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Vietnam in Focus - Photo Tours and Workshops
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Ways to Experience Vietnam in Focus - Photo Tours and Workshops
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Reviewed May 8, 2019

I just completed an amazing 12-day Vietnam in Focus "Vietnam by Rail" tour of the country, covering over 1,200 miles from Ho Chi Minh City in the south to Hanoi in the north and coastal fishing villages in between. The itinerary and schedule was well organized and the pace brisk, as skilled local photographer-guides took me to fascinating sites as I sharpened my skills at telling a story in pictures. We shot from dawn to dusk and even at night, with the locations well-scouted in advance. Taking advantage of unexpected opportunities, we even caught a hot air balloon festival in the Citadel at Hue, an historic site, a couple of weddings, and family life along the narrow-gauge railroad in Saigon. We met and pictured boatyard carpenters repairing colorful blue wooden fishing boats, ice factory workers loading boats, old men repairing fishing nets, and women selling small fish on the beach in Danang. We got fun pictures of life along the railroad tracks and of the men and women working the trains, like a sweet cook in the restaurant car's galley and flag men and women directing the movement of trains. We shot the sun rising over the sand dunes of Mui Ne on what we call the South China Sea (the Vietnam Sea) and early risers exercising on China Beach at daybreak. Skilled, thoughtful, and fun local experts took us to the highlights and markets of several major cities, too. It was a comprehensive, instructional, and inspirational voyage of discovery. My guides and tutors became good friends who went out of their way time and again to enhance the travel experience and photographic learning curve. They were thoughtful and patient, yet diligent and persistent as they led me to experience Vietnam (and this was my third visit) in new dimensions. An amazing trip!

Date of experience: April 2019
Thank Bill C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Alex S, Owner at Vietnam in Focus - Photo Tours and Workshops, responded to this reviewResponded May 13, 2019

Thanks so much for your awesome review, Bill! It was a real pleasure to have you on board, and I know the guys very much enjoyed your company, good cheer and many stories. It's great to hear that you relished so much of what we work hard to provide - off the beaten track experiences and photo ops, real life encounters with the locals and exciting unplanned opportunities (it's a right place, right time thing!) all on an itinerary that runs as smoothly as possible.

Your pictures from the trip are really amazing, and we can see the development of your eye and skill over the course of the tour. All the best with your photography in future.

Thank you again for joining us, and we hope to see you back very soon!

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Reviewed May 8, 2019

Vietnam in Focus and Duc our photorapher gavr us a great morning. They were flexible altering the tour to suit our needs. We got some great photographs, plenty of photo tips and saw what I would call real Vietnam rather than a tour of the usual tourist spots. Thank you Dux for a great morning

Date of experience: May 2019
1  Thank gailmAustralia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Alex S, Owner at Vietnam in Focus - Photo Tours and Workshops, responded to this reviewResponded May 13, 2019

Big thanks for taking the time to review us, and we're delighted that you enjoyed your very local experience with Duc. Yes, it's all about finding the real Vietnam - that's where the best shots are too! All the best with your photography and hope to see you again soon!

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Reviewed May 7, 2019

My daughter and I took the Hanoi Explorer Private Photo tour.

Tour description:
"while learning how to take great photos. Following the classic structure of the three picture story, we discover the fundamentals of travel photography and gain a unique insight into the real Hanoi as well as fantastic pictures to share with friends. The tour is suitable for both beginner photographers"

I think the tour guide we had is probably a very good photographer but I don't think he had the skills as a tour guide or as an instructor. These are very different skills.

I think in the context of the 4 other tours we did in Vietnam this photography tour was very expensive. I don't have a problem with the price but it felt like poor value for money compared to the other tours.

There was no initial explanation about what we were going to do or where we were going to go throughout the morning.

I did email in advance to say we were both at a beginner level and I think the course description states that it is ok for beginners. I felt like it was assumed that we already had knowledge about camera settings and why we were making certain settings. Sometimes, I wondered what we were supposed to be doing next.

I felt like there was very little rapport between us and the instructor.

