Physical Rating: Moderate

Included: Accommodation, ground transportation, workshop lessons, activities, and some meals.

Day 1 Fly into Medan and meet anytime during the day.  Meet at the hotel and have dinner together to taste some local Indonesian cuisine and get to know all our fellow travelers.

Lesson 1: Ethics of Photodocumentary & Teaming with Groups to Make Impact

  • Ethics of Photodocumentary: We will discuss the ethics of being a documentary photographer through contemporary and historic examples. We will talk about permission/consent, editing, safety, journalistic integrity, responsibility, framing, narratives, your power/role as a photographer, and how photography can and has impacted social change. 

  • Finding and working with a team is essential for change.  We will discuss how to find partners to work with and how, together, change can be made

  • Introduce a Sumatra Conservation Story: We will introduce the NGO we are working with in Sumatra (Orangutan Information Centre & Sumatra Wildlife Sanctuary), and give background of the animals we will photograph and the team working to save them.  On this project we have teamed up with a conservationist recognized for his efforts by National Geographic.

  • Project 1 is assigned.

Kristi odom

Kristi odom

Day 2 Medan. Orientation at Orangutan Information Center and first lesson.  (private transport to OIC and use of office room)

Day 3-6 Travel by private bus to Bukit Lawang for 3 nights and do trekking 2 days. This is where we will see and photograph the critically endangered orangutan.  Having 2 full days of trekking to see these amazing animals that share 97 percent of our DNA in the wild will leave you breathless.  Having the opportunity to photograph a critically endangered animal in the wild is an experience that will leave you changed! 




  • Art of Storytelling: Through discussion, we will identify and unveil the elements and ingredients that make a powerful story. In your first storytelling assignment, you will get hands-on, guided practice in telling a story with your images.

  • Power of Voice: We will work on bringing your own narrative and emotions into your work.  Make your photos speak and say what you feel.  

  • Project 1 critique.

  • Project  2 is assigned.


  • Learn how to storytell by the way you move your viewer throughout your frame.  Use of light, color, shapes, multi-level photojournalism will all be shown as ways to use a single image to tell more of a story and to trap the viewers eyes

  • Project 2 critique.

  • Project  3 is assigned.

Day 6-9  Drive by private bus towards Lake Toba. Here you will be able to take in the Batak culture of the area and experience a different side of Sumatra.






  • Participants will learn to take stunning landscape images with or without a tripod. We will also learn how to take beautiful "long exposures" of water and clouds to get a flowy, dreamy effect with or without the use of filters.

  • Through guided practice and a fun and challenging exercise, participants will learn how to bring portraiture to the next step.

  • Project 3 critique.

  • Project 4 is assigned.


  • Through discussion and examples, we will encourage you to venture into social change and impact territory with your photography. 

  • Project 4 critique.

  • Project  5 is assigned.


  • Time to put all the skills you have learned to the test in one last assignment! Throughout the evening you will have the chance to meet with your workshop instructor to have one-on-one feedback on your editing and selection process.

  • Project 6 critique.

  • Project  7 is assigned.

Day 9-10 Back to Medan to unwind before flying home, take a trip to the Medan Zoo in route back to the city. Last day at the OIC, share your stories with the group, followed by a night of desserts and coffee at a Sumatran Coffee House.  (need private transport from Lake Toba to Medan via the zoo, 2 night accommodation in Medan, transfer to coffee house, time at the OIC for final day storytelling)


  • Put all that you have learned and shot to the test!  Each workshop attendee will have 10 minutes to get up share their images and stories from the trip.  

  • Together there will be a discussion for each presentation on how to share images for impact and change.  

Day 11- Transfer to airport for flights home OR optional extension (see below)

Optional Day 11-13 EXTENSION (Additional $350):

The NGO we are working with in Sumatra is the world’s first to successfully turn a palm oil plantation back into forest.  This extension is a bit of rough travel which is why it is an optional extension.  Ride by private bus to the edge of palm oil plantations where you will continue on by motorbike to get to the reforestation site.  The night will be spent on a platform in the middle of the forest (no running water and sleeping is on mats under mosquito netting).  You will learn about the team that has worked together to make a forest and be given the opportunity to plant a tree in your name or a loved one's name.  It is a beautiful and unique experience witnessing a young forest being created.