How to craft photography tours that inspire

Photography has always been synonymous with travel, and now tour operators are finding new and inventive ways to incorporate this increasingly popular hobby into their services. From itineraries that revolve solely around finding unique photo opportunities, to group tours that incorporate a workshop style element into their itineraries; there are countless ways your tour operator business can bring a photographic element into your offering.

Interest in the art of composing, capturing and editing a fabulous photograph has surged in recent years, partly due to the rise of photo-sharing social platforms like Instagram and Pinterest, and partly due to the massive technological advances the photography industry has experienced in the last decade.

These tours are more specialised than most in that they often combine specialist learning with adventure. While popular tourist hotspots such as cities and landmarks are interesting to photograph, the truly exciting photographic opportunities often present themselves when travellers are immersed in more authentic experiences. There is something uniquely captivating about having the opportunity to capture a photo that no one has seen before.

The beauty of this niche is that there is room to focus your business towards more than just ‘photography tours’. As a tour operator you could be extremely passionate about Tanzanian Safaris, exploring the Arctic Circle or immersing in truly unique human experiences. Combining that passion under the umbrella of a photography tour will allow you to craft meaningful experiences that celebrate the destinations and experiences you love through the art of photography…what could be more rewarding than that?!

As mentioned earlier, there are plenty of ways you can integrate photography into your travel offering. With photography becoming more popular and accessible, there is a huge range of people interested in adding a touch of creativity to their travels, without spending the entire time immersed in camera equipment. As a result, one of the most popular ways to integrate photography with travel is to craft itineraries with a specific focus on destinations offering spectacular photographic opportunities.

Another fabulous way to expand on this interesting travel niche is to broaden your offering and include photographic workshops. These could be integrated into your itinerary, or as an add-on for travellers to polish their skills and meet their travel companions a few weeks prior to their travel commencing.

Group size

One trait that is synonymous with photography tours is a small group size. This isn’t because they aren’t popular, in fact, it’s quite the contrary. Groups are intentionally limited in order to ensure an intimate and unique experience is given to the travellers and tour guides every single time.

Photographic style matters

It’s important to remember that not all photographers (amateur or professional) have the same style. Yes, the destination you are travelling to will provide your potential customers with a good indication as to the types of photographic opportunities they can expect, but taking the time to recognise and share other unique variables will help your travellers know which of your tours are right for them. For example, tours to Japan in April are synonymous with cherry blossom season – a fabulous photographic subject for some photographers. Others may find inspiration at other times of the year.

Be transparent about skill levels

As with many interests, there are varying levels of skill. Craft your tailor-made itineraries to suit different skill levels; meaning advanced photographers will feel they are investing in a tour suited to them, and novice photographers will feel confident that they can learn alongside other travellers who are at similar stages in their photography journey. As we mentioned above, this also goes hand in hand with the destinations you offer; some locations will simply require a different skill level to get that great shot, so matching a destination to its appropriate skill level is an important consideration.

Your pre-sales opportunity to inspire is huge!

Nothing is more inspiring than a beautiful shot that draws the eye in and excites the viewers desire to be creative. A photography tour operator enjoys a very special opportunity. You get to highlight your offering with breathtaking images that speak directly to those that are about to embark on one of your tailor-made tours. Take time to carefully select the images you want to highlight because photography is a fundamental part of your travel brand. Your job here is to inspire, so the pictures you choose could be the difference between a new customer, or a missed opportunity.

Don’t forget travel styles

When designing your itineraries for these types of tours, don’t forget to think outside of the realms of photography too. People embarking on photography tours are just as much travellers as they are photographers; their travel style is likely to be as diverse as the photos they take. Choose what type of traveller you want to appeal to and design your journey with that in mind. Remember, a luxury photography tour is going to be very different from an intrepid camping photography tour.

Resources for tour operators

Social media is an important tool for a photography tour operator. Learn how to enhance your social profile here

Instagram has taken the photography world by storm. Learn all about how you can use it to increase sales

Photography tours are considered a ‘niche market’ in the travel industry. Learn why it pays to focus on a niche in this article

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