Istanbul Mark Seymour 31 of 32 Istanbul Street Photography

Istanbul Street Photography

Istanbul Street Photography

About Istanbul

Istanbul formally known as Constantinople is one of the greatest cities in the world for Istanbul street photography where you can see both a modern western city combined with traditional eastern culture, It is the only place in the world that straddles the two continents of Europe and Asia. The Grand Bazaar is the largest covered bazaar in the world with over 3000 shops

We made our base just of Istiklal street ,and whilst not the quietest location for access to Taksim square its was unbeatable as we were in the action after just a couple of minutes walk.

Istanbul is one of my favourite street photography locations in the world due to its diverse life , colourful streets and extremely friendly people.

Taksim square and Istaklal street photography are great locations, extrremley busy pretty much 24/7, have said that its quite challenging to get good street photographs unless you select a few great backgrounds and then wait for people to enter that space giving you both a good composition and a great background. I find this to be one of the toughest lessons that its better to choose a great location and wait rather than sometimes keep chasing new locations.  Taksim Square,  is really popularlocation with lots of shops, bars and restaurants.  The main avenue running through it is a pedestrian only avenue called Istikla and it's a great location for Street Photography

Over The Galata bridge  and into Eminou are both great locations for the street photographer with fishermen lined up across the bridge with their rods waiting for bites whilst Eminou a busy place with boats coming and going all dcay and evening and people going about their daily tasks giving ample opportunity for the street photographer.

Moving on to the Spice bazzar and The old bazzar, whilst still great places to capture life they tend to be similar to the Blue mosque I that they are places virtually every tourist visits whilst in Istanbul. I prefer to spend time in Balat and Eyup as they are more of the beaten track and you will see far less tourists in these areas.

Eyup has one of the oldest mosques in Istanbul and here your find life a lot slower with many traditional folk. I can quite easily spend a day here as the movement of people as prayer time approaches swells . Don’t be afraid to venture inside the mosque where although it says no photography people don’t tend to mind as long as you are respectful.

Another favourite area is Balat, totally different from other locations its where traditional meets the young and trendy with countless coffee shops and bars all independently owned and each with their own unique character. Wander the streets going into old coffee shops , people watching and older establishments with local characters playing dominoes and cards.



Please get in touch if youd like to visit and photograph  Istanbul with us with a small number of other photographers

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Varanasi Mark Seymour 0001 Varanasi Street Photography Workshop

Varanasi Street Photography Workshop

Varanasi Street Photography Workshop .... A place like no other 

About Varanasi . One of the seven holy cities in India

Mark Twain famously said “Varanasi is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend, and looks twice as old as all of them put together.”

Varanasi is truly unlike any other place in the world. One of the world’s oldest and holiest cities, you can really feel this in its atmosphere. The holy river, the ghats filled with life, the chaotic spirituality and more make this a city you can’t forget. From early morning to night, Varanasi is one magical place.

As Mark twain said everything here is full of character, feels like its been there forever andis a photographers dream as every corner you turn there are new and great photographic opportunities.

Id recommend staying at a hotel within walking distance of the main ghats so each the atmosphere in the morning can be savoured and at first light you can witness all the characters that are here on a daily basis such as seeing people bathe, street hairdressers, locals wahing laundry and clothes, kids playing with kites and cows walking around aimlessly.

Most people agree  that Varanasi is both magical and mysterious with rituals of life and death taking place in open view, whilst the sights, sounds and smells along the Ghats are something which you’ll never forget

Places we visit on a Varanasi Street Photography Workshop

The first rule of photographing Varanasi on a street photography workshop is get up early and be at your location  before first light . Its a purley magical time of day and even more so in this truly religious and cultural epicentre of India . It really is an exprience you want to live, and document as a street photographer.


Travel to the other side of the river Ganges. Take a boat across the other side, its almost like you are on another place and almost desert like in its apperance. Here you will find religious sadus and other nomads leading the most simple life. Its a must to get there before the sun rises.

Ganga Aarti Evening festival. This takes place every evening on the main Dashashwamedh ghat. According to Hindu mythology, Lord Brahma created this ghat to welcome Lord Shiva.As a photographer id normally visit here two or three times to really document the festival well. You can both hire a boat and witness the ceremony from the river which gives you a great view and then the second evening do this from the banks capturing the key moments as you now have an idea of what is happening.

