Just got back from Jim Nilsen’s tour of the Dolomites. Check out what Jim and this amazing mountainous landscape have to offer. (Natasha had always at least 3 things going at the same time: still photography, time-lapse, video, and/or a drone. Watch the amazing video testimonial she created from all the images she’d captured. Needless to say, Natasha did not sleep much. Jim & Magrit)
“Il Professore” Don Sheffield | Venice + The Dolomites + Provence 2022
I have participated in several photo tours and I can say that Photo Travel Tours provided the most extensive photo experiences.
From blue-light sessions in Venice and the Dolomites to the unique visual designs of the lavender fields in Provence. Their extensive pre-tour research resulted in truly unique locations and the most advantageous time of day for the light.
Highly recommended! (You guys are the best and we love you.)
Donald “DD” Dymer | Cinque Terre + Tuscany + Venice + Croatia & Slovenia + Provence
I have had the privilege to spend five weeks with Jim and Magrit Nilsen and Photography Travel Tours. Jim put us in the right place for the right shots at the right time of day. It didn’t matter what level one was at, Jim had practical and technical tips for us all to ensure we got the very best photographs. Apart from the photography, being in his and Magrit’s company together with the other members of the various groups made each trip a unique experience. I would recommend to any photographer (no matter what level) who wants to shoot amazing landscapes and villages to consider traveling with Photography Travel Tours. I am a fairly experienced photographer and I enjoyed each part of every trip immensely.
Kelly Dean | Provence 2022
What an amazing week! I learned so much with this time to focus on improving my photography skills. Jim and Magrit provided both instruction and encouragement throughout. I learned some new techniques, and some things about my camera, improved my compositions, and captured some beautiful scenery! All this in the company of other photographers who were fun. Also key were the adjustments made along the way for particular requests and preferences, weather, and opportunities. I look forward to another tour in 2023!
Dwight Ebaugh | Cinque Terre + Tuscany + Venice 2022
I recently participated in 3 back-to-back travel photography tours offered by Jim Nilsen and Magrit Baurecht (Cinque Terre, Tuscany, Venice). My experience was outstanding in every respect. The things that I liked best were: (1) the thoughtfulness, care, and planning that Jim and Magrit put into the selection of our hotels, restaurants, daily activities, and photo shoots; (2) the free time that was scheduled so that we could wander around in an unstructured way and shoot at our own pace; (3) the significant learning that I accomplished in terms of my field techniques and my post-production practices; and (4) the pleasure that came from the combination of fascinating travel and solid photography. In my estimation, Jim and Magrit are good people offering excellent travel photography adventures.
Pat Pelton | Cinque Terre + Tuscany 2022
My husband and I had the pleasure of traveling on Jim Nilsen’s Photography Tour of Cinque Terre/Tuscany in May 2022!
Everything about the tour was very well organized from the quaint hotels we stayed at in Monterosso and Pienza, to the fine selections of restaurants and favorite cappuccino and gelato stops! The locations for photo shoots were carefully researched beforehand and Jim knew the perfect times to be at locations in order for us to get the award-winning photographs! I appreciated the fact that we only had a couple of 4 am sunrise shoots and I think my favorite time for photographing has become the blue hour.
Jim and Magrit are very passionate about what they do and it was fun to be able to travel with them and our group of fellow photographers while learning new photographic skills. I loved exploring the 5 villages of Cinque Terre with their many decorated doorways, unique architecture and beautiful colors. Our same group continued on to Tuscany where we were able to capture the beauty of the endless rolling hills with cypress trees, blooming canola, and red poppies. I would do this trip again in a heartbeat!
Thank you, Jim and Magrit for providing me with renewed confidence in my photography and helping me to capture beautiful memories in Italy!
Steve Pelton | Cinque Terre + Tuscany
We had a spectacular trip through Cinque Terre and Tuscany with Jim and Magrit and Photography Travel Tours. Both Pat and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting all participants and sharing this wonderful time. We had a blast. It was the perfect trip.
I’m hoping to convey the perfect message of how beautiful the trip was for us and how much we enjoyed traveling in your company and under your guidance!
A truly memorable photo holiday! From what I have seen of my images so far, I have many great ones.
