2023 September Badlands
Black & White Photo Workshop

With Matt Suess September 11 - 15, 2023

Badlands National Park, South Dakota

Join us this September in a remote & picturesque yet challenging & rewarding landscape for a Masterclass in Black and White Photography.

September 11 - 15, 2023
Badlands National Park, South Dakota

"You have the utmost patience and instead of just telling me to do something, or how to do something, you helped me to think about solutions. Many instructors/leaders have an ego and those individuals are difficult to learn from. You don’t. You are a top-notch instructor."

Jill E.

2019 Spring Grand Teton Photo Workshop Student


The Basics:


5 Days:
Monday, September 11 - Friday, September 15, 2023


Badlands National Park, South Dakota
The closest airport is in Rapid City, SD
We will be staying in Wall, SD

Group Details

Open to any skill level from beginner to professional. We will be out photographing from sunrise through sunset with a break in the day. Limited to just 6 photographers.

Physical Activity

Easy to Moderate Each workshop student needs to be in decent physical condition. While some locations will involve short and easy walks from our cars 1/4 miles away, we may take other hikes that will be longer and up to a few miles on uneven terrain with little elevation gain.

Tuition Fees

Pay $1,000 today to secure your space, and the remaining $1,397 is due by February 5, 2023. Lodging, food, transportation, etc. is not included.

Your Instructor & Guide

Matt Suess Will be your photo instructor and guide during this workshop.

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

A Masterclass in Black and White Photography

My 30+ year professional photography career started in black & white photography.

In fact, many years prior to me going pro, I had my own black & white chemical darkroom - back when I was 12 years old! Back in the day I shot countless tens of thousands of rolls of b&w film and printed thousands of my own b&w prints.

And all throughout my professional career I have always had a deep love for stunning and dramatic black and white photos.

When color is removed from a photograph, there is less room for error for it to be successful. Not only is your composition and exposure critical as usual, but when you remove color other elements become even more important such as contrast, shape, and texture.

Join us in the Badlands where I'll help you to "see" in black & white. Together we will study light, composition, shape, form, and texture to create stunning black & white photos.

You will leave this workshop with not only a better understanding of b&w photography, but much of what you learn can be applied to color photography too.


So not only will you become a better b&w photographer with this Masterclass, but your color photography will improve as well by studying b&w.


Will We Study Infrared Photography Too?

If you have an infrared camera be sure to bring it!

My entire career has revolved around traditional non-infrared b&w photography and not infrared, but I do plan on getting one of my cameras converted to infrared before the workshop.

Do I Need a Special Camera or Filters?

Your regular camera will be fine as long as it has a b&w or monochrome picture style setting - most mirrorless cameras should have this feature. A list of highly recommended filters will be provided after registration (with a special discount code for workshop attendees) that will be extremely useful when not only shooting in b&w but can also be used for your color photos!


Badlands National Park, located in southwestern South Dakota, protects 379.3 sq. miles of sharply eroded buttes and pinnacles, along with the largest undisturbed mixed grass prairie in the United States.

Authorized as Badlands National Monument in 1929, it was re-designated a National Park on November 10, 1978. The movies Dances with Wolves and Thunderheart were partially filmed in the Park.

The rugged beauty of the Badlands draws visitors from around the world. These striking geologic deposits contain one of the world’s richest fossil beds. Ancient horses and rhinos once roamed here. The park’s 244,000 acres protect an expanse of mixed-grass prairie where bison, bighorn sheep, prairie dogs, and black-footed ferrets live today.

- source Wikipedia & NPS


"Matt is the best instructor I've had for any creative activity, but especially photography. He is patient in explaining things, and really helps you focus on the areas that YOU want to develop rather than focusing on what he thinks you need improvement on.

He also is the only instructor I've had in creative endeavors that is so supportive of you owning your unique style - I've always been one to do things my way, and most instructors struggle with students who don't "do as you're told," but Matt teaches to help you learn rather than trying to get you to do things his way.

