Bring out your guests' inner photographer, Instagrammer and holiday chronicler

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Now, unless you provide a photography tour, it is likely that you don’t have much time in the itinerary to spend on helping guests get that perfect image, and what’s worse is the locals probably don’t want a large group of tourists stopping in the street to take those memorable shots.

But, this is where your smaller group or self-guided tours can play double duty. By including some photography hints and tips on your route, you can not only help your guest capture those fabulous memories, but you can also be building a stockpile of user-generated content.

Consider including guided photography tips such as these in your tour:

1) Search for Simplicity

It seems counterintuitive, but in searching for clean, simple compositions, your photos will benefit from a new level of sophistication.

Sensory overload can overwhelm even the most deliberate photographers when visiting new places. This is where a slow, methodical pace will significantly impact your work. Unfortunately, large bus tours with heavy agendas don’t typically allow the necessary time to capture the look and feel of a place. Instead, self-guided or smaller tours cater to the inner photographers, Instagrammers and holiday chroniclers.

2) Make it Personal

Many photographers struggle with the idea of adding people to their compositions, even when it’s themselves. After all, it can be unnerving to include a stranger in your composition or walk up to a fountain and put on your best pout for the camera. Yet, your guests’ photography will become more visually engaging by working a human element into the images.

Encourage your tour guests to look around for human interest opportunities, or suggest getting the tour taker involved in a selfie or two.

3) Is anything Original Anymore?

It seems that even the most remote destinations have been photographed from nearly every perspective. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t shoot them. Instead, consider it a challenge to go one step further and create something unique. Make suggestions on your tour on how your guest can take what’s already been done and make it theirs. Could it be a fun challenge to take a star jump in front of every tour spot? What about a funny ‘I’m bored’ pose when standing outside some of the most spectacular landmarks? Help spark your guests’ creativity with some twists, and the joy of self-guided or smaller tours is that your guests can take their time at each location.

4) No Rest for the Weary

Anyone who says you should pack your camera away midday is doing the world a disservice. Contrary to what many suggest, the light is good all day, even at high noon. The trick is to best match the various qualities of light to your subject matter. For example, a rolling green landscape can appear lush and vibrant with the simple twist of a circular polarising filter or an app filter. Then, show your tour taker the magic of your destination at all times of the day, describe what it might look like in the early morning or late evening so your guest can imagine the scene. Perhaps they might even plan a walkthrough at that location later to capture the moment again.

Beth MacDonald, Selfie Time


5) Think Small

We all love to shoot scenic vistas bathed in the golden light of magic hour. But, while these dramatic landscapes can certainly be captivating, they might not be the most practical for all your guests.

As your tour taker explores a location through their lens, make them think of themselves as a visual detective. No detail is too small. The little things ultimately add up to form the bigger picture. Point out the incredible corner architecture, the angle of the rooftops, the wooden bench that frames the fountain.

6) Plan on Getting Lost

You can take the planning of potential shooting locations off your guests' shoulders by including details of pre-trip photography preparation. For example, provide a shortlist of possible visual exciting elements on your tour, along with suggestions for hidden alleys or places of interest that you might not typically include in a standard walking tour. Letting your guests wander off your path on an experience might be the way to find what they didn’t know they were looking for.

Now, how do you get these fantastic images your guest has taken on your course? You could request to upload this user generated content when they review your experience on TripAdvisor, or other sites. Include your social media handles so they can tag you when they post stories on Instagram or Facebook. Provide an email address to send the images onto, or include a landing page form at the end of the self-guided tour, or even a shared album… but this is the logistics.

Now that you have all of these photos, what can you do with them? Well, that’s an entirely different topic. But some quick ideas might include using them on marketing materials, your social media platforms, or your website.

You can include a social media shoutout for savvy social guests if you want to encourage submissions. Alternatively, a competition for various shots, Best submitted, Action Shot Gone Wrong, and Right Time Right Place would be worth the $50 voucher for the winner any day.

And as a personal plea from a self-guided tour user, if you have your own app, please do not require, or ask, for access to my phones media, contacts and the keys to my house - It’s not acceptable to scrape your guests' data in this intrusive way.

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