Sign Up For Workshop Notification

2018 Yunnan Photo Workshop
Jan 7 - 17, 2018
A Joint workshop with Joe Baraban and William Yu

Why Joe and William lead this joint workshop?

This will probably go down as my most interesting, mysterious, adventurous workshop to date, as well as something that has always been in the back of my mind on a secondary ‘bucket list’.

A couple of years ago I met (while teaching online with the BPSOP) and began talking to a photographer named William Yu. After looking at his really strong images, the photo tours he led, his expertise (his knowledge of China notwithstanding), and what others have said about William, I thought it would make for a great trip if he and I joined forces and led a photo tour together. We talked a few more times but because of his schedule and mine we just couldn’t make it happen, recently we got back together and were able to make it happen the beginning of 2018.

This is an extraordinary chance to meet people and take photographs you would normally see in magazines such as National Geographic.

Joe Baraban

I met Joe at BPSOP online photo school, he is one of the best photography instructors there, always getting rave reviews from students. His knowledge, skills and teaching style made his classes highly sought after. We have been in discussion for joint workshops for a while now, it's finally realized here! I firmly believe that all attendees of this workshop will benefit a lot from his teaching based on years of knowledge and experience. Joe and I are working together to provide the best photography and travel experience to all of you! Welcome onboard to learn and pratice photography at one of the most beautiful but unique areas of the world!

William Yu

Morning mist, Yuanyang, Yunnan province.

Photo Workshop Summary:

This joint workshop with Joe Baraban and William Yu will visit the beautiful Yunnan province in the southwest China at its best season, photographing both unique landscape of rice terraces and beautiful environmental portraits of Yi and Hani people.

When: Jan 7–17, 2018
Where: Honghe, Yuanyang and Kunming, Yunnan province, China
Cost: US$ 3,600 based on double occupancy, extra US$300 for single occupancy
Group size: 12 maximum
Category: Photography Workshop
Workshop Leaders & Photography Instructors: Joe Baraban and William Yu
Language spoken: English
Workshop URL:
Contact: or

Workshop Highlights:

Yuanyang, Yunnan province.

Yuanyang, Yunnan Province, is a Hani minority ethnic settlement atop a ridge of the Ailao mountain range at an elevation of around 1570 meters. It is a popular destination with photographers due to the vast areas of nearby mountains which have been cultivated into terraced rice paddies for at least the past 1300 years by the Hani people. Despite the overwhelming scenic beauty of its landscape and colorful local minorities, mass tourism hasn't developed in this region, mainly due to its remote location, and until fairly recent, relative inaccessibility. The terraced areas of interest to visitors are mainly found between 1000 and 2000 metres above sea level. The winter temperatures here, although never freezing, are such that they only support one rice crop a year. The terraces are filled with water until May, when planting begins. Overall, Yuanyang offers a great venue for both landscape photography and environmental portraiture. This is one of the most visited areas of our photo tours around the year.

The UNESCO's World Heritage Committee inscribed China's cultural landscape of Honghe Hani Rice Terraces(mainly in Yuanyang) onto the prestigious World Heritage List on Jun 22, 2013

Yuanyang, Yunnan province

The cost of this Workshop is US$3,600, it includes:

The cost does NOT include:

Physical demand:

The entire trip is relatively easy physically, no long or tedious hikes/climbs. Most shooting spots are quite accessible from the road or parking lot.

Important Notes:

In the market, Yuanyang, Yunnan province.

Workshop Itinerary:

Day 1: Jan 7.

Your arrival in Kunming (KMG), the provincial capital of Yunnan province, China. Joe and I will greet and meet everyone of this group 7:00pm at the following hotel lobby.
Crowne Plaza Kunming City Centre
399 Qingnian Rd
Kunming, Yunnan Province, China

City of Kunming, Yunnan province.

Day 2: Jan 8

Our bus will pick our group in the morning, driving to the city of Jianshui, visiting Linan ancient town and Zhu family Garden.

Jianshui, Yunnan province

Day 3: Jan 9

Photographing Tuanshan village in the morning, shooting Yi ethnic village of Niujie, at Shiping, in the afternoon.

Yi ethnic village, Shiping, Yunnan province.

Day 4: Jan 10

Photographing Shiping Yi village in the morning, driving to Honghe in the afternoon.

Yi ethnic village, Shiping, Yunnan province.

