2018 Zion National Park Fall Foliage Photo Workshop

With Matt Suess November 7 - 11, 2018

Zion National Park, Utah

Imagine being in beautiful Zion National Park in Utah at or near peak fall foliage, in a small group of just 8 students, photographing amazing sunrises & sunsets along with striking fall foliage color!

There isn’t a better time to photograph Zion than in early November. The sun is low, the crowds are lower, and the photographic possibilities are never higher.

I have been photographing in Zion National Park since 2007 and have been teaching workshops there since 2013. I will bring you to some of the best locations to photograph the most dramatic light, in addition to some other locations that I love to photograph based on my experience there during the fall.

My 5th Annual Zion National Park Fall Foliage Photo Workshop

Dates: Wednesday, November 7 – Sunday, November 11, 2018

Location: Zion National Park, Utah

Skill Level: Beginner to Advanced  Class Size: Limited to 8 students

Type: Field Workshop Status: Open - Scroll Down to Register

I am an authorized CUA permit holder of the National Park Service and conduct my workshops based on the permit’s guidelines.

We will be at our locations photographing just before sunrise and ending our day just after sunset. During mid day when the light isn’t great we will be taking a break for a couple hours to recharge batteries, download images, and rest up for the evening sessions. 

This is a landscape photography workshop and that will be our primary focus. However we are sure to come across some wildlife in the park at this time of year and we will certainly keep an eye out for and photograph any we come across.

This is a field photography workshop and there is no classroom (computer) time scheduled. However there will be time for one or two demonstrations by me using my laptop computer in the field, where I will show post processing tips using Lightroom, Capture One Pro, and software from SlylumON1 Photo. Students are encouraged to bring their laptops for any image processing questions that can be answered during one-on-one time in this workshop.

Some of the more popular locations we may photograph (depending upon weather & scheduling) are: the Watchman, Court of the Patriarchs, Towers of the Virgin, Checkerboard Mesa, the Virgin River, Temple of Sinawava, Big Bend, The East Side, Observation Point, and more. In addition I will be bringing you to some less popular locations that I have found from my years of scouting and shooting in Zion.

Note that I teach photo workshops in Zion National Park with permission granted from Zion via the Commercial Use Authorization Permit. This permit comes with some restrictions on exactly where we can and can not photograph. For example I am not permitted to take students to the Subway. These restrictions are the same for any photo workshop there and are not much of an issue. This permit is required for all photo workshop instructors in Zion. I am also first aid/CPR certified as well.

What you Will Learn

You will learn and improve your skills in the following areas: 

  • Getting Perfect Exposures
  • Composition
  • Lens Selection
  • Use of Split Neutral Density Filters & Solid Density Filters to Control Exposure and for Effect
  • How to Photograph Stitched Panoramas
  • Exposure Bracketing (HDR)
  • Working a Scene to Create Numerous Photos & Compositions from One Location
  • Ideal Shutter Speeds, F-Stops, and ISO Settings for both Landscape & Wildlife Photos 
  • And More!

With a small class size of just 8 students there will be plenty of time to work with me on a one-on-one basis. I can assist you individually on pretty much anything you want to focus on regarding landscape and wildlife photography.

Who Is This Workshop For?

This workshop is designed for any skill level, yet a DSLR or equivalent (like the Sony Mirrorless cameras) with interchangeable lenses and a sturdy tripod are required, as is a basic working knowledge of your camera.

Most students who take my workshops are beginners to advanced amateurs. These workshops are filled with hands-on instruction, demonstrations, and even a session or 2 in the field with my laptop going over some processing tips.

Workshop Itinerary

We will meet in Springdale, UT just outside the western entrance to Zion early in the evening of November 7 for a group dinner so we can all go over the workshop itinerary, schedule, exact times and locations, goals for the workshop, and other items. This is a great opportunity to meet the other photographers you will be spending time with over the next few days as well as ask any last minute questions.

Exact time and location of this get-together will be emailed as we get closer to the workshop date. 

NOTE: No photography is planned for this evening, however you are free to photograph on your own following dinner.

Meet at a location TBD at approx. 5:30am for sunrise photography. We will take a break starting anywhere from 11:00 to noon, and ending anywhere from 1 to 2. We will meet following the break at a location & time TBD for afternoon and sunset photography. Workshop will end at approx. 6pm after sunset.

Meet at a location TBD at approx. 5:30am for sunrise photography. We will take a break starting anywhere from 11:00 to noon, and ending anywhere from 1 to 2. We will meet following the break at a location & time TBD for afternoon and sunset photography. Workshop will end at approx. 6pm after sunset.

