in their daily lives, you can capture really candid shots un-noticed – just remember to get up close, look for noses and random dogs!

College Street is lined with tiny stalls all specialising in different educational books, from accountancy to chemistry and beyond. With a busy road of tuk tuks, students rushing to lessons, hand-pulled rickshaws and over-laden carts. We go upstairs to the Indian Coffee House, not a high-street brand name, but a traditional place to meet, eat and drink chai, dating back to the eighteen hundreds. I love this location for capturing layered shots, get yourself into the right position and then wait and keep shooting so you don’t miss out on the ‘wow’ moment by checking the back of your camera or walking away.

We spend a day in the pottery quarter, Kumortuli, where the incredible sculptures of straw and clay are created for the various festivals. The craftsmanship is fascinating and great for some close-up images of hands. You will also the last of the traditional chai cups being made, as most of India now use branded paper cups to sell this aromatic sweet tea, and cotton mills with vast spindles of yarn being spun. Walking into the quarter amongst the locals you can capture everyday life, women hanging out their saris to dry, children playing, washing along the river, and squeezed between the homes small stall holders and businesses; paper-makers, laundry, and a dentist that is not exactly your NHS clinic.

With the Hope Foundation, we visit the railway community, daily life literary alongside the tracks with trains passing children playing, women cooking and washing laid out across the tracks held in place with stones. Using a slow shutter speed enables you to capture the action frozen still in the foreground central to the image, whilst showing the blurred trains behind shows the movement in comparison


If you would like to find out more about Mark Seymours Workshops please sign up to my mail list here https://www.shootthestreet.co.uk/contact/

https://nikonschool.co.uk/courses/street-photography Nikon street photography training workshops

https://www.thehopefoundation.org.uk/ Find out more and support the work of The Hope Foundation

Street Photography in Myanmar

Street Photography in Myanmar

A Burmese Adventure........

If you would like to see more of my street photography on a daily basis please follow me on Instagram.

Photographing the world’s street life has really captured my imagination in the last few years. There are so many incredible and diverse people and places to capture, the inspiration is endless. 2016 took me to India; Jodhpur, Silchar and Kolkata, Easter in Sicily and a first time visit to Vietnam’s Hanoi City, ……and 2017 is starting out to be no less an adventure!


‘This is Burma,……it will be quite unlike any land you know about.’ Rudyard Kipling


Myanmar, formerly Burma has opened its doors to visitors from the West, and is a country full of energy and hope for the future whilst still rich in all its Asian culture and history. The local currency is the Kyat, but you need to take American dollars and change your money there. The language is Burmese and the main faith is Buddhism. With a population of over 48 million the average life expectancy is 64 years for men and 68 years for women.

From London Heathrow via Doha on Qatar airlines (great service, leg room, films and amazingly efficient turnaround between connecting flights), I flew into Yangon, formerly Rangoon, the capital and took a cab to the City Star Hotel. The hotels throughout the trip provided a clean, basic place to rest after a long day’s photography. Breakfast was included and there was lots of fresh fruit. For dinner we tended to eat at the local cafes, I mainly ate chicken fried rice as deciphering the menu was tricky as everything is written in Burmese. I would recommend you try the local avocado coffee drink, it was delicious.

We arrived at Chinese New Year and managed to capture some of the celebrations including the dragon dancers along the street and the red lanterns lit against the night sky.

There are lots of different types of street photography in Yangon as a busy capital city including street markets, the train station and then the fishing port and market.


Street photography in Yangon

At the fishing port I took a series of shots focusing on the guys shifting and cutting up the blocks of ice for the fish to be kept in in the market place. No health and safety, the guy wore t-shirts and shorts, flip flops on their feet and used great metal hooks and saws to move the ice and break it down to smaller blocks and ice chips.

Returning to the same situation and photographing at different times of the day means you capture the complete story and can make use of the different times of natural light. I really like the photos I took from dusk into sunset of the boats and fishermen in silhouette.

There are also many street markets; there is a great range of fresh fruit and vegetables, local fish including octopus, and a lot of dried fish. The meat market is an experience – the cheaper cuts and offal being bought by the locals and the better cuts of meat going to the more affluent members of society. I captured a butcher cleaver in hand and cigarette in mouth as he chopped up some meat on the open stall.

Everywhere you look young boys are playing football on the street with compact wicker balls. Also simple wooden hoop and stock are still played along the streets. The local men gather on the floor to play card games, but be mindful here as they do not like being photographed gambling on cards.


Markets and makeup in Meiyek

The Burmese people are incredibly friendly and welcoming, everyone is eager to greet you and let you take their photo. We took an internal flight to Meiyek and the customs guys asked for our passports and used their i-phone to take a photo of them and let us take pictures of them, then they pointed us in the direction of truck outside to collect our suitcases.

Following our one internal flight we spent the rest of the trip travelling between places in a small hired van along very basic and bumpy roads. Women are employed to pick up the gravel and then cast it over the surface of the new roads whilst the men stir tar along the road side.