Day 5: Jan 11

Photographing Honghe rice terraces whole day.

Rice Terrace, Honghe, Yunnan province.

Day 6 – 9: Jan 12 - 15

Four very active days of photography in Yuanyang, subjects including: sunrise, sunset, environmental portraits of ethnic villagers, street photography at the local market.

Mist over rice terraces, Yuanyang, Yunnan province

Women working at home, Yuanyang, Yunnan province

Yi Elderly, Yuanyang, Yunnan province

Day 10: Jan 16

Driving back to Kunming, visiting the famous "Stone forest" limestone formations on the way.

Stone Forest, Yunnan province.

Day 11: Jan 17

Farewell and Departing.

NOTE: Joe and I reserve the right to adjust/alter the itinerary on location, adapting to local weather, light conditions, or sudden local event/situation to better manage time and/or photo opportunities.

Rice terraces, Yuanyang, Yunnan province.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What will Joe and I cover technically for photography?

The main focus of this Workshop is to open up your mind's eye, keenly identify photographic opportunities and make creative decisions, then properly execute it in terms of exposure and composition. The process will cover all elements of design: line, shape, form, texture, pattern and color, as well as techniques like long exposure, selecting lenses, using of graduated neutral density filter and polarizing filter, etc. During the breaks, Joe and I will review post-processing workflows, techniques using photoshop, lightroom and some third party plug-ins.

Joe and I will give instructions/recommendations on every photography opportunities. Questions are always welcome and encouraged. Joe and I will have group review every couple of days during downtime or at the evening.

What to bring for this trip?

How do I sign up and pay for this tour?

A deposit of $250 is required for this workshop to hold your spot, you can pay by Visa, Mastercard or PayPal via or send a check (U.S. residents only). The balance is due Sep 7, 2017. You can send the balance with a check or wire transfer. All participants must sign Liability Waiver Form before the Workshop starts.

How many participants do you allow?

Workshop size is limited to 12 attendees, which ensures that every attendee will get full attention.

Market day, Yuanyang, Yunnan province.

What photographic skill level is required to benefit from this tour?

Any people who has a basic understanding of exposure all the way to the advanced amateur and professional who is in search of a fresh perspective!

What is your refund or cancellation policy?

No refunds will be given for delays or cancellations due to inclement weather, (which interestingly, can result in some of the most some amazing shots!), either before or during the tour. If the Workshop is cancelled by the organizer, Joe and I will notify you immediately and you will be issued full refund. Joe and I are not responsible for any additional costs you may incur due to any delays or cancellations.

No Refunds for USD250 deposit if cancelled.

50% refund of full payment Sep 7 - Oct 7, 2017.

No refund after Oct 7, 2017.

I have some questions, how do I learn more?

Please send email to or

Rice terrace, Yuanyang, Yunnan province.

Testimonials / Endorsement:

I recently completed my 3rd photography workshop with Joe Baraban. The location was Houston, TX, and all I can say is that I will be coming back for more! All aspects of the workshop were fantastic: Joe's approach to teaching, the shooting locations, the critiques, the individual attention, the accommodations, the planning and organization, and the great communications.

From the "Meet and Greet" reception the first night to the final dinner, Joe and Mikki paid strict attention to every level of detail making sure that we were very well taken care…all of the time. And the photography was great too! Joe's selections of locations were diverse and challenging and presented many, many opportunities for great shots and for learning.

The critiques are a wonderful educational experience as you discuss your own work as well as the work of the other photographers. Joe teaches how to "make pictures", not just taking pictures. There was never a dull moment! The quality and creativity in my photographs continue to ratchet up a notch as I learn from Joe. I highly recommend Joe's workshops as well his online courses.


Thank you so much Joe for this great online course. I have learned so much from you in the last four weeks. You have opened my mind and my eyes. I see the study of photography as a lifelong journey and I think I am becoming a much more aware and discerning and creative photographer as a direct result of taking this course with you.

I have also seen the value of being more disciplined in terms of using a tripod, measuring and observing light, cropping in camera, etc. I thank you for sharing your many years of experience and wisdom with others. You are an amazing mentor. Take care and best regards,


Thank you, Joe, for stretching my mind and rescuing me from the ghosts of mediocrity. I'm glad I took all three courses together. It took me a while to absorb the wealth of photographic wisdom you so generously offer, and I have yet to apply it fully, but your practical advice on how to actually use the art principles of design and gestalt in photography are exactly what I've been looking for. Your critiques are the best. I'll miss those the most.

