Image Credit: af_istocker via iStock
I know I'm partial to learning about photography through tutorials, guides, articles, and videos, like those featured here on PhotographyTalk.
But something we don't offer is photography workshops, and if you ask me, workshops are just about the best way to develop serious photography skills in a short amount of time.
And even if you're in a good spot with your photography knowledge and abilities, a photography workshop is still a great idea because it allows you to rub elbows with other photography enthusiasts and explore new places with like-minded people.
There's just something about hitting up Iceland and its fantastic landscapes and Africa with its incredible wildlife with other photography lovers.
That being the case, here's a list of the best photography workshops for 2019. Whether you like landscapes or architecture, portraits or wildlife, or something in between, there's a workshop just for you!
When: August 21-30, 2019
Base Fee: $10,500
Workshop Leaders: Mark Comon and Simba Marara
For 30 years, Creative Photo Academy has been at the forefront of photography education, offering everything from photography classes and photo walks to full-on photography workshops and multi-day adventures all over the world.
And unlike some photography companies, Creative Photo Academy doesn’t just focus on one kind of instruction. Instead, they offer workshops and tours in all manner of photography genres, from landscapes to portraits and just about everything in between.
They can offer such a wide range of learning opportunities because they have award-winning, internationally recognized photographers leading each course. That means that you not only get the chance to learn more about photography and improve your skills, but you also get to learn from professionals that are at the top of their game.
One of Creative Photo Academy’s most popular workshops is their annual Africa Photo Safari.
Led by Mark Comon and Simba Marara, this premier safari will take you into the heart of Africa where you’ll be able to photograph the incredible diversity of wildlife and see spectacular landscapes in a National Geographic-style outing.
To help you find prime photography locations, Oscar Mwangi, Africa’s foremost guide, will take the group deep into the bush where you’ll find elephants, giraffes, zebras, lions, and other iconic African game. What’s more, Oscar will teach the group about Africa’s wildlife and enlighten you about animal behaviors as well.
As any top-flight tour should, the African Photo Safari includes deluxe accommodations, incredible meals, and local transportation. That includes riding in customized safari vehicles with a maximum of three photographers in each one, that way you have all the room you need to capture the shots you want.
This tour coincides with the Great Migration, so there will be no lack of jaw-dropping wildlife sightings while on the trip. Combined with the opportunity to learn about the rich history and culture of the area, as well as meeting locals and learning about their customs, this is truly a can’t-miss chance to travel to one of the world’s most incredible places!
When: Private tours can be scheduled year round
Base Fee: Varies based on number of people and length of tour
Workshop Leader: Susie Reed
The Sedona, Arizona area is one of breathtaking beauty and incredible history, making it an ideal subject for a photography tour.
There is no lack of spectacular scenery there, from soaring rock formations, to breathtaking sunsets, to archaeological sites, night skies filled with stars and much more. That’s why it’s a mecca for photographers!
Whether you’re a brand new photographer who wants to learn the basics or a seasoned pro wanting to explore Sedona for the first time, Susie Reed will help you do so by providing individualized instruction and sharing her deep knowledge of the area.
While some photography workshops hurry you along in large groups, Susie has a completely different philosophy. Her tours are private. She often takes out individuals or just a few people at a time, which enables her to work closely with photographers and help them quickly up their learning curves. What’s more, Susie believes in really experiencing the places you photograph, so while you’re out shooting you’ll get plenty of time to immerse yourself in the wonders of Sedona's magnificent red rock country without feeling rushed to get to the next stop.
Susie takes photographers to little-known and picturesque locations that most say they’d never find. While there, she helps them develop stronger photographic skills away from the hustle and bustle of crowded hot spots. If there are specific places you want to see and experience Susie will tailor your tour to your specifications and if you only have a short time in Sedona she’ll help you make the most of it.