Posting my images from Myanmar, one of the comments lots of people have made is ‘what’s on the women’s faces?’ The answer; Thanaka, which is a local beauty/skin care product made from cuttings from the Thanaka tree. Its astringent properties cool the skin, act as a spot treatment, as well as being an effective sun block. In addition to their faces, women wear a thick layer on their arms to protect against the tropical sun when working outside. Young girls working in the cities use the same product as a fragrant natural makeup.

One of the main projects I focused on was recording the monks of Myanmar. Many of the monasteries included young boys that had been orphaned as well as young men that had entered the life of the monastery rather than end up in prison. The monks welcomed us in, gave us food and were happy for us to photograph them as they went about their day. The monks wore dark burgundy robes and with their shaven heads against the pale blue walls, created stunning natural situational portraits. I took photographs of the young monks as they went about their prayers and studies, and completing daily chores.

We had a day or rest and relaxation on the beach, gorgeous soft sand and sea water as warm as a bath, really was a little bit of heaven.

Kipling's Mandalay

We stopped at the location that was the inspiration for Kipling’s poem Mandalay, Mawlamyine, and it remains pretty much as it would have been when he was there writing.

We photographed the wonderful Buddhist temples, including the golden pinnacle in Yangon and the famous Giant Reclining Buddha at the Chaukhtatgyi Temple, with its while skin, red lips and golden robes, it is an incredible sight. A second reclining Buddha is currently being constructed. A whole community had grown up around the temple so there are lots of street life photography opportunities here as well as the Buddha and Temple.

Although Buddhism is the main faith, Myanmar is made up of 135 ethnic groups and their different religions and faiths. We photographed the opening of a new Hindu temple, with many people coming to bring offerings and to pray.

This was such an incredible experience, really like no other place I have been lucky enough to visit. Here is a selection of some of my favourite photographs from this trip. I don’t feel I even got a hundredth of what there was to capture and I really can’t wait to go back. So if you fancy joining me in 2018 to explore and photograph this stunning country please sign up for my newsletter and keep following and liking my post of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep updated with training course information and booking details. I hope you’ll join me, I know you will have an amazing experience.



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A Burmese Adventure........ Street Photography in Myanmar


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Chai Tea in Jodhpur

Travel Photography Course India

Travel Photography Course India

With the Travel Photography course India coming to a close it was final chance for an early morning photo walk around the Clock Tower in Jodhpur and the market before breakfast and a morning of editing and discussing portfolios and what makes an award winning competition image.


Chai Tea in Jodhpur

It is really helpful when everyone shares their top images and this enables me to provide a critique and feedback to identify strength in images and how to take them to the next level. Seeing other people’s work inspires you as a photographer and gives you another way of looking how you have captured a character, event or situation.


During this time we work as a group but it also gives me time to work on an individual basis with the photographers.


On the details of the course I ask photographers to bring their camera they are used to working with, lenses, batteries, memory card/s of course, plus their laptop loaded with their preferred photo editing programme. I use Photo Mechanic and Light Room for my editing and work flow.


As with all Nikon courses and my travel photography course India there is an opportunity for the photographers to evaluate and review their experience and alongside that I like to establish a more personal review, so that I can share this directly with you, so if you have been following this blog and thinking that you would like to join me next year in India or on one of my other courses, you can get a real sense of what it is like to have attended the course.


It is at this point that I must that Vishal at the Kings Retreat for being a wonderful host and guide for myself and the photographers on this course. He and his team work really hard to ensure everyone has a memorable time.


If you are travelling to Jodhpur I highly recommend a stay at this traditional Indian hotel in the Old City, and the food in the restaurant on the roof top is delicious! Check out the tandoori paneer and dahl makhani for perfect real Indian cuisine, but also try an ‘Indian pizza’ straight from the wood burning oven, they are completely unique and incredibly good; our favourites were the spicy paneer and garden pizzas! You can also book bicycle tours of the city and Vishal and his team will try their best to ensure you get to experience all the hidden gems of Jodhpur.


Travel Photography Course India

Jodphur child

Johpur town square

Jodhpur Street scene

Early morning friends in Jodhpur

We leave knowing that we will be back to see our friends at the Kings Retreat next year, with a new set of photographers, ready for another wonderful Jodhpur adventure.



Thank you to Vishal and his team at the Kings Retreat, The Farm House Retreat and the many wonderful locals we met and photographed during our stay this year. Namaste!



Nikon UK/Europe  https://www.europe-nikon.com/en_GB/

Manfrotto https://www.manfrotto.co.uk/

Photo mechanic http://www.camerabits.com/

Light room http://www.adobe.com/products/photoshop-lightroom.html

Kings Retreat http://kingsretreatjodhpur.com/

The Country Retreat http://www.thecountryretreat.in/home.aspx

Air India http://www.airindia.com/



Post script – post course


India has its own way of doing things and this trip we had the added bonus on all large currency being taken out of circulation at midnight! Just like that, no warning – this city is now chaos as everyone tries to exchange their money into smaller denominations at the banks and all ATMs are empty, with no shops or services wanting to take 500 and 1000 rupee notes. A little complication, a whole lot of inconvenience, but hey its India, chai, chillum chapatti as the locals say, no point stressing!


