How to find the best Photo Tour and Workshop on Maui?

by Douglas Hoffman on January 23, 2014

How to find the best photo tour and workshop in the area you live or are traveling to.

These days almost everyone has a digital camera in their phone, iPad, tablet, as well as a pocket size point and shoot cameras or SLR. Regardless of what kind of camera,  it has never been easier to take pictures. The user simply need turn the camera on, and press the button. That said, many people want to know more about their cameras nomenclature, settings, and modes.  These enthusiasts want to be in control of how the photograph looks rather then just depend on the cameras automatic settings.

Watching youtube how to videos is a great way to study photography.  That said, many people learn better when in addition to seeing, and hearing how to do it, they actually do it.  Thats the beauty of participating in a workshop.  You learn how and why to do certain things, then you apply what you have learned and create some images. Since most cameras have the ability to view images and check out histograms the photographer can review the images created and if changes are needed they can make them while still at the location.

Father and daughter taking a landscape photography and composition  workshop.

Father and daughter taking a landscape photography and composition workshop.

Almost anyone can lead an island tour as driving to popular tourist locations does not require specific knowledge of photography.  On Maui, there are countless companies offering scenic tours.  There are large bus tours, minivan tours, and even hiking tours.   Each day they go to the same places and spend just a few minutes at each location.  These tours have a published schedule and have to keep things moving at a steady pace in order to go to all the places in the time allowed.   These tours are fine for people that just want to see the sights, but are not the best option for those who want to create photographs.  There is big difference between seeing the sights, and having time to photograph them.  That is why dedicated photo tours have become popular.

So if photographing the scenic locations of Maui is a priority, you want to go on a photo tour.  Go to Google and type in Maui photo tour, Maui photo safari, Photo tour on road to Hana, Maui Sunrise photo tour, and Maui sunset photo tour.   Once the results pop up give the list a quick scan.

As you look over the web pages check out the about us page if there is one.   This will let you know of the guide is a working professional photographer.  This is important because you want someone that can show you the sites from a photographers point of view. Not all scenic locations are right for landscape photography.

As you check out the web sites of potential guides do any catch your eye.  If so ask yourself why.  What is it about the  site that captured your attention.  Was it the photographs of the island, the description of the tour, or services provided. Are the tours private or semi private, how long are they? Does the guide take you in his vehicle or ask you to drive.  What kind of experience and background does the guide have? Are the tours customized to the needs of the participant?  How many hours is the tour, and what kind of price point, how many participants, and can family members come along? Are there any previous client testimonials, positive reports on Trip Advisor, Yelp, or Facebook.  Like anything these days you get what you pay for.  A discounted trip might save you money but will be a real value?

If your looking for more than just a tour you might be better off going on a photo workshop. In this case I suggest you ask yourself some questions like what are your photographic strengths and weaknesses.  What do you have trouble with and what is it you would like to learn.  Once done with this self inventory, do another Google search and look for photography workshops. In this context, the guide would also be a teacher and help you with camera questions, setting exposure, and creating exciting compositions. So check the web sites and see what kind of education is provided.

The thing about photography is that there are many levels and ways to be creative.  The learning process never stops because the more you learn the more you realize there is more to learn.  It is a never ending circle. That is part of the fun and excitement of photography.  Workshops are great for novice, intermediate and expert photographers.  The reason is simple. When you dedicate the time and energy to your photography you constantly improve.

The learning curve is not the same for everyone and thats ok.  Some people are more technical than others, and then there are others who are more artistic. Workshops enable you to hone your knowledge of exposure and composition. The more you know about how your camera works enables you to think faster and make changes as the moment unfolds.  The more you know about composition the better able you are to see the photograph and tell the story before even pressing the shutter.   This is the difference between taking a picture and creating a portrait.

Once you have checked out the web sites the Google search listed, make a list of questions and then call the number on the website and talk about what your looking for.  This will really help you narrow down the right tour/workshop.  A good workshop/tour will be catered to your needs, this way you get the training and education desired to improve your skill set.

On Maui, you can take a workshop along the north shore and road to Hana.  This is a very popular option and depending upon the length of your workshop you can visit stunning beaches and coastline along the north shore,famous surf spot called Hookipa.  While known for waves this location features tide pools which often allow the photographer to include reflections of the clouds.  Very cool!  Other great locations on the road to Hana include several waterfalls, old bridges, the bamboo forest, and the Keanae peninsula  which features a rocky coast line and incredible views.  If you book a long enough tour you can go all the way to Hana, see the famous 7 sacred pools, and hike up to Waimoku falls, a 300 foot waterfall.  The hike takes you through an incredible bamboo forest.

Doing a tour of the west side is another option. There are some dramatic cliffs as you continue past the Kapalua, and Honuloa bay.  The road gets very tricky and sometimes scary as you continue to Kahakaloa and beyond.  In places it  only one lane and there are several blind curves.   Should another car approach, one of you will have to back up.  This is not fun, and the reason why it is not all that popular.

Upcountry is another location that features agriculture land, horses, cows, Haelakala Crater, Polipoli park.  Getting to the crater takes 2-2.5 hours from Kihei and 2.5 – 3 hours from Lahaina.  There will be rain at times but they are followed by rainbows.

The south side of the island features La Paruse bay which is where the lava fields are, and several beautiful sandy beaches and areas of rocky coast line.  This is where you want to be for sunset.

Makena Maui Sunset

Makena Maui Sunset