Susie’s passion for photographing Sedona’s landscapes, vortexes, Indian dwellings, and rock art began in 1993 on her first visit. For the next dozen years she kept feeling drawn her back until she finally decided to move there from Sausalito, CA in 2005. Through the years she’s gained unique wisdom and insights about Sedona that she shares on her tours, which she learned by doing extensive exploring and from Native Americans, shaman, archaeologists, Forest Service guides, docents and others she’s met and worked with.
In addition to sharing her intimate knowledge about Sedona, Susie provides photography instruction on her tours to those who want. She helps photographers of all levels with a wide range of gear get better in a surprising short amount of time.
Whether you need help with camera settings or exposure bracketing, how to use filters, shoot panoramas, or use post-processing to bring your images to life, Susie’s approachable, encouraging style and easy-to-understand instructional techniques will help you achieve your photographic goals. It’s no wonder that Susie’s tours have five-star ratings on TripAdvisor and Google!
For the experience of a lifetime, consider visiting Sedona and joining Susie on an epic photography adventure you won’t soon forget.
When: Workshops are held year round
Base Fee: Varies based on tour
Workshop Leader: Varies based on tour
Being from Southern California, I don’t get many opportunities to explore glacier fields, walk along black sand beaches, take in awe-inspiring waterfalls, and enjoy the Northern Lights. And while I see snow on the distant mountain peaks during the winter, I never actually get to play around in it.
That’s why if there’s one place I’d love to see and document with my camera, it’s the Arctic...
More specifically, Iceland is on the top of my list of places to explore with my camera.
If a trip to Iceland is on your bucket list, Arctic Exposure has the workshops for you!
Though Arctic Exposure has workshops all over the Arctic region, their Iceland tours - which occur year-round - are their most popular.
With professional photography guides to lead you on your tour, Arctic Exposure gets you to the most gorgeous places in Iceland where you can take in the breathtaking scenery, learn how to more skillfully use your camera, and discover ways to process your images to create the best possible photos.
And by gorgeous locations, I mean these workshops take you to iconic spots in Iceland like Reykjavík, Thingvellir National Park, Vik, Snæfellsnes, the Golden Circle, Glacier Lagoon, and the South Coast, just to name a few.
But what sets these workshops apart is that Arctic Exposure gets you off the beaten path as well. That means that you can explore lesser-known areas with your camera (and get away from tourists while you’re at it!).
Additionally, Arctic Exposure focuses on the culture and history of this tiny island nation. In that regard, a tour with Arctic Exposure isn’t just about seeing beautiful things and learning more about photography; instead, it’s an experience of a lifetime in which you come away with a greater appreciation for the people and the landscapes of Iceland.
These tours are all-inclusive, with lodging, meals and local transportation included. And by transportation, I mean that you get to ride around in this thing:
That, my friends, is the baddest Mercedes Sprinter Van you’ll ever see!
With a lift kit, 46-inch wheels, beefy tires, and differential locks, these vans can handle just about anything that Iceland throws at them. That means that you can still get to remote locations like waterfalls, ice caves, and glaciers, even in the dead of winter. There’s even Wi-Fi and USB charges for each seat!
Gorgeous scenery, lessons on photography, opportunities to learn about local history, tours available winter, spring, summer, and fall, and amazing transportation...what more could you ask for in a photography tour?
Revelers and performers celebrate the annual Carnaval in Baranquilla, Colombia, which is the site of our Leica Destinations: Carnaval workshop in 2019. Photo © Emanuel Echeverri/Momenta Workshops.
When: Dates are available throughout 2019
Base Fee: Varies
Workshop Leader: Varies
Momenta Workshops offers a completely different kind of photography adventure.
With their exclusive documentary photo adventures, you can explore some of the world's most incredible locations. And while on your adventure, you get highly personalized instruction and learning experience thanks to a teacher-to-student ratio of just 1:5.
In addition to these adventures, Momenta also has luxury photography outings that put you in the heart of the art, culture, and history of the world's wonderlands.
However, what makes Momenta unique is not the wide-range of workshops or their luxury travel options.
