Advanced photography holidays

“I suppose you could call it adventure photography, in some respects,” says Geraldine Westrupp, of our specialists Wild Photography Holidays. “We do go to some far-flung destinations such as Everest Basecamp and Greenland. Our tour leaders are often trained mountain guides as well as photography tutors because we need to ensure people are safe at all times.”

Now, don’t read the above and assume that advanced photography holidays mean you need to strap on crampons and pack a flare gun. Advanced doesn’t mean extreme. And adventurous photography doesn’t mean your group roping itself together to hang off a cliff so you can photograph a rare mountain goat, or leaning out of a helicopter as it flies above a volcanic crater.

Advanced photography means that you’ve already mastered most of the technical knowhow, or at least have a decent grasp of it. Now you want to build on your knowledge, advance your skills, and grow your experience. And where better to do that than in some of the world’s most breathtaking and sought-after destinations? Places that sometimes require a little extra effort to explore, and where you will be moving around a lot, so you may only have a day or so to get all the coverage you want.

“It typically takes us up to two years to launch a new holiday, and it won’t go on sale until we’re absolutely certain we have the locations, the accommodations and the right people to lead it all locked down.” Geraldine Westrupp has years of experience in leading tours to Iceland, India, Nepal, West Greenland – all of them appealing to the amateur photographer, and which require the knowledge of an expert to help you find unique and less-visited locations. These are destinations where the potential is obvious: gigantic icebergs floating past your hotel balcony; waterfalls in full torrent; Himalayan panoramas at Everest Base Camp; frenetic and colourful camel fairs; and cities that glow beautifully at sunrise and sunset.

But a specialist photography operator can offer you privileged access to unique viewpoints and events in these areas, through expertly curated itineraries, and strong relationships with local communities. Their longstanding connections can help you get superb portrait photography, for instance, or to know that a popular vantage point tends to be practically empty at a certain time of day.

What does an advanced photography holiday involve?

Small group travel

A holiday is likely to comprise of 10-14 participants, accompanied by a tour leader who will be an experienced photography tutor and may also be a trained mountain guide, and a local guide or two. This kind of trip makes for a very sociable affair – supportive, friendly and relaxed. Limiting the numbers like this also means you can stay in locally owned accommodation, which benefits communities that will often see very little tourism. Non-photographing family and friends are welcome to join too.

A mix of abilities

Not everyone on the trip will be at the same level. Some may arrive with a carry-on suitcase full of equipment; others might have only a smartphone. There are no restrictions in this respect. But those who are already familiar with the functions and capabilities of their equipment, and comfortable heading out on their own or in twos and threes in each location, are likely to get more from the experience.

Lots of packing and unpacking

Most advanced photography holidays see you moving from place to place regularly. Itineraries are fairly fast-paced and ambitious, but don’t assume that means rushing around. Rather, you will stay maybe a day or two in each location before moving on, so there will not be the chance to return repeatedly to the same place as you might find on a trip aimed at beginners. Some holidays, such as those to Everest Base Camp in Nepal, or West Greenland, can have a real expedition feel to them. A degree of physical fitness may also be required. You’ll struggle with Everest Base Camp if you can’t manage long-distance treks. But most of the time, if you’re a fairly regular walker that will be more than enough.

Expert tutors and guides

You’ll be travelling with highly skilled tutors, who are familiar with each destination. There may be some areas of technique you’d like to improve on: composition, exposure, editing, adjusting for weather, macro or monochromatic photography, perhaps working at night, or with different kinds of light. While on location the tutors will be present throughout to offer technical and creative advice if and when it’s needed, and practical assistance too. But they’ll aim to establish early on which members of the group need what amount of support – if you’re capable and confident then they’ll leave you to your own devices.

The right time of year

Specialist photography holiday operators will know the right times of year to travel to a particular destination for the best light, the surest weather, the lowest crowds. They’ll know if a local event, such as a religious festival, offers potential for great portraits, or when to go for those moody skies that can add a whole new dimension of drama to a landscape.

Our top Photography Holiday

Northern Lights photography holiday in Iceland, coast & ice

Northern Lights photography holiday in Iceland, coast & ice

Photographic trip in the stunning west and southeast Iceland

From £3250 10 days ex flights
Small group travel:
2020: 30 Sep, 30 Oct
2021: 7 Feb, 28 Feb, 1 Oct, 22 Oct
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Photography or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.

Flexible itineraries

You’ll set off with a suggested, likely itinerary. But with the help of local guides your tour leader will adapt to events on the ground. If the weather is unpromising, there might be a morning training session at your accommodation. If the group is feeling energetic, perhaps a walk around a lake with many different vantage points. If the light is exceptional then a late finish could well be in order. That flexibility gives you an edge that you wouldn’t get on a standard holiday itinerary, and ensures you can take advantage of opportunities as they arise.

Peer review

For advanced photographers that need little in the way of support while actually out in the field, the highlight of a trip often tends to be the review sessions that take place on one or two evenings. These meet-ups, during which a slideshow featuring a handful of shots that each participant has taken so far will be shown, are fantastic for gaining inspiration and moving forwards in creativity, narrative and technique.
Written by Rob Perkins
Photo credits: [Page banner: © Wild Photography Holidays] [Intro: © Stuart Holmes / Wild Photography Holidays] [Small group travel: © Wild Photography Holidays] [Expert tutors and guides: © Wild Photography Holidays] [Flexible itineraries: © James Rushforth / Wild Photography Holidays]
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