Photographer in the Talkeetna Mountains

Photo Adventure Tour with Planet Earth Adventures.

Guide to Alaska Photo Tours

If you’re a Professional or Amateur Photographer planning a visit to Alaska, I highly recommend signing up for a locally owned Photo Tour Company. I can’t underscore enough the value of knowing your locations, because it’s more than pretty pictures!

The value of a Photo Tour company in Alaska is that we Alaskans really know our weather, light, wildlife and locations. I underscored “Alaskans” because the photo tour business has started to grow in viable branch of our tourism market, which has also attracted guides from outside Alaska. I want to empower you the photographer to qualify your photo tour guides.

Choosing Your Tour Company

Consider which area of Alaska you’re visiting. Our main jump off points Juneau, Seward, Anchorage, Fairbanks and Kodiak are home to quality photo guides. Great photography does not sell a location, it only sells potential. Each region of Alaska brings its own set of challenges, seriously, and a good guide service will paint an honest picture of what you can expect.

The biggest mistake I’ve seen from professional filmmakers and photographers is depending on a handful of brochures they picked up. Unfortunately A large percentage of brochures are a product of Photoshop, complete fiction. It’s true!  I can’t count the number of calls I’ve had asking to help find a location that doesn’t exist.

Photo Tour Packages
Make sure your dollars are maximized for the experience you’re hoping to receive. Learn as much about the guides expenses as you can, then compare markup to value. If a tour company is working hard, logistics are tight and the experience is clear – I don’t mind a tour company getting paid.

Most photo tours are small groups, but it’s smart to confirm how many people will be on your tour and decide if that is comfortable for you.

Take some time and lookup reviews on Trip Advisor, and use social media to get recommendations and feedback. The most expensive and flashy operator may not have the reputation it is pitching, take some time and qualify the reviews and experience.

Qualified Businesses
I’m really impressed by some of our local photo tour operators shaping the Photo Tourism Market in Alaska. Unfortunately there are great photographers operating without proper permits, from transportation, park permits, to licenses. Make sure you assure your guide service is properly licensed and insured, because I’d hate to hear you tour to end unexpectedly!

If you’re going off the beaten path or pursuing wildlife, ask about their experience and safety. Soft-shoe tours are generally safe, but any tour operator taking you into the backcountry or even off the road a little, must experienced! Most tour operators will employ the support of a qualified backcountry guide. An experienced Photographer is one thing, knowledge about your subjects and environment is another.

I hope this guide offers some good tips in helping you choose the right Photo Tour Company and Adventure. Using a locally owned and operated Photo Tour Company is the way to go. Alaska is both logistically challenging and deceptively huge, the best photos on websites and brochures don’t do our wide-open spaces justice. You should walk away from a Photo Tour with a mountain of photos and experiences that will last you a lifetime!

[message type=”simple” bg_color=”#e5e1d2″ color=”#997d4e”]Scott is Photo Tour Leader for Planet Earth Adventures! If you’re interested in a personalized or small group photo tour, call Scott at (907) 331-4361 or Planet Earth Adventures at (907) 717-9666 to get started![/message]