Jay Nicols | Cinque Terre + Tuscany + Venice 2022
Thank you again for everything over the past 22 days!
It was a spectacular time with fantastic people. Learned so much and appreciate you and Magrit for offering such an amazing experience! Have fun in Croatia!
Cynthia Fleury | Venice 2022 + Naples and Amalfi Coast
I had the great pleasure of traveling with Jim and Magrit to Naples and the Amalfi Coast in April 2019. This was my first trip with them and their inaugural trip to this area. The trip was very well managed and well researched with photo opportunities carefully planned for the right light and time of day. We never missed the blue hour. We did encounter rain and wind one evening and Jim helped with tripods and umbrellas so that we could focus on shooting.
Both Jim and Magrit are expert photographers who readily shared their settings and made sure that no one missed a shot. I really appreciated the full shooting schedule maximizing our time in the field versus a classroom. They are also really fun people to be with and have good taste in restaurants and are sensitive to various diets.
I have booked the upcoming Provence trip with Jim and Magrit in July and am looking forward to the lavender fields, small villages, and the white horses of the Camargue!
Linda Bell | Naples and Amalfi Coast
I so enjoyed this trip! Jim and Magrit do an incredible job researching and creating the perfect scenes to shoot. Technically and artistically they shine! I learned so much about shooting the blue light and selecting the focus point for best results (not just a third way into the scene). The accommodations were excellent! Would I travel with them again and recommend them to all my photo buddies? IN A HEARTBEAT!!
Gary Simmons | Slovenia/Croatia 2022 + Naples and Amalfi Coast
My recent adventure to Naples and the Amalfi Coast with Jim and Magrit was my first photography tour. The experience exceeded my expectations. The photographic opportunities, the instruction when needed, the accommodations, and the “get about” were all first-rate. Jim and Magrit both stimulated a sense of fun and camaraderie among our group. If you are looking for a photography tour, look no further. Jim and Magrit will not disappoint no matter the itinerary.
Angelo and Martha Mourino | Dolomites
It doesn’t get any better than this!
It doesn’t get any better than this!
It doesn’t get any better than this!
Mimi Cunningham | Tuscany + Provence
Thank you so much for a fabulous photo trip to Provence! You are wonderful hosts dedicated to making sure that the trip is full of great shots, a bit of adventure, great food, and really nice tour members!
I can only imagine how many details and unforeseen moments need to be managed. You both do it so well with energy and grace.
I’m thrilled with my pictures from Provence and the Camargue and keep discovering new ones as I go through processing them. This reminds me how much I appreciate your technical support and advice. Thank you for pushing me into new skills.
Keep me in mind for future tours. Your friendship and thoughtfulness are precious.
Mary Sowa | Cinque Terre + Tuscany + Venice/Burano
Thank you for the wonderful photo trips I have just had with you both.
I have been wanting to go to Italy for many years; our time in Italy was everything I had dreamed of and more!
Thank you for creating a dream itinerary with the top 4 places that I wanted to visit in Italy; also for making it so easy to join 3 tours in a row.
I love the way that you ran the tours. It felt like you were our friends who were excited to show us all of your favorite places (rather than just being tour guides). I also love how you knew each area so well, had so many options at your fingertips, and then designed each day’s activities to suit the group and the weather. It was an immensely enjoyable holiday and I learned a lot about photography, as well as having so many wonderful experiences.
You were both so approachable and generous in helping us to achieve the best photos we could at each location and in making each experience rewarding and fun.
I would love to come on another tour with you.
Vicki and Dennis Wert | Portugal + Tuscany + Venice + Slovenia & Croatia + Czech Republic + Dolomites
Our recent photo tour to Portugal was our fifth tour with Jim and Magrit! Portugal exceeded our expectations and we enjoyed every aspect of our trip. Well, the food wasn’t always as much to our taste as in other countries we’ve visited, but we certainly did not go hungry. And the gelato was as good as anywhere we’ve been!
We always enjoy our trips with Jim and Magrit and that is why we continue to travel with them and recommend them to the many photographers we know. Their advanced research of the area really pays off, because their planning gets us to the best places at the right times of day, and they find places with an excellent shooting that we likely would never find on our own. Additionally, providing transportation to their guests means that we don’t need to rent a car or read a map. We can concentrate on photography.
