Business

Photo Travel: What You Can Learn During Mobile Workshops

Photo tour organizers shared with Bird In Flight who their clients are and what they search for while exploring the world

BUSINESS

Photo Travel: What You Can Learn During Mobile Workshops

Photo tour organizers shared with Bird In Flight who their clients are and what they search for while exploring the world. And regular participants of the trips explained what they learned during their travel and showed their most successful shots.

Photo tours — dynamic mobile schools for photography enthusiasts — can vary. It may be either a short trip to socialize with the likeminded colleagues, or a 2-week intensive course, or an organized expedition to the Arctic. Pavel Kosenko, the founder of FrameWay, a travelers’ club, told Bird In Flight what the tours that his company puts together are like and how they benefit budding photographers. And the regular attendees of the workshops explained why you should avoid large groups and what advantages individual classes can offer.

Pavel Kosenko

Pavel Kosenko
Based in Moscow. Founder of club FrameWay, organizer of mobile workshops in photography.
Club

I quit my job at a certain point so I could travel more and take pictures. By that time I had already been to numerous destinations, that’s why I decided to show others the beautiful places and took a group to Vietnam. Then I continued on another trip, and then another trip, and another, and a year later this turned into a routine — the preplanning part became exhausting. Luckily, soon enough we found partners who took care of the logistics while I was left to deal with the creative part. That’s how our company — club FrameWay — evolved.

We have approximately 200 members now, 50 of them have done trips with us more than three times. These guys are not tourists, they are photographers who like traveling. As a rule, we put a group together in the matter of hours, but sometimes there are too few participants — because of whether inconvenient dates or high pricing. It those cases me and my partner make a decision — if we are really interested in the trip — to still go on with it, even if we loose money. People see our dedication and decide to join too.


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“text”:”Pavel Kosenko, March 18, 2014″
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“alt”: “Pavel Kosenko 2”,
“text”:”Pavel Kosenko, April 2, 2014″
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“text”:”Pavel Kosenko, March 23, 2014″
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Directions

When we are deciding on places to explore, we look for interesting events. We go to Budapest to spend time at a youth party that takes place at the old Turkish steam baths. We go to Serbia to visit the trumpet festival in Guca. Many like to photograph Indian holiday Holi, but we located a village with no tourists and ended up taking completely different photos. We always have a guide who is familiar with the local intricacies and can solve all the problems on the spot. In France we have an anthropology professor from University of Culture working with us. In Spain I managed to find a person who showed us real Feria of Seville — a holiday that is usually hidden from bystanders’ eyes.

There are more difficult tours too — let’s say, Tibet. Before climbing a mountain we need to apply for a permit. There is no guarantee that it will get approved. Priority is given to groups from the same country, and ours have people from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, USA, Israel, Great Britain, France, Germany, Spain and Italy.

Tours

We might go to a city where we spend two weeks, visit the same places (some of them are closed to tourists), socialize with the same people, meet their families. The participants pay only for the classes — the photographer’s salary. They take care of their own hotel and transportation.


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“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/kosenko_41.jpg”,
“alt”: “Natalia Tutova”,
“text”:”Natalia Tutova, May 24, 2014″
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/kosenko_61.jpg”,
“alt”: “Karen Oganesyan”,
“text”:”Karen Oganesyan, August 4, 2014″
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/kosenko_71.jpg”,
“alt”: “Ilya Filippov”,
“text”:”Ilya Filippov, May 1, 2014″
}

Throughout the trip we spend two-three hours daily discussing photography, selecting the best pieces. Novices grow fast in such a creative environment. Some carry iPhones taking 15 pictures — and later enter expositions. We try our best to help each and every one of them to perfect their individual skills. Last year we organized a display at Vinzavod where 26 of our authors showcased their work. A year or two ago all of them were still rookies — they shot landscapes and took typical tourist photos. Now, some of them are able to sell their shots to the collectors.

On these tours, we devote a lot of time to discussions about art. In Madrid we spent half day at Prado Museum, where I shared my own interpretation of paintings, spoke of why they affected me. Later the tour participants gave me the feedback that it was the most productive day of the trip.

Classes

We have 11 photographers who teach in FrameWay, two of them are members of Magnum Photos. When we select our instructors we don’t just consider their advancement level. A person can shoot incredibly well but can be introverted. What truly unites people during these trips are group dinners, conversations about photography. That’s why, if we believe that we need that particular person who is a bit antisocial, I usually join him as his assistant.

So far we do the tours for the Russian speakers and mainly with the Russian speaking trainers. Lately, we’ve been trying to slowly expand. We now work with Nicholas Economopulos who speaks English. If it all goes well, we will begin putting together English speaking groups. It’s a totally different audience and, perhaps, it will be difficult to explain values of our club to the foreigners.


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“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/kosenko_81.jpg”,
“alt”: “Anastasia Kuznetsova”,
“text”:”Anastasia Kuznetsova”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/kosenko_91.jpg”,
“alt”: “Maria Rogozhnikova”,
“text”:”Maria Rogozhnikova, March 17, 2014″
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/kosenko_101.jpg”,
“alt”: “Dmitriy Kuznetsov”,
“text”:”Dmitriy Kuznetsov”
}

Participants

There are many other companies besides FrameWay that organize photo tours around the world. Photography fans from Russia, USA, Canada, Great Britain and Vietnam shared their own experiences of attending a mobile workshops with Bird In Flight, gave some pointers on how to pick a tour and showed their best shots from the trips.

