Improve Photography Free Photo Workshops FAQ

Where can I find a list of the trips and get more info?

Right here!

What's it like on a trip?

Improve Photography Travel Group events are not like traditional workshops.  Nobody will be carrying your bags or booking your travel for you, but you will be able to shoot with Jim and/or Darin on the trips, ask as many questions as you want, get help with your photos, and learn new techniques.

If you're interested in joining Jim on a trip, just join the private Facebook group for the event.  Once you're approved into the group, you'll be able to communicate with others interested in attending and sign up to attend (free!).  Everyone can throw in their two cents about locations they want to go to and things they want to do on the trip.

Since there is no cost to attend the workshop, you'll book your own travel and lodging.  Usually people end up carpooling with others in the group, share rental car expenses, and everyone stays at the same hotel so we can edit photos on laptops in the evenings.  You're welcome to stay where you want and travel how you want, but it's nice to be with the group if it's an overnight trip.

Before the trip, you'll have an itinerary in hand for when and where to meet up and what we'll be doing.  You'll meet Jim and the others at the designated time on the itinerary, shoot in spectacular locations, eat meals together with other photo nerds, and go back to the hotel and post-process photos together and share your shots with each other.  EVERYONE feels welcome on the trip and so far EVERYONE has loved the trips the travel group has done.

You'll have plenty of access to Jim on the trip.  Feel free to grab Jim and ask for a critique, ask questions, and look for new ideas and techniques.  Jim is not a paid guide so he will definitely be doing his own shooting while on the trip, but that doesn't mean you won't get as much instruction as you'd like.   At most of the travel group events, the participants leave the trip with some of the best photos of their life.

How many people will be on the trip?

It really depends on the trip itself.  Before you book your trip you'll see a final count of how many are attending.  We've had groups as small as 5 and as large as 85.

Aren't some of these groups too big?

On the larger photo trips, we often have many photographers attend.  We can understand being concerned that you'll get lost in the crowd and not really getting an opportunity to spend time with Jim or learn from the more experienced photographers.

However, after doing many of these trips, we've found that–by far–the photographers who come on the larger trips have the most fun.  A small trip can be enjoyable too, but on the big trips we often get better hotel rates, we have presentations by a number of the more experienced photographers, and there is less pressure on individuals because you're sure to find photographers of your same skill level.

Do I need to be an experienced photographer?

Not at all.  We have lots of beginners out there.  We also have lots of full-time pros.  It's fun to have a melting pot and we all help each other out.  However, not to sound overly promotional, we really feel strongly that you'll learn about 100 times more and come back with far better photos if you at least take Jim's beginning photography class before coming.  That way you'll at least be familiar with the techniques and camera settings.

Wait, why is this free?  Photo Workshops usually cost thousands of dollars.

Jim charges nothing to attend his free photography workshops.  Anyone is welcome to attend–just pay your own travel expenses and come shoot with us!  Yes, really.  No strings attached.  In fact, Improve Photography spends tens of thousands of dollars each year to put on these free workshops around the world, and gets no money in return.

Jim offers travel group events as a way to give back to Improve Photography fans who are so kind to support Improve Photography.

There are differences between a travel group event and a traditional paid workshop, such as the fact that you'll be booking your own travel plans and some of the workshops don't include dedicated “classroom sessions.”  Also, Jim will be doing lots of shooting himself and won't be totally focused on helping others.  Having said that, you'll learn TONS on the trip and you'll have plenty of opportunities to ask questions and get feedback from Jim and other experienced photographers.

How do I get more info and sign up for a trip?

If you're interested in joining Jim on a free photography workshop, join the Facebook group for the event.  On that Facebook group, you'll see all the details of the trip.  Each Facebook group for the trips has a link to a Google document where you can add your name as an attendee.

I'm nervous about coming.  I don't know anyone who will be there.

Don't be bashful about coming on a trip with us.  We have lots of photographers with 10 year old DSLRs and kit lenses, and lots of very seasoned pros as well.  Most of the people who attend don't know anyone else in the group until the trip starts.  Once you get there and meet Jim and the others, you'll find that everyone is just like you.  We're just all photo nerds who want to learn photography from Jim and spend some time shooting in spectacular locations.

Where have you gone in the past?

