Testimonials about our wildlife photography workshops
Our wildlife photography trips and workshops are based on examples and practice. We'll reveal tips for successful pictures. We never use abstract, confusing technical jargon. We will help you refine the way you take pictures, and you will enjoy creating photographs.
We use stories from our experience to explain various concepts. We will talk about artistic sensitivity, framing, light, and color. We have extensive experience as professional photographers, and we have trained hundreds of photographers. Everything we teach is based on our experience. We never lose sight of the fundamentals of photography.
During our wildlife photography trips, we teach how to approach animals and how to use blinds to take better photos. We also address natural and artificial lighting. For example, we have developed a technique for photographing fast-moving birds like hummingbirds. Which techniques we explain depends on which animals we are going to photograph.
Wildlife photography requires excellent knowledge of animals’ behavior and habitats. We are very familiar with the places where we take our students, and we always take great care to describe an animal’s habitat in detail, because we know that this knowledge is essential for good photos.
The right equipment is also important for successful wildlife photos. We will discuss cameras, lenses, tripods, balls, camouflage clothes, and blinds. We will give you the best advice we can before the trip to help you avoid unpleasant surprises when you arrive.
Photo trips - our method: ACANP
Some pictures from our wildlife workshops
Some of the participants’ pictures
Testimonials from the participants
“This wildlife photography workshop was a revelation for me. The atmosphere was excellent. Amar is a very thorough teacher, and he is never stingy with technical advice. He shared all his technical knowledge about approaching big mammals with us. Under his guidance, we were able to safely approach and photograph very fierce animals. I had a great time, and I already want to participate in another workshop.”
“This is not the first time that I have participated in a photography trip with Amar. Until recently I was only interested in underwater photography trips. However, when Amar proposed the trip to Costa Rica, I told myself that I could not miss this. I had already been to Central America and enjoyed it. In addition, the theme, photographing birds in their natural environment, appealed to me.
When I arrived in Tarcoles, I was very pleased with the accommodation in the Cerro Lodge. It was simple, just enough to kick back, relax, and get into the mood of the trip. I took my first photos and started adjusting my camera settings. Then we went to the beachfront to take pictures of red parrots. After that, we spent 4 hours on a specially reserved tour boat exploring the river and the mangrove thickets. I took many pictures of birds in their natural environment.
At the second site, I discovered the Cataratas (waterfalls) in the Savegre Natural Reserve. The accommodation in the Savegre Hotel was very nice. I experienced a truly magical moment when the guide announced that he had spotted a quetzal, a bird which I had really wanted to see. I was astonished. It was stunning.
The third site was in the Turrialba area, with accommodation at the Rancho Naturalista birding lodge. Our reception at the lodge was very friendly. I had a great time sharing information and techniques with other photographers. I learned how to use high speed flashes to photograph hummingbirds. With the correct settings, I was able to photograph a hummingbird’s wings using three flashes.
In conclusion, we had a wonderful week. "Simplicity" was the watchword throughout the trip: in the choice of accommodation, and in the meals, which we had in small family-run restaurants. The bird guides were kind and ready to answer our questions. I met and talked with other tourists from the US who also loved birds. I would like to thank Amar and Isabelle for their patience, their availability, and all the technical advice they gave us about photography. I loved Isabelle’s good sense of humor.
Thank you both for organizing this wonderful trip. I look forward to the next trip to Costa Rica.”
“I had an extraordinary experience. It has become rare in Europe (I am Belgian) to experience the countryside with its wildness and clean smells. The area where we stayed was exceptional.
I experienced some magical moments. I was able to get very close to the animals. I managed to take photos of a deer by the bend of a hedge from 15 yards, and of a wild pig from 8 yards. With binoculars, I could see the animals’ facial expressions. It was amazing. I had never felt such emotions.
The area where we took our pictures was truly magical. It felt like being in a movie, and it reminded me of my childhood. The area is vast and diverse. The surrounding forests include oak, chestnut and pine trees with beds of ferns underneath them. The terrain includes ponds, marshes, plains and valleys. Each valley has a different landscape. After a week, I had only explored three quarters of the area. The lights on the ponds and in the valleys were beautiful. With patience, I was able to execute both close-ups and beautiful landscape photos.
The property is out in the middle of nowhere. The total calm is only interrupted by the occasional rutting stag or wild pig walking around in the ferns.
The food was outstanding. Gourmets will have to be careful not to gain too much weight. The wine was also delicious.
