In this article, I discuss what I see as the advantages and disadvantages of doing a photography trip solo as compared to going on a photo workshop.
The Advantages Of Going Solo
It is certainly easier and more fun to attend a Photography Workshop, as explained in my article on them. However, there are advantages of going solo, which is what I do almost all the time.
The biggest advantage is the total flexibility of your itinerary. I occasionally arrive in an area, only to discover that the conditions are not very good. I wind up staying one night and then head down the road to another location the next day, which could be 200 miles away.
Even with good conditions, I enjoy being able to decide which location I want to shoot in a area on a moment’s notice. Where I go each morning can easily depend on what the sky is doing in the different directions when I go out to the car in the pre-dawn darkness. I can make last minute decisions all day long.
Mid-day time is used for exploring every possible back road, side road and dirt road looking for something different. The thrill of the hunt! I make notes and come back at the appropriate time.
Mid-day time is great for a nap on those long summer days. It’s also a great time to do a little editing to see what has worked and what hasn’t. You can spend as much or as little time as you want with meals and shopping. Being alone allows you the flexibility to decide when to do these things.
The Disadvantages Of Going Solo
You’re alone. Sometimes very alone. It can be a little creepy out there in the dark with only the sounds of coyotes howling. I’m very careful of where I put myself in remote areas in the dark. Standing on the side of the road in a remote area and having another car pull up behind you with their headlights on you and not knowing if they are friend or foe is unsettling. I avoid that situation if at all possible.
You have to do all of the planning yourself, which does take a lot of time. I go into what this involves in a separate article. If it is a location you might return to, then it’s good for another trip.
When you’re alone, you don’t have other photographers to bounce ideas off of. I firmly believe that any other experienced photographer will probably be able to suggest something to me that I have not thought of.
I enjoy the company of other people and will, if possible, have a family member or friend go with me. This helps avoid the many conversations with myself, lol.
Of course, there is no one to blame for the bad decisions but myself, lol.
For me, I feel that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. I encourage anyone that wants to experience some real photographic freedom, for either landscape photography or wildlife photography, to give going solo a try.