The Portugal tour wins hands down for a variety of subjects! Cities, villages, monuments, vineyard terraces,
colorful traditional fishing boats, monasteries, and their cloisters, cathedrals, gardens, and even drying fish are just some of the many subjects we found to photograph. Of course, blue hour opportunities were abundant. I was also able to add to my doors, windows, staircases, and laundry collections!
Normally, I avoid big cities and heavily touristy areas. However, I went to Venice specifically for Jim’s workshop – and I was not disappointed. For four days I roamed all over Venice getting great shots of the city. Jim knew where to be and when to be there to avoid the crowds and get the shots I wanted. After Venice, I went on the Slovenia and Croatia tour. I relaxed; had a good time; ate a lot of good food; and took some great images. In 2017, I had taken the Czech Republic tour which was also outstanding. You can see my images from all three trips at www.gebimages.com. For 2019, I’m already signed up for Portugal and Italian Dolomites tours. After all, the best testimonial you can give is signing up for another tour.
Ed Reynders | Slovenia & Croatia + Tuscany
For a second time, I was lucky to join Jim and Magrit on a photography tour in Europe. This time it was the Slovenia & Croatia Tour.
When you are like me – like so many of us – keen on taking your photography hobby to a higher level, you cannot do yourself a bigger favor than to join a small group of like-minded people on one of Jim Nilsen’s Photography Tours.
On these tours, you get to have a great time, getting to know new friends, enjoy great food in carefully selected restaurants along the way, and learn new things you didn’t know your camera (or, rather… YOU) were capable of and, of course, see Europe with its many picture-perfect photo opportunities in a whole new light!
All under the friendly guidance of your knowledgable tour-leaders Jim and Magrit, who take their time explaining things and who by now feel like family to me!
You stay in cozy, comfortable accommodations and come home with a treasure full of pictures! Join a tour, you deserve it, no matter what level of photography knowledge!
Denise Pyles | Slovenia & Croatia
Words can’t express my gratitude for this amazing photo tour! Thank you for all your work and coaching and fierce attention to detail to make this a spectacular trip. This experience reinvigorated my love of photography. I learned new skills and delighted in the spiritual experience. The group experience and the time spent making pictures – priceless!
Jannett Klinke | Provence + Slovenia & Croatia
Jim and Magrit do an excellent job of researching each shooting location, nearby villages that would be interesting to photograph, good places to eat with a wide selection of food, and very comfortable places to stay.
It is important for people to have a good basic understanding of their camera and gear. The added bonus is that Magrit and Jim are very good at determining where you are photographically and making suggestions to move you forward from that point. They also have several ideas in mind to challenge the whole group.
On this past tour to France, we did some blue hour photography as well as some focus stacking to get the whole landscape in focus. Photography has been my passion for a decade and Jim and Magrit really have helped me to improve.
In this last workshop, they taught us how to work a landscape scene, taking multiple photos from many different locations and with different settings to get us out of our comfort zones. We work hard but at the same time, it is a very enjoyable experience.
Julie Moore | Czech Republic + Amalfi Coast
Prague/Czech Republic was my second workshop with Jim and Magrit and unfolded beyond my expectations. The city of Prague is intriguing and pristine with rich history and no shortage of fairytale photo opportunities. With Jim and Magrit’s careful planning and artistic eye, we captured images from every angle of the city in the best light.
Loved the blue light time!
Our side trips to Moravia and magical Česky Kumlov were truly for the photographer seeking beauty beyond the beaten path of tourists. I never knew photographing rolling wheat patterns could be so interesting and esthetically rewarding.
Jim and Magrit are fully engaged, technically and artistically talented as well as excellent teachers and wonderful people! The entire experience beyond photography . . . savoring the local food, beer, and local culture was the icing on the cake of a magnificent adventure.
Robin Gross | Portugal + Tuscany
I wanted to thank you for a fabulous trip. I thoroughly enjoyed the variety of locations we visited in Portugal and all the wonderful photo opportunities from people to places and everything in between. I thought that it was a nice balance of structured time and time to ourselves.
