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“Overrated - Give it a miss”
Review of Photo Walk-abouts - CLOSED

Photo Walk-abouts
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Attraction details
Owner description: Photo Walk-abouts are exclusive private walking tours of New York City that focus on teaching the participants to take better photos. A brief lesson on photography and historical commentary are included along with time for participants to take their own photos of NYC. During the tour specific assignments are given and then photos taken are reviewed with the guide. Tours of Greenwich Village, Central Park, Chinatown/Five Points, Wall St./the Financial District, and Historic Harlem are available. Workshops on F-stops, Shutter Speeds and All That and Night Photography are also available.
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Level 4 Contributor
32 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Overrated - Give it a miss”
Reviewed January 8, 2012

Historic Harlem Tour - I was very much looking forward to this tour for two reasons. Firstly the photography and secondly learning the history of Harlem. However, it didn't go exactly to plan.

The tour started with a 20 minute (sit and listen) camera lesson. If you are familiar with your camera this will be a slow start to the tour, if you are new to using the camera on the Manual setting, this could be very overwhelming and confusing as there is no opportunity to stop and play until the end when you are encouraged to go and use that information to photograph the surrounding park.

As a suggestion to the organisers, I would encourage the guide target an element of the camera at each stop. For example, using a low aperture to capture a flower with a blurred background while in the park, and a high aperture to get a clear background when photographing a landscape of Harlem.

Following our 10min free time in the park we were given a brief history of Harlem, then we started the walk to the next location which was the City College. The angle we were on (from the road looking up a hill, across a road and high brick wall), did not allow for any creative photos to be taken, simply a click and shoot spot, but even then it's not a picture I will ever look back on.

This historical information provided was vague and disconnected, and we found the tour guide difficult to listen to (not sure if she was nervous?).

The next stop, was a street of houses. We were given 10 minutes to walk the street and take photos of people's front doors. The guide suggested we focus on the architecture, however, to me it just look like any front door. I also didn't feel very comfortable taking photos of peoples properties when they might have been sitting inside, or as some were, coming and going from cars to house. The significance of the architecture was not explained very well, and I don't feel like the tour company had made any effort in advising the community they were going to be there, and getting their blessing. I found this intrusion on people's privacy somewhat uncomfortable.

At this point we made the call to leave the tour. We still had 1.5 hours to go, but we were not getting the historical information we expected, and as a photographer, the images were not even post card worthy. We also found the pace to be extremely slow.

I'm not sure if this failure to meet expectations was on the organisers, or if the case is that Harlem doesn't have the sites and information to really make it worthy of hosting a tour, either way, we felt this tour came over rated and were quite disappointed.

Visited December 2011
Helpful?
4 Thank Paul M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
photowalkabouts, Owner at Photo Walk-abouts, responded to this review, January 31, 2012
I'm sorry that you did not enjoy the tour, however your assessment of the photo talk is incorrect in that I do not give a lesson on the camera nor do I discuss camera functions. The tour is meant for all camera types from the i-phone up to an SLR and thus the photo talk focuses on camera- independent topics such as composition, how to grab a great shot and how to improve your photography in general. If you have questions regarding your camera, I am always happy to answer them on the tour and say so at the start of the tour but I fail to see how the talk could be confusing to someone who was not already familiar with their camera since I don't cover that during the photo talk. The assignments that you mentioned are given during the workshops and not tours so it sounds like you were expecting more of a workshop. The tours are not meant to be workshops are are not marketed as such. I do not encourage people to take the same shot as everyone else on the tours since often the best shots are those that express the individual viewpoint of the artist/photographer and are those that only he/she would take.

While the tours do cover the history of the area, there is not enough time on the tour to cover large amounts of history plus allow people to photograph several different areas. If you want extensive amounts of history on the area then you should take a historical tour of Harlem instead.

Many people have enjoyed photographing Harlem and it is one of the places that I like to photograph on my own. I'm sorry that you were disappointed by the areas that you did visit. The one building that you mentioned was meant to be just a quick look at something of historical interest and not an incredible photo-op. The street that you were disappointed by was one of the more famous ones in Harlem. In general as a photographer if you find yourself in a location that does not inspire you, I suggest that you pretend that you have an assignment to capture the area and start to look around and see how you wish to portray it. You can find beauty to capture in most any situation. Many times if I am not inspired, I simply start shooting and then I become excited and find all sorts of things to capture so it's simply a matter of getting into the correct frame of mind. As I do encourage questions and critiques of photos taken on the tour, I wish that you had expressed your frustration with the setting so that I could have helped you to see interesting photos instead of simply wandering off the tour in disappointment.
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60 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Mississauga, Canada
Level 4 Contributor
39 reviews
21 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Good photo tips, great historic info and interesting photo ops in Chinatown”
Reviewed November 1, 2011

