Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q: Do you have to be an advanced amateur or professional photographer to join the tour?
A: No! Our tours are designed for photographers of all ages and all levels of photography. Built in to the tour is a guarantee that each photographer who participates will receive at least 8 hours of one-on-one, individualized instruction, focusing on the areas that that photographer feels are most important to improve. However, if you have less than 3 years of active photography experience, the instruction you receive may not be as effective as it could be with more experience.
Q: What is a typical day during the tour? Are the tours you provide structured or do they allow some freedom and flexibility?
A: Each day of the tour is planned. But like a jazz musician, there may be variations that arise in the midst of photographing the planned event that may be an exciting alternative that we could pursue instead or in addition. In retrospect at the end of the tour, although 80-90% of the planned tour was completed, there may also be a percentage of improvised experiences that end up being the highlight of the tour. In all forms of photography, from travel to documentary to photojournalism, flexibility is key. So think of the itinerary as a basic guide for the tour, providing a necessary structure that can be enhanced and improvised upon.
Furthermore, photography is a highly personal artistic expression. The rapport photographers create between themselves and the subject they are photographing should be both personal and intimate. If a photographer feels that their ability to achieve this relationship is best accomplished alone, then this is possible, seeking Mick’s professional guidance “in the field” only when they feel it is necessary. The choice is yours!
Q: What will I learn?
A: One of the main goals of our photography tours is to develop photographic skills that will enable the photographer to create emotionally charged imagery that successfully expresses their personal vision. Photographic technique is important, but discovering an individual photographic style or vision is the ultimate goal.
On Off Beat Photography Workshops & Tours you will receive formal workshops on selected photographic topics (see Workshop Sessions), personalized photography instruction (your choice), periodic group review/critique sessions as tools for improving everyone’s technique and photographic vision, and “in the field” methods for how to successfully approach a subject in order to capture the best possible image. Through this guidance, you will be given the tools for discovering your own unique photographic voice.
Q: Are these tours only for photographers in top physical condition?
A: No, but the participants must be capable of walking or hiking medium distances, no longer than one to two hours, sometimes in hot weather — depending on the time of year and the location. Participants are also expected to carry their own equipment. Depending on the location and its accessibility, you may not be able to carry all your equipment — this can be an important lesson for learning exactly what equipment is necessary for a particular shoot. When the tour moves to a different location, a minivan will transport the participants and their equipment.
Q: What is the minimum amount of equipment you would recommend for this kind of photography tour?
A: Photography is less about the type or amount of equipment you have, and more about what you perceive and how you bring that perception to life. Personally, the majority of photographs I make for publication are made with one of two lenses: a 24-70mm zoom attached to a full-frame digital camera; or a prime lens on a dx camera body that gives me a focal distance equivalent to 150mm. Although I carry other lenses for that “just in case” scenario, 95% of the time I rely mainly on those two workhorses.
The bare minimum of recommended equipment you will need for this tour is:
- 1 digital camera with manual mode capability;
- 1-2 lenses that will give you a focal range of 35mm – 150mm;
- 1 tripod (light weight);
- 1 light meter or a grey card (18% reflectance).
Of course you can bring more if you feel it is needed, but remember you will be carrying your own equipment. So, unless you absolutely think it is necessary, consider leaving it behind.
Q: What does the tour include?
A: The cost of the tour includes meals, accommodations and excursions as stated in the itinerary; services of the lead photographer and local, cultural guides; all ground transportation (and domestic air flights for certain tours); transfers between the airport on the first and last nights of lodging; any pre-trip materials. (Refer to the Cost & Reservation page of your selected tour for a detailed description of what is included and not included.)
Q: What types of accommodations are provided for the tours?
A: The number one priority or all our tours is to select accommodations that provide the best proximity and access to our photographic location and its people. When it is possible we reserve rooms for our participants in comfortable, modern hotels. We select accommodations that are the best available, but not extravagant in order to keep the costs of the tour affordable.
However, many of the remote photographic destinations we travel to do not have the same modern amenities that are available in cosmopolitan areas. In these instances, we again select the best available accommodations, but they may be rustic country inns or homestays in a remote village, with the added benefit of giving the participants a visceral experience of living in that particular community, and enabling them to make photographs that faithfully portray the spirit of the place.
Q: Should I purchase travel insurance?
A: On Off Beat Photography Workshops & Tours, travel insurance is optional and is an additional cost. However, we strongly recommend that you buy this insurance to protect your travel investment. Travel insurance can provide financial protection for trip cancellation as well as medical treatment and services if necessary.
Q: When I reserve my place on a tour, will I receive any further information or materials?
A: After your reservation is confirmed (receipt of initial deposit), you will receive some specific information about the destination, packing suggestions and other relevant information that will ensure that you have everything you need so that you can focus your energy and time on your photographic journey.
Q: Can I reserve a spot for one part of the tour only?
A: All Off Beat Photography Workshops & Tours are designed for a designated duration in order to ensure that the participants receive the full benefits of the cultural experience as well as the photographic instruction that’s included.
However, most tours are created as two components, where the first part (usually 1 week) is in one general vicinity and the following week is at another area several hours away. Because of this, it is possible to reserve 1 week (7 days) of a two-week tour (14 days), provided that we can reserve the week you choose not to participate for another participant. If this is possible, the cost of the tour will be reduced by 50% (pro-rated by the week). In order to take advantage of the included transportation costs, a participant joining our tour during the second week only will need to be at the place of departure when the group leaves for the next destination. If that is not possible, then they will have to pay for their own transportation costs to the second destination.
Although this is an unusual situation and not something we recommend for photographers joining our workshops and tours, we understand that occasionally there are personal situations that may prevent someone from participating for the entire duration. Therefore, we are very willing to accommodate your needs. Please contact us directly, explaining your situation and we will do what we can to make it possible for you to join us.