GoLearnTo’s photography holiday tutors’ favourite photos and subjects

Here at NotInTheGuideBookswe understand that a photography holiday is more than just a nice swimming pool and good food. Don’t get us wrong, we know they are important but ultimately, choosing the right photographer to teach and guide you, helping your snap the best shots possible, is worth its weight in gold.

We want you to get the most from your creative holiday and making sure the photographer is a good match for you and your artistic goals is key. What locations inspire your photographs? Do people or animals play as big a part in your work as landscapes? Want to learn more about working with light and shadows? Would you like to improve your relationship with image software?

So to help you on your search, we spoke to some of our top photography holiday hosts for an insight into the settings that inspire them, their favourite subjects to capture, what can make or break the perfect image and their own favourite photo.

Each artist is unique, and each area stunning; let the photographs guide your choice…

Patrick Nicholas – runs photography holidays in Orvieto, Italy

What is your favourite subject to capture?

My favourite subject nowadays is a portrait within the landscape.

What is your favourite area to capture and why?

The area that provides the richest variety of landscape for my purposes is where Latium, Tuscany and Umbria meet, that is near our home city of Orvieto which is actually in Umbria but borders with the other two regions. Within an hour’s radius we have the Tyrrhenian sea, lakes, waterfalls, rapids, ancient hill towns, dry and dusty rolling hills with solitary cypress trees as well as ravines and valleys.

What can make or break the perfect image for you?

Nowadays, very little given that we have Lightroom which is as essential to the digital photographer as was the darkroom in the old days. It’s more a case of the photographer knowing their camera and its relationship to the post-production software so that they are aware of what they can do when they have left the location. That said, correct exposure is still essential, as is control over the depth of field. You can also look for me on YouTube, where I have a video of my work in the area.

weeping willow with woman beding over and looking at lake

Patrick’s favourite photograph


Darren Lewey – runs photography holidays in Essaouira, Morocco

What is your favourite subject to capture?

I have two favourites if that’s possible. One is landscape, the second portraits. For the first, I look for subjects that reveal the potential for more abstract approaches. Portraits are always a thrill when finding an interesting face and the composition, a moment that records the subject in a unique way.

What is your favourite area to capture and why?

Essaouira is great to shoot abstract images and being a small town is quite easy to find images without travelling too far. Otherwise, I like the desert regions of Morocco for shooting portraits, and local fashion makes for colorful photos. There are also the dunes there of course which can reveal some great compositional structures.

What can make or break the perfect image for you?

Many things can work against getting good photo. The main two for me is poor distribution of light, which is either too harsh a light or the light in the wrong part of the scene. The second is clutter – particularly in the background distracting from the composition.

sand dunes in the Moroccan desert

Darren’s favourite photograph


Martin Sproul – runs photography holidays in Tuscany, Italy

What is your favourite subject to capture?

It is difficult to say exactly what my favourite subject to photograph is. I enjoy being outdoors rather than enclosed inside a studio. I enjoy capturing the light that nature throws upon the landscape. So, it would be easy to say that my preferred subject to photograph is landscapes. However, I also enjoy photographing cities, the rustic details found in old villages, night scenes and the odd bit of macro. My favourite subject matter can change from day to day depending on the weather, my location and I suppose the mood I’m in at the time. If I was to pin it down to one favourite subject, a subject that I am always happy photographing and a subject that I know I am likely going to capture a good image from, I would say it would have to be a sunset in the mountains of northern Tuscany.

What is your favourite area to capture and why?

Undoubtedly my favourite location for capturing photographs is a viewpoint looking over the town of Barga in northern Tuscany. The location is perfectly placed in the middle of the Serchio Valley to capture the richness of the setting sun as it sinks behind the peaks of the Apuan Alps. Barga sits proudly in the foreground and when captured correctly, the cathedral provides a dominant centrepiece to the image. Additionally, the warm climate makes waiting at the location far more pleasant and relaxing than waiting at some of the locations in my native Scotland. Don’t get me wrong, there are some exquisitely scenic locations in Scotland but normally I need to endure being attacked by the weather as I wait for the perfect light. Northern Tuscany allows me to wait in the warm glow of the evening sunlight as I nibble on a slice of pizza. Speaking of warm glow, the sunsets in Tuscany do tend to be very richly coloured and can paint the sky and landscape in a light that irresistible to photographers and artists.

What can make or break the perfect image for you?

There is one common denominator in all good photographs – good light. The subject matter and the composition of the elements in the photograph are also important, but if the light is rubbish then it is unlikely the photograph will be good. When a photographer is working in a studio, they have complete control and freedom over the lighting. But, when you are outdoors and relying on the available light, whether that’s from the sun, the moon or artificial street lighting, you have very little control. It’s this lack of control and the unpredictable nature of the lighting that makes outdoor photography so challenging and rewarding for me. Outdoor photography is all about capturing light.

country road leading to hilltop church in front on Tuscan mountains

Martin’s favourite photograph


Mike Southon – runs photography breaks in the Dordogne, France

What is your favourite subject to capture?

The beautiful countryside around us in this glorious region of France.

What is your favourite area to capture and why?

Our guests particularly enjoy trips to St Emilion, a photographer’s dream, with amazing architecture, history, interest and colour, and of course abundant street cafes, restaurants and wine!

What can make or break the perfect image for you?

The use of light and of course great composition.

photo collage of French countryside and flowers scenery

Collection of Mike’s favourite photographs

To see some more work from these fantastic artists, please follow the link to their holidays, and have a browse through the photo gallery page. If you can’t choose just one, feel free to get in touch and we can see what works best for your dates.

Or feel free to browse our full range of photographers and photography holidays here.