UKC

/ Photography Guiding and Tutoring

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CragRat11 - on 23 Nov 2017
I am considering setting up as a photography guide/mountain guide/teacher and want to hear people's thoughts on this as a concept. If you have some time to comment I'd be very grateful. It's a bit of soft touch market research I guess.

I'd rather stay anonymous but to give you a bit of background: I'm an established filmmaker working in the outdoor/adventure industry and keen photographer (the money comes from film though). I'm also a qualified teacher working part time in post 16 education teaching creative process, particularely in film and photography. Although I'm not hugely experienced compared to many mountain guides I have spent a lot of time in the hills, know them well and studied aspects of leadership at degree level and have worked in mountains and remote locations with a camera since then. The business I hope to set up would be a more flexible, adventurous replacement for the institution based teaching work I do week to week. I wanna get out!

So I'm keen to know if budding photographers out there would be interested in this as a way to develop their skills whilst being guided to interesting and wild locations. I can teach creative process, framing and composition, settings, and even industry knowledge whilst taking groups or individuals out.

So do you think there is a market for this?

If you were interested, what do you think is a fair amount for a day of guiding?

Are there any other services that could be offered to make the experience more relevant/fulfilling/worthwhile?

Although I would be keen to run some international trips, family commitments mean it's best for me to work locally. Are experiences like this relevant in your local area, or neighbouring mountainous areas of the UK?

Do you know of anyone offering similar experiences that you could point me to?

Could it be tagged on to an established guiding company as an add on for them? Any other tips?

I hope you don't mind me asking, and I appreciate you taking the time to read this. To hear people's thoughts on this would be very valuable in my decision making.

Cheers

keith-ratcliffe on 23 Nov 2017
In reply to CragRat11:
When I wanted to improve my outdoor photography I went on several events run by Light & Land https://www.lightandland.co.uk/ who seem to have grown and claim to be the Premier provider etc.
I learnt a lot from the trips but only by asking for help - at the time I felt that they didn't really structure the learning - only Joe Cornish gave us a framework of 'Timing, lighting, composition'. They may have moved on, however there are now lots of outdoor photo holiday/workshop providers. Look in the back of the Photo magazines.
I think you would need to find a niche area and perhaps that is the guiding link that could allow you to take smaller groups into more adventurous areas. Also I think that people are now able to film their outdoorexperiences and helping them improve that might also be a niche tutorial area.
A final thought - one of the L&L tutors pointed out that he could make more from tuition than selling pictures. 'It is what I know that is valuable' was his quote.
richprideaux - on 23 Nov 2017
In reply to CragRat11:

There's probably a few things I could contribute to this:

- There is a massive interest in UK outdoor tourism, and continually growing. However the number of people who want to pay for guiding hasn't really grown. Most people would rather spends an extra £150 in Cotswolds on the way home and guide themselves than pay it to someone to take them on a route they could get from Trail magazine.
- It's a hugely crowded market. Every year in Snowdonia (and the Lakes, Peak etc) a new companies start up offering walks and adventures. Most disappear quietly back into freelancing (including those who approach me for subbing work whilst simultaneously undercutting my business and even stealing content from my websites). There are lots of new MLs every year without the equivalent growth in the market - see above.
- There are many folk already doing mountain/outdoor photography workshops. They are either a big name, or very cheap. Most don't go too far from the road - a jaunt around Cwm Ideal in the morning, afternoon behind Plas Y Brenin or above Pen Y Pass. Multiple locations and variety is often desired over a big mountain day.
- It would potentially leave you in trouble with landowners. Commercial activity isn't permitted under CROW and photography workshops tend to be quite static and noticeable. The National Trust have woken up to the use of the mountains in commercial photography and are actively chasing landscape photographers selling prints taken on NT land. As far as I know nothing has gone to court - but I know someone has settled out of court already.

All of the above can be ignored, as I am a grumpy sod and nobody should have the right to tell you what you can't do in this instance. You probably know most or all of that already. I just think it's sometimes worth raising the awareness of the economic reality of 'the outdoors'.

If you pursue it I hope it takes off, and good luck.

mrphilipoldham - on 23 Nov 2017
In reply to CragRat11:
As a professional photographer myself I've often pondered such a switch. However I've always ended up at the same result, just being a 'normal' guide but with the USP of actually being able to take decent snaps of your client's day out rather than the usual iPhone dross folk seem to be left with!
Post edited at 17:08
CragRat11 - on 23 Nov 2017
In reply to CragRat11:

Thanks very much for this feedback, it's exactly what I'm looking for. My suspicions were that the market was pretty saturated and if I was going to do it I would need to offer something that set me apart.

I've run a business for 7 years now, I'm not about to start something without knowing the full picture.

I have some other ideas up my sleeve, though perhaps this is still goer on the side.

Thanks again
Big Ger - on 25 Nov 2017
In reply to CragRat11:

A couple of my mates offer photography workshops. They mainly do it as a weekend thing, a way of earning "new lens" money.

What would your USP be?

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