Question #17: About Organizing Photo Tours

Q: "Hi Valerie, I think it's great that you do the informal walking tours and have such a relaxed style about it....wish I was closer I would join you for sure! However you are successful and make your living (I assume) from photography. I'm going into photography - have been an amateur for about 4 years now (selling a few here and there) but now want to take it up a level and try to make a living at it. So I would love to travel more, and understand that cruise ships take speakers on several subjects (I have a half a dozen subjects including how to take better travel photo's) and take small group walking tours for photographers. Any suggestions on how to organize/market these and how much should I charge?" Carol K

A: "Thank you for your question Carol. First let me clarify that there is a difference between photo walks and photo workshops/tours. I lead casual photo walks in my area during my time off, they are free and everyone can join. The photo walks are strictly a social time for photographers to hang out together and shoot, there is no teaching involved at that time. Everyone who joins is respectful of that as they know that I make a living as an educator. 

The photo workshops, on the other hand, involve a lot of work and research. The week long international photo tours are extremely demanding as I make sure they are as much a cultural experience as a photographic one. If you plan on going that route, you need to build an international audience. Of course, your photographic skills are of the utmost importance but you also need to love teaching and have solid business and marketing skills. 

The price will vary with your fixed costs and the number of participants. Fixed cost may be higher than you think, don't forget tour operator liability insurance which can be costly but a must have! The best way to promote your workshops is via social media, hence the importance of a large audience. It's like any other business: If people are happy, they will become repeat customers, and they will talk to their friends about their adventures

It's a demanding business but extremely gratifying. As a teacher, there is nothing more rewarding than witnessing those 'Aha' moments. Just remember not to get into this business only for your love of travels, but for your love of teaching first." - Valérie


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