FAQs About My Photography Tours and Workshops
Don has over 24 years of experience planning, organizing, researching, and leading photo-based tour adventures and workshops to amazing destinations all over the world. If you are looking for a small group trip where everyone from beginner to professional is welcome, you are in the right place. If you want to have fun while learning and doing photography, you are definitely in the right place.
Frequently Asked Questions
A photography tour with me, including all North American destinations and my ‘international cultural or wildlife tours’ are very different from oh-so boring, and often overcrowded workshops offered by many other ‘schools’ or companies. On my tours, I will be your one-of-a-kind, enthusiastic, fun, leader. I usually photograph alongside participants, but I am always ready to help you when or if you need it. You will be led, by me, to the best area for capturing excellent photos at the best times, and you’ll be given lots of suggestions and information about the exact area’s potential for photography, and we’ll be making photos together. Classroom sessions (if any) on tours are optional and scheduled for reviewing of photos and/or critiques of photos. There will not be any formal teaching of techniques in the classroom on my tours, however, while in the field, as mentioned, I will always be available to answer any and all photography questions as they arise. My small group size of 4-8 participants means you can always find me and ask me anything. The best teaching and learning experience comes from DOING. My FUN approach is to get you outside to DO PHOTOGRAPHY.
A photography workshop means that it is both, a classroom learning, and a shooting experience with time for teaching scheduled on most days in the classroom. Classroom sessions are designed to discuss photography or more likely, post-processing topics. Typical overcrowded photography workshops schedule time for sitting in a dark classroom and watching with tired eyes as the instructor discusses in a monotone voice Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Lightroom techniques. On my tours you will never be subjected to this! However, if you would like to have a one-on-one teaching/learning session we’ll set this up as time allows. In this case if you ask me and we have time, I’ll gladly sit with you and go over whatever it is you want. I can discuss my very simple method of processing images (not using Lightroom). I can talk about selling your images, how I research locations, how I find and photograph wildlife, my world travels to 74 different countries, my experience studying endangered species, the unique travel experience of living out of a backpack while traveling the world for 21 months non-stop, or anything else photography, travel or nature related.
Smaller groups of 6-8 photographers have an overall better experience. Every time, all the time. I’ve been leading trips for 24 years now and I know both sides of this spectrum. If you’ve ever tried to photograph in a somewhat tight space (Mesa Arch or the boardwalks of Yellowstone for example) before, then you know how hard it can be with a bigger group. I take just 6 or 8 clients maximum on ALL of my photo tours (except Galapagos). You’ll never feel ‘left out’ or resigned to the back of the crowd on my tours. The only exception to my group size of 6-8 is my Galapagos tour where I bring 14 people. Why this exception? Because neither the yacht owners nor I can justify going to sea with a half-full boat. The yacht I charter has 8 double cabins (14 people, plus myself). However, there is a crew of 8, plus myself to take care of this size group!
Of course! I encourage any interested person, no matter their abilities or photography skill level to come with me. I love teaching people about my passion, which is photographing nature, travel and wildlife subjects. Beginners have a huge opportunity to learn from both myself and from the others on the trip. Anyone with an interest is welcome!
Of course! I often have professionals with me on tours and workshops. Sometimes they are using their camera in a different capacity such as weddings or portraiture and merely want to join a group or go somewhere new and/or see a different part of the world. All are welcome!
I encourage you to sign up and join one of my tours no matter what camera you own. Even point and shoot cameras, or simple smart phones as long as they have some ‘creative control’ modes, can make excellent photos on any of my trips. A tripod is also very helpful for most trips.
A detailed packing list will be sent to all participants normally two months from the time we are scheduled to begin the trip. No specialized or ‘professional’ gear is required.
Sign up, bring what you already own and you’ll get great photos in a fun, supportive atmosphere all the while learning about photography.
No camping. While great photos can certainly be had by roughing it in the backcountry – on my tours and workshops we’ll always stay in a hotel, motel, or B&B close to the photo areas.
The lodging arrangements will be made by me, and I’ll reserve a room for each person or couple on the trip. On my tours, all your lodging is included in the tour fee.
On all tours, rooms are based on double occupancy and I normally charge a single supplement to cover the fact that I need to pay more per person/room as compared to when 2 people are participating (spouses or friends) and sharing a room. The single supplement amount varies depending on the tour and is due with the final tour tuition payment.
