What is better: go with a group or organise your photo trip yourself?
Again, donít expect a clear answer! Both approaches have their pros and cons - itís up to you to decide what suits your needs!
Here are some points to consider:
Pros of group travels for photographers
- everything is organised, - you can concentrate on your holidays and the country, no need to book trains, look for the best airfare, or reserving hotels
- a good guide can tell you much about your destination
- a good guide will silently take care of all the little unpleasant surprises you would have to cope with (closed museums, medical problems, special diets, problems with your room...)
- tours can generally pack more into a day and are not restricted by availability of local transport
- you do not have to know the language
Cons of travelling with a group
- the schedule is tight, you cannot spend much time at any one place and are not able to come back to a beautiful spot when the light is perfect
- repeated attempts to use your tripod (with the ensuing loss of time) may not make you very popular with your fellow-travellers
- a guide shields you from local contacts, many interesting insights, and takes part of the ďadventureĒ out of your trip.
- Many breathtaking views look boring when reduced to a two-dimensional image. Also, groups tend to visit the exact same spots over and over again. You can be relatively sure that the sights visited have been photographed thousands of times before from the exact location. Unless you have the luck to be able to include something new and unexpected (humans, animals, dramatic clouds, rainbows...), it is very hard to find an original angle.
If you were alone, you could walk a short distance to find another vantage point, - but in a group you have to follow the guide!
- You generally travel in a bus. In a rented car or taxi, you could stop when you pass by an interesting subject, but with a group thereís just no way!
Some people, including photographers, are very happy with travel groups.
This may be especially true for special photo tours or groups of friends.
Going with a group makes life much easier, but may make you miss out on special photo opportunities.
If you have come that far in this article, maybe, you should just try out both approaches and find out with which one you are happier?
However, before going with a group, Iíd recommend checking on the company with a search of the internet - and donít forget to include the relevant newgroups and travel forums in your search! There you can also specifically ask questions about a tour operator or a destination.
If you decide against a group, youíll have to search the net even more thoroughly for up-to-date travel information and you may have to study several guide books and maybe even learn some helpful phrases in a foreign tongue. For me, thatís part of the fun!
In any case, travelling always is an adventure and youíll bring back many new images in your mind as well as on film or other storage medium.