OK, first, you're going to be in Upper Antelope Canyon with LOTS of other people, but Overland Canyon tours keeps its group sizes smaller and you benefit from that. I took a photo tour and was one of only two people on the tour. The advantage of the photo tour is that you have twice the time in the canyon, are able to use your tripod (essential for high quality photos), and the general tour groups need to go around you and stop to give you an opportunity for photos without people in them. In addition, your tour guide will advise you where to stand to capture the shots and point out interesting features/designs. It's worth the extra cost of a photo tour. Jackie, my tour guide, said that the owner of Overland is a photographer herself and appreciates the needs of photographers, thus the smaller tour sizes. Other operators (Tsosies, for example) had tour sizes of 20+.
We travelled to the Canyon in enclosed SUVs. Another company ferried their customers in open sided vehicles - a very dusty prospect for traveling to the cayon entrance.
A bit of photography advice: if you don't have pro level camersas and lenses that are well sealed, consider bringing a rainsleeve (<$8) for your camera to protect it from the sand/dust. And don't forgot your lenshood to avoid flare. Tripod is a must, but with it you'll come away with FANTASTIC photos.
In October, we didn't get the classic beam of light, BUT we did not need to contend with the crowds that you'll face May-July. Midday tours are considered prime time and the cost is higher to reflect that. In october, I signed up same day for my tour, but for the peak season, you will need to make reservations months in advance if you want to be on a prime-time tour.
Tour price includes a fee for admission to tribal lands. Keep your ticket and you won't have to pay the fee again if/when you take a Lower Antelope Canyon tour (and I recommend that, too).
In addition, Overland overs various tour combos that include other canyons in the area without the crowds.
I loved my tour and, better yet, loved my photos!
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