THESE DAYS YOU DON’T always need the most expensive equipment or latest lens to get a quality shot during your travels. Not only have modern smartphones greatly surpassed the standalone point- and-shoot cameras of the past, but also apps and editing software improved so much over the past few years that even a DSLR novice can come home with a frame-worthy shot. The trick to taking a great shot while traveling these days isn’t necessarily about being the best behind your camera; it’s about being in the right place at the right time, a factor more easily identified than experienced.
Photography tours take the guesswork out of planning, timing and logistics. They ensure guests are in the right place and armed with the right skills to return with beautiful images and new skills that will take their photography to the next level. Whether you’re a promising iPhone photographer or an amateur Ansel Adams, photography tours offer a great chance to advance your skills with unrestricted access to a professional photographer while traveling to stunning locations with a small group of like-minded people.
Nature photographer Ralph Paonessa has led workshops and photo trips since 1997, focusing itineraries around birds and wildlife as well as landscape and scenic photography. His work has appeared in Outdoor Photographer, Martha Stewart Living, Nature and Wildlife, Outdoor Traveler and many other publications. His main passion, however, lies in sharing what he’s learned over his years as a professional photographer with the three to seven travelers allowed on each trip. Itineraries range from a week-long Eastern Sierra Milky Way workshop in California to an 11-day excursion into the cloud forests of Costa Rica to photograph the colorful hummingbirds and micro subjects that keep the forest buzzing with life.
Amateur photographers can choose from more than 50 photography-centric trips on all seven continents when traveling with National Geographic Expeditions. This branch of the National Geographic Society launched in 1999 as the tangible extension of the company’s 130-year legacy of exploring some of the world’s most remote corners and most interesting cultures. Along with a team of researchers and experts that offers details into each specific destination, the photo tours offered by National Geographic Expeditions also include access to a National Geographic photographer and certified photo instructor. From river cruises in Bordeaux to a 14-day cruise around Antarctica, guests on board any expedition can participate in onboard photo lectures and workshops as well as ask as many questions as they’d like while venturing out alongside these talented professionals on Zodiac, bicycle or foot.