The Best Tour in New Orleans: American Photo Safari

When planning a trip to New Orleans, you will find no lack of guided tour options.  There are so many, in fact, that one could fill an entire week’s stay with tours alone.  In New Orleans, you’ll find cemetery tours, haunted tours, and traditional walking tours.  If you want a meal with your history, you can take a culinary tour of the city.  You can choose between cocktail tours, swamp tours, and plantation tours.  In case I’m not being clear–there are lots of tour options in New Orleans.  But only one will provide you with lasting memories and skills to carry with you for the rest of your trip.  And that tour is the fantastic workshop tour offered by American Photo Safari.

See? Photogenic.

You all know by now that I love to learn.  It’s kind of my thing.  You should also know that I love to take photos.  Combine both of these things with a trip somewhere, and you’ve pretty much described my perfect day.  And that’s what American Photo Safari provides–an absolutely wonderful afternoon in the French Quarter, learning how to take photos in one of the world’s most photogenic cities.

I’d classify the lessons I learned on this workshop tour into three categories–things I learned about my camera, things I learned about photo composition, and something I’m going to call the confidence factor.  Each type of lesson was equally useful to me, as a beginning photographer.  However, the fact that there are so many different things to learn means that an American Photo Safari tour is great for a photographer of any level, from total novice to expert.

The things I learned about my camera (things like how metering works, which ISO settings to use in different light, how and why to fiddle with white balance) are likely different from the things you will learn about your own camera for two very good reasons–you have a different camera than I do, and you have different questions.  That’s one of the great things about this workshop tour–you will get what you need out of it.  Whether you are just starting out with photography or have been seeing the world through a lens for years, an afternoon with American Photo Safari will be a learning experience.  And, even better, at no point will you feel like you asked a silly question–even if you do (and trust me, I asked lots of silly questions).

I would never have even seen this beautiful shot had it not been for American Photo Safari.

Of course, you can have the very best camera in the world and know how to use every single setting, but it won’t matter if you don’t know what to look for or even how to look.  This is covered in this workshop tour as well.  I got some great shots that I never even would have seen had they not been pointed out to me–and this changed the way I looked at the world for the rest of my trip.  I began to look for small details, for ways to frame the shot, and for light and shadow.  In short, I learned how to look at the world with a photographer’s eye.  I’m not totally there yet, but everyone has to start somewhere.  And this workshop tour was a great place to start.

The final lesson type was something that I didn’t realize I signed up for–confidence building.  I don’t know about you, but I still feel kind of awkward walking around a new city pointing my camera at things.  I especially feel strange pointing it at people or into areas that I feel are considered private–courtyards, for example, which are simply everywhere in New Orleans.  Walking around with my small group, all of us wielding cameras and pointing them in every direction unashamedly, gave me the confidence to continue to shoot for the rest of my trip.  I sincerely suggest doing this tour at the beginning of a trip rather than at the end.

I'm no longer afraid to point my camera at people.

Trust me, your vacation photos will be much better for your effort.

Honestly, I learned more about photography from this workshop tour than I did in all of the book reading and internet searching I did when I first started out–all of seven months ago.  And there’s a very good reason for that.  You see, you can read all about photography.  You can even watch videos on You Tube and take notes (Yes, I did that.  Yes, I’m that much of a nerd).  But until you use those skills, you haven’t learned them.  On this workshop tour, you learn things as you are using them.  And that is more valuable than any book, video, or notes sheet.

I truly believe that the best way to see the French Quarter is not with a drink in your hand, but with a camera around your neck.  If you can manage both the camera and the drink, that would actually be even better.  But I’m not that coordinated.  So take a break from drinking your way down Bourbon Street and book a workshop/tour with American Photo Safari.  I promise, you’ll be glad you did.

If you’d like to see more of my photos either taken on or inspired by the American Photo Safari workshop tour, click HERE to see my New Orleans set on Flickr.  You can also feel free to poke around in my other albums to see how greatly my photos have improved.  Honestly, it’s kind of embarrassing.  But hey–that’s what learning is all about–being able to see your progress and being proud of where you are as opposed to where you were.  And trust me–where I was wasn’t pretty!

In the spirit of full disclosure:  I was given the opportunity to take part in this workshop/tour free of charge in exchange for a review to be posted on Suitcase Scholar.  However, all opinions are, as always, my own.  If something sucks, I’ll tell you.  If something is awesome, I’ll tell you that too.  


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