Mary Ellen Cavett, Canada
attorney

When I purchased my first DSLR camera I realized that I needed to take classes, so I went on a photo tour. It was a week-long workshop in Paris organized by National Geographic: 24 participants, a coordinator, a technical support person and two instructors – Sisse Brimberg and Cotton Colson. We shot from 8 AM till noon, and at about 4 PM met at the hotel to socialize and analyze. Every day the masters chose four best images from each participant. Unfortunately, because there were so many participants, we spent as much time discussing things as we did shooting.

Last year I went on a tour to Outer Hebrides, the islands off the coast of Scotland. This time I intentionally chose local organizers who rounded up groups of six or less people each. The shooting process was paid way more attention to: we shot at sunrise, had breakfast, and afterwards photographed locally all day long. But here we were actually lacking discussions —
we only got together once. Next fall I am going on a 10-day tour of Island, and next year I’m hoping to visit New Zealand.


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“alt”: “Mary Ellen Cavett 1”
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“alt”: “Mary Ellen Cavett 2”
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“alt”: “Mary Ellen Cavett 3”
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“alt”: “Mary Ellen Cavett 4”
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Thomas Jeppesen, Vietnam
architectural bureau owner

I am not a professional photographer, even though I at times do take pictures of real estate for my work. I attended two short tours in Vietnam. I take interest in places where old traditions are still alive, and such trips help me locate them.

By reviews on Tripadvisor I found out about Peter Jensen and his company that arranges photowalks around Hoyan. We covered a lot of ground by foot while Peter was telling us how to optimize a camera’s features, match background, work with the lighting. What I didn’t like about the second tour was that some situations were set up: “random” people were obviously paid to pose for us. That was not what I hoped to do, I like real life — not staged situations.


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“alt”: “Thomas Jeppesen 1”
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“alt”: “Thomas Jeppesen 2”
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“alt”: “Thomas Jeppesen 3”
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“alt”: “Thomas Jeppesen 4”
},
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“alt”: “Thomas Jeppesen 5”
}


Kristin Ongsike, Great Britain
consultant

I explored Costa Rica and Peru with various companies. I was happy with the professional guide and the prearranged destination schedule. When we traveled with the group we didn’t have lectures — we just took walks with the local photographers.

I also attended an individual tour of the suburbs of Cape Town. I was accompanied by James Gradwell, a photographer from South Africa. All points of interest for shooting were chosen according to my preferences, and overall, the individual tour was more flexible. Now I want to go to Namibia, and in a few years to join an Arctic expedition.


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“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/christine_1.jpg”,
“alt”: “Kristin Ongsike 1”
},
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“alt”: “Kristin Ongsike 2”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/christine_3.jpg”,
“alt”: “Kristin Ongsike 3”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/christine_4.jpg”,
“alt”: “Kristin Ongsike 4”
}


Elizaveta Buzova, Russia
consultant

I’ve been on 10-day tours to Italy and Iceland. In the first case, I wanted to go somewhere with a group of interesting people, and to Iceland I was planning to go alone but got cold feet. During the Italian tour we were learning from each other under the guidance of the organizer. As a result, my picture from Tuscany received a grand prix at Nikon contest. I’m still friends with many attendees, we keep in touch, socialize, travel together. I didn’t get very lucky with Iceland – we were taken to popular locations during the times when buses full of tourists arrived. And overall, the organizing process was very disappointing. I now want to go on an intensive learning tour.


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“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/elizabeth_1.jpg”,
“alt”: “Elizaveta Buzova 1”
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“alt”: “Elizaveta Buzova 2”
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“alt”: “Elizaveta Buzova 3”
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“alt”: “Elizaveta Buzova 4”
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“alt”: “Elizaveta Buzova 5”
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Susan Onisko, USA
photographer

I am a professional photographer and a mom to four children. I attended photo tours with various companies to almost two dozen countries — from Mexico, Cuba and Peru to Cambodia, Japan and New Zealand. Moreover, I go on short tours in the US. At first I wanted to learn how to use my camera’s features to fulfill the ideas that I had in mind. I used to favor portraits but eventually I realized that I might not return to those places in my lifetime, so I decided to learn to shoot landscapes. Nowadays I study new shooting techniques during the tours.

I like this sort of trips because they don’t require any preplanning — all you do is concentrate on studies and shooting. Most importantly, you need to have not just a professional photographer but also a good instructor to accompany you. Ideally it’s someone who can shoot everything: portraits, nature, street and night life. Unfortunately, some take groups out just to justify their own trip expenses.

Also, I would recommend to avoid trips with large groups. When many try to attack a character with unique appearance, it frightens. I’m not going to push my way through the crowd just to capture a similar shot. It’s better to walk away and take your own unrepeatable photo.


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“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Onysko_S_The-Littlest-Monk-Bhutan.jpg”,
“alt”: “Susan Onisko 1”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Onysko_S_Mona-Lisa-of-Mongolia.jpg”,
“alt”: “Susan Onisko 2”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Onysko_S_Fifty-Shades-of-Green-Palouse-USA.jpg”,
“alt”: “Susan Onisko 3”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Onysko_S_India-Reflections.jpg”,
“alt”: “Susan Onisko 4”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Onysko_S_Three-Wise-Women-Turkey.jpg”,
“alt”: “Susan Onisko 4”
}

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