Private Photography Workshops with Matt Payne

I host private workshops and photography tours in Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico with a deeply knowledgeable focus on the San Juan Mountains. I have been photographing fall color in Colorado for a decade and know most of the best areas, when they peak, and what time to be there. I have also climbed over 200 mountains in Colorado and know my way around these peaks. I specialize in unique landscape & nature photography and night photography. Even though group workshops are extremely fun and satisfying for some photographers, the best way to learn and discover new locations is in a 1:1 environment. Having less people around you with no interruptions helps you get comfortable with camera operation and composition and it also allows us to explore more techniques and locations, plus you have the undivided attention of the teacher. I tailor your workshop with me based on your needs, questions, and areas you wish to grow as a photographer.

Reflecting on Red Mountain Blues (2019)

On my private workshops, you can expect to learn a lot, including but not limited to:

  • Camera techniques
  • The exposure triangle
  • Expert night photography techniques including star trails, how to focus your lens at night, and more
  • Composition
  • Post-processing advice and tutorials
  • Discovering your vision
  • Panorama photography
  • Depth of field
  • Use of phone apps to maximize your success and enhance your creativity
  • Wilderness navigation
  • Landmark identification (I'm a mountain nerd)
  • Pro backpacking tips
  • Leave No Trace practices
  • Social media and business discussion
  • Time-lapse photography
  • Drone photography

Each private workshop is custom-tailored to meet your needs and to maximize your learning and experience.

Join me for a customized workshop adventure today! Scroll to the bottom to fill out our form to get started.

Desert Nocturna

What you will need

  • A good sense of humor.
  • Patience.
  • A willingness to learn.
  • If you want to go into the backcountry, you will need to be in good physical condition (e-mail me if you have questions).
  • A DSLR or Mirrorless Camera that can perform in Manual (M) Mode and user manual.
  • At least 2 fully charged camera batteries and 32GBs of memory card storage.
  • A wide angle lens that is at least 24mm with an aperture of f/2.8 or faster is recommended but not required. I can also teach you how to use your longer prime lenses.
  • Shutter Release or Intervalometer (Please email me camera make/model if you need help finding one).
  • Tripod.
  • Headlamp.
  • Warm synthetic clothing with layers.
  • A rain coat.
  • Warm gloves.
  • Food and snacks.
  • Water.
  • If you want to backpack - we will need to discuss specific needs for the trip you have in mind.


I am an adventurer at heart and love to explore new locations. For the best experience, we may want to stick to some of the areas I am most familiar with; however, if you're adventurous and want to explore with me, we can make it work. I have the tools to make it enjoyable and successful. Here is a list of some of my favorite locations that I can assist you in exploring and photographing:

  • Fall color all over the State of Colorado.
  • 14ers, 13ers, and other high places in Colorado. I have climbed all of the 14ers and the highest 100 mountains in Colorado.
  • Southwest Colorado.
  • The deserts of Utah.
  • San Juan Mountains of Colorado.
  • Elk Mountains of Colorado.
  • Bisti Badlands of New Mexico.
Patience and Time


"The workshop was terrific! I learned everything I had on my list and more, a big thanks and kudos to you! Your teaching style is easy going and very effective. You create a great learning environment. And, you were very familiar with the areas we were photographing - where to be and when." - Tom Tenenbaum

Let's Do This!

To get started on your personalized adventure with Matt, fill out this form and he will be in touch soon!