Photography Workshops and Tours What is the Difference?

 Horse Fishermen on the coast of Belgium. Very unique in the world

Horse Fishermen on the coast of Belgium. Very unique in the world

 It is the time of year when we all want to get out there and take beautiful photographs. It is also the time of year when workshops and tours are being posted for consideration. But before you jump in and sign up there are some things you should know about the differences between workshops and tours and what you can expect.  

Many photography sites, including mine,  offer either workshops, tours or both.   There is a bit of a confusion over the differences between a workshop and a tour which you should know a little more about before making your decision.

Many have witnessed workshops that should be tours and tours that should be workshops. Also you want to be aware that sometimes workshop guides or tour hosts are more interested in their own photography than to help you with your photography or tour guides that are not interested in making your travels enjoyable. So be sure you try and find good feedback or recommendations.

A workshop should be designed to give you education or knowledge on a technique you are wanting to learn. When you go to a workshop you should come away with more than just images, you should be provided some information and education on how to better take photographs of the subject that was offered in the workshop and knowledge you can use on your own subjects. Or you may learn more about gear, workflow, posing, lighting, or camera settings. In other words you are going to a workshop not only to shoot but to learn something that you feel you need to advance you in your photography knowledge.

 In a workshop you may even experience class room time. Many workshops offer editing instructions, or learning a particular software, camera settings for the subjects they offer. Some workshops even have photography sponsors so you can try out new equipment.  The bigger workshops tend to have many more participants than a small tour, but this gives you a chance to network with fellow photographers and grow your connections.

 Workshops where you learn something and have practice in the field.

Workshops where you learn something and have practice in the field.

Photography tours are different. A tour is more of a vacation full of subject matter. You are going to a location to photograph and enjoy the environment. The tour should take care of most of your needs like where you will stay, transportation, locations, subject to photograph, fun and inspiration. You should not expect to spend time learning how to photograph but rather enjoy photographing. Your host is your guide and there to help you with any questions about your destination and be very familiar with the location.

They should help you with translations if you are visiting a foreign country or knowledge of the subject you came to photograph along with offering you subjects that you could not have found on your own because you are not familiar with the area.  Your hosts are usually photographers themselves and can help you if you have a camera question but you should not expect them to dive to deep, they are there to offer you original subjects to photograph in that location and come away with a fun and rewarding experience. Tours usually have smaller more intimate groups of people which gives you a chance to really have time to capture your subject.

Here are some questions you should ask yourself before signing up to a tour or workshop.

1. Do I want knowledge or just get away and take photographs of subject I do not have available?

2. Will I benefit from the knowledge I will gain from a workshop over and above just shooting subjects?

3. If I go on a tour is it somewhere I would never be able to arrange myself because of location or knowledge of the area. Does the tour host have knowledge of the area or is this there first or second time of visiting this place also?

4. When comparing costs do I understand what is included?

5. Is there a detailed list before I sign up of what I can expect to photograph or learn from the workshop or tour?

6. Do I feel like the instructor of the workshop is knowledgeable and can offer me the education I am seeking to learn.

7. Has the tour host posted inspiring images of the area they are offering to me and do I think they are offering unique subjects I am interested in photographing?

8. Have I heard good things about the instructors and hosts of either the tour or workshops I am attending?

9. How many others will be attending? Will I have a private room or have to share?

10 Do I know what is included in the cost and know what I will be responsible for?

You usually make a big investment of money and time when attending a workshop or tour and you need to be confident that you will be getting all that you expect before signing up.

Here are some links to some workshops and tours. I have not been on all of them but have heard some great reviews and comments about them and the hosts who put them on.

If your an equine photographer you don't want to miss this workshop. 

Colorado Cowboys & Horses Workshop

For some real adventure check out this website:

Phyllis Burchett offers some fantastic photo tours on her website.

I went on this Chicago Safari tour as it was a gift from my children and I loved it. Chicago is a great city if you love night photography.

You don't always have to travel to get a benefit out of workshops, you can find some online. Like this great workshop from Scott Trees

Of course I have to mention my photo tours. I love showing photographers my favorite hidden places

If you know of a workshop or tour that you attended and would love to share with others please post in the comments below. 

Have a great season of learning, making connections, growing your business, and enjoy the people you meet along the way.

Also I want to mention the up coming Equine Photographers podcast that I and Peter Demott are co-hosting together where we will help you with all your equine photography needs and we will be interviewing the top seasoned equine photographers in all genres of this complex niche of photography. It is planned to launch this September. I hope you will join us. If you want to be notified of our first launch and or see new works I plan on posting sign for my newsletter below.