Meet at a location TBD at approx. 5:30am for sunrise photography. We will stay out all day today through sunset photography. Workshop will end at approx. 6pm after sunset.

Meet at a location TBD at approx. 5:30am for sunrise photography. Some time after sunrise we will do a group critique of images till around noon when the workshop will end.


Extra Bonus #1

On one evening - depending on weather - we will stay out until at least 9pm for some night sky photography.

We will most likely head out to 1 or 2 locations to photograph the night sky. The Milky Way is not very prominent this time of year but there is still plenty to photograph in the night sky. Depending on the location we may also do some low level lighting / light painting too.

Extra Bonus #2

NOTE: Due to Zion not allowing photo workshop participants to use tripods in the Narrows for 2018 we will not be going into the Narrows. Instead I am planning a different activity for those who registered for this extra day or for those considering it.


Hike the Narrows with me! Join me for a hike up the Narrows on Monday, November 12th. This will be an all-day trip. We will be starting our hike before sunrise and returning before sunset. Note that this is a strenuous hike and not recommended for those not in good physical shape. Expect to walk 5-7 miles this day - mostly in water that is normally in the upper 40’s this time of year with depths up to our waist. Walking in the Narrows is like walking on bowling balls too, due to all of the rocks in the river.

We will rent cold water gear the day before that will keep us dry up to our chests. Well, except for our feet - those get wet in the canyon shoes we will rent, but the neoprene socks will keep our feet warm.

Note that my permit does not allow us to hike all the way to Wall Street and we have to turn around at Orderville Canyon. This is true for any Zion permit holder.

There is an extra $125 fee that will be added to your tuition should you choose this optional extra day. NOTE that this fee does not include the rental of the cold water gear. You will be responsible for that charge the day we rent it. Gear rental normally costs less than $100.

NOTE that hiking in the Narrows is 100% weather dependent. If there is rain in the forecast or if the river is closed by the Park due to heavy flow, we will not hike it and instead we will spend the day photographing in the park.

Until the start of the workshop!

Register Here Safely & Securely! Tuition and Registration

Workshop Tuition for Wednesday, November 7 - Sunday, November 11, 2018
Extra Bonus Hike on Monday, November 12, 2018

Option #1 - Basic Workshop Tuition Paid In Full


Pay in full today for the workshop.
  • Workshop Tuition for Wednesday, November 7 - Sunday, November 11, 2018
  • Extra Bonus Hike on Monday, November 12, 2018

Before being able to register & pay you must first agree to my Workshop Policies stated below. Once read click on the checkbox and the payment options will be enabled.

Registration to any of my photo workshops acknowledges that you have read, understand and agree to my photo workshop polices outlined here.

Workshop Policies

– Registration is on a first come, first serve basis. Payment is due in full at time of registration unless otherwise specified.

– I have a no tag-along policy. Spouses, family members, friends, etc. who are traveling with you and who have not registered are unable to partake in any group functions. Workshops are also not a location for pets and as such are not allowed with the exception of guide dogs.

– Cancellation Policy: All workshop tuition fees are non-refundable. I understand, however, that emergencies do come up at the last moment that could effect your participation. Should you need to cancel, I can transfer the fees you paid towards another one of my other photo workshops that still has open seats left. Note that there is a $150 administrative fee to do this, and you must sign up for one of my workshops that occurs within 1 year of the workshop you cancel. If the workshop you are transferring to is more than your original amount paid, the remaining balance will be due to complete registration. No fees are to be returned if the transferred workshop is less than your original payment. Workshop fees can only be transferred towards another workshop and can not be used to purchase artwork or other items for sale.

In the event that I deem it necessary to cancel the workshop I will provide a full refund of tuition fees which the participant(s) acknowledges as full and final settlement. In the event of a workshop cancellation airline tickets, car rentals and hotel reservations associated with participation in this workshop will not be refunded. I strongly recommend you purchase refundable airline tickets and make refundable car and hotel reservations. I also recommend you carry travel and camera equipment insurance.

Things beyond my control such as government shutdowns and weather can effect scheduling. In the event of a government shutdown that closes our location to the public, the workshop will not necessarily be cancelled, and locations near the intended location will be considered in an effort to keep the workshop continuing.

Partial Payment: Some workshops may allow for a partial payment when registering. Partial payments are subject to the same cancellation policy stated above. Following your initial partial payment you will be contacted to see how you want to pay the remaining balance. I can bill you monthly for the remaining amount if you desire. Remaining balance must be paid in full before 60 days prior to the start of the workshop. Failure to do so will result in the cancellation of your registration. Fees already paid will be transferred to another workshop at my discretion.

