Are photo tours the best way to see the world?

These days we always travel with a camera, usually the handy one contained in our smartphone. This gives us the opportunity to constantly capture our overseas holiday, weekend break, or even what we ate for breakfast, and share it instantly with our network. To some, a holiday isn’t even a holiday unless it’s captured on camera…

But that’s not what a photo tour is about.

A photo tour is all about seeing a location from a different perspective. You become less of a tourist, and more… wallpaper. It’s your chance to physically connect with a place and immerse yourself in its culture, rather than “fishbowl it” like so many of today’s travellers unfortunately do.

A photo tour isn’t about getting the latest awesome shots for your Instagram account either. Or filling an album with a thousand breathtaking photos to shove in your family’s face at Christmas. It’s about committing to really seeing a place through your travels and taking home the unforgettable scenes you discovered, created and captured along the way.

In a world dominated by online images of people travelling to cities, countries and corners of the planet to snap the most intrepid version of themselves, a photo tour can be a welcome antidote to that me-centred style of travel. A photo tour is group-centred, merging an individual’s urge to travel and interest in photography, with a desire for good company and excellent post-shoot chit chat.

In fact, a huge benefit of a photo tour is learning to master a creative skill while on the road.

You’re allowed the time and space to notice the colours and light of a place, growing your photography skills in a really practical way. You wait patiently in the background as a foreign city moves around you, looking for a moment that would otherwise be missed. Or you’re planted in the wilds of Siberia one day to spot brown bears, and a Mongolian national park to stay with a Kazakh family the next.

I believe photo tours are THE new way to travel the world.

Photo tours often take you to quite remote locations; wild locations minus the queues for “that iconic photo”, which has probably been rinsed with hashtags on social media. That is to be avoided at all costs. Your transport and meals are organised, immersing you in a location, leaving you to your own devices/camera. And there’s the added opportunity to ask your guide for on-the-spot technical advice to improve your photography – always pre-check a professional photographer is leading your tour.

What is so attractive about a photo tour, compared to a Contiki tour, or a Viking tour?

To me, pre-organised yet immersive-style travel led by a camera (perhaps a slightly better one than your smartphone!) within a small, like-minded group reveals the true colours of a place – and I’ve overseen photo tours to more than 26 countries worldwide, so trust me on that!

There’s zero discrimination against age or skill-level – but simply an invitation to see a new place with patience and creativity. Photo tours are available to amateur and established photographers, or just typical travellers who would love to learn the art form.

If you have a crazy location on your dream vacations bucket list, consider a photo tour to really experience it.