The Ghats alongside the mother Ganges river. There are over 88 seperate ghats that are mainly used for bathing. The main ceremonial ghat is the Dashashwamedh ghat The main group contains around 25 of them, and it extends from Assi Ghat north to Raj Ghat. The ghats date back to the 14th century but most were rebuilt, along with Varanasi, in the 18th century by Maratha rulers.

Its def worth taking a boat one eveing or a stroll in the day down to the burning Ghat also known as the Manikarnika Ghat where you will see piles of wood for the fires line the Ganges. The fires continuously burn with a constant stream of dead bodies wrapped in cloth and carried through the old market lanes on makeshift wooden stretchers

The Tulsi Ghat is worth a visit again one early morning to witness the Mud wrestlers. The day always starts with a short prayer session at the tiny alter inside the mud ring which are devoted to Lord Rama Many men train here under the tutelage of doyen Siyaramji. You will see them doing many exercises such as pull ups, squats whilst some will swing around a gadha expertly around their heads, lift weights before getting into the ring to wrestle.

The Old markets, that include a small intimate goat traders market in the old muslim dominated area and the vegtable and small chicken markets . This is a great walk for street phortographers starting out at The goat maket and wandering the old ancient streets and ending up at the vegtable market . After the Veg market Id normally take a Tuk Tuk to the main train station looking for the older style trains with the open bar windows with station food sellers offering their wares to passengers. The fish market is just a short walk from the main Dashashwamedh Ghat.

The Old Town Just a short walk from the main Ghats where you will find life around every corner you turn with lots of photographic opportunities from shpos, temples and local characters. Id recommend using a wider lens here as the lanes are so narrow and they are often quite crowded with no sense of order you'll see cows, rickshaws, dogs motorbikes and people all tyring to navigate the tiny streets.
The old Town is also home to several temples including the Kali temple and the Golden temple however both normally have long queue's. A couple of places worth visiting for a pit stop are the Blue lassi Shop and the Dossa Cafe right next to the Vishwanath Gali.

A great Time to Go !  Dev Deepawali

This festival is a major attraction, with the sight of millions of candle lamps lighting both the ghats and river Ganges its a breathtaking sight. Thousands of devotees from the holy city of Varanasi and surrounding villages, gather in the evening on the Dashashwamedh ghat to watch the Ganga Aarti.

The Dev Deepavali (“Festival of Lights of the Gods”) is where Kartik Poornima is celebrated in Varanasi. It always happens on the full moon of November / December fifteen days after Diwali. The steps of all the ghats on the riverfront of the Ganges River are lit with more than a million small earthen lamps and the gods are believed to descend to Earth to bathe in the Ganges on this day. .

During Dev Deepawali, houses are decorated with oil lamps and coloured designs on their front doors. Firecrackers are burnt at night, processions of decorated deities are taken out into the streets of Varanasi, and oil lamps are set afloat on the river.

The main rituals performed by devotees consist of taking a holy bath in the Ganges and offering the oil lighted lamps to mother Ganga in the evening. The Ganga aarti is also performed in the evening.

Over 100,000 pilgrims visit the riverfront to watch the river aglitter with lamps


Sarnarth is well worth a visit as its just 6 miles from Varanasi as It is one the four main holy sites of the Buddha. The other four being where Buddha was born (Lumbini), reached enlightenment (Bodhgaya), gave his first sermon (Sarnarth), and where he passed (Kushinagar). Its well worth 1/2 a day to go and experience and get some great people photographs.

You will see many Buddhists Monks from around the world practicing their various ceremonies on the lawns and around the main temple which is a giant domed shaped brick sculpture called a stupa apparently where Buddha gave his first talk.

Places Ive used

Hotel . The ganges Grand

we also ate here most evenings.. good value food



Holy Chopsticks

Great food but no Alcohol

Barbeque Nation 

Dolphin Restaurant .

Blue Lassi Shop

No website but easy to find in the old town.


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Kolkata . Mark Seymour 0001 Kolkata Street Photography workshop

Kolkata Street Photography workshop

Kolkata...India's cultural heart

Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) is the capital of India's West Bengal state, originally founded as an East India Company trading post, it was India's capital under the British Raj from 1773–1911. Today it’s known for its grand colonial architecture, art galleries and cultural festivals and is regarded as India’s intellectual, artistic and cultural capital.

