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  • 10 Questions to Ask a Tour Operator Before Signing up for a Photography Tour

    The post 10 Questions to Ask a Tour Operator Before Signing up for a Photography Tour appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Peter West Carey.

    The company has an entrancing website and bedazzling photos. The itinerary looks all-encompassing and the testimonials seem positive. You’re excited and have your credit card ready for the deposit.

    Slow down, partner.

    Before you hand over your money, it’s a good idea to ask a number of questions of the photography tour operator.

    Asking questions before paying for a photography tour is all about setting expectations – both yours and the operators. It’s also a chance to learn about the professionalism of the person or company you are signing up with.

    Here then are 10 key questions to help you with your tour choice.

    1. Do they have insurance? And what will it cover?

    Protecting yourself is important with any tour, and it’s important to know what your tour operator has in place before you sign up. With the proliferation of photographers jumping to offering tours, it’s possible not all have put serious thought into insurance matters.

    At the least, your operator should have insurance covering accidents during the trip – both ones they cause and ones out of their control.

    The reason operators may skimp on insurance is simple – it’s expensive. And that cuts into profits. It’s also often the reason two operators who offer roughly the same itinerary will differ in price by 10-20%. Make sure you are covered before paying your deposit.

    2. What is their guest to instructor ratio?

    Everyone has their own ideal when it comes to instructor-to-guest ratios. Some enjoy one-on-one instruction all the time, and others prefer a small group of maybe five or six. Still, others may love the anonymity of a large 15-person group so they can do their own thing without interference.

    I prefer groups no larger than six guests per instructor. This allows for some hands-on, one-on-one time. It also ensures the instructor is not being asked 5,000 questions while you wait for your chance.

    Also, realize that an instructor may have a low ratio, but the over-group size might be larger, meaning they may bring in other instructors to help out. This is usually not a problem, but if you are hoping to hear directly from the lead instructor who attracted you to the tour, be aware you might not get the amount of facetime you’re expecting.

    3. Is this a tour or workshop?

    What’s the difference between a workshop and a photo tour? Susan Portnoy has a good comparison on her site, The Insatiable Traveler.

    A tour is a chance to be guided through an area typically rich in photographic content. There is less direct hands-on instruction, moment to moment, and the subject matter can cover a large spectrum.

    A workshop, by contrast, is usually more hands-on and directed to a specific goal. An example of this is a one day workshop on street photography. Your instructor will be close at hand to make all those small course corrections and critiques needed for improvement.

    4. Do they have any other assignments during this trip or is this their only gig?

    I’ve run across this myself while taking a tour. The instructors brought us to a scenic overlook and then POOF! Gone.

    It turned out they had an assignment in that area. While they only headed off five minutes away, it was rather disconcerting to think I, and the other guests, were less important for that hour of ‘other work.’

    It’s important to also realize that having other work isn’t necessarily horrible for you. However, it’s important to know about it up front, and then you can decide if it is acceptable. Most of us are okay with some deviation if we know about it in advance.

    5. Will there be daily opportunities to review work?

    Some people love to have constant feedback and need that on their tour. While others could not care less because their art is a personal endeavor.

    If you want regular feedback, ask about it. Again, it’s about setting expectations, so you’re not disappointed when your needs aren’t being met.

    Sometimes the reviews are just back-of-camera check-ins to see what you’re seeing and offer correction or encouragement. Or maybe you want an hour of the instructor’s time every three nights in front of a laptop so you can get more in-depth critiques. Either way, know before you go.

    6. Why do they run tours to this location?

    This is a big question that should be easy for any operator to answer. I believe the best answer is, “Because I love the area/region/country!” Often, the answer in the background is, “Because it is highly profitable or super popular.”

    There’s nothing wrong with making a profit or leading tours to popular spots, but I feel it is important to know why the operator is running the tours they run. If it’s for the love of an area, you’re more likely to get hard-to-acquire information, background details, and unique locations. Experience certainly matters in the photography tour business for access to hidden experiences.

    7. What is their cancelation policy?

    This item is pretty straightforward. You should ask this for tours, workshops or any time you are plopping down a large sum of cash for a service. Do they offer full refunds? What is the deadline for canceling without a fee? Do they offer to reschedule if extenuating circumstances or family health are involved?

    What about the operator canceling a tour? Will they try to rebook you with another, similar operator? How quickly will they offer a return of all funds?

    8. What is a typical day like?

    The advertisements and website you researched looked incredible! Beautiful images and exotic locations abound in that slick presentation.

    But what will it really be like when you’re on the tour? Sure, no two days will be the same if you’re traveling all around. However, it is important to understand if you’ll be on a bus for five hours each day or if dinner is planned without thought to sunset timing each night. It’s often the difference between a photo tour and a regular tour.

    In my mind, a photo tour should be a balance of exposure to opportunities with time to reflect and take a break. Food is also very important to keep energy up for shooting all day. If you’re always on the move, you won’t have time for photos. If your itinerary covers too much ground, you’ll see a lot of things through car or bus windows without many opportunities.