Excellent photographers who can teach well are rare. I'm glad I found you and highly recommend you to anyone interested in taking better photos.


I just finished taking Joe’s workshop and again it was nothing short of extraordinary. Because of Joe and the ideas and concepts he teaches, I see everything differently now. Whether I’m driving along a country road or watching TV, I now see negative space, vanishing points, color, light, texture, pattern, line, angle of reflection, tension, perspective – everywhere. Knowing these critical elements of design have truly not only changed how and what I photograph, but have changed the way I look at the world in a very real way.

I cannot adequately express my gratitude to Joe for his caring and expertise and if you are considering taking a class or workshop with Joe think no more as I cannot recommend him highly enough. Just DO IT!!!


Moring in Yuanyang, Yunnan province.

Joe Baraban’s workshop is first rate, and pitched at a level that in my opinion would provide a strong learning experience for any photographer, no matter their level or their primary area of photographic interest. Joe is attentive and his workshops are well prepared and illustrative of the concepts being put forward. Better yet, supplementary tips and advice were passed along to participants in neat little packages with tittles like “The fifteen point inspection plan”. His photo critiques are honest and very helpful. A number of us would definitely take a second workshop offered by Joe.


Joe, thank you for a terrific workshop. I loved it! Why, because you put a lot of time and effort into your class. You gave plenty of notes and pictures to back them up. You encouraged us make the time and shoot, and be willing to talk about all of them. You took plenty of time to look at all of our pictures, critique then thoroughly, and advise us to retake them with your new suggestions. I learned a lot and I know that because of you my pictures will go up a level. If anyone were going to take a class, I would say “make it Joe’s”.


Thanks again for a great class. As someone who normally doesn’t set up shots and always “takes” pictures, it was challenging for me to start thinking about “making” pictures. It was tough, but I think you have opened my mind to more possibilities.


“Stretching Your Frame of Mind was, by far, the best photography class I’ve ever taken for two reasons: (1) Joe is among the best teachers that I’ve ever had (in any field of study) and (2) the lessons that I’ve learned from Joe are so valuable that I now apply them to every single photograph I take. I cannot recommend Joe and his class highly enough.


Firstly, I have to say big thank you to you, Joe – I have learned a lot and it prompted me to think much more about photos I have taken and which I would like to take. I have tons of ideas now – though the putting them into reality … hurts…For the moment, I cannot produce the result I want. But I will strive to get in better shape soon and for that I am carrying my camera with “15 PIP” and ‘artist’s palette’ around and asking myself about “does it” a lot when making a picture. All the best from Prague


Joe I really am impressed with you as a teacher and feel that is far more powerful than being an instructor! Sincerely wish I met you much earlier in my career as I have learned so much over four weeks that I did not learn over 15 plus years. The manner in which you present the material and then taking the time to provide coherent explanations is just wonderful! The video critiques are so valuable and especially being able to show where to stand when shooting. Absolutely wonderful! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being honest with us and making us think for ourselves which makes us better photographers. Putting the tools in our hands that change the manner in which we work and know how to work.

So looking forward to your next class and in the meantime, will practice, practice, practice and more practice. Thank you Joe,


Dusk at rice terraces, Yuanyang, Yunnan province.

"I have worked with William Yu on many occasions and let me state emphatically that he is one of the best workshop instructors ever and one heck of a talented photographer too! You will enjoy your time with William and learn far more than perhaps you ever imagined in the workshops he offers!"

Bryan F Peterson
The Perfect Picture School of Photography

I have never been on a "photo tour" before. We travel a lot and I have to say it was one of the best experiences ever. Most importantly in my mind is that I thought it was well planned out - getting to the locations at the right times and I also liked that we got to go to some of the iconic locations that we see in photos (late at night when no one was there), as well as a few that we don't normally see. I felt the amount of time that we had in most locations was great. It was nice that we could as a group be somewhat flexible to stay one place a bit longer and/or go to other places when the lighting wasn't as good. I appreciated that you corralled people up when they weren't on the bus on time... but always being super nice about it. I liked that we could get to a hotel location and some people could rest, but I usually had several hours to explore the town/area on my own. The accommodations and food were all good, if not excellent. Another thing that I thought was really great was having a bus twice as big as the number of people so we had room to put all of our stuff. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting you and others in the group and appreciate all that you did to put this trip together. I hope that I can shoot with you again some day.

