• Sam Wilson

5 Reasons To Do A Photography Tour


Why I Recommend Tours As Part Of Your

Photography Journey


Let me just say at the outset, I LOVE doing tours for so many reasons.


Having attended over 12 tours in the last 5 years, you could say I’m a bit of an addict! This does not include smaller workshops or the incredible informal photography trips I've done as well.


Just to clarify, I regard a workshop as anything from an hour to a full day, whereas a tour involves staying overnight - anything from 2 days plus.

Fun in Tassie - my first photography Tour

Both are absolutely beneficial in experiencing new locations and improving your photography skills, so let's just call them both tours from here on in.


As a total newbie to photography, and super keen to learn, I signed up to everything I could find. A now friend of mine still talks about how I booked into four of her tours online before even meeting her! Luckily that worked for me as she is a wonderful teacher (clearly the universe was looking out for me), but I wouldn’t recommend it now without doing a bit more research.


Canola Field from a day tour I attended in 2017

From then I moved on to doing more overnight/longer length tours. I guess this stemmed from being a solo woman who wanted to experience more but didn’t have the courage or knowledge to totally do it on my own.


Anyhoo, here’s the 5 main reasons I recommend doing a photography specific tour (solo or not) -

  1. Organisation

  2. Locations

  3. Learning

  4. Community

  5. Safety


Organisation

Whether it’s a tour to a new location, or just because of time limitations, attending an organised tour packs in so much more than you could ever find doing it on your own.


You honestly don’t have to think about anything else than your photography. A well organised tour will send you the itinerary (or at least a list of potential locations) ahead of time so you have an idea of the locations you’ll be going to so you can do whatever research you choose to, or not - having zero expectations can be very liberating!


Then all you have to worry about is knowing what time you have to meet back up with the group again, whether that is stupid o’clock for sunrise, or when to be ready again to head out for sunset if you’re lucky enough to get a break in the afternoon.



Loved the Juicy Vans we saw everywhere in New Zealand

If you’ve ever planned your own trip (which I also love to do), this is just such a relief. All you have to do is show up with your gear, battery fully charged, memory cards at the ready, and all weather gear just in case.


You also get to see much more in a shorter space of time than if you were to try and find these locations on your own - good bang for your buck!


Tip - I also print and keep all my itineraries so I can't forget the name of a location. The days can blur a little with such long hours - this has helped me many times!


Locations


For obvious reasons, most tours are location based and most will take you to the well-known or iconic photo spots which is great, and I think we all need these shots, but there’s usually more to be seen.



One of the most photographed locations in New Zealand, but still a must do


However, a good tour will also take you to some incredible different locations off the tourist/Instagram trail.



(The main reason I love these photos is that they are of landscapes not seen every day)


This is why I recommend you research (or stalk even) the guide that you do your tour with. They really should have an intimate knowledge of the area to both take you to locations you haven’t even known about, but also have the ability and flexibility to change locations on the day depending on the conditions. This is not always possible but something to consider.



Learning


This could be your main reason to do a tour, and this is for a good reason. A good tour guide should understand where you are at with your photography, what you hope/expect to get out of the tour, and be able to give you the time and expertise to help you achieve these goals.


I've also learned a lot about editing photos over the time, it's all part of the journey. Here's an example of that from Coles Bay 2017. First image was edited that day while the second image earlier in 2021. I will definitely be covering this in future topics.


Thanks to Facebook Memories for the reminder -




For some reason I prefer this version

Being presented with new and different situations gives lots of opportunities for learning, not only from the guides, but also with others in the group with you.

From my experience, everyone in the group will be at a different place in their photography journey and the knowledge shared from each other is just invaluable.



Taken from the side of the road in Tasmania - lots of poppies grown there

Community


Starting and learning photography (particularly landscape photography) can be a very isolated journey, so the benefits of doing a tour with like-minded people has so many benefits.


Yes , there are lots of online communities, but there’s nothing like having face to face conversations and experiences with others to make your journey even more enjoyable.


While I have friendships that I totally value from the social media world, I also have those with people I met 5yrs ago on a tour.


(It's not always just about Cabernet with views like this at the end of a tour)

Safety


I have to admit that this is something I consider more and more as time goes on.

It's all well and good to research and find locations to get to on your own, but this can be very daunting when you arrive and are walking onto the unknown in the dark on your own.


As a solo female it's often discussed around coming across strangers or being assaulted. While this is a consideration, I'm more concerned around having a fall on a rock shelf or such and having no one around to help if I'm not able to get to my phone, or heaven forbid, there's no signal (terrifying these days I know).


This is one spot where this could easily happen, Tasman Lake in New Zealand. The walk in to here was a nice well-maintained path, but where you have to navigate to and set up to get this image is a whole other story! It's like sitting on the downside of a hill, but instead of nice flat grass, it's big black rocks that have a nasty habit of moving when you put any weight on them.





This is where I feel safe doing a tour - it's just one less thing I need to worry about.



“I don’t get It.
The trail looked so flat on the map"

Conclusion


All The Things - I could talk about the benefits of doing tours for hours - and sorry to my non-photography friends who I've done this to.


Yes, I love doing my own thing, but doing tours like these will always be on my agenda - I don't think I would have even travelled to New Zealand on my own.



One of my faves in New Zealand

I will definitely continue to do tours - some with now old friends, and some with new - look out Iceland 2022, so stay in touch to keep updated.


Feel free to contact me if you would like more information or recommendations on tour guides that I have travelled with and would do further tours with.



That’s it for now


That's all for today. Next up is "How My First Photography Tour Got Me Hooked", join here to travel with me to Tasmania if you haven't already subscribed.


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