    Pacing can be essential during a week or two-week long tour. If every day is packed with 18 hours of photography and instruction, you’re going to be exhausted by Day 3. Flexibility is also important so that one event taking extra time doesn’t make the rest of the day’s itinerary crumble.

    9. How much instruction can you expect?

    This question is also a chance to make your expectations known. If you want hand-holding the whole time, and have barely touched a camera, let the operator know so they can decide if the trip will be a good fit.

    Perhaps you have a particular skill set you want to develop. Letting the operator know early will help them prepare, and both of you can work on a simple plan to help you improve during the tour. Everyone on your trip will have different aspects of photography they want to improve. Expressing your desires will help all involved.

    10. Do they handle all logistics or work with local operators?

    This is another question that has no right or wrong answer, but it’s important to know in setting your expectations. Some operators, to increase profits or because they desire more control, will want to book all the hotels, events, admissions, etc., themselves. This can also lead to a lower cost for guests. But it can also lead to the operator taking more time away from instructing.

    On the other hand, an operator who hires a local guide or tour company should have more time for instructing. It can also help to have a local when things go sideways, and a deep understanding of local customs and protocol is essential. It allows for a division of labor; the local guide can go ahead and check the group into a hotel and have rooms ready while the group continues to soak up a particularly beautiful sunset.

    Conclusion

    Many of the questions I posed here have no right or wrong answer. However, I feel they are all important to ask in setting expectations before investing time and money in a tour. Asking them can also help expose a guide who is not organized or ready to take a group on a trip due to lack of diligence.

    Can you think of other important questions to ask? We’d love to hear them in the comments section below.

     

    photography tour questions

    The post 10 Questions to Ask a Tour Operator Before Signing up for a Photography Tour appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Peter West Carey.


    Source: DP School

  • Shufferfly to be merged with Snapfish after $2.7B acquisition

    American private equity firm, Apollo Global Management LLC (AGM), has agreed to acquire photo printing platforms Shutterfly and Snapfish. According to Reuters, AGM is set to purchase Shutterfly Inc for $2.7 billion, including $900 million in debt. AGM also announced intentions to purchase Snapfish LLC, another Internet-based retailer of photography products. And, apparently, they plan […]

    The post Shufferfly to be merged with Snapfish after $2.7B acquisition appeared first on DIY Photography.


    Source: Diyphotographynet

  • Take a peek BTS to see how Fujifilm developed the GFX100 from concept to production

    News of Fujifilm working on a 100-megapixel camera has been around since Photokina 2018 last September. Finally, only last month, it was unveiled. The Fuji GFX 100 is Fujifilm’s latest flagship mirrorless medium format camera. The folks from Cinema5D got the opportunity to travel to Japan to see the birth of this new camera and monitor its development. […]

    The post Take a peek BTS to see how Fujifilm developed the GFX100 from concept to production appeared first on DIY Photography.


    Source: Diyphotographynet

  • 5 Reasons to Consider Aperture Priority Over Manual Mode

    The post 5 Reasons to Consider Aperture Priority Over Manual Mode appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by John McIntire.

    Choosing aperture priority mode in difficult lighting situations can free your mind up to deal with the things that matter most to the photo, like timing, rather than messing around with the dials to get the same result.

    There’s a lot to be said for the manual exposure mode on your camera. When you’re starting out, learning how to shoot in manual will help you to learn the relationship between shutter speed and aperture. This ensures that you learn what the camera is doing every time you make an exposure. It also builds the basis for you to take what you learn about exposure and correct for the camera’s inability to cope with extreme exposure situations as well as to make creative choices for your images.

    After you’ve learned the ins and outs of manual mode, however, there are a few reasons why you might want to forego your hard-learned manual skills for Aperture Priority mode. This article outlines five of these reasons and details what Aperture Priority mode might offer you and your photography in some situations.

    1. Aperture priority does the same job as manual mode

    In manual mode, the meter in your camera is taking a reading based on your set ISO (provided you’re not using auto ISO). The chances are likely that you’ve picked a deliberate aperture setting before you even lifted the camera up. To get your exposure, you now have to alter the shutter speed so that the indicator on your camera lines up with what the meter dictates is a correct exposure.

    Aperture priority does the exact same thing, except that the camera sets up the shutter speed for you.

    In instances where you are trusting your camera’s light meter (let’s be honest, that’s most of the time), this will result in the same exposure every single time whether you are shooting in manual mode or aperture priority mode.

    What aperture priority mode does is remove the need for you to set the shutter speed yourself. It frees you to concentrate on things like composition without having to constantly keep an eye on the meter.

    Exposing for the meter in manual mode resulted in an exposure of f/11 at 1/50th of a second.

    Exposing the scene in aperture priority mode just a second later resulted in the exact same exposure. f/11 at 1/50th of a second.

    In situations where you need to compensate for dark or light subjects, aperture priority mode still gives you full manual control of the exposure through exposure compensation. Are you taking photos of a dark subject like a black dog? Dial in -1 stop of exposure compensation just one time and keep shooting without having to constantly adjust your settings to get to the same result. Are you taking photos of a fluffy white dog? Same again. This time, add +1 stop of exposure compensation and away you go.