It is one of India’s largest cities with a population of around 15m and one of India's major ports that is centred on the banks of the river Hooghly.

Kolkata... Street Photography on Steroids !

The Best Locations for a Kolkata Street Photography Workshop


This is a traditional area and one of the most fascinating areas to explore with many potters making sculptures of their god idols along with other figures for the various festivals that take place in Kolkata each year. Its an extremely busy area and worth wandering down the main street and its many ally ways especially as it gets closer to each festival with the biggest being Durga Puja . You can watch and photograph crafsmen build the goddess Kali from a straw frame and then cover them with clay  extracted from the river before ritually immersing them in the river Hooghly during the amzing Durga Puja festival every late September / early October.

College Street Book market.

One of the worlds largest book markets and a paradise for both book lovers and street photographers located in the center of Kolkatas literary crowd is a must visit location for the street photographer with rickshaws, Tuk Tuks and taxis weaving thru the narrow streets ferrying people and delivering books and stationary. You’ll discover hundreds of both old traditional book stalls along with many makeshift stalls made from bamboo and canvas.

Apart from taking some great photographs here Ive also added to my book collection on most visits here with recent purchases of books with Ragu Rai’s work.

College street is definitely the best place for street photographers to practice and hone layering.

Whilst photographing the streets take a break in the world famous Indian coffee house in College Street with its charm from a bygone era filled with college students and literary intellectuals and the odd book buying tourist.

College street doesn’t normally get going till around 11.00 am !

Sudder Street

One of my favourite areas for a Kolkata Street Photography workshop with never a dull moment with Chai tea stalls, the odd cow, countless rickshaws, old yellow ambassador taxi’s and a traditional market selling fresh goat meat, chicken and fish.

If you want a decent break from the street head over to The Elgin Fairlawn Hotel for a cup of tea and cake. It’s a place of peace and tranquillity just a few meters from the street.

Pet Market

Based in Galiff Street the market is a once a week affair every Sunday stating at around 6.00 am when traders set out their stalls . It’s a great location but get their early as by 9.00am its so busy you can hardly move due to the amount of people either coming aout as a family or bartering to buy their favourite pet. Its also worth walking over the bridge where you will see street tatooists inking locals.

Youll see a huge number of pets for sale from puppies, pigeons, parrots, hens and parakeets alongside flowers, pot plants, bird cages and street food.

Mullik Ghat , Mud wrestlers and The Flower Market

I've grouped these three locations as they virtually run into each other. Make your way to the Armenian Ferry crossing and Ghat and from there walk towards the Flower market where you can explore the Ghat and photograph locals as the wash in the river Hooley with the backdrop of the magnificant Howrah Bridge. Explore all the little avenues that run off the flower market where you will find religious temples and Sadu’s.

In the corner of the Ghat you will find mud wrestlers with them practicing twice a day but be prepared they always ask for a donation if you would like to photograph them in action.

Walking on you can explore under the road bridge where you will find more flower sellers , street barbers and fruit traders.. This is definitely a must visit.

Koley market…. Vegtable Market

Koley Market is located very near Seldah train station and is predominately a wholesale market which you must to get to by first light as by midday it’s a lot quieter . Its quite a tough place to photograph but the rewards for the patcient are worth it. The main market hall is a little on the dark side but great photographs can be had on the outer walls that are both gritty and colurful. Also take time to explore the surrounding lanes that are a little less busy and take time out for a great cup of chai tea and biscuit from one of the many local vendors as you watch and photograph the may lorries unloading their goods and being carried to market on the heads of local workers. Another one of my favourite locations but the trick here is to select your location, blend in and wait for the reactions to happen.

Dalhousie Square

Dalhousie square is one of the business areas of Kolkata and also a place for great street food. Don’t turn up till at least 12.30 am and by 2.30 its almost too busy to photograph.

Head to Dacares Lane the main foodie road with a multitude of street vendors to both have a great snack lunch with locals and to capture some great street photography in Kolkata.

 Maniktala Market

This is Kolkata’s local fish market building with a famous clocktower on one corner although once inside the building you will see a thriving market in other meat products including goat, chicken and mutton. It’s a pretty raw market and you can take some great documentary street photographs as traders sell to the public.

