Sarah has done plenty of holidays with her friends in the past; this time, she wanted a solo trip that would allow her to focus on improving her photography.

As she had done a night photography course in the past, she wanted a week to tie everything together with theory and practise. She also wanted to get some value for her money and have food, accommodation, and expert photography tutelage included so she could focus on perfecting her art.

Here’s what she had to say about her photography holiday with Paul and Pam in France:

Who did you meet?

There are four students at a time on these particular holidays to keep it personalised. Along with myself, there was a couple who had done this holiday 2 times before, along with another gentleman who was a bit more experienced. We were all British.

It was a great group of people. I was nervous at first because it was small, and I felt I had less experience than the others, but the small group made everyone closer, and I also learned some things from the others. We have all been keeping in touch with each other since the trip, and share our work on Flickr.

What was the best photography tip you picked up?

I did an evening photography class before I left for France, but this week really helped it all gel together – it put the theory I had picked up into practice. Everything was well explained as you went along.

What were your hosts like?

Paul and Pam were very accommodating. They asked about our food preferences and allergies and had no problem catering to everyone’s needs; they would make fish for one, something different for others – all meals were very personalised.

Nothing was too much trouble for these hosts! We were encouraged to drink and eat as much as we wanted… and every dinner was three courses.

Can you describe a typical day?

Typically we would be up and have breakfast around 9 am, and get together at 10 am to head out on the day’s excursion. Afterward, we would head back to the accommodation for some photo editing from 5 to 7 pm. Then, we would sit down for a three-course dinner with wine and beer, and take our time enjoying the food and company until about 10 pm.

The pace wasn’t manic, but it was a lot of information to take in. The course is really great for all levels; however, I do think it would be a bit easier for the more experienced.

We had Tuesday and Thursday free to do our own thing, so it was nice to break it up a bit. There are always diverse options offered if anyone wants to join them. For example, both a night shoot and morning shoot were offered to get photos in different atmosphere and light.

Overall, there was no pressure to do anything you didn’t want to, and everything offered was very group-based, so no two holidays would be the same.

What’s the area like?

The area is quite rural, like a hamlet, or a collection of houses – it may leave you feeling limited on your day off, but it is a great location for photography.

You only really notice the isolation on your free days, as every other day is packed with excursions to explore and shoot the beautiful surrounding areas. If you’re worried about the location, though, Paul and Pam will be happy to work with you to plan a fun day off.

How was the value for money?

Apart from airport transfers, you could easily spend no money. However, I did have some spending cash for the occasional snack and a lunch out.

If you’re hoping to improve your own photography skills, you can find out more about joining Paul and Pam in Dordogne on this all-inclusive photography retreat’s itinerary page.