There was some initial discussion about composition at Long Bien bridge but, in the end, there did not seem to be that much content or insight.

I've got a couple of good photos on my camera but, unfortunately, those are the ones the tour guide took and I have no idea how he did it!

I did feedback to the tour company but got no response from them directly.

Date of experience: April 2019
2  Thank Steve W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Alex S, Owner at Vietnam in Focus - Photo Tours and Workshops, responded to this reviewResponded May 9, 2019

Hi Steve,

Thank you very much for the taking the time to review your tour with us, although we were obviously very disappointed to hear about your experience.

We were especially shocked because the guide who led your tour is one of the most experienced on our team, and the week before that was actually leading a group from National Geographic around Hanoi. He has led groups and individuals of all levels, from absolute beginners like yourselves to professionals like the Nat Geo group - always with excellent feedback and reviews. In fact, we've never had a review like the one you posted in 7 years of running photography tours in Vietnam.

Regarding your initial feedback to me, I would definitely have responded, but it was sent straight to Trip Advisor's automated review requester rather than my email address. I'm sorry that I wasn't able to know about your feelings earlier. Your guide also told me that you didn't seem unhappy at all on the tour, or give him any negative feedback. He is really baffled by this review, but we will continue to discuss and work on this to improve.

As I said to you in my last email to you, we are going to be looking again at how we communicate the structure of our tours, how we stage them, and how we grade our instruction to beginner photographers. We really appreciate your feedback, as it gives us a chance to look again at this aspect of our tours.

Wishing you and your family a great summer, and all the best with your photography in future. As I said by email, we would be delighted to welcome you back for another chance if you do come to Vietnam again.

Take care and thank you again


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Reviewed April 23, 2019 via mobile

This tour was great on so many different levels.
1. Brilliant tour guide/instructor. Boris was simply amazing. My husband and I have very different levels of photography, him being experienced and me inept. Despite this Boris tailored it brilliantly so that we both got lots out of it, my husband improving technique and gaining the confidence in taking shots of locals, and me learning the basics enough to get some great shots. On top of that Boris was very informative about local life and culture.
2. Great locations. We visited Long Biên Market which was an absolutely amazing experience where we really got to interact with the locals. We also photographed a number of trains, including inside the engine room! We walked through the old quarter to train street and then back to our hotel. Photo opportunities galore.
3. It’s different, you get to see a side of Vietnam you wouldn’t otherwise see and you get to capture it to remember forever.

I highly recommend it and I definitely suggest you ask for Boris! Would definitely book again!

Thank 726beam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Alex S, Owner at Vietnam in Focus - Photo Tours and Workshops, responded to this reviewResponded May 8, 2019

That's a fantastic review for us and for Boris of course! Thanks so much. Boris does a great job of tailoring tours to all levels, it's a real teaching skill. And of course he's a lot of fun to be with. Our tours are also structured and staged so that everyone from beginners to professionals get something out of it. That's how we've managed so many great reviews and met so many happy customers through the years. Delighted you and your husband could be two of them!

Long Bien market is absolutely awesome, and we were the first tour company to start bringing people there. I'm sure there aren't too many turning up at 4:30am every morning either! We love it.

That's right, seeing that side of Vietnam is what we're all about. THan you so much for being iopen to it, and for telling others what we do!

All the best with your photography and we'll see you again soon!

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Reviewed March 23, 2019 via mobile

I wasn't sure about this tour as I've always just used the auto function on my camera, - but I learned how to use loads of really useful functions both on my digital camera and smartphone. Our guide Boris was really good, giving loads of tips on composing great photos, which we used on the rest of our trip. It was a really early start, but worth it to see the food market in full flow - that in itself is a real experience - the woman shaving pigs ears will always stay with me.

Thank JPRC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Alex S, Owner at Vietnam in Focus - Photo Tours and Workshops, responded to this reviewResponded May 8, 2019

Thanks so much for the brilliant review. We're very happy to hear that Boris got you out of auto and into the many functions on both your camera and smartphone! And yes, Hanoi's markets are a sight to behold - the pig's ear shaver is a must-see. All the best and see you next time!

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