James House organisation provides community-based child and youth care development programmes in Hout Bay, South Africa. Photograph taken on the Momenta Project South Africa: Working with Nonprofits workshop. Photo © Lukas Spieker/Momenta Workshops 2011.
Instead, Momenta's founders are all about helping others, something that the company's three founders hold near and dear to their hearts.
For example, Momenta's Project Series workshops take you to points throughout the U.S. with a focus on using the power of photography to benefit non-profit organizations.
To say that this is a photography experience of another kind is an understatement, because you can literally use your photography skills as a force of change to make the world a better place.
In 2019, these project workshops are scheduled for Portland, Oregon, Los Angeles, New Orleans, and Puerto Rico, each of which benefits a different non-profit.
Aao Pade is an after school nonprofit program to help supplement the education of some of the most motivated students from the poorer areas in Dehradun, India. Photograph taken on the Momenta Project India: Working with Nonprofits workshop. Photo © Dana Pugh/Momenta Workshop 2012.
As if all that isn't enough, Momenta has partnered with Leica Akademie USA to create a line of international workshops.
With elite teams of instructors, you can explore places like India, Colombia, and Romania in small groups over the course of ten or more days.
If that doesn't say "photography adventure," I don't know what does!
When: Dates are available throughout 2019
Base Fee: Varies
Workshop Leader: James Conomea
With photography expeditions planned throughout the world in 2019, ApertureXplorer has something for everyone.
Whether you love the Alps of Switzerland, the volcanoes and glaciers of Iceland, the deserts of the American Southwest or points between, you'll find an opportunity of a lifetime.
What makes these expeditions so unique is that the schedule is flexible.
That is, each day, James Conomea, the resident workshop leader, will determine what the best experience will be based on all sorts of factors, from the weather to the wishes of the Xplorer group.
Since ApertureXplorer limits the size of each group, you can rest assured that you'll get plenty of one-on-one time with James, getting tips and insights on how to improve your photography.
That means that no matter if you're a stone-cold beginner photographer or a grizzled veteran, you will benefit from James' expertise.
Each day of the trip involves at least one workshop session, in which the group discusses techniques and learning points for the day's activities.
This includes a live image editing session so you can learn the ins and outs of bringing the beauty of each of your images to the forefront.
With incredible locations, perfect planning, small group instruction, and a lot of fun, it's no wonder that patrons of ApertureXplorer rave about their experience:
“Everything was planned perfectly by our guides. The lodging, food, and timeframes between locations were all set up perfectly. I would recommend this guide company to anyone looking for a photography workshop combined with an amazing vacation.” - Francis, ApertureXplorer Alumni
That testimonial says it all - if you're ready for an adventure, ApertureXplorer is a prime choice!
When: Dates vary
Base Fee: Varies depending upon location
Workshop Leader: Varies
It's a long list when you consider all the great things about Jennifer King Photo Workshops...
For starters, there are workshops for every kind of photographer in every kind of location you can imagine. From Florida to Mongolia, Tuscany to the badlands of South Dakota, Scotland to Death Valley, you can develop your photography skills and learn from some of the best photographers in the world, all the while exploring some of the most breathtaking landscapes you can find.
If it sounds awesome, it is! Jennifer and her team spend countless hours planning each trip, scouting locations, and making arrangements so you can have a stress-free trip and spend your time becoming a better photographer. There's a reason why 95% of Jennifer's clients come back for more!
These workshops aren't just fun trips, either. Instead, they're designed with skill-building in mind for photographers of all ability levels.
Each day, workshop leaders work one-on-one with each workshop participant in the field and during class sessions.
That includes constructive critiques of each attendee's images, that way you know exactly what's working and what needs to be addressed in your shots.
And since these workshops are limited to small groups, it's not like you'll be fighting for time with the instructors.
If you're looking for an adventure and a chance to take your photography to the next level, Jennifer King Photo Workshops is the place to do it!
When: Up to you!
Base Fee: Varies
Workshop Leader: Dani Lefrancois
If the photography workshop experience you seek is one that's truly private, then Banff photo Workshops should be your top choice.