This depends on which tour you ask about. On domestic tours, meals are not included and you’ll be given ample time to eat three times a day wherever you wish. Breakfast on domestic tours is sometimes included if part of our accommodation perks. On my Costa Rica, Ecuador wildlife, and my Galapagos tours, yes, all meals are included and we’ll eat together every meal. On my Italy tours we’ll usually dine together for most meals but each person pays for their own meal and drinks. On tours where meals aren’t included, I often schedule a group get-together for a final lunch or dinner towards the end of a trip.
On all my tours you are paying for my time and expertise. You are paying for me to be in charge of all the logistics and to make all the arrangements for our group. You are paying to have a credentialed, experienced professional photographer with you at all times in order for you to maximize your time and to get the best photos possible.
If there is something extra such as a jeep tour, or the need to be guided by local guides, this is normally included in the tour or workshop fee. On both domestic and international cultural tours, lodging is also included in your fee. See individual trip pages to see what else is and isn’t included in the exact trip you are interested in joining.
For North American tours, not necessarily. If you can get to the designated hotel or place of lodging for the first scheduled meeting, then normally there will be someone in the group who can offer a ride to you during our time together. Some people, but not everyone will need vehicles while on these domestic tours. I will facilitate car rental sharing among participants if you need and want this – just ask.
You will not need any sort of off-road or 4×4 vehicle on any of my workshops or tours, except on my Colorado Fall Color tour where at least some folks should have a vehicle with high clearance/off road abilities On international cultural and wildlife tours that require driving, I’ll rent a proper vehicle and I’ll do all the driving or alternatively, depending on the tour, I’ll hire local, professional drivers.
Yes. I encourage you to bring your non-participating spouse on all my trips. For domestic (North American) trips if they are truly non-participating, then they are most welcome to come along at a reduced rate or free of charge. For my international cultural and foreign wildlife tours, I charge the same tour fee to everyone who comes along.
The answer varies depending on the location visiting, but we won’t ever hike any extreme or strenuously long hikes or high-altitude mountain climbs, etc. Most of our shooting, in most locations, is done within about ¼ mile from wherever we leave our cars. Some trips do have moderate hikes of up to 1.5 miles one-way, but these are always at your option and I’ll suggest other locations if you opt not to tackle such a hike. On most of my international cultural tours, we walk on city streets quite a bit, but it’s never very far (1 mile or so) at any one time. And you are always certainly welcome to sit in a café or restaurant and rest. On all my trips, I go at the group’s general pace. If nobody wants to hike to a location, I’ll pick a different shooting spot. You’ll be sent more information about hiking on the trip you join, when I send out information packets to participants.
Bad weather is often good for photography. Especially in scenic nature locations, often when ‘bad’ weather moves through, we end up getting the most amazing shots of the entire trip. Never let the weather determine if you’ll go somewhere or not. I know each and every place intimately where I lead tours, and I’ll figure out an alternative spot to visit if we do come across some type of impossible-to-deal-with weather event.
Yes. If there is some location, park or city which you’d like to visit and have a private trip with me as leader, I will consider anything you have in mind. If you have a small group or club, which would like to have a professional photographer to lead you wherever, I would be happy to discuss this. Prices will be determined as we talk.
- If you cancel 90 days or more prior to the workshop or tour start date, AND I can fill your space(s), all monies, except $250 from your deposit, will be refunded.
- If you cancel 60-90 days prior to workshop or tour start date, AND I can fill your space(s), 50% of monies, except $250 from your deposit, will be refunded.*
- If you cancel less than 60 days prior to the workshop or tour start date, there is no refund.*
- It is VERY important that for tours which require you to fly in order to get there, you DO NOT purchase non-refundable flight tickets until you are told by me that the tour is a “go” and there are enough people signed up to make it work.
I reserve the right to cancel any tour or workshop due to insufficient registration. In such a case, all monies collected, including deposits will be refunded. If the tour or workshop is cancelled, you will be notified at least 30 days in advance.
If the tour or workshop is cancelled due to instructor illness, natural disaster, or other uncontrollable reasons, all monies will be refunded. Tours will always be rescheduled to another date before being cancelled due to impacts of Covid 19 or similar global pandemics.
I cannot be held responsible for other associated costs, such as unforeseen travel expenses, delays, etc. and I therefore highly recommend trip insurance.
I understand that sometimes people need to make last minute cancellations due to illness, family, or business matters. Unfortunately, I am unable to make last minute refunds or provide credit on future workshops due to these last minute cancellations. Again, a trip insurance policy that is “cancel for any reason” is highly recommended.
*If I can fill your cancelled spot on the workshop or tour, all money, minus $250 processing fee, will be refunded.