How advanced do my camera skills need to be?
We welcome all skill levels. Whether you’re a complete novice learning your way around a new camera, or simply want to brush up on your existing skills, everyone on our tours will learn something new. And if all you’re interested in is visiting some incredible locations and having an absolute ball then you’re more than welcome to join us as well!
What is the minimum camera gear requirements? What would be nice to have?
To get the most out of our tours you’ll need a DSLR or mirrorless camera with an interchangeable lens system. Multiple lenses aren’t a necessity, but with the landscape opportunities on offer you’re likely to extract the most value if you have at least one zoom lens in the wide (e.g. 16-35mm, 17-40mm) to mid-range (e.g. 24-70mm, 24-105mm). If you have a longer lens (say a 70-300mm) then by all means bring that as well, but for much of the tour you’ll probably find we’re shooting in the range below 100mm.
A tripod will most definitely come in handy for low light shooting, long exposures, and astro. Our supporting partners supply us with the latest tech, so we’ll have a range of cameras, lenses and filters available for you to trial.
In terms of nice to haves (but not essentials), bring along any filter systems you have and a remote shutter release (for very long exposures). To get the most from our photo editing sessions a laptop with Lightroom Classic CC installed will be beneficial (but again not essential).
How does the accommodation work?
To deliver great value for money the accommodation arrangement is twin-share, meaning you’ll be sharing a unit with a fellow tour participant (where possible we’ll pair you up with the same gender). We aim to book units with separate sleeping areas (e.g. one bed in a bedroom, one bed in a living area). We only choose quality accommodation with all the conveniences you’d expect such as a kitchenette, heating, and wifi. Single-share is available on request, but will be subject to availability and at an additional cost.
What are the inclusions (and exclusions) on each tour?
The tour fee covers all accommodation, transportation during the tour, photography tuition, a scenic flight, and use of our supporting partners’ loan gear. Some tours also include additional extras such as a boat cruise.
Not included in the fee are the costs of your travel to the start point of the tour (and beyond the end point of the tour), food and drinks, personal insurances (e.g. camera, travel and medical), and any other expenses of a personal nature. On some tours we offer airport transfers at an additional cost.
Regarding food and meals, although the tour fee doesn’t include this cost we do allocate plenty of time in our itineraries for stocking up at supermarkets, cafes , bakeries and restaurants.
How do we travel around?
We use a spacious and comfortable 12-person bus to transport us throughout the tour. There is plenty of room for all overnight and day gear. One of the tutors will follow in a chase vehicle.
How does the photography tuition work?
Rach, Lee and Daniel are available to you full-time throughout the tour to assist with your photography learning. At any given location we’ll typically have a brief session as a group before separating out into smaller groups or individuals. Each of the tutors will then spend time with you individually as we move around the location and assist with gear setup, camera settings, and compositions.
At different times throughout the tours we also have classroom sessions (Powerpoint presentations) covering understanding your camera, composition tips, filter systems, and post-processing. Each tour has a specific session devoted to a step-by-step introduction to Lightroom (usually 2-3 hours long). As part of that session we’ll assist you individually with processing one of your photos from the tour.
What does a typical day on a tour look like?
Sunrise is often the best time of day to get amazing images so on all of our tours we take advantage of the early hours to head out to a location (or perhaps a scenic flight) near our accommodation. That said, early starts are optional so if you’re feeling particularly exhausted from the previous day’s activities then you can enjoy a sleep in. After sunrise we return to our accommodation for breakfast and some free time, before heading out for a day of shooting. Lunch is usually had on the road with bakery and café options available.
During the daytime we aim to take in approximately 3-4 unique locations, spending enough time at each to make sure you don’t feel hurried and get those awesome shots for your portfolio. On most nights dinner is at a restaurant where we’ve pre-ordered to ensure we’re not waiting too long on food before heading out to shoot sunset. Attending these dinners is entirely optional; you’re free to head to an alternative venue or make your own.
What do we do if the weather is terrible?
When it comes to photography we believe there’s no such thing as terrible weather! Some of the best photographs come from adverse conditions. We’ll make the most of every situation presented to us and if necessary will alter the itinerary to make the best of any situation. If indeed the weather is so severe that we can simply cannot get outside, we’ll use our time to do some classroom activities such as photo editing.
How fit do I need to be?
At most shooting locations we’re within easy walking distance of our bus. However, some of the more epic locations do require a little exercise. Currently the longest walk on any of our tours is the Hooker Valley Track, which is approximately three-hours return on an easy gradient. In these situations you’ll need a day pack to carry all your camera gear over this distance, as well snacks, a drink, and wet-weather clothing.
Because we’re doing our utmost to maximise your photographic opportunities, some of the days can be long so tiredness can become a factor. As above, we do provide opportunities for free time and some sessions are entirely optional (e.g. sunrise and astro).
Am I getting value for money?
We truly believe we offer the best value for money in the business. For starters, our tours provide you with three of New Zealand’s most respected photographers, offering you access to three different styles and perspectives and more one-on-one learning time. Furthermore, our industry connections and supporting partners give us access to heavily discounted accommodation, scenic flights and use of camera gear. Try comparing the costs of our tours to the raw cost of booking all the inclusions yourself and you’ll soon realise the photography tuition component is an absolute bargain!
My question isn’t here!
We’re very happy to address any questions you have. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.