FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

  • Our photo tour prices are usually quoted on a room-sharing basis as well as a single-room basis.
  • Obviously if you’re coming with your partner or friend, you’ll pay the sharing price each and share a twin-bedded room (we’ll ask for a double if you prefer).
  • If you’re travelling on your own and definitely want your own room, you’ll need to pay the single price quoted. This will give you your own room on all nights (except, in rare cases, where it’s not physically possible, and we’ll tell you this in advance anyway).
  • If you’re travelling on your own and wish to share, we’ll do our best to pair you up with a group member of the same sex, obviously. If by the time you need to make your full payment (90 days before departure date) we haven’t found a suitable group member for you to share with, we’ll ask you to pay the single price rather than the sharing price. But all is not lost! — if we get a late booking in the run-up to departure which would enable you to share, and if we can work it with all the hotels involved, we’ll refund the extra cost to you with great pleasure.

Your Shoot Director designs and leads the tour and is responsible for tutoring, mentoring and guiding you through the shooting days.

The Shoot Director is free to change published itineraries around if he/she feels it’s advisable to do so.

The Shoot Director is also the sole authority on matters likely to endanger the safety and well-being of tour members.

On most tours, there’s also a separate Tour Coordinator who travels with the group. It’s the Tour Coordinator who is responsible for housekeeping-type issues, making sure arrangements work as planned and that you’re happy with all non-photographic aspects of the tour.

They’re professional photographers, usually well known and published, all with outstanding travel photography experience and a portfolio to die for. We insist on local experts: we don’t ask or allow photographers to lead tours in territories in which they do not have a considerable amount of shooting experience.

Usually, that means they’re locals — Indians in India, Turks in Turkey. Where that’s not possible, we still insist on pro shooters who are or have been residents, who speak local languages and are embedded in the local culture — or, at the very least, have been shooting there for years.

The big reason for this is, frankly, that local experts have the ability to deliver those privileged encounters and special shoot opportunities. They usually speak the local language, and that breaks the ice and gets us into the shots. And they know precisely how to connect you with the local people, customs and stories — and to do it in a respectful, responsible way.

Only when we’ve written to you to say the tour is definitely going ahead. Please don’t make airline bookings or other costly arrangements around the tour until you’ve received such notification. We know you want to press on and get fully booked, and the moment it’s safe to do so we’ll let you know. Usually, this means when we have achieved the minimum group number that the tour price is based on.

Please also be sure you know the exact start and end times of the tour (e.g. within-tour flights, trains or other transport returning to the tour end point). Please do also allow a bit of leeway when planning onward journeys, as all forms of transport can and do get delayed and can affect your onward plans if you have scheduled them too tightly around the tour.

If you do choose to purchase tickets or other arrangements before you’ve received the green light from us, please note that Travelshooters cannot reimburse those costs to you in the event the tour fails to go ahead for any reason. Please make sure your travel insurance policy covers you for such an eventuality.

It varies. You really need to check the Tour Details section of the tour. Airline tickets from your home to the tour start point are generally not included.

But, in general, these are inclusive tours: you won’t be asked to put your hand in your pocket for planned excursions, shot opportunities, etc. Just personal stuff.

On some tours, or parts of tours, we include lunches. But we like to be out shooting, not rushing back to the hotel for a midday meal, so you’ll often find lunches excluded. No point charging you for a feast when you’ll only be interested in a sandwich.

Worth noting: dinner is typically the most expensive meal of the day on photo tours like these, so wherever possible we make a point of including it within the price. If we were to exclude dinner from the price, we might be able to offer a superficially lower tour price but you’d be picking up a daily restaurant bill which could mount up significantly over the duration of the tour.

Again, check the details of the tour for specific inclusions or exclusions.

See also: How does tipping work? below.

We operate a tipping kitty on our tours. Contributions are optional but convenient and we encourage you to contribute e.g. £25 or €30 or $40 once and for all, then forget about tipping for the rest of the tour. The entire kitty is distributed to the staff you deal with on the tour: driver, driver’s assistant, tour coordinator, guides, porters, doormen, etc.

There are several guiding principles, really.

We’re mad keen photographers ourselves and love the travel photography genre. We want Travelshooters to create the kind of photo holidays we would go on ourselves.

We believe amateur shooters deserve great holidays built around photography, to expose them to wonderful photographic opportunities in the company of like-minded new friends with the constant support, guidance and mentoring of a professional travel photographer.

Wherever possible, we don’t want to be ‘on the outside looking in’ when we travel. Now clearly this isn’t easy: you’re a stranger to the destination neighbourhood, after all. Even so, taking photographs by engaging with the local residents, showing them personal respect and personal interest beyond just being camera subjects, is where we’re at. We think the other way is too last century; we think our way produces better photo opportunities too.
For us, success is seeing you come back with images that delight you, and seeing that you had an amazing time on holiday.

Your Shoot Director will talk to you on the first day and get a good idea of where you’re at with your photography. Then, rather than running you through a fixed curriculum which would be bound to bamboozle some and bore others, your Shoot Director will help you all the way through the tour, tailoring his advice to your level of experience — out there, on location, where it will make the biggest difference and sink in most effectively.

Your Shoot Director will brief you before each major shoot opportunity. You’ll hear about what you can expect to encounter, how to approach it creatively and technically, what to watch out for. You’ll go in prepared!

And because our groups are small, you can expect a high degree of personal attention. If you want to take your Shoot Director aside for a one-to-one, just ask!