After all, workshop leader Dani Lefrancois offers one-on-one private tours, so it doesn't get much more individualized than that!
These guided landscape and wildlife photography tours are ideal for any type of photographer, whether you just bought your first DSLR or you’re a seasoned veteran that simply wants a guided tour of some of the most spectacular landscapes on earth. Whatever your needs or skill level, Banff Photo Workshops will customize your experience to ensure you get the instruction you want.
You can explore some of the most breathtaking landscapes on earth while on your Banff area tour.
That includes Moraine Lake, Yoho, Lake Louise, among many other locations, as well as wildlife tours and night photography outings.
In other words, the Canadian Rockies are your oyster, and with a seasoned pro and Banff expert leading the way, you can certainly make the most of your time there.
A custom experience, gorgeous landscapes, personalized instruction from an expert...what more could you want?!
Base Fee: Starting at $1,195; Varies Based on Adventure Location
Adventure Leader: Kevin Vandivier
National Photographic Adventures is the brainchild of Kevin Vandivier, a 40-year photography veteran. His love of wildlife, landscapes, and people has garnered him multiple awards, showings at world-famous galleries, and publications in the likes of Life Magazine, National Geographic Society, and Texas Monthly, as well as a season as photo editor of Texas Highways Magazine.
Kevin uses his passion and experience to mentor students on topics that range from composition and framing to lighting and processing to developing ways to tell better stories with your images. Each photo adventure involves one-on-one feedback from Kevin, daily demonstrations of photography techniques, and shooting assignments tailored to each individual that facilitate personal growth as a photographer.
Each adventure is recounted in National Photographic Magazine, which features the works of each person on the adventure. Each attendee gets several copies of the magazine to share with friends and family.
These adventures take place all over the U.S.: Grand Teton National Park, Monument Valley, and Glacier National Park. An Iceland adventure is also available for photographers that want to flex their photography muscles in one of the most breathtaking photography locations on earth.
Each adventure is limited to only seven participants, which ensures that each attendee has an opportunity to learn in an intimate environment that’s conducive to improving the quality of the photos you create. With such small groups, time is of the essence to book your spot before they’re sold out!
Whether you choose to adventure in Wyoming, Montana, Utah, Iceland, or somewhere in between, National Photographic Adventures should be at the top of your list of photography workshops to attend in 2019!
Since 2003, Strabo Photo Tour Collection has been leading enriching photography tours around the world that are designed by and for photographers. Each year, they offer upwards of 47 photography workshops in breathtaking and highly desirable locations that focus on popular photography areas like wildlife, landscapes, architecture, and culture.
If northern Africa is more your style, Strabo Tours’ Morocco photo tour should be on your list of top photography workshops. Centered around Marrakech, Fes, the blue-washed town of Chefchaouen, and the Sahara Desert, tour participants have an array of photo opportunities to document the breathtaking beauty of this area.
You will get to experience the world-renown Djemaa el-Fna Square, the ancient buildings of Fes, native villages, ancient medinas, and much more. The tour is even accompanied by a local Moroccan guide to give you even more insight into the beautiful people and interesting culture of this great country.
When: April 19-20, 2019
Base Fee: $4,195
Workshop Leader: Ralph Velasco
If you’re a landscape photographer, Iceland is sure to be your photographic paradise. Between its volcanic landscapes, incredible glaciers, abundance of waterfalls, black sand beaches, and the Northern Lights, everywhere you look is something breathtaking to record with your camera. In fact, on this tour, you’ll get to experience the Northern Lights and hike inside an ice cave.
This tour by Strabo Photo Tours is led by Ron Rosenstock, who has led photo tours since 1967. His 40-plus years as a photographer will prove invaluable as you experience the wonders of this beautiful place. The tour is limited to 12 participants, so you’ll get plenty of time to rub elbows with other photography enthusiasts and get one-on-one time with Ron.
When: February 2-10, 2019
Base Fee: $6,995
Workshop Leader: Ron Rosenstock