You’ve seen the ads for the photography tours. They all look cool, whether you are talking about a quick day trip to a nearby location or some exotic land far away. But, then you start talking to yourself: I might not like it; what if everybody is better than me?; It’s probably too much money anyway. So you think about it for a while and decide that you’ll keep it on your list until the next time.
I’d been doing that for a while too, and this last Fall I decided that it was time to stop talking myself out of a trip and finally experience one. I chose a 3 ½ day tour to the north shore of Lake Superior on a tour run by photographer Andrew McLachlan. On the appointed day, I loaded up my SUV and headed 10 hours north, not sure what I was getting myself into.
I spent three great days getting to know some new people. It was pretty easy because we all had at least one common interest – photography. The group’s skill ranged from professional (our leader), to advanced hobbyists (gear bag as big as my suitcase), intermediate and even a beginner. Everybody was willing to help and I found it fascinating that I was able to learn by teaching somebody who was newer at this amazing hobby.
Most days we shot from sunup to sundown. Andrew was there when we needed advice and left us alone when we got comfortable. He knew some incredible locations that I never would have found on my own, and that was almost worth the price of admission all by itself.
Here’s a few things that you might want to consider if you are thinking about signing up for your own first photography tour:
- Pick something within your budget, and be aware that many of the tours are not all-inclusive. Be sure you know what is included before you go.
- Make sure that you are choosing a tour with a leader who will instruct as well as lead you to locations
- Make sure you are aware of the physical requirements for the tour you choose; some are far more strenuous than other
- Don’t worry if you aren’t normally the most sociable person in the crowd. You all have something in common and that makes it easy to connect with others in the group
For me, my first trip was definitely not my last. I had a great time and met some people that I’ve stayed in touch with over the last couple of months through social media and I hope to meet up with them in person again in the future. I learned more than I could have hoped for, not so much because of the great instruction I received (although that was good), but because I spent three days concentrating on my hobby with no distractions; things that I had always struggled with suddenly came quite naturally.
The next time you see an ad for a photography tour that catches your eye (and fits your budget), take the plunge and click on the button to register. You won’t regret it.
by Scott Powers