Guest review: Marian relives her photography hero holiday in France
Marian left a stunning review about her recent Photography Hero holiday with hosts Don and Trish in the French countryside. She willingly set up a phone interview for us so we could get the inside story and lush details on her experience:
Why did you choose this activity?
Photography has been a long-time hobby of mine. I wanted to see if I could improve some things and take home higher quality photos of my travels.
I found this holiday on GoLearnTo, did my own flights (which I found very easy), and before I knew it, I was met at the airport by a very polite gentleman in a very nice car for a one-hour journey through the gorgeous French countryside.
Who did you meet during your holiday?
There was another lady who had been living in France who drove 300 miles to join the course – she heard about the wonderful holiday though a recommendation.
I am 80 years old, she was younger, but we got on famously. When we went out on site to shoot, we would part ways to explore on our own and would later compare our results. It was great because although we started at the same points, we ended up with completely different shots and styles.
What were Don and Trisha like?
Don (the photography tutor), and Trish his wife (who provided all meals), were lovely hosts – it was like they were born to do this. They never tired, there was nothing they wouldn’t do for us, and the tuition (Don) and cooking (Trisha) was extraordinary – above and beyond expectations.
How was the tuition?
I saw huge improvements in my photos from this trip. Don had us take our cameras off auto and use manual only and set everything ourselves. At first I wanted my manual back (haha), but I began to get used to setting things myself and seeing a difference… by the end of the week I was getting in the groove of it.
Although this was a holiday, don’t kid yourself – you’re going to work! Don worked me quite hard, as there were a lot of very technical things that were new to me.
Photoshop was also something totally new to me, and it was slow going – but totally worth it. The quality of personal attention and tuition really makes this holiday great value for money.
At the end, Don helped me complete Photoshop and was an enormous help. There was so much improvement for me and so much more I want to master… I may have to go back there next year.
Did you pick up any great souvenirs?
You can choose your four best pictures and Don prints them of for you, and they go home with you in a very solid travel folder – it is the perfect self-made souvenir.
Because everything was paid for, I had to struggle to spend the €20.00 that I had on me, so I bought 2 belts just to spend some money. It was easily one of the best value-for-money trips I’ve taken in a long time!
Can you share more about the guest house and property?
Trish and Don live on the property which hosts a large old barn that they have converted for their photography holidays.
The ground floor has sofas, coffee tables, a long French dining table and a classroom area with computers, as well as a kitchen where Trish cooks for everyone. You’ll also find a small pool and a verandah to enjoy meals on and all of the bedrooms upstairs have been lovingly renovated.
The bedrooms were very spacious, simple, nicely decorated, and included lovely bathroom facilities. There are no televisions in the bedrooms – which I didn’t even realise until I got home.
What about the area?
The village was typically French – built on a steep slope with a climb to the church with a higgledy-piggledy quaint French village feel complete with a baker, butcher and restaurant.
I had a great drive out with Trisha one day to a different little village where she picked up beautiful fruit and veg from local suppliers. She tries to avoid big supermarkets which have taken so much away from the local villages.
How does a typical day go on this photography retreat?
Our typical day consisted of tuition in the classroom, then lunch, then on-location shooting, before returning to the base for tea/coffee and lovely cakes (homemade by Trish), more classroom time, and an amazing, leisurely dinner with wine in the evening – followed by a good book and a great night’s sleep.
We did have one day off, which was much needed. I slept in and took the day to explore the local village with my camera, though there was no Photoshop for me on my off day!
How was the value for money on this holiday?
Great! There were no single supplements or hidden extras, the airport transfers (which is an hour/hour-and-a-half drive), meals and wine – even a packed picnic lunch for the airport made with love by Trish – and excursions were all included!
They seriously do think of everything. Overall, it was a lovely experience and I do intend to go back to continue my learning and improve my skills.
If Marian has convinced you to try a photography holiday in France to improve your own skills, you can find more about this Photography Hero holiday’s itinerary, hosts and inclusion by following the link.