jim nilsen

Catherine Bell-1

Catherine Bell




Are you interested in participating in one of the many guided photo travel tours offered these days? Are you wondering why you should spend your dollars with us?

At Photography Travel Tours we have done all the research and have spent countless hours at the locations we introduce our clients to. We take the work out of the research and scouting process for you. You will be guided to the most beautiful and photogenic scenes on the planet and we will help you get your best images. It is our goal to help you experience the most fun, positive, memorable, enjoyable, and productive photography vacation possible.

I am Jim of Jim Nilsen’s Photography Travel Tours. My wife Magrit and I are passionate about photography and the locations we have chosen for conducting our guided photography vacations. At Photography Travel Tours we will never offer locations that do not top the passion meter for us. We hope that this is contagious and that you will benefit not only from our excitement but also from that of the other members of your photo tour group. We also will not take you to hotels or restaurants that we have not experienced ourselves. Over the past few years of researching and scouting for our tours, we have developed lasting relationships with local hotels and restaurants. We know the best places to stay and eat and the cafes that make the most delicious cappuccinos and the ones that have the freshest and lightest croissants.

6 things to know before choosing your Photo Tour(s) in Europe with Photography Travel Tours and answers to questions we get asked frequently.

1. Tour Size — Small and Flexible

Jim and Magrit Nilsen’s photo tours take a “slow travel” approach with minimal hotel changes and a focus on experiencing the destinations fully. The group size is limited to 8-12 participants, allowing for personal attention from the tour leaders and fostering camaraderie among guests. Participants can even take multiple tours in a row to make the most of their time in Europe. The small group size also allows us to be flexible and allows us to respond quickly to changing weather and light conditions.

2. Slow Travel Philosophy

Photography Travel Tours has embraced the slow travel movement. We are a member of Slow Travel Tours, which is an affiliation of small-group tour operators who offer personalized trips to Europe.

We believe that embracing the slow travel concept makes for better photographs. You will not be rushing from destination to destination and waste time packing and unpacking as we base out of one location for most of our photo tours. We select our locations based on the amazing and iconic subjects available in their vicinity. If we fail to get the right conditions on the first attempt we can spontaneously return when the conditions are just right. We do follow a schedule but we prefer to not be too rigid which allows us the flexibility to accomplish your most important goal . . . getting stellar photographs while on our photography vacations!

Our Tuscany Tour is a good example. It begins and ends in Pisa, but we spend the seven nights in between in the lovely medieval town of Pienza, which is located in the heart of the breathtaking Val d’ Orcia. From Pienza, we can get to most of the important photographic sites within two hours. Many of the iconic scenes that keep us coming back are very close to Pienza, 10 or 20 minutes away. This allows us the opportunity to visit locations more than once for the perfect conditions.

On the Cinque Terre Photo Tour we spend four nights in Monterosso del Mare, the largest of the five villages. Monterosso is one of the great photo destinations and the gateway to the other four smaller villages of this wonderful region on the Ligurian Coast.

On our four-day Venice Photo Tour you will spend three nights in the heart of Venice in a small boutique hotel only five minutes from San Marco Square. Most of the sights can be reached on foot but for some, we will rely on Venice’s public water buses, the “Vaporettos.” You will have the opportunity to photograph in Burano, perhaps the most colorful town per square inch in the world, which is a 45-minute Vaporetto ride from Venice through the northern reaches of the Venetian lagoon.

Photography Travel Tours has established strong relationships with local hotels, business owners, and restaurants, ensuring that our guests receive attentive and caring treatment throughout their trip.

3. Tour Participants — Great Company

Our trips are perfect for those who love photography and travel, and our guests often form close connections with both locals and fellow travelers. We welcome everyone, including couples, solo travelers, and small groups of friends or family members. We’re happy to report that almost 60% of our travelers have joined us on multiple occasions, with some even joining us for five trips in one travel season. Join us and experience the beauty of Europe through your camera lens. Our Australian photographer friend Huw Thomas has taken 10 tours over the course of several years. You can read his testimonial at the bottom of this post.

Individuals from various US states, Canada, and Australia, along with occasional participants from different countries such as Britain and Brazil, attend our photo tours.

4. Benefits of Joining One of Our Photo Tours in Europe

While some individuals possess knowledge of camera operations, photo composition, and editing software, others may not feel entirely comfortable with their photography skills. Your experienced guides, Jim and Magrit, hold degrees in commercial photography, architecture, and graphic design, respectively, and love to share their knowledge with participants. You will return home with several masterpieces and new tricks up your sleeve that will greatly improve and inspire your photography.

5. Skill Requirement

Photographers of all skill levels can benefit from our photo tours. Jim and Magrit provide photography teaching and support for beginners and those looking to learn new skills. Classroom modules are also available in case of bad weather. It is strongly recommended that participants have a basic understanding of camera settings, such as ISO, F-stops, Aperture, and the Histogram.

Online or in-person classes can be taken to prepare for a photo tour, but Jim and Magrit are always available to assist.

So what else is needed to get great photographs on your photography vacations besides visiting amazing photogenic locations? For some participants that is all they need. They understand the workings of their cameras, how to pleasantly compose a photograph, and how to get the best out of their images using photo-editing software. Many others may not feel completely comfortable and confident with their photographic skills.

That is where Magrit and I come in. We are both skilled and trained artists. In my case, I have a degree in commercial photography and have been working as a professional photographer for over 20 years. Magrit has degrees in architecture and graphic design and knows a thing or two about composition. We love to share our knowledge and thoroughly enjoy seeing the transformation that takes place in our clients after five or seven days on one or more of our photography vacations in Europe.

If needed, we will assist in getting you up to speed in the months before the photo tour begins. I have coached many clients via Skype and Skype Screen Share where you can watch me demonstrate photo editing software. I can advise on camera equipment—bodies, lenses, tripods, tripod heads, photo editing software, camera bags, travel luggage, and many other photography and travel topics. I can also point you in the right direction for online learning opportunities which you can explore before the photo tour begins. Our goal is for you to be able to maximize your time getting great photographs and having a wonderful time while in the field on our photography vacations.

6. How did Jim and Magrit Meet?

The question of how we met is frequently asked, but the answer must remain a well-kept secret until you join one of our tours. 😉 The second question usually is about our favorite tour and the answer is simple: We love all our tours and thoroughly research and visit each country and photo destination before offering it to our clients. Each European country we visit has its own unique identity when it comes to culture, architecture, language, and landscapes. Choosing a favorite would be like choosing a favorite child.

Check out our testimonial pages. We have been fortunate to have hosted many gracious clients and we would love for you to become one of them.

If one of these photography vacations from Jim Nilsen’s Photography Travel Tours intrigues you, contact us to sign up or to ask any questions that you may have. With warm regards,

Jim and Magrit