Photo Tour or go on your own?

Posta de Sol & mirror lake shot

We get questions from folks all the time about our tours and why a photo tour is better/easier/more complete than non-photo tours.  Our reply is usually based on how they answer a few questions.

1) We hear from folks that they went on a tour but were always being rushed to get back to the bus.  When we ask which photo tour they on and with whom their reply is always – ‘Oh, no I/we went on a regular tour hoping we’d have plenty of time to shoot what we wanted but we were always being rushed and having people upset with us for holding up the group.’

2)  Our follow-up question is usually “So you left the hotel every day after breakfast and were eating dinner as the sun was setting?”  To which we get the reply ‘Yes, usually left between 8 and 9 AM and were stopping for dinner between 6 and 7 PM.’

3) Our last question is usually “So all you saw was the set big sites and didn’t take/have time to get in touch with the locals?”  To which we hear in reply ‘Sure, we saw all the classic sites in mid-day light but had no significant time to explore on our own or connect with the locals.  It wasn’t good for photography at all.’

We also hear from another group that likes to plan on their own because they “…have traveled a lot and can use the web and guide books to make arrangements for hotels, meals, and guides.”

Either method is fine and may work and help you capture some memorable images during your trip.  If you sincerely want to visit a location/country for the photography there are several reasons why you should join a photo tour.  Namely,

A) Have you built the relationships with local guides, hotels, and other services/people who will help you come home with images that most people do not capture?  M&M has leveraged its 30+ years of global travel experience and developed relationships in every country we offer a tour to give you an awesome photographic experience AND to come home with the images you want.  We leave nothing to chance except the free time we give you to explore and find hidden gems.

B) How much time do you have for research – if research is needed?  Unless you have been to 162 countries (many of them more than 20+ times each) you will need to spend a significant amount of time learning about your location and the best sites, times, season, etc. to get the shots you want.  M&M already has this extensive knowledge/database to get you where you need to be, when you need to be there, to get the shots you’ve dreamed about.  Sign up and leave the planning and worry to us.  We spend over 200 hours planning/scheduling every tour we offer EACH year.

C) How well do you tolerate/deal with the unexpected?  If you plan a tour on your own it better be high.  Traveling with M&M on a photo tour alleviates the unexpected as our air/ground vendors have our wishes dialed in and work closely with a huge support team to make sure things go well AND we always have a Plan B and Plan C  in the unlikely event something pops up.

D) Do you know the best time/season to visit a specific location/site to get the shot you want?  M&M has our trips dialed in and our ground support teams know what our guests expect and want in their photography.  We know when the rainy season ends and the dry season starts.  We know when/where the key local festivals are.  We know when and where the best markets are.  We know the back roads and hidden gems that will separate your images from others that have visited the same region.

E) When you travel alone or with a friend you are responsible for everything – added costs, arrangements for early breakfast/late dinner, drivers as needed, local guides, etc.  M&M takes care of everything for you.  All you have to do is show up and have your gear ready to capture the images you’ve always dreamed about.  OK, you may have to worry about having a soda or beer with dinner.

The bottom line is that our time is the most overlooked factor when actually executing a trip.  We can plan all we want on our own but unless we’ve “been there done that” we will have most likely missed something and spend hours fixing/re-planning the trip on the fly.  On the road our time and the exact execution of that time is the most precious item we have and need to capture the images we dream about.

Do not leave your photo tour to chance.  M&M trips are precisely planned and smoothly executed at every juncture.  Fewer hours spent fixing things means more hours making frames, memories, friends, and ensures that you’ll arrive home safe with many more award-winning images.  Traveling with like-minded people (photographers) adds a dimension to a trip that cannot be enjoyed with others.  Keep in mind that MOST M&M tours are all-inclusive taking the unknown out of the equation.  Lastly, you will have more in-field camera time when traveling with us than not.

We look forward to having you join us soon.  At M&M “You don’t just take a photograph, you experience it.”

Mesa Arch2


2 Responses to “Photo Tour or go on your own?”

  1. You left out “stop the car” photography.
    I have friends who traveled on their own to an exotic local and hired a local driver. He would not stop for them to take pictures as they rode along. With M&M we would stop when we came across something interesting. We would also stay in an area longer if the shooting was good.

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