I received an email recently asking about our Italy photo tour. The person wondered what they were like,and as I responded to the email, I got to thinking about what we do on our tours, and thought I’d share a general overview here.
Our General Approach:
Photography tours are often advertised as “getting to you great locations in the ‘right’ light”. And that is right. As photo tour leaders, I/we (my partner Jed Manwaring leads some too) are responsible for getting our clients to photogenic locations, wherever we are touring, and while we can’t guarantee great light, we plan our locations based on the light being good and hope that it is! We do extensive research and tap into our past experiences in a location to plan our itineraries. But we also take it beyond just getting you to the location. We are there by your side, giving out photographic pointers and reminders – like “don’t forget your polarizing filters”, or “walk down to the left for a better viewpoint without the tree”, or “think about doing a panorama here”, or “use a slow shutter to blur the motion…” We’re also there to look through viewfinders, review images on the LCDs, suggest improvements to what you already have, whatever you need to make the best shot you can while there. Ultimately it’s really your vision, and we try to help you express it.
Our typical day on a cultural photo tour begins before sunrise. We are either driving to a planned location for dawn, or heading out on foot to photograph the morning light. The photo session is always optional for guests, but Jed and I head out early every morning, eager to explore and find magic scenes. We work as a group, until it’s time to go back to the hotel for breakfast (included). After time to fuel up and refresh, we gather again and head out for more photo-exploration, either on foot or in the van to some interesting destination. We build in visits to iconic churches temples, and markets. We allow ample time for waiting for the photograph to come together, and for wandering. We look for behind-the-scenes photo opportunities with artisans, craftsmen, performances, etc. Come lunchtime, we join together (if some had wandered off) to eat and socialize. In the afternoon, we often offer free time, while some of us might continue our wandering. Then, around 4 PM, we join together again and Jed and I take everyone out for late afternoon/sunset photography. Depending on the location and the season, we might be out late, and if that’s the case we try to grab an early dinner before the photo shoot. Eating times have to be flexible so we can be out for the best light of the day, but we never go hungry!
We gather together a few times during the tour to look at images made, when feasible, which is a great way to evaluate how you’re doing and to be inspired by others’ work, too.
So that’s how we ‘run’ things pretty much. Our goal is to help you create the most memorable pictures you can while on the tour! And this is where your job begins.
Your job is to come with a positive attitude, enthusiasm, and the energy to walk, climb steps and even towers to find new perspectives, (if you can) and the willingness to share enthusiastically in the process of seeing, photographing and sharing!