There’s a multitude of available photographic holidays Europe offers, but should you look beyond? The sector has mushroomed in the past 5 years since we started running our photography holidays in Morocco. Here we’ve listed what we think makes photographic holidays further south such a great investment of your time.
The quality of light is the photographers’ greatest tool other then the camera of course. Being able to recognise when the light is ideal with a variety of different subjects and scenes is something that can be learned with practice. Northern Europe in the winter offers brief glimpses of available light which lifts a scene above the mundane but more often these occasions are fleeting or more importantly they don’t coincide with when you’ve planned to take photos. You can help yourself of course by checking weather forecasts a few days in advance and planning a trip to a location where the available light will add something crucial to the scene; for example a local wooded area which ‘comes alive’ with backlighting via the mid afternoon sun. Take into account the direction of the sun and the time of day when planning your own workshop. Still it’s a bit hit and miss so one of the photographic holidays Europe offers especially the further south is more chance to use daily available light. Keep going through Spain and into Morocco and naturally the more chances are available.
Visitors to foreign climes such as Morocco, notice the colour more than anything. It’s partly the addition of sun that helps but the abundance of colour expressed through doors, walls and clothes etc, adds both a focal point for the photo but offers interesting challenges for the photographer to deal with and learn from. Balancing different colours within a scene is something that has a science behind it. We don’t cover that on our photography course but painters will have learnt how best to work their palette. Using your camera, you can discover how best to influence the colour within a scene using picture style settings and white balance. Also developing spot colours within a scene also can play with a viewers’ eye. Blue followed by red are the most abundant local colours available on our photography courses abroad.
3. SHOCK OF THE NEW IS STIMULATING
David Bailey last year was quoted as saying that he only photographs in the first 3 to 4 days of any visit to a new location as his eye is the freshest before it assimilates the exotic. Traveling to a new destination for a week or longer gives you about the right amount of time to encompass enough learning in class and location photographing. One could argue to the aspiring photographic student the first couple of days it’s about getting up to speed with some technique and blowing away some cobwebs. Then it’s about discovering and exploring the world around you. Exciting stuff!
4. INTENSIVE LEARNING
When you take one of our photography courses abroad then your learning time is condensed. If you take night classes back in your home town, you may study 3 hours an evening, once a week for 10 weeks but busy lives can interrupt the flow of learning. You will cover some theory one evening but it won’t be embedded until you’ve taken some photos some days or weeks later or indeed not at all. In a week you get the theory, practice and review often on the same day so you can both see progress and learn from your mistakes at a faster rate. You can also see how you’ve improved within the space of a few days. We also view all your photos and review in some detail your best which can be as many as 200 photographs. I don’t know of any other part time photography course provider that does that. I also believe that intensive learning tends to stick better rather than the drip drip of piecemeal study.
5. MAKE FRIENDS AND LEARN WITH OTHERS
Actually learning with other aspiring photographers or enthusiasts is the best way to progress. An ideal group size is about 3-6 people. There’s enough variety within the group and it’s not too large to feel daunted about showing your photos and receiving feedback. Everyone is in the same boat so to speak and it really helps to see how others saw the same location as you. It’s a great learning exercise. How could I have photographed this location a little better. What did I miss? It’s remarkable how people see scenes differently. Sometimes it’s really quite pronounced. People often ask me, do you get bored with seeing the same photos. Well actually there are always surprises and these I can also learn from, feeding them back into subsequent groups. In general the standard of photography is improving with each year. The camera technology is producing better picture quality and students more usable photos.
6. GREAT FOOD AND DRINK
The perfect holiday should also be memorable for it’s food. You want to try local dishes and get a feel for what fires up the locals. Aside from the cooking classes we run, we use a raft of local restaurants which give you the opportunity to dine a la carte every night.
7. ACCOMMODATION IS CRUCIAL
When you visit a place, without compromising on comfort too much, you want to feel you’re staying in a place which is unique to the region. The location we use for our photography classes is one of the most atmospheric establishments the town has to offer. It’s decor and renovation are second to few. The staff are very friendly and you can feel at home for the time you’re here. There’s no sharing and all rooms are (private bathroom)en-suite.
8. AN INSIGHT INTO ANOTHER CULTURE THROUGH PHOTOGRAPHY
We try on our photography courses abroad to give you as many insights into local culture as we can during the week. Part of that is embedded into the itinerary through portrait sessions with local craftworkers of sellers. Also we encourage you to meet engage with locals own your won. Scary eh? It can be a bit daunting but it’s easier in twos if that makes you nervous. Anyway we also tend from time to time to to introduce a new location, something off the beaten track. We do each week visit a local market which gives you another alternative insight into the culture here.
9. IT’S WARMER AND USUALLY SUNNIER
It’s zero degrees in parts of northern Europe as I write so why would you book one of the many available photography courses abroad? In all seriousness sunshine do doubt lifts the soul but it also provides the environment to photograph at leisure knowing that the next day will have the available light you need. We have a photographic contingency in place should it on the rare occasions, rain. We adapt to a different style of shooting to make it work.
10. SETS THE TONE FOR FURTHER FOREIGN TRAVELS
Once you’ve got the bug to travel and the confidence of course then there’s no stopping you. There are probably more exotic and challenging places to visit than Morocco, although Morocco, 3 hours from Northern Europe remains to closest and ideal location to visit for all of the above. New destinations are being explored in greater numbers and bucket lists are getting longer. Why not get your feet wet with our photography holidays before you set your photographic list of locations to visit.