Matt also is great about making sure that each person gets heard and gets time for their questions to be answered, which requires facilitation of the discussions in such a way that people aren't talked over but also that people don't feel like they are being shut down...this is not an easy thing to do. Plus, he has a great sense of humor, which is always appreciated!

The Milky Way Workshop felt more about learning some techniques, setting up the shot, then waiting to see if it worked. This was more thinking on your feet and instantly applying things and adjusting (which was likely part of my challenge...my brain wasn't ready).

I would recommend both trips, and have so loved showing people the magic that was captured both times. And it's fun to be able to brag about the great teacher we had each time."

Emily L.

2018 June Tetons Milky Way and 2019 Spring Grand Teton Photo Workshop Student



  • ​How to Achieve Perfect Exposures By Understanding the Histogram
  • How to See and Photograph in Black and White
  • ​Finding the Best Composition & Framing
  • ​Maximizing Your Composition Through Light, Shadow & Texture
  • How to Choose the Correct Focal Length Lens for the Situation
  • ​How to Choose the Correct ISO, F-Stop, Shutter Speed and White Balance
  • ​Photographing Stitched Panoramas
  • ​​Working a Scene to Create Numerous Photos & Compositions from One Location
  • ​Long Exposures up to 10 Minutes in the Daylight for Creative Cloud Effects with Solid ND Filters
  • ​Techniques for Reducing Noise
  • ​Using Split-Neutral Density Filters to Control Exposures
  • ​Proper Camera Settings for Landscape Photos
  • ​Finding Things to Photograph Even in the Middle of the Day
  • ​How to Work a Scene from Multiple Angles & Focal Lengths
  • ​How to Photograph the Obvious, and Especially the Not So Obvious
  • ​And Much, Much More!!

With a small class size of just 6 students there will be plenty of time to work with me on a one-on-one basis.


Learn How to Use Camera Filters

Using Camera Filters to Control Exposure & For Creative Effects Can Dramatically Improve Your Photos


I was using at least one camera filter for pretty much every photo you see here on this page. From a circular polarizer to enhance color & reduce glare/reflection, to a split neutral density filter to help balance exposures, to solid neutral density filters to allow me to shoot long exposures of the clouds - I used them all.

Prior to our workshop we can arrange a private Zoom call to go over your specific filter needs to make sure you have the right setup for this workshop.

Even better, I am an Official NiSi Reseller and you can safely & securely order whatever filters you need direct from me! I even have an exclusive discount just for my workshop students 😊.

I shoot exclusively with NiSi Filters due to their lack of color casts and quality of products. Of course you are free to use and bring whichever filters you already have even if they are not NiSi Filters.

Who Is This Workshop For?

This workshop is designed for any skill level, yet a DSLR/Mirrorless or equivalent camera with interchangeable lenses AND a sturdy tripod are required, as well as a basic working knowledge of your camera.

Most students who take my workshops are beginners to advanced amateurs and even pros. My workshops are filled with hands-on instruction & demonstrations. I encourage & help find and develop each students unique personal style of photography.


Physical Difficulty:

Each workshop student needs to be in decent physical condition. While some locations will involve short and easy walks from our cars 1/4 miles away, we may take other hikes that will be longer and up to a few miles on uneven terrain with little elevation gain.


In addition to b&w we will also be looking for scenes that lend themselves to monochrome images with a color tint like this one.

Unique Features of This Workshop

  • ​Primary Focus is B&W: While we certainly won't ignore photographing scenes that lend themselves to color such as sunrise and sunset, our primary focus is creating stunning black and white images.
  • ​Very Small Class Size: Only 6 Students! Some teaching photo workshops allow as many as 12 students. This one is limited to just 6 which means more one-on-one time with me and less distractions from a large group.
  • ​It's All About the Light & Location: We will be going to some popular iconic locations but also many less known and less visited but stunning locations that exist in Badlands National Park.
  • Bring Your Camera Filters: We will be shooting quite a bit with filters on this workshop. From CPL's to split-neutral density to solid neutral density filters. Don't worry if you've never even heard of some of them! I'll provide a list of filters to bring, and by the end of the workshop you'll be creating photos like a pro with them! I am also an Official NiSi Ambassador & Reseller and you can order your filters direct from me.

