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.
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.
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, 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.