Making money in nature photography is a difficult proposition. The competition is fierce and the prices paid for photos are low. There is a glut of great images and very few photo buyers.
Photographic tours are emerging as a successful revenue generating model for many photographers. The tours are fun and they provide an opportunity of shooting with like-minded people. A photography tour is almost like a vacation, but of a kind where one gets to explore new destinations, which are photographer-friendly. These tours help photographers to connect with experts and improve their skills.
Difference between a workshop and a photography tour
The most common mistake is signing up for a photo tour and expecting it to be a workshop. A workshop is an educational experience to help improve one’s craft. A workshop is designed to teach new techniques in the field, in a studio or post-production and enhance business skills.
A photo tour is designed to take photography enthusiasts to a great location at the best time for photography. A photo tour is designed to maximize the photographic opportunities with minimal or casual instructions along the way. Taking a workshop is a great way to prepare for a photo tour and will increase the chances of bringing home extraordinary images.
Why should one go for a photography tour?
Eric Rock, head naturalist at Natural Habitat Adventures, an organisation that conducts adventure tourism, once said in an interview, “There might not be a hard line between natural history and photography tours. Photography is a way to dissect and understand a natural history or travel experience. You watch the light, and you come to learn about an intimate animal behaviour or the intricacies of how everything works together by looking through this tiny, focusing screen. A camera can often be used as a way to concentrate on your natural experience.”
Photography tour aims to give participants training to be good photographers and capture great clicks while touring. It gets people to the right places and at the right time for light and conditions appropriate for capturing beautiful visuals. So photography enthusiasts get the opportunity to shoot the best possible photograph. This combination of training in photography with tourism has attracted many tourists and amateur photographers. BE spotlights one such enterprise that focuses on wildlife photography.
Way 2 Wild: Catch them all with your lens
Suvarthi Guha is the founder and the photographic mentor at Way 2 Wild. Shuvarthi has eight years of experience in wildlife photography. His specialty lies in the Sundarbans and Kaziranga. Among the many places that he has visited, these are the two where he has worked extensively and has spent more than five years. This has helped him in studying the terrain of the mangroves and has also helped him to garner his knowledge regarding the flora and fauna of these fabled forest lands.
BE’s Anustup Roy Barman spoke to Suvarthi Guha on Way 2 Wild’s mission and the prospects of photography tours in India.
Q. How did this idea of initiating a company that operates photography tours come up?
A. Wildlife photography is my passion. After travelling extensively, I realised that photography and tourism go hand in hand. I decided to merge the two professionally.
Q. How do you plan these tours?
A. We make numerous visits to a forest before announcing the tours for it. This helps us in gaining knowledge about the terrain, the wildlife, and the tourism prospects of that place. Once everything is in place, we create the required itineraries and finally announce the tours.
Q. Which are the forests that you primarily operate in?
A. We primarily conduct photography tours in the Sundarbans. This place is like our base camp. Apart from that we also cover Corbett National Park, Kaziranga National Park, and Manas National Park.
Q. Who are your target customers?
A. Wildlife lovers, enthusiasts, wildlife photographers or anyone with a love for nature is our target customer.
Q. Is there any help from government organisations?
A. The biggest help that we get is the cooperation from the forest department. They are doing an excellent job in conserving the natural heritage of our country and we would have never been able to do anything without their cooperation.
Q. How do you find sponsors for these trips?
A. As of now we do not have any sponsors. Our business is totally dependent on the clients who join our photography tours.
Q. What are the costs of these tours?
A. The cost of a tour depends on the location and duration of the tour. For example, a two night and three day long photography tour to the Sundarbans is around `15,500 per head. This includes pick-up and drop-off from Kolkata, stay in motorised boat, which is exclusively designed for photographers, food, and all permit costs.