Top 10 Benefits of Private Photography Tours

A solo photographer frames up an image at sunrise, one of the benefits of private photography tours.

Written by

Ian Robert Knight
Photographer, Bangkok

Top 10 Benefits of Private Photography Tours

Travel Advice | 0 comments

If you’re a photographer that likes to travel, this is for you.

Generally, there are four ways to travel as a photographer:

  1. On assignment for a client, magazine, news wire, etc. – that’s business
  2. With your family, sneaking away to shoot some photos now and again
  3. Part of a group tour with like-minded photographers
  4. On a private photo tour created specifically for you

There are pros and cons to each of these travel styles, but for the focus of this article, I will explain the top 10 benefits of private photography tours, and what may make it the ideal travel method for some people.

Travel Photographer vs. Travelling Photographer

First off, you don’t need to be a “travel photographer” to enjoy photography when you’re travelling. Let’s clear that up right away.

There’s a big difference between being a travel photographer (like me!) and a travelling photographer. A loose definition of a travel photographer would be someone that creates idyllic scenes of landscapes, vacation destinations, or cultures and festivals for publication.

A travelling photographer is someone that photographs whatever they damn well please when they travel. That may actually be landscapes, cultures, festivals or vacation destinations. Or it could be none of those. It’s whatever the photographer likes to shoot, while travelling.

A travelling photographer is someone that photographs whatever they damn well please when they travel.

But what if you’ve tried those group photography tours in the past, and they didn’t quite fit? Maybe it was the constant tug of trying to keep up with the group. Or perhaps it was too many early morning sunrise shoots. Or was it that guy that went on and on about how his camera gear was way better because it was some other brand? Was it possibly because you had to share hotel rooms with Sir Snore-a-lot, and you just didn’t have enough “me time”?

Well then, maybe it’s time to consider travelling alone on a private photo tour.

Private photo tours are an ideal way to eliminate all of the annoyances that come along with group photo tours. Since everything about a private photo tour is designed specifically for your wants and needs, there is nothing that would make you feel like it didn’t fit.

With a private tour, you get to decide most of the details. So it’s unlikely that you’d encounter a situation that disappoints you, or one that makes you feel like it was not money well spent.

Let’s dig into what the benefits are now, shall we?

1 – When You Go

One thing about group tours is that the dates might not work out for you. You may have to shift things at work, or with other family obligations.

But with a private tour, YOU choose the dates that work best for you. You also decide how long you spend in each location, and ultimately how long the trip is. It’s your tour. 

 

2 – Where You Go

This is another thing that may not quite work for you with a group tour. Perhaps the group tour you’re thinking about booking goes to 4 places you like, and 3 places you don’t. Or visa versa.

Is that really ideal for your travel time?

With a private tour, it’s really up to you where you want to go, how long you spend there, and what you’ll be doing there. Maybe you’re more of a city dweller, or a mountain hiker? That’s totally doable. Of course, The Planner has a bounty of options in each of those places, but ultimately, it’s your call.

Think of it like a menu with everything you like on it, and nothing you don’t.

3 – Your Budget

When you’re on a group tour, the hotels and restaurants are always chosen for you, well in advance. As a group tour client, you really have no say in any of those details. You either like them, or you don’t. Tough nuggets.

But with private tours, the hotels and restaurants are part of the planning phase, and selected based on the knowledge of The Planner, and your budget requirements.

So you can relax, knowing that the place you rest your head every night will be suitable for you, and within your spending expectations. Hotels matter, right?

And since you’re setting the budget, the cost of travel can cover a whole price range from backpacker budget, all the way through to ultra-luxury.

There’s something for everyone. Even you.

4 – Fully Customizable

Group tours are designed to appeal to ‘most people’. They cover the basic things that ‘most people’ might want to see. And they are often built years in advance. Then they are posted online, with hopes of attracting clients who like (most of) what they see in the itinerary.

