Mexico is one of my favorite countries and the only destination that I return to year-after-year. I travel solo much of the time, and it’s always been safe. For those who are still concerned, there are other fantastic ways to see the country, such as a small-group or curated tour. Tours groups like Cantimplora Travel offer eco-friendly adventure tours where you can travel like locals to off-the-beaten-path locations like Oaxaca. The itinerary, accommodations and most of the meals are already arranged, hassle-free, and their Oaxaca photography is unparalleled.
Even better, they provide a personal photographer to accompany the group on the adventure, at no additional charge. This is a fairly new trend and a stress-free way to document your holiday
Even outfits like Carnival Cruise Lines have started offering the option of having a professional photographer tag along onboard and onshore.
To me, having a professional photographer along is one of the very best perks. I’ll tell you why…..
1. Lighten my load.
My collective camera equipment is heavy. I travel with a 35mm Nikon SLR, a GoPro with multiple attachments, an iPhone, a selfie stick, an underwater extension stick, various wet-bags, and other photography-related paraphilia. These all go in my backpack along with other essentials like water, protein bars, wallet, hat, sunscreen, towel, snorkel, and souvenirs picked up along the way. After a few hours, my shoulders are so sore I can hardly stand it. With a personal photographer, I can ditch the heaviest items in my pack and have a more relaxing experience.
2. Make new friends.
When my face is not constantly behind the camera, it’s easier to make eye contact and converse with other people, either on the tour or with locals. Human interaction always makes for a more personal and meaningful experience.
3. Ditch multitasking.
Do I want to zoom in or take a wide-angle? 35mm for Facebook or iPhone for Instagram? Still shot or video? Landscape or people? Put my camera down on the ground to get water out of my pack? No worries, the personal photographer alleviates all those dilemmas. At the end of the day, you have access to a variety of shots for social media, articles, or just personal use.
4. Live in the moment.
Instead of worrying about getting the right shot, getting multiple shots, getting the lighting right, or waiting for people in the background to move as well as intentional photobombs, you can just enjoy the moment. I can’t tell you how many spontaneous moments I’ve missed because I was focused on getting just the right shot.
5. No photo flubs.
The pressure from social media to post high-quality, engaging photos of our trip in real-time can be daunting. Many times, what our eyes perceive does not translate as amazingly in our photos. There are many techniques and specialty equipment that professionals use to capture these great shots. No blurry photos, tilted landscapes, or unwanted people in the background. The photos will all be fine quality – a great benefit since vacation photos no longer reside in dusty photo albums exiled in the closet, but live on in perpetuity on the internet.
6. Save time editing.
When traveling, I spend most evenings in my room editing photos to get up on social media for that day. With a professional photographer on tour, I can actually spend my nights having fun and exploring the nightlife!
7. No Instagram envy.
Travel photographs are the most viewed content on social media. According to a 2015 Facebook survey, 83% of travelers post on the internet while on vacation – and nearly half of travelers post photos to social media once they return home. These photos can provide inspiration, motivation or fodder for daydreams. We look at the fabulous photos of Instagram accounts like El Camino Travel and wish our vacation could be as exotic, vibrant, athletic, and culturally-enhancing as that. They use a professional photographer, and now YOU can make your Instagram followers green with envy with your own professional photographer.
8. Lighten my luggage.
Similar to #1, my combined photo equipment is heavy. By leaving it at home, lugging my suitcase around the airport and to various hotels is no longer such a burden.
9. Eat your food!
Ha! People who travel with me can be a bit put out by me making them wait to eat their food until it’s been photographed. Now my professional photographer will take care of that, everyone will be happy, and I finally get to eat a hot meal.
10. No faux pas.
Each country has its own set of cultural expectations and taboos. A local photographer on tour will know about those and save you from committing an embarrassing. Or even potentially illegal action – which happened to me in Thailand (that’s a story for another day).
11. Selfies be gone!
I know many will find it hard to believe since I’m known as the Selfie Queen. But I’ve done so as a matter of necessity. As a travel blogger, I need to show my followers on social media that I’m actually in the destination. Those photos get the most engagement, especially when they are adventure-related. My photographer can get those photos for me. And I doubt it takes them 100 photos to get one good one like it does for me.
12. Candid vs. posed.
Further to #11 above, selfies by their very nature are posed. The professional photographer captures candid photos of the people on the tour. The selection is as wide as the personalities – funny, serious, goofy, nerdy, sexy, athletic or shy. They also get action shots that are definitely not possible taking selfies.
So what do you think?
Do you think the selfie’s days are numbered?
Is traveling on a curated tour with a group personal photographer something you’d consider?
Stay tuned!!! My tour with Cantimplora Travel in Oaxaca starts in a few days. It’s about 300 miles south of Mexico City (where I’ll be spending 2 days before and 2 days after) and I’ll be traveling from high up in the Sierra Madres to the pristine beach Playa Zipolite, and everything in between.
I’m sooooooo excited! Let me know if you like the shots they take!
Other Things to Do in Oaxaca
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IMPORTANT! Never travel to any foreign country without travel insurance! Random, unplanned things can happen. I was involved in a horrendous car crash in South Africa in 2014. Click here to compare prices on travel insurance.
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About the Author
Patti Morrow is a freelance travel writer and founder of the award-winning international blog Luggage and Lipstick and southern travel blog Gone to Carolinas. TripAdvisor called her one of “20 Baby Boomer Travel Bloggers Having More Fun Than Millennials.” Patti is the author of the book “Girls Go Solo: Tips for Women Traveling Alone,” and has over 150 bylines in 40 print and online publications, including The Huffington Post, International Living Magazine, Washington Post Sunday Travel, Travel Girl, Travel Play Live Magazine, and Ladies Home Journal. She has traveled six continents looking for fabulous places and adventure activities for her Baby Boomer (and Gen X!) tribe.