We are a community of photographers who give back around the World. We do so by running one-of-a-kind international travel photography workshops, with a humanitarian twist: during the trip, we volunteer part of our time and photographic talents to a local grassroots NGO by documenting their work and teaching photography to the community as a tool for empowerment, self-expression, and storytelling. Post-trip we donate back images, and share our profits. We believe photography is a valuable, accessible, important tool for NGOs and their communities, and we believe it can change the world. Do you?

Covid19 Update

We are postponing all 2020 trips to 2021 and 2022. Check our Workshops page to see what, when, and how.

A note from our Operations Manager: We believe in travel. We believe the world is a good and wonderful place, and that both travel and photography – when done well – make it even better. Not only us, returning home changed, but the places we are guests in. We impact the economy by staying and eating locally, hiring local guides and translators, and otherwise investing funds into the country. We impact the NGO with images, support, and solidarity. We impact the community we serve not only with tangible photography skills – whether novice or advanced – but by empowering them with tools to tell the story they already have. By saying your story is worth telling. By showing up – this alone is impactful to a community, many of which wonder if anyone in the whole world even cares. We do. At the Giving Lens, we care. We care about the people we make and the relationships we build and the places we see and the cultures we experience and the land we get to stand on. We care deeply that the skills we have and the thing we love – photography – be a road into a place and person to make a difference. We don’t travel just to fulfil a bucket list or shoot images like the world is our scavenger hunt. We do all this because we are fueled by our passion to create, our position in life to make a difference, our love for this big, insanely beautiful world, and a deeply held belief that we can make a difference, big or small (and often the small ones turn out to be so very big anyway).  We believe in travel, we believe in our world, we believe in people.

Don’t give up on travel. Shall we do it differently? Yes, this is probably a long time coming anyway. We have always stood for responsible, respectful travel not only to the places and people we meet, but the land we get to stand on, and the planet we get to explore. Right now the responsible, respectful thing to do is to stay home. As we look to the future of travel and our world, we commit to improving not only our trips but the travel industry, that it would empower, uplift, create, invigorate, inspire, fuel, fund, support, encourage, elevate, and cherish these incredible places (and their people) we get to be guests in – and commit to fostering these things within ourselves too. 

Stay safe and be well, 

Kate Siobhan Mulligan

TGL Operations Manager and Creative Director

Travel Photography Workshops with a Meaningful Twist:



A call to adventure: travel photography workshops offer the chance to combine two major passions in one epic trip. We scout locations, plan the shoots, find the light, and walk with you through it all. Along the way we discuss ethics, best practices, composition, editing, working with the light, and so much more. Then, we spend 2-4 days volunteering our time and talent with a worthy NGO – giving you the chance to give back while learning documentary and storytelling skills at the same time.



We find and partner with grassroot non-profits that see value in the creative, and we work with them to volunteer our camera, hearts, time, and energy in whatever way the Non-Profit needs most. Most often, it is by teaching photography classes to the community youths, or underprivileged communities who crave creative outlets to express themselves. We also document the NGOs efforts (and issues) and donate back a few images each for their use. You get to try documentary photography, be impacted by the local community, and explore a lesser known side to the place.



Photography can change how people see their world. Photography – these days – is affordable, fast, and results are instant. You don’t need math or education or even a shared language to point, and shoot, a camera. But watch their faces light up! All ages, races, regions, backgrounds, gender, religions, and cultures: making your photo and seeing it come to life is inspiring, powerful, uplifting, encouraging, and empowering. We want to bring photography around the world to empower anybody who needs it to find their vision, their voice, their unique story – and tell it.



We donate our time and energy on the ground documenting their issues (and victories), and then we donate our images from that time. We donate cameras fundraised for the trip for their on-going use exploring photography and photo projects. Most of all, we donate profits from the trip with the NGO, knowing full well that while photography is impactful, it won’t pay their bills. We share anywhere from 10 to 60% of our profits (depending on budget, relationship, trust, and more).



Our trips are planned by photographers, with photographers (of all levels) in mind. Good light, low crowds, cultural experiences, photogenic opportunities of all kinds, editing time, rest time, and more is taken into consideration when we plan our trips. We will seek the good light for you, and with you, and together as a team.



While we won’t exclude bucket-list photo opps like Machu Pichu, Angkor Wat, or Petra, we strive to get away from the rest of the tours when we can and explore the culture, lesser known locations, or just hang with locals. We aim to provide immersive experiences to you go beyond just visiting a place and get at understanding that place better, deeper, and more – and its people too!



Too often we notice that guides are either not locals (and as such cannot possibly offer much cultural insight) or are, but appear underpaid, overworked, and limited in options. We hire guides that have a fire for their culture and a passion for helping guests like ourselves discover and understand this place and its people.  Not to mention your professional photographer leaders who will be with you every step of the way: not just excellent photographers but experienced in travel, navigating cultures, various genres, editing, the business of travel photography (ie Instagram), and troubleshooting any issues that arise!



We only hire guides and tour companies that are committed to ethically responsible tourism and sensitive cultural exchanges. We believe in minimizing the impact of our presence, in honouring and understanding local cultures and practices (but not exploiting them), in staying in locally owned hotels and dining at locally run restaurants (as opposed to foreign-owned / chains) as much as possible. We are constantly learning how to travel better!

travel photography, but better

We have a Vision

Our vision is to see the three things we love most come together for a greater good: a love of travel, a passion for photography, and a deep desire to give back in some way. Our vision comes alive when we partner with amazing organizations in developing nations, who are at the ground level of a community, and attempting in their seemingly small, but actually enormous way, to help. Our vision comes alive when photographers are moved to action out of compassion, humbleness, and the understanding that seeing the world through a lens and capturing all its moments of beauty and heartache, of victory and agony, of joy and struggle must be one of the most amazing roles on Earth – whether you’ve shot half a million frames, or just a few; whether it is your hobby, your job, or your entire life.

Meet Some of our Epic TGL Team Leaders

Daniel Nahabedian

Daniel Nahabedian

Photographer and Blogger
Varina Patel

Varina Patel

Photographer and Educator
Michael Bonocore

Michael Bonocore

Travel Editor, Photo & Videographer
Paul Pichugin

Paul Pichugin

Landscape Photographer
Susan Roderick

Susan Roderick

Photographer and Educator

Behind the Scenes

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