But in reality, it’s pretty likely that ‘most people’ would only like some of the itinerary, not all of it. There will always be elements of the tour that doesn’t appeal to someone in the group. But since you’re travelling in a group, you have to go along, even if it doesn’t interest you, because that’s where the bus is going today. And that’s what you paid for.

But with private tours, the itinerary is created just for you, containing just the places and things you want to do. The Planner will be able to create an itinerary that focuses on what you like, and only takes you places that will pique your interests.

You’re the client – so it’s your choices, not anyone else’s. That would never happen in a group tour.

5 – Your Pace

Maybe you’re the type of traveller that likes a slow start to the day, along with a leisurely brunch. Or maybe you like to go like crazy all day, with a tight schedule of places you want to see in order to maximize your stay in that location. Either one of those can easily be accommodated in a private photo tour.

Since you’re the only one on the tour, there’s no need to match your pace with a group.

In a group tour, there’s always that one person who’s late, or missing. They slow down the group, since no one can move on until everyone is ready to go.

But with a private photo tour, the only person we wait for is you.

6 – Your Skill Set

No matter how much you try, you’ll never find a group tour where every guest has the same skill sets, or has the same experience with their gear. Everyone learns at a different speed, and in different ways.

There will always be someone that needs extra attention from the Leader/Instructor. Maybe that person is you?

The skills you learn will be provided at a level that you’re comfortable with, and in a style that works for you.

With a private photo tour, that’s fine if it is, because you’re the only person. The skills you learn will be provided at a level that you’re comfortable with, and in a style that works for you.

There’s no need to worry about matching the skill set of everyone else in a group.

7 – Physical Abilities

Maybe you’re not as spry as you once were, or you need a few more minutes to get up off the ground than everyone else. Or maybe you’re super energetic, and can outrun anyone else you know. In a private photo tour, that doesn’t matter, since it’s only you.

A private tour can accommodate all levels of physical abilities – even walkers and wheelchairs.

The speed that you move, be it hare or turtle, is of no consequence when you’re the only one that matters. Go your own speed, we’ll keep up or wait, don’t worry.

8 – No Sharing

There’s nothing quite like having some quiet time in your hotel room after a full day of making magic images, right? Or how about a long, leisurely bath in the middle of the afternoon? Try doing that when you’re sharing a room with someone that you just met a few days prior.

With group tours, you’re never alone, even when you’re done for the day. You better hope that your travel mates are all wonderful people like you and me.

No one wants to share a bus bench seat with someone that’s absolutely going to fall asleep on your shoulder.

And what about being moved around in your own vehicle, rather than a minivan or short bus? With a private photo tour, you are always able to ride shotgun, if that’s your thing.

No one wants to share a bus bench seat with someone that’s absolutely going to fall asleep on your shoulder.

9 – Access to Locations

In a group tour, especially one with a large collection of photographers, gaining access to locations or people can be a challenge.

It’s not always possible to maneuver a bus through skinny village streets. And large buses or multiple minivans can be a little overwhelming for some private homes or other photo sites, or even for restaurants.

It’s a lot easier to make dinner reservations for two people than it is for 20 people.

10 – Changes

Hey, things change. It’s sometimes unavoidable.

So if your plans change – like you miss a flight, or you need to shift the dates of your tour by a day to accommodate a business obligation – that can usually be managed with a private photo tour, but virtually impossible with a group tour.

With a group tour, if you can’t be there when the tour begins, they’ll just leave without you. Your loss.

The ability to make changes on the fly is a lot easier when there is only one person on the tour.

The ability to make changes on the fly is a lot easier when there is only one person on the tour. It may require some financial adjustments, but they can almost always be handled. No need to cancel plans just because one thing needs to change. Try doing that with a group tour!

The Choice is Yours

While group tours may work for ‘most people’, it can’t compete  with the benefits of getting exactly what you want. Private photo tours could be the more sensible choice in some situations. When you consider all the benefits, it could be the best choice.

 

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