Photography Workshops or Tours? Guide to the Best Choice

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Have you ever attended Photography Workshops?

There’s no better way to learn, by gaining experience directly in the field, with a Professional Photographer.

photography workshop in northern argentina

In photography there is so much to learn and during a photo workshop you can significantly improve your skills and knowledge and, at the same time, live a great experience. 

Personally I have participated in this activity several times. At first in workshops organized by other photographers, which have been especially useful for me to create links and understand how they work in the field. Today as a photo workshop leader, teaching and trying to transmit to others the passion for what I do.

In this guide I will help you to understand the difference between photography workshops and tours. Once clarified this point, I’ll explain what a travel photo workshop is, how it works and what are the points to consider in order to make the best choice when booking, to live a unique and genuine experience, relying on the right people.

After this brief introduction, we are ready to dive into the first part of this guide. If you are not interested in reading the entire guide, use the table of contents below to move between topics. 

Table of Contents

The Difference between Photography Workshops and Tours

The two terms are often confused, especially when searching the Internet.

In order to orient you towards a choice that reflects what you are looking for, let’s list the main differences between the two activities:

Photography Tours

  • In some cases it does not include Teaching and Assistance by a Professional Photographer
  • Focused more on popular tourist sites
  • Largest group of participants
  • Tour price is cheaper

Photography Workshops

  • Tailor-made tuition by a Professional Photographer
  • Analysis and Criticism of the work done in the field
  • Unique Experiences, including off the beaten path
  • Reduced number of participants
  • A little more expensive

What is a Travel Photo Workshop?

It is a photography related activity created in order to improve the participant’s skills. It comes through the direct experience and support of a Professional Travel Photographer, with field work and constructive group and personal criticism.

photography workshop

Setting aside the technical definition, the aim of the activity is also to offer Unique Moments of Travel Photography. The adventure of a lifetime.

Who is a Photography Workshop aimed to?

If you’re serious about photography, a Workshop is ideal for you. You’ll spend a little extra, but you’ll get a valuable experience in return and meet a photographer who is dedicated to Travel Photography full time.

During a Photography Workshop we are not just tourists with a camera in hand!

How does a Travel Photography Workshop work?

You will be accompanied by a Professional Photographer, to learn directly in the field, from his experience. Trying to understand how he works and put it into practice during the itinerary

photography workshop group

You will travel in an atmosphere of friendship, united by a passion for photography and the curiosity to discover. Although photography is a fundamental part of the experience, there will also be moments of relaxation, dinners in company, (hopefully a natural thermal bath!) and other types of activities, which will lead us to the knowledge of the uses, scents and tastes of a culture. Trying to live and feel the journey on our skin.

You won’t always be tied to the group. It’s a journey after all, and everyone needs their own space of freedom to live it to the full. At the end of the day, if the forces allow it (it is not always so), there will be an analysis of the photos that were taken.

At least this is what we do with Argentina Photo Workshops, in small groups and trying to help the local economy in a sustainable way.

Who can Offer you such an Experience?

No one better than a Local Professional Photographer can guide you through this kind of experience. It has several advantages over a photographer who organizes photo workshops in places far from his area of residence.

Let’s list them:

1. Mastery of the Language

Knowledge of the language and maybe even the dialect of an area means that the local photographer can interact better with local people and that they feel more relaxed in his presence. Moreover, in case of difficulties he will be able to face the situation more easily and will count with more help and knowledge. It is essential that the photographer also speaks your language clearly.

2. Knowledge of the Area

We cannot compare a person who lives in a place for most of the year to one who can only visit it once in a while. The local photographer will certainly have many more anecdotes to tell you, as well as places and experiences outside the beaten track to show you.

3. Price

A professional who maintains direct contact with local people can negotiate and offer a better final price than a foreign photographer.

What are the Benefits of participating in a Photo Workshop?

Tailor-made Teaching

In general, direct teaching, in person or in small groups, is very effective. In addition, you will have the opportunity to ask the photographer questions related not only to photography, but also to his personal life experience, as well as to establish a more intimate bond during the journey.

A tailor-made learning process, where you will be able to remove any doubt.

participant in a photo workshop

Every day, there will be sharing of the work done so that you can improve gradually along the itinerary on the errors made.

Small Groups of Passionate People

The journey should be experienced with the right people: mentally open to others and to unexpected changes along the itinerary. Unforeseen events are always on the corner, but the Photo Workshop’s Leader will always be there to solve them.