Thank you for all your assistance. I always learn something new from you and feel like I am catching up with some of the proficient photographers in the group. I look forward to processing my photos. It was a fun group of participants which added to the experience.
Sally Dallas | Tuscany (2x)
Jim & Magrit have an intimate understanding of the most incredible vistas and spots to photograph in Tuscany. They take the time and have the willingness to share their knowledge and passion for the land, food, people, and photography. Both helped me to see and begin to understand the art of photography. I improved my camera technique, including how to work with it and use it with increasing skill and comfort. This is a very action-packed trip and the reward is seeing and enjoying the Italian people in shops and villages, the amazing hilltop cities, sharing laughter, meals, and knowledge with my new fellow photographer friends. I would do this again in a heartbeat.
Nancy Crowell | Tuscany
I have long admired the work of Jim Nilsen, so when I learned he was offering photo travel workshops I could not wait to participate. I have done plenty of “workshops” for photography, but nothing that combined travel and photography to this degree. Why not learn in beautiful Tuscany?
I could not have been happier with the pre-scouted locations Jim took us to. They were always breathtaking. The spontaneous spots we found were magical. The fact that Jim and Magrit had pre-scouted our locations, down to when the light would be right for them, enabled the participants to concentrate on their photography. Since I work full time, it was pure bliss for me to have that much time to immerse myself in photography without the hassle of trying to negotiate getting to the locations.
While we had an itinerary, it was flexible enough to allow us to do some spontaneous shooting when the light changed or we saw something worthy of investigation. We also had time for casual lunches and conversation.
Jim has a patient, laid-back teaching style that worked great in a setting where people had different skill levels. I felt comfortable asking for help when I needed it and was happy to simply talk through and collaborate on shots with both Magrit and Jim. Magrit has an excellent eye for composition and can sometimes help you work out a problem shot. There were few formal ‘lectures’, but the on-location learning was reinforced daily and served to build good habits that I will continue to apply in the future. I do think people with some experience shooting, who are comfortable with their cameras, will benefit most from this type of experience. Learn the basics somewhere else. Use this workshop to explore your interpretation of what you see.
That’s just the workshop. The rest was magnificent – from the accommodations to the food to the good company. It was a trip of a lifetime.
But the best part is this – once I got home and starting editing my images I was amazed that I could literally see the improvement in my work day by day. I knew I had learned what I set out to learn and had improved, but the evidence is right there in front of me.
Thank you Jim & Magrit! I wish I could go on every tour with you!
Lillian and Larry Heyert | Tuscany + Venice + Croatia/Slovenia
Our Tuscany photo tour was a great experience thanks to Jim and Magrit. Our accommodations in Pisa and Pienza were top notch and the restaurants where we ate had wonderful food and wine at reasonable prices. Best of all was the photography. Jim and Magrit seemed to have scouted every road in Tuscany in order to identify the most beautiful sites, as well as the best time to capture the ideal light. Jim is exceptionally knowledgeable and was able to provide individualized instruction to experienced photographers as well as to novices in terms that each participant could readily understand. We hope to travel to Europe again with Jim and Magrit in the future.
Frits Habermann | Tuscany + the Dolomites
The recent photography tour to Tuscany with Jim Nilsen was easily the best tour I’ve ever been on. The surroundings stoked my creative fire immensely, and Jim and his lovely wife Magrit guided not just the technical aspects of the photography with a steady and encouraging hand, but also kept the itinerary running smoothly and at exactly the right pace. My photography improved by leaps and bounds, and I not only have a few gallery prints I couldn’t have taken before but also left with fond memories of people, places, and experiences I will cherish forever. Jim is a true master of the art and a fantastic teacher. I’ll jump at the chance to attend any workshop Jim and Magrit do in the future.
Stephanie Sanders | Tuscany + Greece
Jim and Magrit – Thank you so much for a wonderful workshop! I have been captivated by Jim’s photos for years and was quite anxious to learn from him.
The Tuscany photo tour was amazing! I loved the locations you chose for us, your flexibility at stopping the van whenever one of us became inspired by a scene . . . and the fact that you shot alongside us, so we could learn how to see (or capture) the event better! You were both so generous with your time and knowledge. Thank you for that! I learned so much.
