Off the Beaten Track with Light and Land | Adventure Travel Blog
Off the Beaten Track with Light and Land
Charlie Waite, Namibia

A photography tour that will help you capture the world’s wonders through your lens

Travel photography has become a huge domain in itself. Every year, hundreds of thousands of tourists go to exotic locations to capture nature and all its wonders; and to serenade their cameras with the divinity of it all. We sat down with Emily Orr — one of Light and Land’s managers to ask her about their Landscape photography tours, travel photography holidays and photography workshops. In this interview, she reveals how Light and Land basically started the travel photography revolution, how they have progressed over the years, and what they have to offer to the modern photography-enthusiast traveler.

Could you give us an introduction about your company? When was it established, and what was the philosophy behind what you do?

Set up 26 years ago by world-renowned landscape photographer Charlie Waite and highly regarded nature photographer, Sue Bishop; Light & Land is now UK’s premiere landscape photography tour company. We offer tours and workshops worldwide and are proud to continue to lead the way with carefully researched locations, small groups, and tutors who go the extra mile to satisfy the needs of our tourists. We can help you develop your photographic skills, make new friends, and explore through your lens spellbinding locations around the globe—seeing them side by side with the world’s very best photographers.

Can you give us a word on your photographers? What are their professional backgrounds and how do they tackle Landscape photography?

One thing we have found is that while visiting wonderful places isn’t difficult, learning to take great pictures is an art form. Our photography tour tutors are all hand-picked experts in their particular fields and, just as importantly, they are all jolly, lovely people who will spend as much time as needed to help each and every client make the best of every location they visit. Most of our tutors are full-time professionals.

What makes Light and Land’s tours different from other photography tours in existence at the moment? Can you tell us about your unique approach?

We have been running tours for over 25 years now and were one of the first landscape photography tour companies to exist, so we are confident that we know what we are doing. And so far, our journey has been delightful.
• We’ve run over 1000 tours worldwide over 26 years
• Satisfied customers—we have a 93% repeat booking rate
• We only employ the BEST landscape photographers who have experience and passion
• Unlike most tour companies out there, we do not charge a single supplement from our tourists
• We are part of The Association of Bonded Travel Organizers Trust Limited (ABTOT). This is a privilege that provides financial protection to our tourists under The Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018. When you make a deposit, your payments are protected automatically under this regulation.
• We are a member of AITO (Association of Independent Tour Operators)
• We have a 95% 5* Feefo success rating—we love hearing from happy photographers!

Autumn by Andy Farrer

What services do you suggest for new and pro travelers? What kind of accommodations/transfers/tours should they go for?

(Not really relevant to us, our tours are all-inclusive for transfers, accommodations and so on)

Could you enlighten our audience about your tailor-made tours and off-the-beaten-track tours? They sound really interesting.

Sure. We introduced our ‘Off the Beaten Track’ tours a couple of years ago when we were having huge demands from tourists who wanted to visit rare, remote destinations. These kinds of places are not easily accessible—and hence, they are not offered by other tour companies. Our ‘Off the Beaten Track’ tours cater to adventurous photographers who would like to explore roads that are untrodden or delve into the local culture of a place, experiencing it from up-close.

The groups we make are small, and you can be assured that, although the tour leader will have an in-depth knowledge of the location, you may veer off track if an unplanned photography opportunity presents itself—without having to worry about safety!

We pride ourselves on the safety and arrangements of our tours. The accommodation varies anywhere from mid-range hotels to shared cabins on a ship to basic and clean camps. Our priority is to get you to the best locations in time for the best shot; and if this means camping halfway up a mountain, then so be it!
Our ‘Off the Beaten Track’ tutors will have in-depth experience and knowledge of the area, so you can be assured that you will be completely taken care of so you can concentrate on capturing that award-winning image.

Colorado by Joe Cornish

How many people are usually in a group at Light and Land’s tours?

We have a maximum of 8 people with one tour leader; and 14 people with two tour leaders.

Out of all the destinations you cover, which ones are the most popular? And which ones are your personal favorites?

Our tour to Knoydart sells out every year within a couple of days of its launch. Our Tuscany tours are also very popular, and we have been running tours to that location since 2003. My personal favorite, however, is our Colorado tour to photograph the autumnal colors.

Scotland by Phil Malpas

What are the most popular destinations you organize tours at in winter/summer period?

Iceland and the Lofoten Islands are extremely popular in winter for the aurora borealis. Provence is an exceptional location in summer for the incredible lavender fields.

What goes into the selection process of a destination at Light and Land?

Our tour leaders come to us with suggestions for tour locations, after which, our teams do their research to see if it would work for our clients. Our photographers know what to look for to make successful landscape photographs—so we trust them entirely. The leader will go on a ‘recce’ trip before a tour is created, to make sure the destination meets our criteria for a fantastic tour location. In this way, all our locations are well-researched and tried-and-tested.

Tuscany by Clive Minnitt

Are the majority of your clients professional tourists and photographers? Or are they beginners? How do you make arrangements for both of these categories?

We cater to both beginners and advanced photographers, with their different preferences in mind. We advise that complete beginners attend one of our one-day workshops in the UK before booking on a longer tour, to ensure they have a basic knowledge of their camera. Each tour is different—and we advise whom it is suitable for in our descriptions of the tours.

Could you summarize a day in the life of a Light and Land tourist? How are the arrangements made? What does a day at a tour typically look like? Do you have classes/workshops for the clients during the trip?

Considering the nature of our tours, every day on the tour is different; and no two tours are the same. But if we had to answer, then typically the day would start with a sunrise shoot, followed by a delicious breakfast back at the hotel. The groups are then out for the rest of the day, photographing with the tutor on-hand at all times to advise them. Meals are taken depending on where the groups are photographing. There would usually be an hour or two for a critique session before ending the day with a sunset shoot and a group meal to discuss the day’s photography, share stories, and have some fun. Light and Land tours are all about making memories!

Knoydart by Ben Osborne

I have seen some great pictures taken by tourists on Light and Land tours. How do you teach people to take pictures? Are there only practical lessons, or do you teach them theory as well?

Our photography tutors do both. They can advise you on the practical side of using your camera, but their primary focus is on showing you how to ‘see’ an image. It is much harder to convert the scene that you see in front of you into a good photograph, so we cover a range of techniques and theory to help them make it possible.

Tell us about a memorable tour you have been on with at Light and Land.

As manager of Light and Land, I am lucky enough to attend one tour a year. The most memorable for me was the Lofoten Islands tour because I got to see the northern lights—which was on my bucket list. It is a memory I will cherish forever.

Is there something about travel you’d like to share with our audience?

I think that travel opens new doors for your mind. It shows you new possibilities. You meet new people. You do new things. In many ways, travel to the soul is like breathing is to the body.

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