One of the great satisfactions of a vacation is returning with stunning photos that let you savor and share your experience for years to come. But what if you were to embark on a trip with the express purpose of taking photographs—and improving your skills at the same time? A photo tour or workshop can help you do just that.
While planning your trip, think about how much instruction you’re interested in. Workshops offer intensive learning for specific skills, while tours, though usually led by experienced photographers available for advice, are less instruction-oriented, focusing instead on access to ideal photographic opportunities. Many workshops (and some tours) specify the level of knowledge—beginner, intermediate, advanced—that is expected of participants, so select the one that best suits your technical knowledge and experience.
Take care to match your expectations with those of the professionals you’ll be following. It may be possible to do research on the Web to find examples of the leader’s work, or even full portfolios, so ask yourself if their vision inspires and appeals to you. Research online reviews sites for additional help in evaluating specific operators.
Contact the tour or workshop provider and ask what to bring beyond just photo equipment, such as waterproof clothing, travel papers and personal essentials. Unless you’re told otherwise, bring a variety of lenses, extra memory cards and even a spare camera body, and don’t forget to confirm that all your gear is in good working order. Research the locations you’ll be visiting—their history, environment and climate—and look at magazines and online photo galleries to get inspired and open your mind to fresh points of view.
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