Lorna Midice, USA

What an amazing 10 days in Iceland. To summarize the experience in a few words will not do it justice. Both William Yu and Lurie B. gave me an experience that will stay with me forever. Both of them combined talent and knowledge about landscape photography and finding wonderful places to shoot. The local arrangements were good and the organization well done. We had plenty of time to set up, to experience and to share. This hand-on experience was good for al level of photographers. We visited some far remote places and some fun places. Shooting pieces of washed away chuck of ice from the glacier was one of the most fun highlight of the trip. Thank you to both of you for sharing your expertise and for making this a safe and fun photo tour. The group was made up of wonderful people, by the end of the trip, our group was really tight. Thank you Guys for this amazing trip. Looking forward at shooting the Northern lights in winter.

Jean-Claude Veille, USA

The tour was fantastic - way beyond my wildest expectations. perhaps i had no idea how beautiful and picturesque iceland is; it seems like a different planet of its own!. everything was to my satisfaction - the price; the sights which i am sure we could not have seen without William and lurie; they did a good job in picking the right places; the food was delicious and excellent. The driver was great, transportation comfortable and the fact that we had 2 seats each was a big plus.

I am amazed and impressed at the photos that are all popping up in facebook. from the pictures that are being posted i continue to see different perspectives and angles i never would have seen. we all went to the same places but no two pictures are alike. i am lucky to have been with a superb group of photographers. I certainly will take a winter trip to iceland in the future. and looking forward to another learning trip with you - will try to make it to tibet at least!

Many thanks for organizing everything!

Minnie Domingo, USA

Earlier this year, William led a group of 10 on a marvellous and photographically rich tour of minority tribal villages in SW China. It was my first time in China. William's arrangements showed very careful preparation and a smooth liaison with his local co-guide Anton. Notably, we were impressed with Anton's ability to secure accommodation for all of us at five minutes' notice after one hotel declined to acknowledge the booking. Also, William took care to detail his co-guide to quietly offer assistance to an older member of the group. If I had any suggestions it would be to say: "Let's have a bit more time to interact and compare notes each evening." Even so, I can hardly wait to join William again!

Anne Forbes, Australia

If you are thinking of going you should. It is an experience of a lifetime. My husband and I joined William on his September 2013 China workshop. You go to places where you would have difficulty going to on your own. We loved it.

Christel Sarsfield, Canada

This was my first trip dedicated to photography so I was a little apprehensive about several things including the varying levels of the other participants' photography skills.

William handled all the different skill levels so well. We all received advice, assistance and a healthy dose of positive reinforcement. He was patient and reassuring while handling all our travel details, hotel accommodations, meals and many MANY questions.

William was very knowledgeable about the area we visited and knew exactly where to go, when to be there and how long we should wait for a shot before calling it a day. The sites we visited weren't just the regular landscape and workshopist sights, we also visited markets and villagers in their homes. This was an extraordinary privilege for us to be able to do. It made the trip personal and the resulting photos are more than an improvement in skills, they are warm memories.

I'm an American expat and have lived in Asia for many years but although I have traveled extensively throughout Asia, I cannot imagine that I would ever have had an opportunity to do a trip like this. It's a hard place to reach and to even know about but William made this happen for me. I cannot wait to see what adventure is in store next because I will absolutely be singing up for it.

Rebecca Lynn Fowler Wong, U.S.A.

"I was one of the lucky seven who was fortunate enough to go on the trip to Yunnan China offered by William Yu. It was the highlight of my year, still is. As I write this I still cannot get over how much I was able to do and see during this trip. Time travel is hard to do and that is exactly what we did. We stepped back in time and visited a place to marvel over. Yunnan is a wondrous place and William was an exceptional host, good humored, prepared, (even for the tissues to clean the utensils, thank you William) knowledgeable and generous. Photos have appeared on my computer that I would never have believed possible but for William’s help.I am very very happy that I was able to go on this trip and hope to join William on another adventure."

Joanne Martin, Canada

Hello, William. My wife and I are still talking about the China workshop, and how we can now say that we left the Shanghai "bubble" and roughed it in the Yunnan province. You hosted a great workshop, and I appreciate how open you were in not only sharing the information but also taking time to explain the concepts. Mr. Ma also definitely had a unique personality brought an interesting mix to our group.

