Photo Credit: Bob Kaufman

Alaska Photography Tours: Expert Workshops

Picture this: You’re standing in an open expanse of tundra and colorful wildflowers, with the stunning backdrop of rugged, snow-capped peaks reflected in the still waters of a small pond. It’s quintessential Alaska, and you’re ready with your camera. However, the light isn’t quite right, so you brace yourself to wait for the optimal moment. After all, truly great images require truly great light.

Suddenly, you hear your tour guide shout, “OK, everyone back on the bus.” Unfortunately, your itinerary doesn’t allow for waiting for good light, so you pack up your gear and leave without the shot you wanted.

While Alaska has many great tour operators, most of their trips aren’t built around the needs of serious photographers. Either they don’t let you wait for the best light, or you’re competing with 50–100 people for the same vantage point that’s been photographed by about 10 million other people.

If you’re a serious photographer looking for a truly unique experience, consider taking a dedicated Alaska photo tour.

Unlike tours that cater to the casual traveler, a photo-centric Alaska tour or workshop is geared towards providing photographers with the opportunities to capture their dream shots (along with all the expected logistics, like transportation, accommodations, and meals). That means timing your visits to places when they have the best light, and traveling in small groups (typically around 10 people) so you don’t have to jockey shoulders to get the best shot.

It also means having one or more pro photographer guides along who can give you professional advice and instruction, as well as fun, creative, and technical support. And of course, you’ll be traveling with a group of like-minded photographers, which creates camaraderie and new friendships.

Also, a dedicated photo tour lets you get close enough to wildlife for great photo opportunities—and to do it safely. Photo tour guides have experience with potentially dangerous animals to handle any situation.

In short, a photo tour offers much higher value to people who want the focus of their trip to be about photography. Tourists take snapshots, but if you want to capture great photos that you can be proud of, this is how you do it.

Where the Tours Go

Photo tours visit a wide variety of places. You may want to shoot landscapes, glacier, and aerial photography in Denali National Park, around Anchorage and the Chugach Mountains, and in the Wrangell St. Elias Range. You’ll find Northern Lights photography workshops in Fairbanks and the Interior. Wildlife photographers can take tours to see brown bears in Lake Clark, Katmai, and Wrangell; birds in Southcentral Alaska; and polar bears in Nome and on the Arctic coast. There are even Iditarod photo tours that follow the dog sleds along the course. And if you’re on a cruise ship, no problem: most have one-day shore excursions focused on photography.

Length

Workshops vary from single day to weekend to weeklong excursions in remote locations. Some focus on a single area for a number of days, while others allow you the chance to visit and photograph a variety of locations over the course of a few days or a week.

Many trips run in and out of Anchorage, which makes it possible to “add on” a photo tour or workshop to the beginning or end of your trip and combine it with another tour. Most tour operator itineraries allow for at least one or two extra days between when you fly in and out of the state, so if you’re already signed up for another tour, you may consider a one- or two-day photo workshop to brush up on your skills before heading out on the longer tour.

Who Offers Photo Tours

A number of out-of-state companies do photo tours in Alaska, but we recommend one that’s based here. Nothing beats local knowledge and experience for helping you find the best spots at the best times.

Alaska Photo Treks

This is an Anchorage-based company that offers a variety of tours and workshops year-round, including a four-hour evening Sunset Photo Safari, and several multi-day workshops. They can even put together an itinerary customized to your particular interests. The two professional photographer guides who make up the company have more than 50 years of combined experience shooting in Alaska.

Jeff Schultz Photography

Jeff Schultz, a 35+ year Alaska Professional Photographer and Official Photographer of the Iditarod Sled Dog Race. He offers a number of multi-day photo tours and workshops each year, as well as custom, private photo tours. Learn more about Jeff Schultz Photography.

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Photography Tours

Season: Year Round
$775+
Land Package Type: Photography Tours

Don’t just expe­ri­ence the beau­ty of Alas­ka — learn how best to cap­ture it on your cam­era. Trav­el with award-win­ning pho­tog­ra­ph­er Jeff Schultz and you’ll get per­son­al­ized, hands-on instruc­tion as you take in the state’s mag­nif­i­cent sights. Choose from cus­tom tours or small group tours with a max­i­mum of 6 par­tic­i­pants that depart through­out the year and include accom­mo­da­tions, trans­porta­tion, and meals.

Season: Jun 01 to Sep 15 $995 per person 8-10 hours

The 7- to 9‑hour tour out of Anchor­age’s Lake Hood is led by a pho­tog­ra­ph­er-pilot whom has pub­lished pho­tos in such mag­a­zines as Air and Space, Stearns and Nation­al Geo­graph­ic. Set up for the best shots, every pas­sen­ger gets a win­dow seat and a two-way head­set for pilot nar­ra­tion — you’ll have a stun­ning ride filled with pho­to ops of rugged moun­tains, glacial pools and ice blue glac­i­ers. Then, you’ll land on a remote water­way to take pho­tos on the  ...more

Season: Year Round $169

Join Alas­ka Pho­to Treks as they go hunt­ing for the best light of the day, which dur­ing sum­mer at this lat­i­tude can last for sev­er­al glo­ri­ous hours before sun­set. You’ll be trans­port­ed to scenic loca­tions around South­cen­tral Alas­ka to shoot a vari­ety of enchant­i­ng sub­jects. The itin­er­ary is flex­i­ble and allows for spon­ta­neous stops to pho­to­graph wildlife en route. 

$4,995+ 4-7 nights

Immerse your­self in a mul­ti-day Alaskan adven­ture that promis­es incred­i­ble views and jaw-drop­ping bear view­ing in Kat­mai Nation­al Park, along with a warm cama­raderie that only a small group expe­di­tion can cre­ate. Explore from your home base on the Island C, a research ves­sel that gets you close to the action while pro­vid­ing com­fort­able lodg­ing and deli­cious meals.

$99+ 4 - 6.5 hrs

These tours out of Haines offer an up-close nature expe­ri­ence with insights from knowl­edge­able local guides. There are two options. The first tour is a wildlife tour that focus­es on find­ing and learn­ing about wildlife. The sec­ond one is a pho­tog­ra­phy tour where you take pic­tures to share back at home, and get the chance to enhance your pho­tog­ra­phy skills — just when you can ben­e­fit from it most.

Season: Aug 07 to May 10 $249+ 6 hours

Pho­to­graph alpen­glow on snow capped moun­tains, frosty scenes glow­ing in rich win­ter light, wildlife wan­der­ing snowy paths, city lights reflect­ing on the water at twi­light, and pos­si­bly even the north­ern lights!

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