– Liability Limitation: I aim to provide a safe, educational and enjoyable experience. I assume no liability for any act, error, omission, injury, loss, delay, mishap, or damage to persons or property arising from any cause during the course of the workshop or in transit thereto. I can accept no responsibility for losses or additional expenses due to delay or changes in the services to be provided. I reserve the right to change our arrangements should conditions necessitate, or to cancel any aspect of the workshop due to exceptional circumstances.

By participating in this workshop you acknowledge that you have read the information concerning responsibility and release Matt Suess, his guides, instructors and any cooperating agent from any liability. Matt Suess will assume no liability for injury, illness, or loss of personal property or expenses thereof associated with workshop participation. You also acknowledge that Matt Suess has the right to refuse service to anyone at any time and that these policies are subject to change at any time.

– Unless otherwise mentioned, tuition does not include any park admission fees. Hotel / lodging, meals, car rental, any needed gear or equipment rentals, etc. are not included and is the student’s responsibility. A list of area accommodations can be emailed to you following your registration upon request.

– Photos & Video of You: Photos & Video of you may be taken during the workshop and used for advertising future workshops on websites and print media owned by Matt Suess and/or other sites & media that advertise workshops taught by Matt Suess. Acceptance of these terms implies that you agree to such usage with no further compensation above and beyond the photo instruction received during the workshop. If requested, Matt can send you the full-resolution images being used of yourself to keep and make prints from. This also applies to any testimonials provided in-person, online, or on any public forum.


Register Today for my 2018 Zion Fall Foliage Photo Workshop

After agreeing to the terms above, click on the button below to begin your registration.

STUDENT ALUMNI: Have you taken a field or classroom workshop with me before? If so, contact me and I will send you a special discount code good for 10% off registration for this workshop.*

*(Registration discount can not be combined with any special offers)

Registration is on a first come, first serve basis. Payment is due in full at time of registration, or you may elect to register today with a partial payment. The remaining balance is due no later than 60 days prior to the start of the workshop. I can bill you monthly for the remaining amount if you desire.

If you are unable to register online, you can register and pay by phone by calling me at 480-818-9566. All major credit cards are accepted or you can pay by check as well. Contact me and I will call you back at the time you desire.

Tuition does not include park admission which is paid at a ranger station upon entering the park and good for 7 days. Hotel / lodging, meals, car rental, any needed gear or equipment rentals, etc. are not included and is the student’s responsibility. A list of area accommodations can be emailed to you following your registration upon request.

What to Bring

This workshop takes place in the fall when the weather is cool and crisp. Overnight lows can be just above or below freezing and daytime temps can be anywhere from the 40’s to 60’s on average. Light snow is rare but possible this time of year, and one year we had ice along the river in the morning. With that in mind you will want to dress appropriately with waterproof winter clothing, dressing in layers, and make sure you have your gloves and hat. Hand warmers are a great idea too. Hiking boots – preferably waterproof – are also highly recommended.

In regards to camera gear you will want to have lenses that cover wide angle to telephoto and lots of memory cards and batteries. A tripod is a must and a cable release is highly recommended. Polarizing filters, split neutral density filters, and solid neutral density filters are recommended but not required. You can contact me directly with questions regarding these filters. Note that my workshops are sponsored by Formatt-Hitech filters and students receive a 10% discount on their purchase with coupon code MATT10. You will also want to bring a headlamp as we will be walking in the dark before sunrise and possibly after sunset.

You will want to bring your laptop computer to download images. On our last day, Sunday, you may want to bring it with you for a scheduled critique session following our sunrise shoot.


Lodging is not included in this workshop. Once you have registered you can contact me for a list of area hotels & RV parks.

General F.A.Q's Regarding My Workshops

What sets your workshops apart from other workshops?

I absolutely love teaching! I have over 27 years of experience making my career with my cameras and teaching & sharing my experiences along the way.
I am detail orientated and put the needs of my students first. I have extensive experience dealing with all types of situations and people and love answering all of my students’ questions.
I have a unique photo background with experience creating and selling my work in such diverse fields as photojournalism, sports, portrait, wedding, editorial, and commercial photography. My specialty since 2006 has been fine art landscape photography.
I draw from all of those life experiences to provide you with whatever technical and artistic guidance you need. With my help, you will grow and expand your visual expression as well as your technical skills.  In addition, I hope you have a great time in the process, immersing yourself in the total experience and sharing in my passion for photography.

Can my spouse, relative, friend, pet, etc. attend any or all of the workshop?