The journey can sometimes be long and uncomfortable. For this reason it is important to move in small groups of people with the same passions in common. It will not only be a more united group, moved by emotions and desires in common, you will also have more freedom of movement and more chances to go home with more than just beautiful photographs:  like a friendship that resists the course of time, linked to an unforgettable memory shared while traveling.

Another advantage of a small group is that the guiding photographer can dedicate much more quality time to each of the attendees.

Taking advantage of the Photographer's Knowledge

Being able to rely on the expertise of a photographer who continuously creates and maintains ties in the area is indispensable. Not only will you get better photographic results, but you will also arrive in places less marked by tourism and find yourself in contact with people you could not otherwise have reached.

How to Choose the Right Photography Workshop for You

Read Reviews about the Workshop Organizer

Before booking it is always advisable to do a good search. Checking on Google or Tripadvisor reviews on the experience of other users who participated in the workshop. If the average is high and there are a fair number of reviews you can book “almost” quietly. I say almost because the average experience of participants does not always reflect 100% of our needs.

Choose Your Workshop Leader

It is essential that the person who will teach you during the Workshop inspires you with confidence and professionalism, but above all that you reflect yourself in his/her photographic work and see it as an example from which to learn in order to improve. Take a look at his/her portfolio before making a decision.

It is not necessary that the photographer is from National Geographic. There are so many professionals out there, you’ll just have to choose the one that’s right for you, based on experience and of course the price you’re willing to spend.

local travel photographer

I’ve talked about this before, but I’ll say it again: if the photographer is local, even better, the advantages are countless.

Small Groups

Look for Workshops with a limited number of participants. The photographer will have more time to dedicate to you and you will have a more intimate experience. You will make a more valuable investment.

Of course, if you can afford to book the photographer just for you, even better, you’ll have all the time at your disposal. But if you see it also as an opportunity to make new friends, the group is the ideal choice for you.

Duration of a Travel Photo Workshop

In general it starts from a minimum of 4 to a maximum of 15-20 days.

This depends on the distances and the activities that will be carried out. Prices may increase considerably for a long travel photo workshop, between transport and accommodation.

The longer the journey, greater the opportunities and most unique the experience.

Difficulty of the Experience

It is always important to check the level of difficulty of the Workshop. There is a difference between a portrait session in the city and a 3-day trek in the mountains. In addition there are factors, such as altitude, that can change the physical state of the participants and it is good to leave consciously and prepared.

travel photography workshop

If the organizers are serious, you won’t even need to ask and this information will be given to you from the very first moment.

Accommodation and Meals

When travelling it is important to be able to adapt to different situations, as there are not always structures that offer all the comforts we want. Each of us has different tastes, habits and needs.

If there is something that is not to your liking or you have special needs regarding meals (allergies, intolerances.etc.) let the Workshop organization know in time.

Make sure What is Included and What is Not

Check what is included in the program, apart from accommodation and meals, you will also have to take into account transportation (usually if you travel far away, the round trip by plane is not included), entrance tickets to attractions you will visit, travel insurance, tips.

In general the Workshop organization takes care of accommodation, meals and transport (during the activity), the rest is separated from the price.

Make sure you get good Travel Insurance for yourself and your equipment!

Travel Photography Gear: What do I Bring with Me?

The choice of equipment will depend on the type of activity you are going to do. One thing is certain, being travel photography, the weight is crucial.

Try not to carry unnecessary equipment. Too much weight will make every move more difficult, making your travel experience worse.

Trust the workshop organization to figure out what you can take with you.

Conclusions

As you can see, there are several aspects to consider before choosing and booking an activity like this. Booking a photography tour can be cheaper, but during a workshop you will learn more and get a better return on your investment

Argentina Photo Workshops: Our Vision

I’ve been organizing Photography Workshops in Argentina for several years and time has matured in me a change. I decided to share this project with other photographers and passionate people to develop a bigger idea that can also help the local communities we visit.

Argentina Photo Workshops was born from this concept and the need to offer valuable photographic experiences, created by a staff of local professional photographers with knowledge and connections in the area.

We try to explore travel photography at 360°. Depending on the type of workshop and destination, there may be more or less opportunities to focus on portraiture, landscape or wildlife. Everything is specified in detail in the journey summary itinerary.

argentina photo workshops

We want photography to leave a positive imprint on the places we visit and part of the revenues to help local organizations that promote the conservation of society, education and the environment.

For us, photography is a means to connect people and create relationships that help overcome cultural and linguistic barriers.

Do you want to make your passion a profession?

Check out this guide about: “How to Become a Travel Photographer”.

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