    Dark subjects will require you to underexpose them. In Aperture priority mode, this is easily done with exposure compensation. Once you dial in exposure compensation, you are set to go until it has to be changed again. With light-toned subjects, you will have to overexpose them to maintain the correct exposure.

    High contrast subjects, like this sheep’s white face lit directly by the setting sun, will also have to be underexposed by at least a few stops.

    The only difference between aperture priority mode and manual mode in these circumstances is that you will be spending more time focusing on the creation of the photos than you will be on the dials on your camera.

    To be clear, I am not advocating for not learning how to use manual mode. For the best results, it is important for you to understand how your camera works in relation to exposure. Using manual mode is the best and fastest way to do that. So, please, don’t skip over manual altogether. However, once you have it down, using other modes alongside your knowledge of exposure and how it works will help you and your photos in the long run.

    2. Speed

    The backlighting in this image created an extremely high contrast situation. By dialing in -3 stops of exposure compensation, I was able to ensure that the issues were dealt with in a series of images with one turn of the dial.

    As mentioned, using aperture priority reduces the amount of time you have to spend watching the camera’s meter. Because the camera is now setting the shutter speed for you, the only thing you have to worry about in most situations is exposure compensation. Once you set your camera to aperture priority mode, it takes only one finger (on all modern cameras that I’ve used) to adjust the exposure compensation settings.

    Need to underexpose by a stop? Just turn the one (relevant) dial three clicks. Done.

    The only other thing you might have to worry about is if you have the need, or want, to change your ISO. But that is going to be more uncommon.

    3. Aperture priority still gives full manual control

    At the risk of repeating myself, but I feel this point really needs to be driven home. Aperture priority mode gives you full manual control over your exposure. It is not automatic, or an auto mode, in any way more than it allows the camera to set the shutter speed based on the meter you are already using.  At any time while in aperture priority mode, you will still have full manual input on what exposure the camera is recording. You just have less physical steps to go through before you get there.

    4. Helps to create a constant exposure in changing lighting conditions

    One scenario in which aperture priority mode really shines is in changing lighting conditions. For example, if you’re out on a windy and cloudy day, the light levels can constantly shift. In aperture priority mode, your camera changes the shutter speed for correct exposure (already taking into account any exposure compensation that you might have set). Thus, helping you to achieve a consistent look for all of the images in a sequence. This is most useful in terms of shooting a sequence of images to later stitch into a panorama.

    When creating a sequence of images for a panorama, aperture priority can help to ensure a consistent exposure throughout the frames.

    If you were shooting this sequence in manual mode, it would require you to be constantly looking at the meter and changing your shutter speed settings as required. This isn’t a big deal, but using aperture priority mode allows you to get the same results without constant fetter over the settings.

    At sunset, the light rapidly changes. Add a moving subject to that high contrast scene and you have an exposure nightmare. Aperture priority can help to maintain a fairly consistent exposure between frames.

    This isn’t perfect, and extreme shifts in lighting can have drastic effects on your images and your exposure. You will still have to pay attention to the details to ensure nothing is going wrong. On normal days, however, it will work just fine.

    5. TTL and HSS enabled flashes

    Using aperture priority with TTL and HSS enabled flashes might just be the perfect match.

    When you are using a flash with TTL (through the lens metering) and HSS (High-Speed Sync) enabled, the chances are that you are going to be working with a fixed aperture anyway.

    Remember, shutter speed does not affect flash exposure, only ambient exposure. Aperture priority mode will give you the freedom to set your desired aperture and then let the camera do what it needs to match the meter.

    Not only will you still have full control over the exposure compensation for the ambient, but you will also have full control over exposure compensation with the flash unit.

    Again, this allows you to get the exposure where you want it one time, and then you are free to concentrate on the actual photos.

    That’s it

    Aperture priority can be a fantastic tool for any photographer. At the end of the day, it does the exact same thing that manual mode does. It just takes away some physical steps that you have to go through in manual mode to set the exposure.

    That said, like just about everything else in photography, it is not perfect, and it won’t always be a solution.

    If you take only one thing away from this article, let it be this: shooting only in manual mode does not make you a better photographer. Aperture priority and shutter priority modes do the exact same thing, just in a different way. Use whichever works for the situation you’re in.

    Do you use Aperture or Shutter Priority? Share with us your thoughts in the comments below.

     

    5 Reasons to Consider Aperture Priority Over Manual Mode

    The post 5 Reasons to Consider Aperture Priority Over Manual Mode appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by John McIntire.


    Source: DP School

  • Frontman slaps fan’s phone from her hand when she jumps onstage for a selfie

    It’s happened before that musicians get fed up with people who watch a concert through their smartphones. This time, the frontman of punk-rock band Fidlar, Zac Carper, fought against it. Quite literally. As a fan jumped onstage and tried taking a selfie, Carper slapped the phone right out of her hand, sending it into the […]

    The post Frontman slaps fan’s phone from her hand when she jumps onstage for a selfie appeared first on DIY Photography.


    Source: Diyphotographynet

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