I have a no tag-along policy. Spouses, family members, friends, etc. who are traveling with you and who haven’t registered are unable to partake in any group functions. Workshops are also not a location for pets and as such are not allowed with the exception of guide dogs. If a spouse or friend wants to attend they will need to register.

Do you photograph during field workshops?

Yes I do on occasion and only when the light is amazing or when I need to photograph certain subjects for later classroom use. When I do photograph along with my students, the goal is to inspire them to learn to see an image the way I do. It can be extremely valuable watching me work a scene. Rest assured however that I am far more concerned that my students get the shot and ALWAYS put their needs first.

Do you provide travel insurance for your workshop participants?

I do NOT provide travel insurance as part of my workshop fees, but definitely recommend it. I highly recommend trip insurance that also includes travel health insurance. Travelex Insurance Services is a BBB Accredited business with an A+ rating (although note I have no personal experience with this company). The cost for travel insurance is typically 4-7% of the total trip cost, depending upon age and other variable factors.

What’s included in my tuition? Rooms, transportation, meals?

Tuition includes all lectures, fieldwork, guiding, classroom instruction and critiques of your digital files during our classroom sessions. Travel costs, lodging, entrance fees, and meals are not included in the cost of admission unless otherwise specified.

Are there restrictions on participation?

My workshops do not normally entail strenuous activity unless specified. Nevertheless, participants must be able to complete moderate walks/hikes with their required photo gear, sometimes on uneven or slippery surfaces.  If you have any health problems or physical limitations, please let me know prior to booking.

Why should I attend one of your workshops?

I will teach you how to create inspiring and amazing fine art quality photographs. You will learn how to see more creatively and how to translate that vision into a final image that has emotional impact.
I make it easy to learn techniques and concepts that you will take with you every time you walk out the door with your camera.  I have extensive experience shooting and selling my fine art photography as well as teaching the concepts of photography. I am a hands-on learner myself and teach using a hands-on approach that will give you the best opportunity to retain information and further your photography skills long after the workshop has concluded.
Lastly I love teaching small groups. Most of my workshops feature small sizes with up to 10 students on average. This allows for extremely low teacher to student ratios and provides valuable one-on-one opportunities to work with me during the workshop.

What level of photography experience do I have to have in order to attend one of your workshops?

It depends upon the workshop, so please check with the specific workshop you are interested. I especially love teaching beginner and intermediate photographers.

What should I bring with me to one of your workshops?

You will receive a workshop welcome kit before the start that will contain detailed information regarding the proper gear to bring with you.

What happens in bad weather?

I love weather of all sorts!  Great photos can be found under some seemingly dreary skies. Many times we will be out in stormy weather, provided it’s not putting you or your equipment at risk. Great pictures can happen during fog, snow, rain and mist. If conditions are too extreme, we will find a location to wait out the weather. During this time, we can work on our images on our laptops while I assist you and give demonstrations.

Do you provide transportation?

I do not supply transportation for my workshops. I encourage participants to carpool once the program has begun, to minimize our impact on the environment and to facilitate parking. Please come expecting to share your car with others or to jump in and share someone else’s.

F.A.Q's Specific to This Workshop

What is the weather like this time of year?

I have seen everything from snow & ice to temps in the 70’s this time of year, so you will have to prepare for a variety of weather for this workshop. Morning shoots can be cold and windy with temps below freezing and afternoons can warm up nicely. Snow and/or rain doesn’t happen often but is possible. I suggest making sure you bring hats, gloves, waterproof pants & jackets & hiking boots, and be sure to dress in layers.

Does the tuition fee include hotel rooms, meals, park admission, and/or transportation?

No. You are responsible for all transportation costs, hotel rooms, meals, and park admission.

What is the closest major airport?

Las Vegas, Nevada has the closest and largest airport and is less than a 3-hour drive to Zion.

Is there a lot of hiking and physical activity involved?

The longest hike we do is a little over 2 miles round trip. It has a small amount of elevation gain. It is rated by Zion as an easy hike, but can be difficult for those with knee/hip issues or other ailments. The rest of the workshop is spent walking on sand, river rocks, and sandstone not too far from our cars.

The exception to all of this is the optional Narrows hike on Monday, which is not recommended for anyone not physically fit.

How many years have you been teaching in Zion?

I have been photographing in Zion National Park since 2007 and have been leading workshops in the Park regularly since 2013.

Will there be any classroom instruction?

This is a field workshop and no classroom instruction is scheduled. However I will do a few image processing demonstrations in the field using my laptop.

Have other questions not covered here?

Feel free to contact me with any additional questions you may have!

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