Thank you again to Amar and Isabelle for sharing their passion for photography with us, and for their highly personalized recommendations. Their tips helped me choose my equipment well. I had no idea how much I could save by investing in a 300mm or 400mm F / 4 or F / 5.6 that will work as well as a 500, 600 or 800mm. I learned that the important thing is the technique for approaching the animals. I rediscovered equipment that I bought 5 years ago, and I learned new ways to use it, including the AF-ON, the sensitivity and exposure controls, and the tripod.
I would like to thank Amar for teaching me how to use RAW files, Lightroom and Aperture. I used to give up on editing photos in RAW format because it was supposedly so complicated.
It was a very tiring week, but I learned in a week what I have wanted to understand for 10 years. I shared my love for photography with other photographers, adventurers and entrepreneurs. This trip allowed me to develop very rich friendships.”
During this wildlife photography workshop, I learned more than I thought I would. I thought that photography was something easy. I thought it was an art form in which I could progress by myself. During this week, I realized that it was interesting to listen to someone who knows how to talk about photography.
This trip showed me the importance of light and setting. I have felt this in the past, but I had never managed to express it before. Amar helped me discover it. His approach has completely changed my view of photography. It is much clearer to me now.
During this class, I enjoyed working with photographers on widely differing skill levels. The participants were all on different levels, ranging from very serious photographers to others like me, who were much less skilled. Yet all the questions we asked were answered. Amar and Isabelle were always available. I do not know how they had enough energy to take care of all of us.
When I arrived at the workshop, I did not know exactly what I came for. I felt like I was stuck. I did not take a lot of pictures. It seemed that I had everything to learn. I had not even learned how to set my expectations. This workshop gave priority to creativity. I loved the fact that technique was always at the service of creativity. This trip helped me understand why I love photography.
La Dombes is a place where it is easy to find inspiration, if you know where to look. The good locations are not conspicuous, and they can be hard to find, but Amar and Isabelle helped me find the right places. I went to the same locations several times, and every time something was different. La Dombes is not an exotic place in the sense that we understand it, but it is magical. I was surprised by the beauty of the lights and by all of the wonderful details in every scene I saw.
The atmosphere during the week was very good. Each participant worked hard, so everything went well. There was a lot of kindness and no headaches. The trip was very well organized. The technical explanations and photography reviews were very detailed. Everyone was free to attend the lectures and presentations. I like for everything to be perfectly defined and well organized. I do not like to ask questions myself.
One of my favorite memories is of a particularly special morning when the pond was covered in mist. It was fantastic. Another detail I will remember is that Amar and Isabelle took the warmest room in the lodging. This impressed me, because it's the most uncomfortable at this season and they chose not to give it to a participant. It was very kind to let others have the best rooms. This was an example of their mindset throughout the trip.
I had a wonderful week. Thank you.
"I did not notice the passing of time during this week. It was a very in-depth workshop. I totally lost track of time. I was constantly absorbed in my photos.
I already came last year for the workshop on photographing rutting deer. This year I felt more comfortable with my cameras and settings. Now I can think less about the technical side and concentrate on composing and taking pictures. Before this workshop, I always wondered if I was using a good speed, aperture size, or sensitivity setting. During this week, I did not ask myself any of those questions. I feel free from those concerns. I remembered everything that I learned on the last trip about approaching animals and setting up blinds in the woods.
This trip was amazing because I was able to get very close to wild pigs, especially piglets. It was extraordinary. These animals have a bad reputation and people are afraid of them. But with a little technique, I was able to get close enough to observe and photograph them.
I love wild piglets. They are like cartoon characters: they are innocent, and they make a lot of noise. They never stop squeaking. For me, their behavior was a total surprise.
I also loved how calm the deer were at this time of year. It was very different from the rutting season. Because it was hot, they were looking for cool places in the ferns. When I was able to take photographs of some of them in the ferns, I was thrilled. It was a very emotional moment.
The atmosphere in the group was very friendly. We laughed together, and we exchanged views about our photos. I realized that talking with other photographers gives me ideas. We shared tips and good locations that we had found. Unfortunately the woods and meadows are vast and we have to find the animals (which are very unorganized!).
The environment was wonderful. Since I had already come once, I ventured into areas that I did not know to discover ponds. Since it was so hot, I had to look for animals in unusual places where it was cool. I had to push my limits.
Since this class, my camera has been a part of me. I do not need to pay attention to it. I look at wildlife photography differently. I take pictures differently now, and my pictures are closer to what I want. If I had to name my favorite memory, it would be the time that three piglets stayed near my blind for 30 minutes. They came to eat cherry pits, and they never noticed me. It was fabulous."
