Learn to be a shooting star
Destination photo workshops in exotic locales such as Greece, Finland and Rome – or, for animal lovers, on safari – will help you make your travel photos truly Instagram-worthy
Smart phones abound, and with them comes the ability to snap a pic wherever, whenever. Thanks to social media photo-sharing networks such as Instagram, broadcasting them is just a click away. In fact, as of late April, Instagram topped 700 million users. That's a lot of photos being shared around the world.
So addictive is the platform, especially in the travel realm, that it has inspired many iPhone and neophyte photographers to forgo their smartphones in favour of a DSLR and join the ranks of the pros. Examples of self-taught, self-made travel photographers on Instagram are plenty: Lauren Bath (@laurenepbath), Christoffer Collin (@wisslaren), Lauren Bullen (@gypsea_lust), Jewels (@jewelszee) or Sean Byrne (@byrnephotography), to name a few.
But let's face it: We don't all possess @jewelszee's talent or eye for beauty, @laurenbath's generous spirit and shrewd marketing skills or @gypsea_lust's California blonde model looks, hunky business partner boyfriend (Jack Morris of @doyoutravel) or her commanding Instagram numbers (she's at 1.7 million followers, while he's got 2.5 million).
So what's a mere mortal to do? One suggestion is to participate in a destination travel photography workshop.
Here are five worth considering:
Nightless Night, Endless Light in Saariselkä, Finland
This three-day photography and social media workshop in Finnish Lapland is in its second year. This year it's being led by three different social media influencers: Swedish travel photographer Christoffer Collin (@wisslaren), who started on Instagram in 2012, "just for fun," by posting iPhone pics; Eeva Mäkinen (@eevamakinen), a Finnish photographer and wilderness guide; and Jan-Eerik Paadar (@paadar_images), a Finnish photographer and sub-Arctic explorer.
Because of its location in the far north of Lapland, the sun never sets below the horizon at all in Inari Saariselkä.
Consequently, nights are as bright as day, and there are endless hours of magical light. The program includes workshops in landscape photography, storytelling, light, extreme conditions and social media best practices, all of these reinforced with practical application. The culmination of the the three-day photography event is the 12-hour Nightless Night Photo Marathon.
Dates for the 2017 event run from June 30-July 2. Admission fee is 155€ (about $230 Canadian). Accommodation is not included, but discounted rooms are available at Santa's Hotel Tunturi for 59.50€ (about $90 Canadian) per night when you stay more than one night.
Colby Brown Photography Workshops
Colby Brown is a photographer and educator who specializes in travel, landscape and humanitarian photography. He has taught National Geographic photo workshops and is also the founder of the humanitarian photo organization The Giving Lens. Brown runs several destination photography workshops in eminently photogenic locales (for example Myanmar; Lofoten Islands, Norway; Cuba; Hawaii; Patagonia; Iceland) throughout the year and is known for his professionalism, expert knowledge, positive teaching style and paying special attention to individual needs.
Sample dates and price: Lofoten Islands, Norway: Feb. 23-March 2, 2018; $ 3,700 (U.S.). Includes photo instruction, accommodation and ground transportation. colbybrownphotography.com
Greece Photo Workshops
The word "photography" originates from Greek, and means "painting with light." What better place than Greece, where the light is exquisite, to practise the art of photography? Greece Photo Workshops espouse the principle that the best way to get to know a place is by interacting with the locals and following the basic rule of the arts: first feel, then create.
Founded by Maria Theocharopoulou in 2014, Greece Photo Workshops offers an alternative path to the inauthentic, homogenized version of Greece so commonly found. Ms. Theocharopoulou organizes specialized trips and workshops in Athens and various lesser-known parts of Greece, such as the rugged Mani Peninsula of the Peloponnese, the panoramic Meteora region of northeastern Greece with its monolithic vertical cliffs on which Byzantine monasteries perch, and the unspoiled Cycladic island of Tinos, where the facades of many buildings are adorned with intricate dovecoting. Private workshops to other locations in Greece can also be arranged.
Sample dates and prices: The Tinos workshop runs from July 29-Aug. 5, 2017, and costs 2,500€ (about $3,700 Canadian). The price includes tuition (photo walks, daily reviews and one-on-one tuition), accommodation in a traditional country house or hotel, ground transportation, breakfasts and some meals.
Rome Photography Workshop
Always wanted to get that perfect shot of the Roman Forum or the Trevi Fountain? Rome Photography Workshop's pro photographers are well versed in the light and rhythm of the Eternal City, offering group or individual guided tours and workshops for photographers of all levels. Participants learn tips and techniques to develop a unique portfolio of strong images, reflecting a personal vision while avoiding clichés, as they visit some of Rome's most famous sights. Workshops and tours are built around themed itineraries (street, food, monuments and architecture, or portraits) and students are offered the choice of taking advantage of morning light, afternoon/evening light or the city at night. Custom tours of less common themes and architectural gems can also be arranged. Sample price: The Morning Light workshop costs 200€ (about $300 Canadian).
Animals lovers who dream of photographing lounging lions, "necking" giraffes or mud-bathing elephants in their natural habitat should find CNP Safaris to be just the thing.
CNP offers experienced and novice photographers a variety of wildlife photo safari options on Botswana's Chobe River and in Namibia's Etosha National Park, Tanzania's Serengeti National Park and Kenya's Masai Mara National Reserve, as well as astro and landscape photography workshops in Namibia and at Kagga Kamma in South Africa. CNP aims to enhance the skills of the experienced photographer while also providing a solid foundation for novices.
For those lacking a proper camera and lenses, CNP will also lend (at no extra cost) a full set of professional Nikon gear for the duration of the safari.
Workshops run year-round and range from $1,200 to $9,950 (U.S.) depending on the length of stay and type of accommodation. Prices include accommodation, meals and snacks, professional wildlife photographers as guides and twice daily shooting sessions in custom-built boats and vehicles with 360-degree swivel chairs.