Are You Making Photos Part of the Tour Experience?

PicThrive - photos are part of the tour experience

A critical success factor in running a tour and activity photo program is making sure photos enhance the experience. If the photographer is not travelling with the tour, here are some tips on how to integrate the photos into your tour or activity.

Photos tell the story of each guest’s experience by capturing the key moments throughout your tour. It’s these captured moments that will help them tell their fantastic stories to their friends and family for years to come.

On the most basic level, photos are best way for guests to remember and share their experience with the world. They want to save the memory of how they felt while having one of the coolest experiences of their lives. Often, people that bring their own cameras still buy photos because you are capturing moments that they can’t. This is why guests are willing to invest in the memories of their tour even if they brought their own.

Photos should be integrated into the experience and should never come as a surprise upsell to the guests. They are the star of the show after all. If photos are not made part of the experience, guests will feel like photos are a stranger. They will feel forced and their personality won’t be in the photos. Not the way you want to end the experience for them.

If guests know that photos are part experience they are going to have fun with it. If they know that their favorite moments are being captured, they will be grateful, more engaged and want to be a part of the fun. They become the star of their experience.

Here are some basic steps for you to integrate photos into the entire experience.

Pre-Tour (All Staff)

Before the tour you want to let guests know that you provide a professional photography service that takes high-quality images of the experience.  

You can let them know that, yes, they can bring their cameras (only if it is safe to do so). Remember you’re taking photos that the guests cannot and they love you for it.

In-store, you can show photos on big screen TVs. This not only builds excitement but also educates guests on the fact that photos will be available for purchase afterward.

Here’s how your staff can mention photos pre-tour.

  • We offer an amazing photo service so you can remember this experience forever and show it off to friends and family, immediately after your tour from your phone.
  • You can bring your camera if you want. We bring our Digital SLR with us anyway so you don’t have to worry about damaging or losing your camera if you like.
  • Don’t have a camera, no worries! We’ve got photographers out there that’s going to capture awesome memories! It is so much fun checking them out after the tour, worth a look and a giggle later.

During the Tour (Guides)

It is the guide’s responsibility to ensure that the photos are part of the experience. The participants should know that photos are all part of the fun. Guests want to know where the photos are being taken so they can smile, pose or do something fun for the camera. 

They want the photo to capture their happiness and joy of the experience. They will not buy photos that make them look bad or do not represent the happiness they felt while on tour or are forced.

After the photos have been taken, make sure to tell the guests that those were amazing. You want to build up on the excitement about the moment that they just experienced and that which was captured on camera.

Here are some examples of how your staff can mention photos during the tour:

  • We are approaching the photographer, they’re going to capture awesome photos of us. Make sure you fix your hair and makeup!
  • Group Shot!
  • The photographer is just around the corner, wave and make some funny faces!
  • Let’s see if you can smile for the camera going through this giant rapid!

After Tour

As soon as your tour gets back or on the bus ride to the base camp, give a brief update/reminder to the guests that they can go view and buy their photos. Some guests are so excited to see their photos that they’d rather stay in their wet, cold clothes to see their photos before they get change.

This is a great way to drive traffic into your retail environment too. Regardless if guests want to purchase photos, they all want to see how they looked on the tour. If time permits between tours, it’s also a great way for your guides to share laughs with guests after the tour and collect their tips.

Here are some examples of how your staff can mention photos during the tour.

  • Welcome back, while we get your Equipment from you make sure you grab your photos. It’s the perfect way to capture and share this memory from your phone.
  • Wow, what a great tour, you were all so awesome! It was really fun for us as well. Let’s take a moment and head on over to see if we got any good photos of you.


Photos should be part of the experience and showcase the fun your guests had. It’s capturing that magical moment for them and they’re excited to see it.

It is always amazing watching guests giggle and laugh, reliving the experience when reviewing their tour photos. It’s an opportunity for them to extend and share the experience of their life with an impact that no t-shirt, mug or hat can compete with.

Photos become the primary souvenir of the experience. People are grateful, more than willing to make a purchase and are so very excited to share the amazing time they had on tour…as soon as the tour is finished!


Bio of the author

Kelly Bedford has been fortunate enough to work in the Adventure Tourism Industry for over 15 years with backgrounds in Outdoor Education and Operations Management. He currently manages an eco tour company on Vancouver Island and has used PicThrive now for 3 years to capture and deliver amazing photos and memories for countless guests and adventure seekers. Kelly was PicThrives First Partner.    



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