Chicago, Illinois in 2015 – 25 in the group

China in 2015 – 24 in the group

South Florida in 2015 – 25 in the group

Oregon Coast in February 2015 – 64 in the group

Iceland in November, 2014 – 27 in the group

West Virginia in October, 2014 – 10 in the group

Central Oregon in April, 2014 – 8 in the group

Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee in February, 2014 – 30 in the group

Boise, Idaho in 2013 – 30 in the group

South Florida in 2012 -20 in the group

19 thoughts on “Improve Photography Free Photo Workshops FAQ”

  1. William Thompson

    I’m interested in your travel trips, but I’m not on Facebook, and I don’t want to be. How can I get information about them?

    1. Hi William, since I’m offering these for free, I need to organize them in the way that is most convenient for me. Also, the VAST majority of our audience is on Facebook. Without facebook we get too many emails from participants. If you’d like to participate, you should set up a free facebook account.

    2. I completely understand your wanting people to join your Facebook page to find out more about your free photo trips, but I am unwilling to do that – as are many other people I know. So, will you at least be posting more information about the February photo shoot on the Oregon coast on your IP site? I live in Portland and would love the opportunity to join you on the Oregon coast in February.

  2. Jim,

    We live in Victoria Australia. About 60-90 minutes to The Great Ocean Road (arguably one of the most spectacular coastlines in the world). We also live 30 minutes from Melbourne Airport. Finally we have a four bedroom home and if people don’t mind sharing a room and sleep on air matresses, can accommodate up to 10 people. How would we go about organising an Australian IP trip?

    Belinda and Aysel.

  3. New Orleans for Mardi Gras (Feb 17) would probably be a great opportunity for interesting photography, especially night photography with all the lighted floats. It’s a very artistic community in New Orleans. If you plan the trip for the weekend prior to Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras day) you will get some of the biggest night parades in the Krew of Endymion (Saturday night) and the Krew of Bacchus (Sunday night). If you think this could be a possible destination for the travel group I will be happy to provide more information.

    Happy Shooting!

  4. What about newbies? I got a nice camera as a gift from my husband, (Nikon 3200D)….but I’m not even sure how to use it correctly. Are the very inexperienced welcome or should we take a few classes first?
    Thanks so much,
    Renée C.

  5. Jim: I have a question about the planned Fall, 2015 “Mystery International Trip.” Having never booked travel through Living Social Escapes, I’m curious as to whether this trip is likely to include both air and land costs, or if it might be possible to separate the two? I have a ton of frequent flyer miles which I’d prefer to use for the air portion of the trip, but if that’s not possible I would just go ahead and book the package.

    I know this won’t be happening for another 6 months so, but the trips fill up fast andI didn’t want to wait until the trip was announced before asking. Thanks, and thanks for the podcast and useful info.

  6. I really enjoy your podcasts. I follow you on Facebook but I cannot find the private travel group to join it.

    Please advise.

    Thank YOU!!!

    Jeff Egan

  7. Hey Jim,
    Maybe you are structuring it like this, but I cannot find the S. Utah sign-up group. I have searched your sites, Facebook but there is no direct reference anywhere! Sorry for the frustrated post but I couldn’t find the Oregon site either then finally did and it was Closed ;-(
    I will never be able to afford such an workshop as this, (This is truly The Most Generous thing that you do and I don’t want to miss it). I used to work in S. Utah and still have many friends there and will be able to save some travel money in this way.

    I don’t even know how to reach you guys so I am writing it here, I hope it gets to you our the Staff.


    1. @Scott – The sign up is now live for the Utah trip! Hope you can make it!

      Sorry you missed the Oregon trip. Often these trips are filling up within HOURS of being listed–even the ones that are 6-8 months out.

      I’m doing my best to NOT promote these trips except for on the podcast, where I feel our most dedicated audience is.

    1. We no longer have one “travel group” group on Facebook due to the amount of spam we got on there. Now we just have groups for the individual trips.

  8. I tried to join the Utah trip but never got to the Google Docs page to add my name.
    I do believe that I “requested” to john however.
    Any help ? …

  9. hi Jim,
    I’m a photographer from Namibia, a vast and beautiful country for landscapes, portraits and wildlife.
    Do you plan coming here in future for workshops?

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