Optional Helicopter Ride

For those who are up for it, we will be taking an optional helicopter ride to photograph the Badlands from above!

The price of this is NOT included in your registration fees. Depending on how many want to take the helicopter flight and how long we are up there, the price including tip in 2022 was around $185 or so for an 18 minute flight and definitely worth it.



These Bonuses are Unique to My Workshops.

You will not find another instructor providing so much extra value to move you forward with your photography!!

Bonus #1

  • 1.5hr LIVE Online Group Welcome Party: Approx. 1 to 2 months prior to the start of the workshop we will all meet online for a welcome party. I'll cover where we will be going, discuss safety, show you some photos of what to expect, discuss what to bring, and will go over some basic camera settings. Bring your questions and meet your fellow attendees in this informal social gathering. ($175 Value)

Bonus #2

  • 1.5hr LIVE Online Group Review and Q&A: Approx. 4-6 weeks following the workshop we will all meet online again. I know that a few weeks following a workshop, a bunch of questions come up from what was learned (and sometimes forgotten). Most other workshops, once you leave that final day, you are on your own. This isn't the case here! Use this as your opportunity to get all of those questions that come up following a workshop answered, get feedback on your photos, and connect with your fellow attendees once again. ($175 Value)

Bonus #3

  • How to Post Process Your B&W Badlands Images: An online course teaching you my secrets to post processing B&W Badlands photos. ($197 Value)

Bonus #4

  • What to Do With These Photos! You will get access to my mini course on organizing your photos, captioning, adding keywords, and storing your photos. ($37 Value)

Bonus #5

  • Special $175 Savings on Your Next Workshop: You will receive a Special Alumni Credit that can be applied to any future field workshop that starts within 2 years of this workshop's start date. ($175 Value)

Bonus #6

  • Special 15% off NiSi Filters: You will receive a Special Workshop Student Discount of 15% off your first order of NiSi Filters. ($155 Value on Average)

Bonus #7

  • Special Savings on Fotopro Tripods: You will receive a Special Workshop Student Discount towards your purchase of a Fotopro Tripod. ($135 Value on Average)

Bonus #8

  • Access to a Private Online Portal: You will receive access to a special private online community portal where you can get to know your fellow attendees, share photos from the workshop, get up-to-date workshop info, and watch the bonus videos. ($97 Value)

Bonus #9

  • Understanding B&W Photography! You will get access prior to the workshop to two videos I have on understanding B&W photography: "When to Convert to B&W" which takes a look at a number of photographs I converted to black and white over the years and explains why I did it and what to consider when thinking about converting color photos to black and white PLUS "Understanding How Color Converts to B&W" which shows you how color converts to b&w and how to adjust specific tones. ($47 Value)

Each BONUS is specifically designed to help you with your photography journey beyond the short time we are all together in-person.

   Total Value In BONUSES:   $1,193



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 few hours to recharge batteries, download images, and rest up for the evening sessions.

However we are ultimately at the mercy of Mother Nature and I will be diligently studying weather forecasts during our time together with the numerous weather resources I always use when planning for the best light.

So our day-to-day schedule is absolutely always subject to change immensely based on the light/photography potential on any given day, thus this itinerary is intentionally planned to be extremely loose and variable during our time together.

There have been numerous times on my workshops where we ended up not taking the scheduled mid-day break to instead chase the light. And our efforts were always rewarded with amazing photographs...

So in other words, be prepared for the unexpected!

Monday Afternoon, September 11, 2023

We will meet at 3pm then head out into the park to photograph though sunset which is at approx. 7:12pm.

