- National Photographic Adventures
- Creative Photo Academy Africa Safari
- Susie Reed Sedona Photography Tours
- Barefoot Contessa Photo Adventures
- Arctic Exposure Iceland Workshop
- The Art of Seeing
- Momenta Workshops
- Joshua Snow Workshops
- New Zealand Photography Tours & Workshops
- ApertureXplorer Expeditions
- Jennifer King Photo Workshops
- Banff Photo Workshops
- Strabo Photo Tour Collection
Image Credit: af_istocker via iStock
Table of Contents: Top Photography Workshops to Attend
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 top photography workshops for 2019-2020. Whether you like landscapes or architecture, portraits or wildlife, or something in between, there's a workshop just for you!
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!
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: January 12-17, 2020
Base Fee: $4,675.00
Workshop Leader: Scott Setterberg
Costa Rica is a place of exceptional beauty, with breathtaking landscapes, gorgeous flowers, and hundreds of species of butterflies, frogs, monkeys, and other wildlife.
I've never been to Costa Rica, but after getting to know Scott Setterberg and hearing about his photography exploits there, I've added Costa Rica as a must-see spot.
Scott's all-inclusive Colors of Costa Rica Tour is the epitome of a luxury photography tour...
Over the course of six days and five nights, you'll explore the landscapes of Costa Rica, stopping in four national parks to photograph 12 spectacular waterfalls. Stops include the La Paz Waterfall Gardens, Juan Castro Blanco National Park, Catarata La Fortuna, Lake Arenal, and Tenorio Volcano National Park.
As you travel in private and spacious transportation, you'll learn about the amazing biodiversity of this magical place from a licensed, English-speaking nature guide with stops along the way to photograph local wildlife, including Costa Rica's famous (and numerous) frogs.
In the confines of your small group (this tour is limited to just four participants), you'll get plenty of one-on-one instruction from Scott. The professional photography tips you get on the tour can be practiced and put immediately into action in one of the world's most photogenic countries.
When you aren't out taking photos, you'll be pampered in luxurious accommodations. You'll stay in award-winning hotels, enjoy gourmet meals of traditional Costa Rican cuisine, and have the opportunity to enjoy massages and spa services.
This is truly an all-inclusive tour - Scott has thought of everything to make your experience one you'll never forget!
Base Fee: Varies Based on Adventure location with discounts for alumni and certain groups, including PhotographyTalk members.
Adventure Leaders: Margo Taussig Pinkerton and Arnold “Arnie” Zann
Talk about a power couple…
The founders of Barefoot Contessa Photo Adventures, Margo and Arnie, are the REAL deal. These folks have contributions to powerhouse publications such as Time, Life, Paris Match, Vogue, and National Geographic [NatGeo for Arnie and NatGeo Traveler for Margo] under their belts, just to name just a few.
Participants on Barefoot Contessa Photo Adventures are challenged to learn and grow, to think outside the box, and to seek their own vision.
In that regard, this is the workshop for you if you are serious about finding your unique photography voice.
Margo and Arnie strive to keep group attendees focused on the art of seeing. You’ll learn how to be patient, to think about each shot, and to craft something beautiful that captures a long-lasting memory.
Barefoot Contessa Photo Adventures are not about jetting you from one location to the next at a break-neck pace. Instead, the focus is on mastery of photography skills while enjoying travels in some of the world’s most incredible locations.
The variety of tour locations from which you can choose is simply staggering. From Summertime on the Maine Coast to Venice in the Fall, Belize, Lane of the Maya to Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta & Santa Fé and points in between, Barefoot Contessa has a photography workshop just for you.
Wherever the location, you’ll learn techniques to take your photography out of the ordinary and into the extraordinary with encouragement and support from moment one to the end of the workshop from not only Margo and Arnie but from your fellow participants.
These workshops are intense, to be sure, but they’re also full of laughter, fun and good times with new and old friends and exploring new possibilities with your camera.
With BCPA, you won’t learn how to take the same old photos. Instead, you’ll find your inner voice as a photographer and learn how to use it to create breathtaking photos.
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?
