Best time to go on a photography holiday

One of the bonuses of being a photographer is that the best time to go on a photography holiday is quite often the season that more conventional holidaymakers would prefer to avoid. Think Africa’s lush green season, when wildflowers colour the savannah; Asian monsoons, where storm clouds provide a brooding backdrop; and Eastern European winters, when ice crystals give forests a fairytale sparkle. Travelling off season gives you the added benefit of not having to Photoshop-out the heads of hundreds of other tourists – and local people tend to be more relaxed, too, as they’re not overrun with visitors. Peak times can still provide other treats, however, such as sapphire skies and migrating wildlife; our map reveals the best time to go on a photography holiday in each region.

Borneo

There really is no best time to travel to Borneo, making this one of the most flexible destinations for a photography holiday. November-February are wetter than most, making trekking tough. Our trips in Tanjung Puting National Park in Indonesian Borneo take advantage of this to offer boat cruises so you can glide up to the forest’s incredible fauna and flora, camera poised for a glimpse of an orangutan.

China

Spring and autumn are the best times to go on a photography holiday in China, when you can avoid the worst of the heat and humidity as well as the heaviest rains. Tours to ZhanJiaJie National Park, for example, to photograph its awesome karst pinnacles take place in October, which offers great light and weather conditions for capturing the landscapes as well as local life.

Greenland

The very end of Greenland’s Arctic summer is a transitional season in which icebergs bump around, rivers flow, and the Northern Lights dance across the sky in September. The melted pack ice lets you sail from village to coastal village. For a darker, winter experience, come in February or March, when you’ll be travelling around by husky sled and by boat. See giant, twilit glaciers, stay in an Ilimanaq village and meet local fishermen.

Iceland

This Arctic nation is a land of seasonal extremes, each presenting photographers with a new challenge. Mid June basks in the midnight sun – 24 hours of light in which to take photographs. Sept-Oct and Feb-March are top times for the Northern Lights, with more daylight than midwinter, so you can capture ice formations and snowy landscapes. Jan-Feb also see orcas migrate to the surrounding waters.

India

Climates across the subcontinent vary wildly, from searing heat and humidity to bitter cold and thundering monsoon. October to February is the driest, coolest season in the south as well as around Rajasthan and the Golden Triangle, as well as far flung Assam and Nagaland. If you’re heading into the Himalaya, then you’ll appreciate the sunshine; July to September are a safer bet up here, including Ladakh. Tigers, meanwhile, are best spotted during the searingly hot months of April to June. Read more about the best time to go to India.

Southeast Asia

Indochina is a classic winter getaway – their warmest, sunniest months coincide with the northern hemisphere’s most miserable. But while this is a lovely time for sunlit shots, don’t rule out travelling during the summer rains; popular spots such as Angkor Wat in Cambodia and Inle Lake in Myanmar will be far less crowded, while rural scenes will be refreshed, and wild skies will create powerful backdrops for shots of rice paddies and stupa-filled landscapes.

Spain

While the hordes flock to Spain in July and August, those with a creative eye will leave the crowds to scramble for sun beds, and travel when the fiercest heat subsides. Andalucia is glorious from April-October, with early spring one of the best times for festivals. Alternatively, catch spring wildflowers in the Picos de Europa, or the autumn foliage, which seems to set the mountainsides on fire each October.

Lofoten Islands, Norway

These islands soar out of the bitter Norwegian sea and are plunged into darkness in midwinter, with the midnight sun each summer. The time of year you visit, therefore, will have a huge impact on what you can photograph. Wildlife photographers can take advantage of the long days to capture migrating birdlife in May and June, while February is a great time to see the Northern Lights glinting off ice packed fjords.

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 £3150 10 days ex flights
Small group travel:
2019: 1 Feb, 15 Feb, 30 Sep, 10 Oct, 20 Oct
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Hello. If you'd like to chat about Photography or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.

Tips on when to go on a photography holiday

Geraldine Westrupp, founder and photography guide at our supplier Wild Photography Holidays, shares her best time to go on photography holiday to her adopted home – Iceland:
“There are three times of year that we run trips to Iceland. One is in the winter, and by that we mean February, March, and maybe the beginning of April. There’s the chance to see the aurora and the landscapes are very icy and wintery but there’s good light by then. In November to January there isn’t enough daylight for running good quality trips. In June and July we’ve got light all day, birds and flowers, so we run wildlife and landscape trips. Then we have a slot in September-October so there’s autumn colour, but there’s also aurora.”
Lesley Schofield, owner of our supplier All Points East, runs trips across Southeast Asia:
“Sometimes the low season, our summer, is better for shots in Southeast Asia; you get more interesting light. You get fantastic skies because you’ll get rain clouds coming in and going across. The rain isn’t all day long, it’s quite nice, it refreshes things and it’s much quieter – and cheaper! I would say each season has its advantage in terms of photography though, and anyone who’s been to Angkor Wat in the summer, the winter – they’ll have totally different shots because of the difference in light. Plus, you’ll still get tourists, but not at the same level. So you stand more chance at Angkor Wat or getting the fabulous door on your own, and being able to take that photo – whereas in the high season you don’t.”
Oktay Ortakcioglu, photographer and founder of our supplier, Imaj Photography Holidays, shares his tips on the best time to go on a photography holiday to southeastern China:
“For the Guangxi area of China, I recommend October and April as they are the driest months with comfortable temperatures. For great blue skies, I recommend August although there is a high risk of rain most of the days.”
Written by Vicki Brown
Photo credits: [Page banner: MAKE IT KENYA PHOTO / STUART PRICE] [Borneo: Víctor Vázquez] [Iceland: © Wild Photography Holidays] [Spain: Mick Stephenson] [Geraldine Westrupp Quote: © Wild Photography Holidays]
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