You two are an absolute delight to travel with! I will definitely be attending another workshop with you. Thanks again for everything!
Joanne Martineau | Czech Republic + Provence
This was my first time taking a photography tour and it won’t be the last. I came in with basic knowledge and came out with a lot of information and great pictures.
Jim and Magrit are great to travel with. Jim takes time to makes sure we have the proper information based on our level of experience. Don’t hesitate to ask Jim questions about the technical stuff and Magrit for her artistic eye — together they make a perfect team.
What I appreciated the most was that they always do it with a smile even if it was not the first time I asked the question.
The Czech Republic is a beautiful country, one I would return without any hesitation. The tour shows you different aspects and regions of the country. It’s another plus for this tour. If you have never been to Prague, try to stay a couple of days before or after the tour to explore the city as a tourist. Since the tour will keep you busy. The days after the tour I visited the city differently and my pictures show it. If you have already seen Prague don’t hesitate to take the tour, you won’t see it the same way.
The hotels we stayed in are very nice and the locations where we took pictures are amazing — I wish I could have taken them home with me!
Before preparing your bags verify with Jim’s list and ask questions if you wonder what to bring. You will have to carry your own equipment when shooting and will enjoy a light load.
Thank you to Jim and Magrit. Your love and passion for photography are contagious!
Hugh Goodheart | Tuscany
Imagine that your friend from high school invited you to a place you’ve dreamed of visiting. It turns out he’s the same agreeable, helpful guy, and now he’s a professional photographer specializing in landscapes.
His wife notices when your gear is set up incorrectly before you do. They anticipate when you’ll get frustrated, fatigued, famished, or thirsty. They wait until you’re ready to accept help, and they always have a favorite restaurant nearby. They carry mental maps of the best places to get a cappuccino. They adjust easily to changes in weather and to individual requests.
Keep your seat belt buckled – Jim will stop whenever anyone spots a shot he wants. They plan for variety: an early morning shoot will be followed by an afternoon of street photography in a medieval or Renaissance hill town. Every flower will be in bloom. I’m convinced the residents paint their bicycles to match the color of flowers in front of their stone homes. Then make your fantasy come true, and sign up for Jim and Magrit’s Bella Primavera Tour of Tuscany.
I think of you and Magrit often as I sift through photographic memories and reprocess images from my tour with you six years ago to Tuscany.
If you glance through my recent Facebook posts, you’ll see why I want to thank you again for what I learned from you – which I am finally putting into practice, both about photography and about how to enjoy traveling.
Meg Koh | Santorini + Venice
I’m very glad to have joined Jim and Magrit in their first-ever Santorini photo workshop. Santorini is beautiful! The itinerary was not hectic and we stayed in a nice resort. Jim and Magrit pre-scouted the beautiful places to shoot, sites to visit, and restaurants to eat. Soon everyone became friends and you feel at home.
I learned a lot from Jim, from shooting the blue hour to the different gadgets/apps/websites that will help me as an amateur photographer. I usually shoot in programmed mode but Jim encouraged us to shoot in manual. By the end of the workshop, I was very comfortable with it. Never in my life had I changed lenses so many times! By the end of the workshop, I was in a zone and I could feel my creative juices flowing.
Jim and Magrit are truly dedicated to the art of photography and they will help you any which way they can to reach your personal goal. I would love to join them in another photo workshop.
Stephanie Sanders | Santorini
Just a quick note to thank you so very much for the Santorini photography workshop! It was everything I had hoped for, and more! As you know, I have always had Greece on my bucket list, and your workshop provided that perfect introduction for me. The tour was a comfortable balance of blue hour shooting, cultural learnings, daytime shooting, photo critiques, some early mornings, and some free time . . . and I didn’t have to plan anything. You did the hard part; I just had to show up! :-) Love that!!
I also appreciate how flexible you were with the daily schedules. It was so nice to adjust the day’s schedule based on the weather or the desires of the group. Thank you for that! Admittedly, we had the best group ever!
Looking forward to 2016 and the Dolomites! You two are amazing and I look forward to touring with you again.