Tuesday - Thursday, September 12 - 14, 2023

Our locations and times will vary depending on the weather.

Sunrise during the workshop is at approx. 6:27am and sunset is at approx. 7:12pm. Expect to meet in the mornings one to two hours before sunrise, and night sessions ending as late as 8:00pm.

We will be photographing sunrises & sunsets throughout the workshop with a break for a few hours in the middle of the day. Storms are always a possibility so definitely be prepared to photograph them.

Friday Morning, September 15, 2023

We will head out for our final group sunrise shoot. Workshop will end by 10am.



What is Included

  Photo Instruction & Guiding from Matt Suess

  Bonuses of $1,193 in Value

What is Not Included

 Flights to and from South Dakota

  Lodging & Transportation during the workshop

  Food, Drinks, Snacks

  Park Passes

What Airport and When to Arrive

Here is the best airport option:

RAPID CITY REGIONAL AIRPORT: In Rapid City, SD. You will then have a 1hr drive to our base location in Wall, SD.

Schedule your flight so you arrive to Wall, SD by noon on Monday, September 11th or anytime on Sunday, September 10th.

Where to Stay

We are not based out of any particular hotel so you are free to stay where you want, provided it is in the very small town of Wall, SD.

More information will be provided following registration.

What to Bring

A complete list of What to Bring will be provided. This list will mention required and suggested items regarding camera equipment and clothing.

Keep in mind that this workshop takes place in Mid September when the weather can range from overnight lows on average around 50 F to daytime temps on average up to 81 F. Rain and stormy weather is always a possibility.


For this workshop we will be carpooling. Let me know if you are willing to be a driver - I will need 2 drivers that can take two additional passengers.


It is STRONGLY RECOMMENDED to purchase quality travel insurance.

Some companies allow for the purchase of Cancel for Any Reason Coverage that expands the list of reasons for your canceling to include things such as sudden work or family obligation and even a simple change of mind.


Register Here

2023 September Badlands Banner v2.jpg

2023 Spring Badlands Photo Workshop


$1,000 due today, remaining $1,397 due by May 1, 2023

  • ​September 11 - 15, 2023
  • 1-on-1 & Group Coaching & Guiding from Matt Suess
  • Limited to 6
  • ​BONUSES Valued at $1,193
  • ​Past Clients can contact me about any possible alumni discount prior to registering.


Cancellation & Refund Policy for This Workshop

We know that plans can change, unforeseen circumstances can happen and no one wants to miss out on the trip of a lifetime. To provide the best customer support possible and to keep groups small and affordable, our cancellation policy ensures we can continue to provide clients the best possible foto experience.

For this workshop the following applies:

  • The initial $1,000 registration fee is non-refundable, but it is transferable to another workshop provided we are more than 120 days from the start of the workshop (a $275 administrative fee is applied to all transfers).
  • The remaining $1,397 balance is due 120 days from the start of the workshop, that date being February 5, 2023.
  • If you cancel within 120 days from the start of the workshop and you are able to find someone to fill your spot, you would be entitled to receive a refund (minus your initial registration fee and a $275 administrative fee). If your are unable to fill your spot, all fees are non-refundable and non-transferable. It is highly suggested to purchase good trip insurance to cover you in such an instance.

If you wish to cancel or transfer to another workshop MORE than 120 Days from the Start

Your registration fee will be transferable to another workshop by Matt Suess with a $275 administrative fee.

If you wish to cancel or transfer to another workshop LESS than 120 Days from the Start

No refunds or transfers (assuming we cannot fill your spot)

You can view my full cancellation & refund policy along with other important information here


When the color is perfect we will be sure to get some shots in full color too!


Frequently Asked Questions

Regarding This Badlands Photo Workshop


 Is there a lot of walking/hiking during this workshop?

While a lot of time we will be photographing within easy walking distance from our cars, there will be some hikes we will be taking with distances of a few miles on some uneven terrain with little elevation gain.

