Photo Tips for Tours and Shore Excursions

by David and Anna Smith

Tour Guide Nina Kazarina in front of an Oceania Cruise Lines tour bus and holding a tour bus "popsicle", in St. Petersburg, Russia (David Smith)

Tour Guide Nina Kazarina in front of an Oceania Cruises’ tour bus and holding a tour bus “popsicle” in St. Petersburg, Russia (David Smith)

Many guided tours and cruise ship shore excursions provide excellent travel photography opportunities that are frequently missed. As frequent guest lecturers and invited escorts on tours organized by Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas, Anna and I have toured most world ports of call in the Mediterranean, Baltic, Atlantic, Caribbean, South American, SE Asian and South Pacific and Australian/NZ. There are some travel photos and videos in this post to help illustrate some of the suggestions for getting better travel images while on tour.

1. Research your tour itinerary by reading the detailed tour descriptions and attending shore excursion presentations on board to learn locations in advance to help prepare your photography strategy and a shot list. Local tour operators can move you around quickly so always have your camera ready for those once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunities. Practice your camera techniques before touring to avoid fumbling with your camera on site. David’s Travel Photography Tips and Techniques a 2 hour DVD from Amazon will help.

2. Locate yourself for uncluttered shots. If there is live entertainment or a cultural demonstration, sit in the front or side of the audience to get unfettered action images. Consider walking about during the show to get different angles and distances from the action. All entertainers and presenters are willing to have their photographs taken. You paid for the tour and presenters are paid by the tour operator, so get your cameras out and ask. Be sure to capture locals in ethnic dress.

Scenes and activities at St. Catherine Palace in Pushkin, Russia, near St. Petersburg (David Smith)

3. Create a photo story of the tour to create more interest when you share your photography later. Capture the your guide, the sign on the front of the bus, flags, icons and symbols as well as the typical shots. Get establishing shots (the most common type), medium range shots and close-ups to keep interest.

8. When you come across an excellent tour guide or fabulous entertainers a tip is always appreciated and use that opportunity to get portraits of your guide and hosts with and without your travelling companions — and be sure to hand your camera to someone to get yourself included in the fun and excitement of your tour photo story. Exchange contact information, become Facebook friends and send your photos to your new friends. Revisiting those magical ports of call and having new friends waiting makes traveling with your camera a must while on tour and on shore excursions.

Lisa of StepIntoFlorence is an excellent tour guide! (David Smith)

Lisa of StepIntoFlorence is an excellent tour guide!

This YouTube video shows what happens when you hand your camera to someone else to capture your fun as your travel. … old folks jumping all over the world!

David Smith is a world travel and event photographer, travel writer, Blogger, keynote public speaker and cruise ship guest lecturer. Visit his online photo gallery Interface Images, “like” his Facebook Page, subcribe to his Blog Images-Connecting the World and order museum quality art prints at hisFine Art America print gallery.

He has also recently published two online photography courses Travel Photography-Amazing Tips & Techniques and Easy Photography Tips for Cruise Ships and Ports. These fun, informational and inspirational online courses include live online video, comprehensive handouts and can be downloaded to computers, tablets and smart phones. Each course is only $39 and are sponsored by Udemy the leader in online education where all courses have a 100% money back guarantee. Avid Cruiser readers can use the coupon code $10FF at checkout

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