- Creative Photo Academy
- National Photographic Adventures
- David W. Shaw Photography Workshops and Tours
- Jennifer King Photo Workshops
- Arctic Exposure Iceland Workshops
- Susie Reed Sedona Photography Tours
- New Zealand Photography Tours and Workshops
Photo by pixdeluxe via iStock
Each year, we do a "top photography workshops" list. I kept waiting and waiting to publish this list, hoping that the COVID-19 pandemic would settle down and life would get back to normal.
Unfortunately, that's not happening, so this list is going to focus on the top photography workshops to attend in 2021.
Now, there are still some workshops available for 2020, at least for now. But for me, it seems like 2021 will be the year, and if you guys are as antsy as me to get out, travel, and photograph the world's beauty, there will probably be a mad rush to reserve spots in photography tours like the ones I've listed below.
So, why not start planning now? If you can't actually travel someplace, you might as well spend some time thinking about it, planning your trip, and finding the best photography workshop, right?
Table of Contents: Top Photography Workshops to Attend
Abiqua Falls, Oregon
Base Fee: Varies by location
Workshop Leader: Scott Setterberg
I don’t know about you, but when I head out for a photography adventure, I don’t want to worry about anything other than getting my best shots.
With the all-inclusive photography tours from ColorTexturePhotoTours, everything is handled for you so you can concentrate on capturing the beauty around you. Whether you join workshop leader Scott Setterberg in Costa Rica or Oregon, you’ll find that you’re pampered with stays in luxurious hotels, fine food, and, of course, gorgeous scenery!
Additionally, you can enjoy massages and spa services courtesy of ColorTexturePhotoTours. What better way to end a successful day of learning, sharing, exploring, and taking photos than with a relaxing massage?!
Below Las Gemelas in Bajos del Toro, Costa Rica
Regardless of the workshop you choose, you’ll be part of a private tour that’s limited to a handful of participants. In fact, ColorTexturePhotoTours limits availability to just four people!
In this small group setting, you can maximize your time with Scott to learn photography tips and tricks for improving your photography. Likewise, with such a small group, it’s easier to get to know your tourmates and develop friendships that last far beyond the last day of the tour.
White River Falls, Oregon
When you’re not out in the field shooting, you’ll be transported from one location to the next with comfortable travel in a private transport.
You’ll also get to enjoy workshops at the hotel where you can learn how to improve your digital workflow with Lightroom tips from Scott. Of course, sharing photos and getting feedback on your work is part of the experience as well.
Rio Toro, Costa Rica
I’ve had the opportunity to get to know Scott over the last year or so, and he constantly impresses me with his drive to provide the best experience for his clients.
Though some tour companies take liberty with what “private” and “small group” and “luxurious” actually mean, ColorTexturePhotoTours offers the real deal.
It’s just you, three new photography friends, and an expert photographer leading you from one spectacular location to the next!
Tours are ongoing throughout the year, so be sure to check with ColorTexturePhotoTours for details on upcoming workshops.
When: February 12-23, 2020
Base Fee: $8,950. There is a cancellation special for this trip! Save $950 for a single or save $2,900 for a couple! Contact Simba Marara Safaris at 877-723-2749 or 661-678-3869 to book the trip today!
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 landscape to portrait photography and just about everything in between.
They can offer such a wide range of learning opportunities because they have award-winning, internationally recognized famous 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 the Africa Cultural Safari, which they lead in conjunction with Simba Marara Safaris.
Led by Mark Comon and Simba Marara, this premier safari will take you into the heart of Tanzania where you’ll be able to photograph the incredible diversity of wildlife and see spectacular landscapes in a National Geographic-style outing.
They've hired Africa’s foremost guides, Lema Peter to introduce you to the native cultures, and Oscar Mwangi, to find the animals and teach you about their behaviors!
As any top-flight tour should, the African Photo Safari includes deluxe accommodations, incredible meals, and local transportation.
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!
National Photographic Adventures
Base Fee: Starting at $3,900
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 photoshoot 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, West Texas, and Glacier National Park.
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, or Texas, National Photographic Adventures should be at the top of your list of photography workshops to attend in 2020-2021!
David W. Shaw Photography Workshops & Tours
Base Fee: Based on Workshop Location
Workshop Leader: David W. Shaw
What makes David W. Shaw Photography Workshops and Tours unique is that Dave is not just a seasoned professional photographer, but he is also a biologist with undergraduate and master’s degrees in wildlife biology.
His knowledge and understanding of wildlife and ecosystems put you closer to the action, and his passion for protecting animals and wild places will inspire you to use the power of photography to help lead conservation efforts in your backyard and the world over.
But it’s not just his background in biology that makes Dave’s workshops and tours a worthwhile endeavor.
Dave strives to create experiences that challenge you as a photographer, facilitate your growth behind the lens, and educate you on natural history elements of the areas you explore.
In the context of a small group workshop, Dave will take you to unique and extraordinary destinations from an autumn trip to the Kenai in Alaska to the plains of Botswana, both scheduled for late 2020, to Fat Bears of Katmai in 2021 and Argentina's Secret Tropics TBD in 2021. While on your journey, you’ll get plenty of one-on-one attention from Dave while also having time to get to know your workshop-mates.
What’s perhaps even more impressive is that Dave selects off-the-beaten-path locations for his workshops and tours.
So, not only do you benefit from traveling with a small group, but the destinations to which you travel won’t be overrun with crowds of tourists and other photographers.
In that regard, these nature photography workshops and tours are as much about connecting with nature and learning more about the world around us as they are about becoming a more skilled photographer.
It’s for this reason that we’ve selected Dave’s outfit as one of the top workshops to attend in 2020-2021!
Jennifer King Photo Workshops
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 the badlands of South Dakota to the Great Smoky Mountains, Acadia National Park 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 94% 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!
Arctic Exposure Iceland Workshops
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. By the way, Canon 5D Mark IV is my most favorite camera, check it out.
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 chargers 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?
Susie Reed Sedona Photography Tours
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, California 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.
New Zealand Photography Tours & Workshops
Base Fee: $4,500 (AUD), $3,107.59 (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 six 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!