Anyone choosing to take a photography tour or photography workshop out side of where they live clearly likes to travel but so does the photographer leading the tour, here is a little insight as to how I choose mine.
I don’t know what other photographers do but before I take anyone anywhere I have to know the place pretty well. I choose countries or destinations that I love, that I find photogenic and where I have been several times. Then I go back again especially to research it thoroughly. I meet people, organise an itinerary, do the circuit, find out the best times to be places and how to avoid crowds. I discover hotels and restaurants, what local transport is fun to take, what sort of guides we need. I also discover what to avoid and where not to go andexplain that what we are looking for as photographers can be different from regular visitors and that the light is an important factor for us.
I take several workshops to Myanmar as it is a country that I know and love. Photographically it cannot disappoint as it offers some spectacular magical imagesAlthough the itinerary can sometimes change as can the guides that accompany us I do know it well and the schedule will always be put together so that we find ourselves wherever possible in the right place at the right time.
Paris is where I am based, so obviously this is a given destination. I offer photography tours, photography lessons and several photography workshops in this city where I know implicitly how it works and what there is on offer, when to go places, the best way to get there, best times of day and some secret places that I have discovered over the years.
For a photography lesson whilst visiting Paris, I also suggest the beautiful medieval walled city of Provins that is less than 1hour and a half away, it is surprisingly not on the tourist circuit at all and receives relatively few visitors. This gives the keen photographer a chance to go elsewhere and return with a completely different set of pictures and a different experience.
The Champagne region is also an area I know particularly well as I have a house near it. I know dozens of small producers, all the scenic routes andthe best times to be places, the villages to visit etc. and thoroughly enjoy being there, so it made sense to organise a photography workshop in champagne where each participant can produce their own portfolio on champagne incorporating the towns, villages, champagne cave, landscapes and local people.
I am going to add Sri Lanka to the list of workshops and will return there in early March to work out the itinerary and finalise the details. Sri Lanka is a great country for a photography workshop as it offers beautiful landscapes, delightful people, bustling towns and villages full of colour. I first visited Sri Lanka in the late 80’s during their long civil war for US News and World Report. We went from Colombo to war torn Jaffna where I met with the Tamil Tigers and took some pretty dramatic pictures of them. I have been back since then and am now going to sort out an itinerary for a workshop that will be added to the others in the next couple of months.
There are loads of countries and destinations that I know well but to go and research them thoroughly for a photography tour takes a lot of work, time and money so I change and update the destinations when they are ready.
In spite of having travelled so extensively I am still careful about where I would take a workshop. I prefer to go places that I know and feel that through my personal experiences I can help others to get the best out of the trip whilst improving their photography. I like to arrive in advance and check through things, although as anyone who is used to travelling will tell you that not everything will always go according to plan. Photography generally requires a great deal of patience and whilst travelling even more, so but it should always be fun, interesting, instructive and wonderful.