Meet Mary and Pat, our photography holiday hosts in the Algarve, Portugal
Host Mary and photographer Pat have created a special week by holding the holiday in two locations during the week to make sure you have a wide range of experiences and endless inspiration for your shots.
What did you do before running photography holidays?
Mary: I’m an experienced Tour Leader, who has been lucky enough to work in travel for the past 20 years, hosting group holidays around the world for a number of national travel companies. Having always wanted to work for myself, I am excited to have teamed up with my long term friend, Pat, to create these wonderful photography holidays combining both our skills and knowledge.
Pat: I have combined my love for photography with a successful career in education. I am a self-taught photographer whose skill and expertise has resulted in a variety of commissions in wedding and portrait photography. I have now decided to concentrate on my passion for travel and photography, using my teaching skills to inspire and encourage others to develop their own creative style.
How did you decide the Algarve was the best place for photography?
Mary: I used to work in the Algarve, hosting group holidays in the region. It is my favourite part of Europe; not only because of its stunning scenery, but also because of the friendly, relaxed atmosphere that you find here, oh and also, of course, the sunshine!
Pat: Until Mary introduced me to the Algarve, I had no idea how beautiful this region is and how many opportunities there are here for wonderful photography, be it landscapes, townscapes, or nature. Getting to know the Algarve has certainly dispelled my preconceived idea of it being no more than a series of overdeveloped beach resorts – nothing could be further from the truth.
So do you live in Portugal now?
No sadly – just frequent visitors!
Pat, do you have any qualifications related to your profession?
Pat: No formal qualifications, however I am a Member of the Royal Photographic Society. I have taken part in a number of RPS projects and had work exhibited at various venues in London, and I have also contributed a chapter to a photography book.
Did you create this photography holiday yourself? What made you choose the places visited throughout the week?
Mary: Yes, we wanted to put as much variety as possible into the itinerary. We spent a lot of time visiting the sites and putting together a programme that not only showcases the best of the Algarve, but also works in terms of logistics and means that we don’t have to spend too much time travelling from place to place – hence the reason we are using two centres for the holiday.
How do you two know each other?
Pat: We met when we were both playing for a women’s football team back in the 90’s. We both love sport and still play tennis and golf – Mary is much better than me!
What makes Portugal incredible for photography?
Mary: The sheer contrast in the scenery between the Eastern and the Western Algarve, and the fact that so many varied and beautiful landscapes are easily accessible in such a small area; from dramatic coastlines, to gorgeous hilltop villages and views, and of course, the spectacular sunrises and sunsets!
Can you tell us a bit about your teaching style, Pat?
Having worked in education all my life, I’m a great believer that everybody should learn at their own pace. I see my role as encouraging our guests to develop their own skills and style, by being on hand to provide support and tuition when needed.
However, I also believe that it is important to let people learn through experience – there is nothing quite like getting something right after lots of goes at getting it wrong!
What are your favourite things to do in the places you visit?
Pat: Getting up early in Tavira and wandering down to the river – the sunrises are truly magical here!
Mary: Evenings spent in local restaurants enjoying some freshly caught fish, washed down with a glass of vino verde!
What makes your holiday a unique experience?
Our fantastic tailor made itinerary which will give you, our guest, the opportunity to experience the “Real Algarve”. We stay in two lovely hotels and our evenings will be spent in local restaurants sampling the best of the region’s cuisine.
Would you like to find out more about Mary and Pat’s Portuguese photography holiday? Click her to find out more.