Welcome to my photography blog Beyond the Lens, where I usually have at least 1 (and often times more) posts related to photography each and every week.



Adding clouds to boring skies with Perfect Photo Suite

Recently I recorded a 30 minute video for onOne, Inc. on how to replace your boring skies using photo enhancement software Perfect Photo Suite.

Watch as I show you two different photos where I replaced a sky with one of my own cloud photo backgrounds. Using Perfect Layers and Perfect Enhance, learn some of the tips and techniques I use to replace a sky, and even how I add clouds to a reflection in the water in a photo where I replaced the sky.



Perfect Photo Suite includes a handful of cloud backgrounds in the program. You can also use your own cloud backgrounds. Be sure to also take a look at my popular high-resolution cloud backgrounds that you can purchase and download to use in any of your own photo compositions.


Interested in learning more about Perfect Photo Suite? Consider taking one of my 2-Day Perfect Photo Suite Crash Course workshops. If you can not make one of the many classes I offer each year then consider a private online one-on-one session via skype.

A New Hope – Superstition Mountains in Arizona

New Years Day.

It is filled with hope for the new year as we throw away the worries from the previous year and try to start fresh for the upcoming year.

Every day Mother Nature gives me hope with her beautiful display of color and life. And on New Years Day in 2015 in particular Mother Nature didn’t disappoint. For on this day hope was shown in the form of a fresh snowfall in the Phoenix desert with gorgeous late afternoon light, providing those around to see an unusual display of beauty and life.

A New Hope 1400

“A New Hope”
Superstition Mountains in Apache Junction, Arizona.
Photographed on New Years Day, 2015

I was waiting here for 2 hours just before sunset at the Superstition Mountains in Apache Junction, Arizona filled with hope. The sky was providing some wonderful looking clouds and the sun behind me be looked like it was going to give me a quite show just before sunset.

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My top ten favorite photos from 2014

With tomorrow being the first day of 2015 and rain actually falling outside my RV here in the Phoenix desert I thought it would be the perfect time to reflect on some of my favorite photos that I released in 2014.

Here is my top 10 favorite photographs from 2014 in no particular order.

1) “Thunderstorm over Santa Fe” – Santa Fe, New Mexico.


A thunderstorm with lighting rolls in during sunset in Santa Fe, New Mexico over the Jemez Mountains in this composite photograph.

This was photographed right behind where my RV is parked in the summer in Santa Fe, which is located on a hill overlooking the valley providing me with a fantastic view for storms.

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Introducing Matt Suess Photography Gift Cards

New at MattSuess.com and just in time for the Holidays are my Gift Cards.

These gift cards are perfect for your hard to buy for art collector or photo enthusiast.


They are available in a number of amounts from $25 to $1,000. There are no processing fees, they do not expire, you can check your balance at any time, and they can be used towards purchases either online or in person at one of my exhibitions.

Gift cards can be used towards the purchase of my fine art photography, photo workshops & online classes, and photo textures & backgrounds.

Zion’s Heavenly Glow

Knowing where to photograph and when is key to photographing amazing light in Zion National Park, Utah.

At this particular location the light only lasts like this for maybe a half hour or so. The sunlight reflects off a canyon wall (not visible in photo), illuminating the orange canyon wall to the right.

Zions-Heavenly-Glow-1400“Zion’s Heavenly Glow”
Zion National Park, Utah
Prints can be ordered here.


This was photographed during peak fall foliage. The yellow trees in the center provide a wonderful color contrast to the blue sky and orange canyon walls, producing what I call Zion’s Heavenly Glow.

This was photographed hand-held using my Sony a7R and Canon 17-40mm f4 lens. The RAW file was processed in Capture One Pro and the photo was fine-tuned with onOne’s Perfect Photo Suite 9.


Use the Buy Now link above to purchase prints of this photo.

New Tempe date added for Perfect Photo Suite 9 crash course in April, 2015

After selling out our Scottsdale class in November and a Tempe class in December, we have added another new date for our 2-day Perfect Photo Suite 9 Crash Course class. The new class will be on April 11&12, 2015 in Tempe, Arizona.


Dates: Saturday and Sunday, April 11 & 12, 2015
Location: Executive Training Solutions, 1500 N. Priest Dr., Suite 123 in Tempe, AZ 85281 right near Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport Click for directions.
Skill Level: Any. No prior experience with Perfect Photo Suite 9 is necessary. Class Size: Class is limited to 15 students
Status: Registration is open.

Join Perfect Photo Suite experts Matt Suess & Christine Hauber during their 5th Crash Course in the past year on Perfect Photo Suite – one of our favorite photo enhancement software packages. Details and registration can be found here.

3 days left to upgrade to Perfect Photo Suite 9

There are only 3 days left to take advantage of onOne Software’s special offer on upgrading to Perfect Photo Suite 9.

Between now and November 21, you can upgrade for just $99.95 and receive extras including presets for Perfect Photo Suite and Lightroom as well as an eBook.


If you haven’t upgraded yet, now is the time to do so. It is a definite must-have upgrade with some of my favorite new features including: the ability to add keywords and improved Browser, the new smart photos and quick mask tool, improved auto tone, and the ability to print direct from the Suite.

Registration is now open for our 2015 Zion National Park Fall Foliage Photo Workshop

Registration is now open for our 2015 Zion National Park Fall Foliage Photography Workshop.


2015 Zion National Park Fall Foliage Photography Workshop

 Dates: Friday, November 6 – Tuesday, November 10, 2015   Location: Zion National Park, Utah
Skill Level: Beginner to intermediate Class Size: Limited to 8 students
Type: Field Workshop Status: Registration is open. Click here for more info.

Spend 5 days photographing in one of the most picturesque National Parks at or near peak fall foliage color and receive photography training from not one but 2 professional photographers in a class size of 8 students.

2015 will be our 3rd consecutive year teaching in Zion in the fall. View a photo gallery of Zion National Park here and take a look at the photo workshop details here. Be sure to register soon, as this class is limited to just 8 students!!

Zion by Moonlight

Many times the human eye sees things much better than what a camera can see. The eye has a much larger contrast ratio with a lot more dynamic range.

Other times the camera comes out on top and can see things that our eyes can not. This is one of those photos.


 “Zion by Moonlight”
Zion National Park, Utah

Looking at this photo, one can see all of the detail in this landscape at Zion National Park in Utah. When I was photographing it, however, it was much, much darker than this.

The sun had set behind me almost 30 minutes prior to me taking this photograph. A nearly full moon had come up over the horizon in front providing some illumination. The rest of the illumination in this photo came from the light still present in the sky behind me after the sun had set.

A long exposure and higher ISO – 15 seconds at ISO 400 – was used to provide me with a photo that I couldn’t quite see with my own eyes but what the camera had no problems in helping me see.

Shoot first, setup tripod later

I arrived in Zion National Park, Utah on Sunday with my colleague Christine Hauber ahead of our 2014 Zion Fall Foliage Photo Workshop a few days ago under cloudy skies and a slight drizzle less than an hour of when the sun would be setting. By the looks of it there wasn’t going to be a sunset that night, but the clouds hanging low over the Watchman were still very striking and photogenic.

Hard to tell with this cloud cover that within 45 minutes a striking sunset will occur.

Hard to tell with this cloud cover that within 45 minutes a striking sunset will occur.

As we were parking my RV at the campground and removing her car from the dolly we noticed the clouds were starting to break – there was going to be a sunset this evening after all – and it was going to be impressive.

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