 Will we shoot in color at all or is it 100% black & white?

This is primarily a black & white photo workshop, but the Badlands can certainly feature dramatic color sunrises and sunsets. For those times when black & white isn't ideal, we will switch to color photography.

 Is this for infrared photography too?

YES - New for 2023: I plan on having my own infrared camera with me on this workshop, so I'll definitely talk about infrared photography during parts of this workshop.

 I am a pure beginner (or advanced) photographer. Is this workshop for me?

This workshop is open to all photography levels from beginner to pro. I have had students who didn't know what an f-stop was and I have had those who are just about ready to or are already selling their own prints. Being a small class, I am able to work with each student individually no matter their experience level to help them improve and reach their individual goals.

 What is your experience photographing in Badlands National Park?

I have been photographing in Badlands National Park since 2018, often making 2 trips a year there. I have done extensive scouting and photographing in the park ad surrounding areas, and I know of more amazing locations to photograph there than what we have time for during this 5 day workshop. I'll be picking the best locations each day for us based on the light potential and my knowledge of where & when to photograph so you can create some amazing photographs. In 2022 I led 2 photo workshops there and will return for 2 more in 2023.

 Will we work on our computers and learn how to process our photos?

No - this workshop is a shooting intensive workshop with no time for any group computer lessons. That is what my Bonus material is for where you can watch pre-recorded videos in the comfort of your home. You can even download the videos to watch again and again. Besides, wouldn't you rather be out shooting instead of inside the hotel room on your computer? An exception to this would be if the weather is bad enough that it prevents us from creating any meaningful shots. Should that happen we can spend some time on the computers.

 Is this primarily a landscape or wildlife workshop?

This is primarily a landscape workshop. There are some wildlife in the park so if you want to bring a long lens just in-case feel free to do so.

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

This workshop has 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 as a regular client.



Frequently Asked Questions

Regarding My Photo Workshops & Tours in General


 What sets your workshops apart from other workshops?

I absolutely love teaching! I have over 30 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.

 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.

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

Unless specifically mentioned otherwise, 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 as a regular client.

 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.

 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.

 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.

 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 unless otherwise specified. 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.

 What is your cancellation policy?

You can read my cancellation policy as well as any other terms & policies here.

Visit Matt's Sponsors, Partners & Friends


OM SYSTEM / Olympus Cameras & Lenses

I am an Official NiSi Reseller and you can order your NiSi Filters direct from me here.

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Matt Suess

Fine Art Photographer and OM SYSTEM, NiSi, & Fotopro Ambassador

Photography has always been a huge part of my life starting at the age of 12 when I had my own black & white chemical darkroom. That early interest launched a full-time professional photography career that began in 1990 and continues today.

For the first 17 years of my career I was a photojournalist based in New England. I am a digital photography pioneer and began teaching digital photography to photojournalists in the late 90’s, helping bring digital cameras to two different newspapers. I was awarded the 2003 New England Press Associations Photographer of the Year award for my work at the Cape Cod Times. During my time as a photojournalist, I also photographed weddings & portraits, as well as corporate & commercial assignments.

In 2006 I decided to leave all of that behind and move West, where I am now a fine art landscape & nature photographer, educator, and publisher. In addition, I also accept select luxury resort & architectural photography assignments.

I teach numerous field & classroom workshops throughout the year as well as online courses and I provide occasional free online webinars. You may have already seen my videos for software companies such as Skylum and ON1. My passion for sharing and teaching what I have learned during my long career is evident in my down-to-earth and encouraging approach with my clients.

I am sponsored by Olympus / OM SYSTEM as an OM SYSTEM Ambassador. One does not need to shoot with Olympus / OM SYSTEM gear though to take my workshops.

I live in Bozeman, Montana with my fiancee and fine art painter Whitney Hall and our two blue heeler cattle dogs. You can find me online on Instagram and YouTube at @mattsuessphoto

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