Carl Smiley, U.S.A.

January, this year, I attended William's photography Workshop in Yunnan, China. What an amazingly wonderful experience - I have not stopped talking about since my return - to have a chance to photograph those beautiful rice paddies planted on terraces up in the mountains was very special, but even more special was the chance to visit the rural villages to photograph villagers as they went about their daily lives. William organized a superb photography workshop though which photography greatly improved and my world was broadened.

Sheila Wertheimer, U.S.A.

This is my first time joining William's China Photo Workshop, It's very impressive. William is very attentative to all aspects of the workshop. It's thoughful of him having Mr. Ma, the most experienced local photographer, as our workshop guide, who enables us to shoot in the right locations at right time.

During the workshop, William is extremely patient to share his photographic knowledge and skills with us, in terms of exposure, composition, post-processing, lighting, lens selection, etc. This trip is well exceeding my expectation, I sincerely hope to join more future China workshops with William. By the way, William is fluent in both English and Mandarin, which is great plus to me.

Louis Huang, Taiwan

A girl in Yi ethnic dress, Yuanyang, Yunnan province.

About Joe Baraban:

After receiving his BA in Journalism, Joe ventured out into the freelance world and never looked back. For the past forty years, Joe has shot professionally for clients from Coca Cola to Hennessy, Cessna to United Air Lines and Boeing, and from Microsoft to IBM and HP. He has shot the full line car brochures for Acura, Saturn, and Range Rover, not to mention campaigns for Acura, Jaguar, Mazda and Ford.

The tourism departments for Alberta, Canada, Pennsylvania, Alabama, and Texas have contracted Joe to shoot images for their state campaigns.

Joe spent his early years shooting for AP, UPI, and was a Black Star photographer. Over the years, National Geographic, Life, Texas Monthly, Time, Geo, Newsweek, and the New York Times Magazine have used Joe for several of their editorial assignments…just to name a few.

Teaching people how to use their eye has always been one of Joe’s passions, and he’s conducted his personal workshops around the world and also with organizations including: The Maine Media Workshop (twenty-nine years), The Santa Fe Workshop in Santa Fe, The Julia Dean Workshop in Hollywood, The South Florida Workshop, The Pacific Northwest School of Art on Whidbey Island, The Texas Photographic Workshop, Objectif’s, a photographic organization in Singapore brought him there for three workshops, and The Houston Center for Photography for two. Joe has also conducted continuing education classes at Rice University.

In conjunction with the Santa Fe Workshops, Joe has led four photo tours to Cuba. His personal workshops include: Prague, Tuscany, Provence, Portugal, Sicily, Houston, and led a photo tour to Myanmar as well.

He has been sought out as a guest speaker for various ASMP chapters (American Society of Media Photographers), advertising and art director’s clubs across the country, The Art Center in Pasadena, California, and Brooks Institute. He has given seminars at Photo East in New York, Photo West in San Francisco, and Viacom (the national photographic convention in Canada). He is also teaching two online classes at Bryan Peterson School of Photography(

Joe has had feature articles written about his work in Communication Arts Magazine, Photo District News, Japan’s Portfolio Magazine, and Studio Magazine. His work has appeared in CA, Photo Graphis, and The Mead Annual Report Show. His expertise had also spurred an invitation to judge the prestigious Communication Arts Photography Annual.

He currently has four of his Fine Art photographs in the permanent photography collection at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, headed by world acclaimed photography curator Ann Tucker.

You can view his work at: and follow him or be his new friend on Facebook.

About William Yu:

William Yu is San Francisco based travel photographer, photography instructor and the owner of William Yu Photo Workshops. Several times a year, he leads small group of photographers to journey through some of the most unique and beautiful places in the world, capturing culture/people/festivities and landscapes. If you'd like to learn, practice photography and experience the cultures in the most beautiful locations around the world, just follow his lead. William is also travel photography course instructor at Bryan Peterson School of Photography( founded by renowned photographer Bryan Peterson. William's photos have been published in Photography Magazines in USA, China and Europe. His travel photography clients include, Ubisoft, Accenture, Google, Ogilvy One Worldwide, Microsoft, American Airlines, Earnest & Young, MTV Networks, Bloomberg Finance, Westjet, Figaro Magazine, etc. You can view William's work at , follow his instagram Friend him on Facebook at