Why come with Shoot the street.... 

  • You'll be taken and shown the best locations in a small group
  • You'll recieve an honest critique of your work
  • You'll shoot on a one to one basis with Mark on a regular basis
  • Youll be in a small group mixing with like minded fellow photographers
  • You'll have a great adventure going to places off the beaten track
  • Your street photography techniques will improve
  • You'll gain invaluable advice and tips and on a daily basis
  • You'll be staying at local hotels sourced and used by Mark
  • It doesn't matter your level, both professional and amature photographers shoot together
  • You will come back with some amazing photographs

Take a look at some of out testimonials to hear what people say...

Where we stay and why

I was first introduced to The Excutive Suites by The Hope Foundation over seven years ago and have been staying here ever since. Its located virtually opposite the Tollygunge Golf Club and is in a safe secure area. Its not really a hotel more a homestay as Rupa and her family occupy the property with 7 bedrooms and a nice meeting area on the top floor.

I stay here not because of its location but because of the incredibly friendly service I received from Rupa and her family.

There are some great street photography locations locally with my favourite being a small market for locals selling everything from fresh meat to lovely fresh fruit and vegetables on a daily basis. I’m reliably informed that the chef Rick Stein filmed an episode on Bengali food here !

Great places to eat

Although Kolkata is known as the Street food capital of India and we do often eat on the street I can really recommend the following places

Dollys Tea shop.. If you want a great cuppa from 1st flush darjeeling to the finest Assam or just a great cup of English breakfast tea served in a fine bone china cup all for just around 100 rupees !

Silver Screen, A great restaurant near the Tollygunge Golf Club used by many locals that apart Dalhouse Square

from serving great food has glass cabinets full of old film and cine cameras. Average price of a dish is around 300 rupees.

Barbeque Nation , Park Street

I first visited BBQ Nation in Guwhati, Assam and then Varanassi and now Kolkata. Ive never had a bad meal. Ok it’s a chain but the food is great and you can eat as much as you like for a fixed price

Mocambo Restaurant, Park Street Area

Defo my favourite restaurant in Kolkata with a great atmosphere and nice leather chairs.

Every time I’ve been here I have the Chateaubriand and a Carlsberg smooth beer . Considering how lovely the place is the meals are around  300 rupees with the chateaubriand being just 450 rupees.

Kusum Rolls

Located near the Park Hotel in Park Street this is a great place to grab a spot of lunch. Made fresh in front of you as you wait they do both meat and vegetarian but my personal fav is the chicken Kathi Roll. A great lunch that will fill you up for under 100 rupees.

Dalhousie Square

Dalhousie square is one of the business areas of Kolkata and also a place for great street food. Don’t turn up till at least 12.30 am and by 2.30 its almost too busy to move. Dacares square is Kolkatas foodie area with many local business people choosing hear to take lunch on the street

Getting Around Kolkata

Trams , The Metro, Yellow Cabs and Uber.. def worth downloading the Uber App as the cabs are so cheap compared to Europe and the app will take you door to door.

Festivals in Kolkata .. The Best Times to Visit

  • Saraswati Puja (Between late January and early February )
  • Dol Purnima (March)
  • Poila Baisakh (April)
  • Nabo barsho (Mid of April)
  • Rathyatra (Late June or early July)
  • Durga Puja (September – October)
  • Laxmi Puja (October Every Year)
  • Kali Puja (October-November, 2 weeks after Laxmi Puja)
  • Bhai Phota (October, 2 days after the celebration of Kali puja)

Kolkata Photography Book.. coming soon…. Are you interested ? let me know and Ill add you as one of the first to be told.

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Photographs.. main Kolkata portfolio

National Geographic shoot in Kolkata

Kolkata Testimonials with Mark Seymour


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Hanoi Street Photography Mark Seymour 0028 Hanoi Street Photography

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.

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


Trapani 0019 1 Easter photography workshop Trapani

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

find out and book on a street photography course with Nikon School UK

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"


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Jodhpur Day 4 001 Photography Workshop Training Jodhpur

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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Kolk Day 9 019 1 Photography Training Workshop Kolkata India

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 Nikon street photography training workshops 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.



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


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


Photo mechanic

Light room

Kings Retreat

The Country Retreat

Air India



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.