Seasons, Time and Light Always consider at what time of day or year your particular location will look its best or may provide some good…

Seasons, Time and Light

Always consider at what time of day or year your particular location will look its best or may provide some good photographs. You will usually have to be out before dawn and return again in the late afternoon or evening. It might mean mean tramping through snow and ice to capture the first signs of spring, or rugging up to photograph falling leaves in Autumn. If you’re interested in wildlife study their migratory patterns first and prepare your trip accordingly as birds and animals do not necessarily inhabit areas year round.


Photographic equipment is not necessarily available everywhere in the world. Always take several spare batteries, film or memory cards and a charger. You don’t necessarily need the latest whiz-bang model or lens in order to get good images. However you will need a longer lens to stalk lions or wildlife and a macro lens for insects; but don’t break the bank. Plenty of standard lenses and camera’s also capture great images.

Choosing a tour operator

To choose a good operator look firstly at the leader’s experience. They may be an excellent photographer but how long have they been teaching? What do previous participants say about them? Large groups and photographic opportunities don’t mix well, so check on the size of the tour before you embark. Small group advantages are many and usually involve more hands-on attention, a quick exit from the vehicle should a photo opportunity arise and plenty of time for everyone to share in the best camera angles.


Often this kind of travel does require you to be on your feet for some time. It might simply be standing in one position waiting for the light to change or the sun to set. Or it might involve hiking to explore a national park or arrive in a particular remote location. The more fitness you have the better you will handle this time on your feet and find it more enjoyable.

Amateur vs. Experienced

Don’t worry about your level of photographic experience. Most expeditions, unless otherwise advertised, usually cater for all levels of experience. Most tour leaders keep the experiences non-technical however you should know how to operate your camera and the basics about lenses. Most tours are more about identifying good subjects, getting the right composition and being patient to wait for the right moment.

Non-photographers and children

Photographic travels are usually about appreciating nature’s beauty and different cultures. If you’re on a group tour there are often no formal workshops or instruction that would bore non-photographers and ample opportunity to wander around and explore. However non-photographers obviously still pay to be there. Some photographic tours may require a minimum age for a child.

If you are conducting your own travels with a spouse or child, you may find photography fits well into the day’s activities as the best photography is often in the early morning so you can sneak out while the family is asleep. Travel companions can also make good photograph spotters, however always choose the location wisely. If your trip is about hiking to extreme locations or waiting umpteen hours for a bird to show its head, it could bore your spouse or child, while a city location with varied activities might be entirely different.