Jeff Schultz has been photographing Alaska and Alaskans for editorial, corporate, and stock photo clients since 1981 and is published worldwide. He’s been the official photographer of Alaska’s Iditarod since 1982. He put together this guide for choosing the best Alaska photo tour according to your wants and needs.
Do an online search for “Alaska photo tour,” and you’ll get plenty of hits. Finding the right one for you is key. After living in Alaska for 40 years and seeing various offerings from small and large companies, and hearing what other’s experiences are, I can offer my tips and suggestions.
• Decide what type of photography you want to do: wildlife, landscapes, adventure, or a combination.
• Decide what location works best for your needs. Each of Alaska’s five regions are varied as far as terrain, accessibility, weather, and wildlife.
• Decide on whether you want to be in a small or large group setting. I prefer groups of no more than six people. Perhaps a custom, private tour is for you; they allow your guide to create the Alaskan dream photo tour that is right for you, but likely at a considerably higher daily expense.
• Consider your budget and preferred style of travel and accommodations. Some photo tours offer more remote and vigorous activities where camping is part of the mix. Others stay in standard lodges or hotels. And a few overnight in luxury with high-end sheets and gourmet food.
• Decide whether you want to simply be taken to specific locations to shoot, or if you want coaching on your photography skills. Not all guides offer tutorials.
• Hire a local photo guide, if possible. An experienced Alaskan will be well-versed in a region’s logistical considerations, nuanced weather patterns, and wildlife habits.