We typically do have group reviews and discussions, but these are informal-social rather than formal critiquing sessions, and they fit around the shooting rather than displacing it.

Eight people to a group typically. We often set sail with fewer, subject to minimum numbers for that tour.

It’s not a fixed number, it’s a business decision we take with each tour based on a variety of factors. We’ll tell you as soon as we’re good to go in terms of group numbers so you can firm other arrangements up. And if underbooking does occur, you’ll know at least 30 days before departure date. We might even ask you very nicely if we could charge a small supplement to ensure that the group tour goes ahead anyway; of course you’re free to decline and you’ll get your money back subject to our booking conditions.

It varies. You really need to check the Notes section of the tour.

Our general approach is to go for accommodation that serves our photographic mission and is equivalent to 3-star or perhaps 4-star class. In some cases, as in India, this can mean anything from a modest, uninspiring but well-located hotel to something you want to whip your camera out and take photos of for the folks back home.

Here are examples of the hotels we’ve used:

  • The Hans, New Delhi
  • Raj Mahal, Agra
  • The Rawla Narlai, Narlai

There are some places we go, as in Ladakh, where the available choices don’t conform with any particular star rating norm. There we use our common sense and when in doubt, we opt for the best hotels available.

In a few places or events (e.g. Pushkar Camel Fair, certain stops in Ladakh) the hotel accommodation you’ll be using will be fixed tents — not your intrepid backpacking-mountaineering sleeping-bag tents, but permanent or semi-permanent tented accommodation, with proper beds and furniture, hot and cold water, flush toilets, etc. They’re fun! — and we’ll always mention such exceptions in the tour descriptions.

If you’re the kind of shooter who wants to come home to 5-star, ultra-luxe, cost-no-object butler-and-jacuzzi suites after a hard day slaving over a hot camera, all is not lost: we can design a private tour for you and your private group that’s as upscale as you like.

All of our photo tours are wonderful explorations in their own right. Your partner should enjoy every moment of all our tours as much as anyone. If we know he/she’s coming, we’ll even suggest some fun things they might want to do in certain places while you’re out shooting: stuff like private sightseeing, arts and crafts visits, spa treatments.

You’ll need to:

  • Organise flights to and from the tour start and finish points (usually these points are the same)
  • Arrange any required visas
  • Complete any medical arrangements that might be necessary (e.g. inoculations)
  • Arrange (and show proof of) mandatory travel insurance. Please see our Booking Conditions for what the insurance needs to cover.
  • Join the tour at the time and place stated in the tour documentation.

Whatever you normally shoot with — and that includes your laptop if you’d normally take that on holiday with you.

Photography (and especially travel photography) isn’t about what hardware you’re carrying. In fact, the more kit you’re lugging around, the less agile you’ll be and the more likely you are to scare children and camels. But hey, we recognise that camera kit can be fun and creative, and you’ll find many kindred spirits on our tours!

The key is to have a fast, responsive, low-noise camera that lets you control the key technical variables: exposure, shutter speed, aperture and ISO sensitivity. If said camera also lets you pop on a different lens or two, so much the better. You’re good to go.

A very lightweight tripod is a good idea. It’ll help with any low-light landscape-type shooting we do.

Image storage

Your camera memory cards will fill up fast. Bring plenty! Some shooters also bring along a laptop to view and offload their images onto; others use a compact external hard drive. Please ensure you’re self-sufficient in this department as we can’t guarantee availability of these devices while travelling.

Most if not all of the hotels we choose offer internet access. Your tour notes, sent to you after your booking is confirmed, will tell you which hotels you’ll be using and what facilities (whether free of charge or extra-cost) they offer. (Ladakh tours are internet-challenged.)

There are way too many variables in the delivery of internet access for Travelshooters to make any promises about the reliability and speed of service in any country we visit.

Our photography tours are leisure experiences for predominantly amateur photographers. Professional photographers are very welcome (you need holidays too!) but the following points apply to all images taken on our photo holidays by any kind of photographer:

  • Our Shoot Director uses personal contacts, including friends and relatives, to organise many photo opportunities. For example, when we go into someone’s home to witness them celebrate a religious festival: this is a courtesy they have extended to us, not a commercial arrangement.
  • The human subjects in our photo opportunities are not professional models. No release forms are signed and no permission is given for professional, publication, agency, client or photolibrary use, or for any form of distribution of such images.
  • Reasonable private amateur use  (e.g. amateur competitions, prints, photo clubs, personal website, etc) of images you shoot on tour is fine. Use outside these parameters is not.
  • We do not claim any copyright over the images you shoot. We may request to use some of your images on our website and in our marketing; you’re free to decline to share.
  • Any photos taken during the tour which happen to feature you personally may appear on our website or in promotional material. If this absolutely horrifies you, please say so!

You’re dealing with Travelshooters Limited, a British company.

Our registered office is Travelshooters Limited, The Alexander Suite, 14 Tytherington Park Road, Macclesfield SK10 2EL. Our company number is 07597209. We started operations late 2010.

Numbers on our tours are strictly limited, and we need to ensure that everyone booking will indeed travel, rather than backing out and leaving us with empty seats (and with our having turned other customers away to boot).

So we request a deposit at the time of booking, part of which is non-refundable. Please see our full booking conditions.

You’re most welcome to! Our tours are a mix of people from several countries. All our prices are British Pounds Sterling-based, so the amount you’d need to pay depends on the prevailing rate for your currency.