I am very happy and satisfied with this wildlife photography workshop. It has completely met my expectations. I came hoping to photograph deer, and ended up taking some good photos during the week. It was really great.
I came to this class with Amar and Isabelle because I wanted to learn how to compose my photographs correctly. I am a wildlife photographer, but I did not know how to properly use the background to draw attention to the animals. Amar and Isabelle taught me how to take good photos. Now I know how to compose and frame my pictures, and how to choose my background and lighting.
During this workshop, I realized that wildlife photography is not only about animals. Now I know that I should pay attention to the background and the light. I use green gradients more now, since I understand how to use them. Now I look at wildlife photography as though I am making a set for a play. I take plenty of time to compose my photos. During this workshop I made significant progress in both handling my camera and framing and composing my photos.
I enjoyed the beauty of the area where we stayed. Everything was picturesque and well preserved. There were no artificial elements. Everything was natural.
Photographing the animals was a very emotional experience for me. The deer coming out of the ferns were particularly beautiful. I especially love the deer for their power and beauty.
I liked our hosts. They were charming and welcoming. The cook was excellent, and I ate very well. We could ask for whatever we wanted, and the food was wonderful.
The technical presentations were very good. They were easy to understand, and we were able to immediately apply what we learned in the field.
The atmosphere during the week was very good. What surprised me is that Amar lent his professional equipment to some of the trainees. I had never seen a photographer lend anyone his equipment.
The first thing I will remember from this trip is definitely the atmosphere of the group. Amar and Isabelle were always available and ready to answer questions. The second thing is the beauty of the region where we stayed.
“This wildlife photography workshop met all my expectations in terms of the animals that we saw, the atmosphere during the week, and the photography techniques we learned. Everything we needed was provided at the location.
I joined this trip because I wanted to discover wildlife photography. I have been a photographer for a long time in other areas, but I had never tried wildlife photography.
The main lesson I took away from this workshop is that wildlife photography is not just pushing a button to take a photo. It's not that at all. It is not enough to see an animal through the viewfinder and take a picture. I learned that wildlife photography is a complex artistic expression. I learned to pay attention to the composition of my photos, the colors, and the animals' body language. All of this was completely new to me.
Until this workshop, I thought that every photographic field had its own rules. With Amar, I learned to think carefully about any photos that I take, whether they are wildlife photographs or not. Artistic creation is the first priority. I thought that I had to wait until an animal appeared in my viewfinder to take a photo. Amar taught me that it is necessary to create a background for the animals before I see them. I learned that wildlife photography can be very artistic.
In terms of advice for the trip, I would say: Don’t bring books in your suitcase. We had no time to read. It was an exciting week. We were in the field eight hours a day. Then we spent time together to look at and analyze our pictures. There were also technical presentations. We ate as a group. All of these elements created a friendly atmosphere. We did not have time to get bored. We ate very well, and the food was all from local sources.
The forests and meadows where we took our photos were gorgeous. The house where we stayed was comfortable and very beautiful. I immediately felt at home.
The area where we stayed was beautiful. It was perfectly preserved. I felt as if I had been transported to another world.
My favorite part of this class was the diversity and richness of the animal world. The area where we stayed and worked was amazing. I will always remember the walk we took together when a group of deer suddenly started running towards us. It was totally unexpected.
The second thing I took away from this trip was an understanding of what wildlife photography is. I will never forget it.”
This photography trip was very exciting. Amar introduced me to a wildlife area that I did not know. The trip was very well organized. Amar Guillen demonstrated great teaching skills and knowledge of "PRO". Now I have to put all of this knowledge into practice in my area. It is a field that I want to pursue.
I heard about this wildlife photography trip during a presentation at the Montier en Der festival in France. I learned a lot of important details about my camera’s settings. Now, I know how to take pictures of large animals. I got a lot of advice on how to use my equipment. The area were we lived for six days is perfect for photographing large mammals. The variety of species and the beauty of the biotope is amazing. I learned a great deal while working in the woods, meadows, woods and groves.
The photography teachers, Amar and Isabelle, were always available to help us and answer questions. I liked the house where we lived. The location was perfect.
I would recommend this wildlife photography trip for both beginners and serious photographers.
I found out about this wildlife photography workshop on the internet. I was looking at Amar and Isabelle’s website. This class has more than met my expectations. All the places where they brought us to take pictures were well-chosen. I have never met such friendly photography teachers. They were kind and helpful. Amar and Isabelle provided practical and technical advice for successfully approaching wild animals.
