What exactly is a small group for location photography?
In my mind, to offer small group photography tours, there should be no more than 6 people. Group sizes that begin to creep up towards 8-12 are not small in any sense and despite being advertised as such they can inhibit getting full satisfaction on a tour. Bigger groups typically mean more generic experiences.
1. Vehicle layout
There are usually two options; a 4×4 which allows access off road but limits group numbers to 4 without extra space to place your camera bag, or a minibus that does allow a two seats per person. In a group of six, one large minibus will suffice while two 4×4’s will need to be used increasing overall tour costs. Minibuses have the advantage of being easier to get in and out of your own chosen seat without shifting other guests. Having the second seat next to you for your bag can also mean you can get to change lenses a bit quicker, although it takes a little longer to get out of a mini-bus, with the sliding door often need to be operated by the driver.
2. Chain free, smaller hotels
Feedback for the tours here in Morocco often includes praise for the variety and charm of the accommodation which are located in the photographic locations. In more rural areas, these establishments typically have around 10 rooms which are not suitable for larger groups. The advantage of staying in these places is it allows late afternoon and evening photography without the rush to get back to your hotel for dinner. Larger hotels in the towns are able to accommodate bigger groups, offer more chain facilities such as buffet, room service and a higher standard of room furniture and bedding but they also come with more driving each day to get to photographic shoots.
3. Access to photographing intimate spaces
If photographing in people’s homes is on the itinerary then it matters that the groups are small. Ideally a group size of 3 to 4 works perfectly in this case. For 6, some position management is required but it’s not a major issue. Sizes beyond that mean photographing in shifts which can involve sitter fatigue, which is reflected in the second group’s images.
4. Reviewing your images
In a large group reviewing each evening becomes more difficult for one tutor, so check whether there are two tutors on a larger group tour. Rushing through individual processing decisions and advice can lead to mistakes being made about the quality of individual images. Good photography requires time to craft and small group photography tours facilitate this.
5. Out and about in the field
It’s simply easier to keep track of a group in busy locations such as larger markets, or in landscape locations where there is an element of risk such as slippy coastal rocks. Everyone wants to find their own way and explore a place for themselves. Having a meeting point and a health and safety run through can also assist here.
Images in the Sun uses minibuses in Spain for its landscape tours and a combination of 4×4’s and minibuses for tours in Morocco. Group sizes are typically 4. Find out more about how you can improve your travel photography with these tips.