A day post course just to relax in the Sun City with a chilled beer before packing and the two flights to Kolkata via Delhi, before picking up course two in Kolkata next week with the Hope Foundation.

Photography workshops in India

Photography workshops in India

Photography workshops in India

An Indian photographic adventure with photography workshops in India by Mark Seymour in association with Nikon UK.

It begins with a journey 31.10.16/01.11.16


As with all good adventures, this starts with a journey; 2 taxis, 2 flights, three airports and an exhausting 24 hours, London Heathrow to Jodhpur.

The journey to begin my photography workshops in India started with a long wait at Mumbai International, a beautiful airport with Indian treasures on display, clean, airy, and worth paying to stay in the travelers lounge to catch a nap on the comfy chairs!

Airport tiredness

Last year I flew into Delhi and wanted the full Indian experience so booked the train to Jodhpur, however this year I decided a flight was definitely a much better option. Jodhpur has a small airport, everything is still done by hand, but with only our flight landing it was actually quite a quick and simple process of picking up luggage and walking straight out the door into the Sun City, and that sudden smack of heat.

Our wonderful host and travel guide Vishal was waiting and it was so good to catch up with him on the journey back to the old city and his hotel the Kings Retreat, tucked away in the twisting alleyways that serve as roads from the Clock Tower up towards the Fort


Shopping trip in Jodhpur




Re-hydrated with water and our first taste of sweet, milky Indian coffee we discussed the finer details of the course, and I have to tell you it’s going to be an amazing trip and course! Dropping our stuff in the room we head into town to pick up some essentials; mobile phone, memory card, and armed with my glasses prescription, I ordered three pairs of glasses and one pair of sunglasses to be made up, costing me less than one pair at home, bargain!


Walking along the main road you quickly get used to the sounds and frenetic nature of the traffic in India, people, cars, tuk tuks, motor bikes, bikes, and cows, competing for their space, creating their own unique music with their constant ‘I’m here’ with their horns.

Time for a cold beer, vegetable curry and tandoori paneer before crashing out!


So, let me introduce Jodhpur

Jodhpur is the second largest city in the Indian state of Rajasthan and at one time the princely state of the same name, the capital of the kingdom known as Marwar. Jodhpur is now popular with travelers and tourists seeking out an authentic Indian experience, with lots to see including the palaces, forts and temples, shopping in the market places and bazaars for spices,bangles, saris and cashmere pashminas, all set in the stark landscape of the Thar Desert.


The city is known as the Sun City for the gorgeous sun-filled days it enjoys all year round. The old city circles the Fort and is bounded by a wall with several gates. Jodhpur has also been made famous as the Blue City of Rajasthan (Jaipur being known as the Pink City) for the indigo paint on the houses in the old city area and has drawn to it many photographer including myself, and Steve McCurry.


As a course leader on several photography workshops in India I like to walk the area myself to get familiar with the routes and identify key features and opportunities so that I can provide those attending the course the best possible photographic experience. This is also the time I get to take photographs as once the course begins my focus is on facilitating everyone else in getting great shots and my photographing becomes secondary.


We walked with one of the guys from the hotel around the old city near the Fort, visiting a couple of the stepwells nearby, the craftsman and artisans near the Clock Tower and down into the market place.

Approaching people on the street

One of the main questions I get asked is how do you go about photographing people on the streets, what do you do if they don’t like it? I acknowledge people, by smiling and saying hello.  Most people are happy to be photographed but if they put their hand up or turn away I will say that’s ok and just move on. I actually do not want to engage with people whilst I am taking their photograph, I want it to be totally natural, a candid portrayal of that person going about their daily life, so after they have acknowledged me I stay for a while and they return to what they were doing and I am able to continue photographing them naturally as they forget I am there. If you start to talk to them, they look at you and stop what they had been doing that was interesting and it becomes a static staged pose. If you are photographing in India a lot of people will try and stop you and get you to take their photo, they have quickly learnt the stop pose and smile for a few rupees. Be warned, if they have inter-mated that they want money before you take the photo you are entering a contract so if you have no intention of paying, (we do not encourage payment), then move on.

Documentary street photography

Documentary street photography is about capturing a moment, an individual in a real life context. This does not mean that they are just random snaps. For me, I am constructing the image in front of my camera, looking for layers, interesting angles, using the environment to create frames, all to create a great storytelling image. Getting yourself into the right position is key and so is waiting. Sometimes you can find everything that will create a wonderful image but then you need to wait for the right combination of people to enter that space, and with the advantage of digital you can keep shooting, it costs nothing.


When I come back to the computer I edit hard, cull my images right down, you would be surprised at how many photographs you get left with – on average 1-3% of the images you have taken. I then begin the work flow process, to enhance the images NOT construct them out of the camera. So I will make a decision about whether the image should be in colour or black and white, then consider cropping, enhancing the colour and light balance to make the image the best possible version without changing the actual content or structure.

If you would like to find out more about my photography workshops in India, Vietnam and Myanmar please get in touch

I look forward to hearing from you