When: October 25-31, 2019
Base Fee: $6,700
Workshop Leader: Ken Lee
I met Ken Lee for lunch recently, and what struck me most about him is his incredible passion for photography.
I know everyone that's a photographer says they're passionate about it, but Ken is really passionate about it. And that's not just for photography in general - he loves helping educate people about how to improve their photography.
That's why his The Art of Seeing workshops are included on this list.
In looking at Ken's workshops, tours, and expeditions, the Churchill Polar Bears Expedition really stood out.
You'll get up sloe, eye-level views of polar bears in the Polar Bear Capital of the World in Churchill, Manitoba.
Churchill got that moniker because of its location on the southern tip of Hudson Bay where the water is first to freeze, allowing the polar bears to descend onto the ice to hunt seals.
But this expedition isn't just about polar bears...
You'll get to experience other arctic wildlife, the Northern Lights, explore Churchill and learn about its past and its people, and take a 60-minute photography helicopter flight too.
Additionally, Ken provides image reviews, discussions about improving your photography workflow, and offers post-processing demonstrations to help you hone your photography skills from start to finish.
In fact, as awesome as the sights and activities of this expedition might be, for me, the one-on-one time with a master photographer is worth the price of admission by itself.
Ken is approachable, knowledgeable, and as I mentioned earlier, super passionate about photography and helping you improve your skills.
You'll get tons of time with Ken, have opportunities to learn alongside other expedition members, and have time to practice your newfound skills in a breathtakingly gorgeous area.
What's not to like about that?!
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: October 16-20, 2019
Base Fee: $2,150
Workshop Leader: Joshua Snow
Joshua Snow is a fine art landscape photographer that has a personal photography style that I have admired for years and years. This guy simply knows how to create a drop-dead gorgeous photo!
It makes sense, then, that he's on my list of the top workshops to attend in 2019 and 2020.
From Moab to the Oregon Coast, Glacier National Park to Death Valley, you can explore some of the most breathtaking and rugged landscapes in the world on a workshop with Joshua.
If I had my druthers, I'd travel with Joshua to Maine for his Autumn in Acadia workshop this October.
I've never been to Maine, and have only seen photos of Acadia, but there are few landscapes I want to photograph as much as the rocky coastlines and spectacular fall colors of October in Maine!
But Acadia National Park isn't just rocky shorelines. You'll get to explore all kinds of landscapes, from mountains to beaches to forest wetlands.
Over the course of four days and four nights, you'll learn all things photography in a small group setting (the workshop is limited to five students).
Days will be spent exploring the Maine landscape and learning how to create more dynamic photos through improved composition and storytelling.
When the day is done, you'll settle in with the group at an Airbnb and have an opportunity to critique images and learn some post-processing tips that will help you extract every last bit of glory from your shots.
You'll also get some time to explore the area on your own - including the quaint little town of Bar Harbor, where you can watch lobstermen pull in their hauls.
This workshop is any landscape photographers dream, but with just five spots available, you need to act fast if you want to see peak fall colors in Maine this October.
When: Dates are available throughout 2019
Base Fee: $4,000 (AUD), $2,793.20 (USD)
Workshop Leader: Chris Chow
You'll be hard-pressed to find a more breathtaking area than New Zealand.
It's South Island, in particular, is a landscape photographer's paradise!
With New Zealand Photography Tours and Workshops, you'll get to explore the South Island's world-class scenery, including nine national parks, glistening lakes, lush rainforests, ice-capped mountains, and everything in between.
There is an incredible amount of diversity in the South Island's landscapes and wildlife, which is why this tour is far longer than most - up to 12 days and 11 nights.
Over the course of the tour, you'll receive plenty of one-on-one instruction in the field so you can hone your photography skills, specifically those related to landscapes and astrophotography.
Each tour is limited to just nine participants, so you'll get to learn and travel in a small-group setting.
Tours are learning-focused, but in a very relaxed and personal environment. You'll be challenged to learn more, step outside your comfort zone, and try new things as a means of creating beautiful images of which you are proud.
With dates throughout 2019, the South Island of New Zealand can easily be your photography destination this year!
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?!
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