It was a rainy but not too cold October day in New York when my two friends and I met Lora for our Chinatown photowalkabout. As described by others the tour starts with a 20min or so discussion on photography and things to consider for taking good shots, including the best time to shoot in B+W instead of color. We weren't thrilled about the weather but Lora quickly explained that although a little unpleasant, some of the strongest (most interesting) photos can be snagged on cloudy/rainy days.
Lora provided great infor on the places she took us in Chinatown and was patient with providing reviews/recommendations for our shots that we took at various stops along the route. As well she was more than willing to share recommendations on places to go/eat at in the area. At the end of the tour she provided a quick-tip card to help us remember the things she reviewed with us.
Thanks Lora!

Visited October 2011
Helpful?
1 Thank JOBR69
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
US
Level 6 Contributor
158 reviews
82 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 105 helpful votes
“Interesting Walking Tour of Greenwich Village”
Reviewed September 17, 2011

I'd give this 3.5 stars if I could give halves. The tour starts with a brief discussion on photography and things to consider for taking good shots, then you are off walking. The tour gives good background on the places you visit and offers interesting history of what you exploring. Then there is ~10 minutes at each stop to take photos. You have the opportunity to talk to Lora about your camera or photos otherwise you are off on your own just shooting pictures as you like, so if you want more of a focus on the photography rather than just a tour, it's up to you to seek it out at one of the stops for one on one feedback or instruction. The tour is interesting. I've been on one other walking tour in NYC, a Victorian Christmas Walking Tour with another company (which I really enjoyed, more than this one but I think more so because the theme was very interesting, local history as well as history of Christmas) - and it was similar, just here you are at each stop longer because you get time to take photographs. It's definitely more of a tour than a photography class in itself. Enjoyable overall and a good way to explore a part of the city, see interesting locations and learn some history if you want to do more than just shop and visit Times Square and Rockefeller Center, etc. while in the city. Also the location is great - definitely eat down here if you do this tour, lots of cute and good restaurants in this area. And you pass this great cookie place called Milk & Cookies - bought cookies there, very good treat!

Visited August 2011
Helpful?
1 Thank chatterbox-2007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nashville, Tennessee
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Great Photos from Greenwich Village”
Reviewed August 23, 2011

I took the Greenwich Village tour and it was great! It was a nice sunny day and a little hot but luckily a reasonable amount of the tour was in the shade. We visited interesting places and the historical perspective was fascinating. The guide was a virtual treasure trove of information. I picked up quite a few new ideas and tricks during the photography talk which I implemented on the tour to improve my shots. I was able to ask a few questions I had and also to get some feedback on some of my shots with further instructions to improve. The other people on the tour were very friendly and I enjoyed talking with them. The tour was a good way to see this area of the city and I'm not sure if I would have enjoyed Greenwich Village as much if I had gone on my own. I will definitely take another photo tour on my next trip to New York.

Visited July 2011
Helpful?
1 Thank John J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Jersey
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Had hoped for more...”
Reviewed August 1, 2011

I signed up for a Photo Walk-about tour in June 2011. My first choice was Central Park, but it appears weekend tours to the park are far and in between so I ended up signing up for the Greenwich Village one. I had hoped to gain some good, useful tips on photo taking. Although the guide was open to answering questions on camera functions you are unfamiliar with, it was by no means the in-depth photography course I was hoping for. A lot of it could have been learned via the internet or the camera instructional manual. The guide directed us to parts of the Village where celebrities and famous people once resided and gave us a brief history. We were left to roam the area for a few minutes to take any pictures we deemed worthy.

If you're looking for a tour that teaches you to take fabulous pictures, this might not be it. However, it is a good tour to learn a bit of history about the Village and enjoy the architecture you might not have noticed if it was not pointed out to you.

Visited June 2011
Helpful?
2 Thank VHLC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
photowalkabouts, Owner at Photo Walk-abouts, responded to this review, August 3, 2011
I'm sorry to hear that you were disappointed by the Greenwich Village tour, however your primary complaint seems to be that it was not the in-depth photography course for which you were hoping. Not only are the tours not meant to be an in-depth photography course, but they also are not advertised as such. While we do have workshops that specifically focus on photography for the entire time period, it very clearly states on our website that the tour will begin with a brief lesson on photography followed by a traditional walking tour that includes time to photograph various areas and historical facts about the area. Even so the photography lesson typically lasts 15-20 min and has many tips for taking better photos. If you felt that this was not helpful enough for you, I wish that you had done as others have done in the past and taken advantage of the time to photograph (which is always at least 10 minutes) to show me some of your photos for feedback or ask whatever specific questions that you might have about how to improve your photography that you felt were not answered previously.
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