Travel Photography Tips : Don’t consider hiring a guide if you are not in a hurry and especially interested in good coverage through Photography or vlogs

During my early years of travelling, I didn't hire guides and I guess that was mainly because of ignorance. Gradually I started seeing value of exploring places with guides as you get very good perspective about the place, it's history and stories associated. I don't even mind guides who may not know a lot but are good story-tellers. But with time, now I have reached a conclusion that I would not hire a guide going forward and will share in this blogpost about why do I want to do so. Everything in this blogpost is on the basis of my experiences with guides at different places, mainly in India.

Let's try to understand what we try to achieve through a Guide as a Photographer and how a guide is trying to optimise value of his time. As a travel and photographer, when I am exploring a place I would like to know finer details about that place and understand importance. A guide can be very helpful. For an example, if I have to visit a palace with a guide, she can help me with finer details around how palace was built, it's finer details, stories associated and those stories have significant mark on how these places look today. A very specific example, when a guide told me at Ranakpur temples about a specific  ceiling and it's importance inside this huge temple. The story narration guided me to photograph some of the key elements of the temple. 

Related Blogpost - Don't get fooled by Rookie & Unprofessional guides of Fatehpur Sikri and rather explore this beautiful place on your own

Now let's try to understand what guides are trying to do. At every place, there is some fees guides charge and there is a typical duration of a tour. Let's assume that typical tour duration is 2 hrs, so a guide would definitely want to take care of at least 3 groups to earn better. Now this aspect conflicts a little with how you want to explore a place as Photographer. Photographers are slow in such explorations and hence you will not be able to do a good job as photographer if following the pace of your guide. One alternate can be that you pay more ask more time from a guide, but that may not work well as success of that model also depends a lot on personality traits of your guide. I enjoy clicking photographs the most when I am alone and doing things at my own pace. Guides with me have been a challenge for my photography and hence this is something I am going to try in my next few trips.

It's a trade-off and hence it's a choice everyone has to make on the basis of personal preferences/experiences. 

There could be another model to deal with it, if you have good amount of time with you. Visit the place with guide at defined pace and get to understand the space. Now go again on your own and leverage that knowledge to navigate through various places for photography. 

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