Michael Choi | Italian Dolomites
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you very much to you, Magrit and Jim, for your excellent guidance. I had a great time with you and all the good friends at the Dolomites. Now, I have more friends.
Dennis and Vicky Wert | Italian Dolomites
What a fantastic trip to the Dolomites! The workshop was outstanding and we enjoyed meeting Michael, Amanda, and Betsy, our fellow photographers. Your enthusiasm and desire to help us get the best photos possible was just what we were looking for and the photo opportunities seemed endless. It wasn’t long before the seven of us felt like long-time friends, each with different backgrounds, experiences, and knowledge to share. We loved it!
Until this workshop, we had not done much blue hour shooting and enjoyed the time provided to explore this facet of photography, something we are certain to continue at home.
The accommodations and meals were excellent, far beyond what we expected and the staff at each hotel treated us very well, even having meals provided at times that suited evening photography. Although most of the locals spoke English, Magrit’s multi-language skills were very helpful when ordering meals or just asking for information from those non-English-speaking folks. A big plus for any foreign traveler. Your providing a trip planner was a big help, especially the items relating to security and foreign travel. Having transportation from and to the airport was a significant advantage because we do not like to drive in foreign countries.
We are happy to recommend your tours to any of our friends looking for a great photography experience and hope you can arrange a presentation at one of our photo club meetings in Cleveland Ohio.
Thanks for providing us an exceptional visit to the Italian Alps.
Janet Kelly | Slovenia & Croatia
I am still talking about the photo tour and my friends and family are tired of it. :-)
I went to Croatia and Slovenia with Jim and Magrit for my first photography tour and it was a truly awesome experience! First, I learned a ton about photography, including composition, exposure, blue hour shooting, silky, smooth water shots, lightroom, and much more. Croatia and Slovenia are beautiful countries! We went to many diverse locations and never lacked photo opportunities. Jim and Magrit have clearly spent a lot of time in these areas and scouted out so many wonderful locations for us. Additionally, the food and accommodations were excellent. I was very impressed with all the research they put into this trip. It was very well thought out and we were very well cared for.
The best part for me though was all the amazing people I met on this tour. It is indeed possible to both learn and laugh your way through Croatia and Slovenia! Everyone on this tour was fun, funny, smart, curious, knowledgeable, and very interesting. I gained so much, not only from Jim and Magrit but also from the other participants, and really appreciated the congenial, open collaborations. And finally, after a few nights of singing over dinner with a wonderful Croatian guitarist, I will always connect Johnny Cash’s ‘Ring of Fire’ with this amazing tour :-). Thanks, Jim and Magrit for such a great experience!
Carol H. | Provence
The trip to Provence was filled with many photo opportunities. We visited several quaint French towns, each with its own unique charm and character. Vista shots included rows of lavender mounds, waving wheat fields, and sunflowers. The group also had several opportunities to practice blue hour shooting. Jim graciously shared some “off the beaten path” special spots where he had previously photographed. Jim and Magrit adjusted the itinerary as necessary to avoid delays and maximize our shooting time.
Jann Ledbetter | Tuscany
I signed up for a photo tour to Tuscany with Jim and Magrit without realizing that I’d had Jim’s photos hanging in my home for years!! It seemed meant to be, and it really could not have been better.
This was my first trip to Europe, and I was traveling solo, so it was really wonderful to have all of the details taken care of by Jim and Magrit. About all I had to do on my own was to get to Pisa! The accommodations in Pienza were charming and it was ideal to be able to settle into one room and then take day trips from there. We were busy every day but not so tightly scheduled that there wasn’t time to relax or explore Pienza on our own. When we ventured out on our daily outings, Jim and Magrit drove us in big comfortable vans.
The pace was just right, with Jim doing a good job of herding us along when needed, so we were able to see everything we planned to see, while also allowing flexibility if we came upon something unexpected that we wanted to explore and shoot. There were a couple of places we wanted to go back to a second time and they made sure that happened. Jim and Magrit are delightful personalities, talented photographers, and wonderful tour guides.
We ate good food, drank fantastic wine, saw wonderful sights, and came home with new friendships, great memories, and many fabulous photos.
I would travel with Jim Nilsen Photography Tours again without hesitation. I hope to do just that in the coming years.