The accommodation was ideal, because it was perfectly integrated into the environment. Also, the owner was always ready to share his knowledge with us.
I would recommend this trip to all wildlife photographers. What else can I add ... it was perfect!
I learned about this workshop after meeting Amar at a photography show. It was beyond anything I could imagine. I had no idea what to expect. Thanks to Amar’s good advice, I learned many different ways to approach animals. Amar and Isabelle were very professional. They always listened to the students. The accommodation was excellent. We were made welcome, and the owner was always attentive to our requests.
Of course, I will recommend this workshop to anyone who wants to take photos of large animals. I will be back for the workshop on photographing rutting deer, which shows how happy I am.
I learned about this photography trip from a friend. It was perfect for me. It met all my expectations. The area where we photographed animals was well-chosen. Amar and Isabelle were very, very good teachers. The accommodation was particularly suitable for this type of trip. I had a great time.
J'ai connu ce voyage photo “I found out about this trip when I was reading a photography magazine. It completely met my expectations. The area where we lived was beautiful and wild. I enjoyed the large numbers of animals we saw. Amar and Isabelle are very friendly and very good teachers.
The house where we lived was perfect. The owner of the house was very kind. I definitely recommend this wildlife photography trip.”
“I learned about this photography trip through a photographer who saw Amar and Isabelle’s exhibition on large mammals in France. This workshop was very interesting, because we were able to immediately apply what we learned. The area is a vast wilderness. We were in direct contact with the animals. Amar and Isabelle are a friendly couple, and they are passionate about their work. They created a friendly atmosphere in the class. The area where we lived is a perfect place to implement all the techniques of photographing large mammals.
All the meals were prepared with local products and served at times that we arranged. The atmosphere during the entire week was very friendly. Of course, I would recommend this trip to all wildlife photographers.”
I had a great week. Working with you two is a very unusual experience. I came because I wanted to learn how to take pictures from floating blinds. It is difficult to find someone who teaches this technique. I was worried a little at first, but after the workshop started, I felt much more comfortable.
I took this course because I wanted to learn how to photograph water birds in a completely different way. I have photographed aquatic animals and birds before, but never in conditions like this or from such a short distance. The most interesting thing to me was the way that we approached the birds: we always stayed at their eye level. Usually, we photograph them from above.
Although this is not my first workshop with you, I learned new skills and became more creative. I used to take naturalistic photos. I often forgot about the background. During this week, I learned to use the background to showcase the subject. I enjoyed learning about backlighting. We tend to think that we should have the sun behind us, but having it in front of us creates very interesting photos.
I was not familiar with La Dombes. It's a beautiful, friendly area. The ponds are gorgeous, and every one of them is different. A distance of a couple of miles makes a huge difference in the animal and plant species present.
There was a lot of camaraderie between the participants during the workshop. I already knew 2 of the other participants, but I was immediately comfortable even with the people I didn’t know. We laughed together a lot. We all shared knowledge, technical insights, and artistic points of view. During the trip, my camera and lens broke down, but I could count on the other photographers to lend me equipment, so I was able to keep working without any problems.
The trip’s organization was excellent. Since the group had a good attitude, everything went well, from visiting the ponds to preparing the evening meal. It was a very pleasant week. I appreciated the fact that everyone brought a local recipe to share for supper. Going to a restaurant for lunch gave everyone an opportunity to discuss technical questions.
My best memory of this workshop comes from an afternoon I spent with Michelle on my favorite pond. It was a beautiful afternoon, and our friendship was wonderful. I will remember that photography session for a long time.
I really enjoyed this wildlife photography workshop. The place and its atmosphere were new to me. I am familiar with many places. I have already participated in numerous wildlife photography trips. I have traveled to many different places, but this time it was totally different. I was surprised to discover the beautiful lights and magical environment of La Dombes.
When I arrived at the airport, I was not certain what to expect. I had never used a floating blind before. I thought that the technique itself wouldn’t be too challenging, but I need more than technical instruction to create good photos. I need to be able to walk around and get to know the area. I was always looking for birds, but I also watched for good lights and backgrounds. I found many things that surprised me. Fortunately, the weather was excellent and the light in the mornings was truly magical.
I was not familiar with La Dombes. It is a unique region, with its many ponds and its unusual lights. I was surprised at how much I progressed working in ponds managed by fish farmers. I talk about the lighting a lot, but it is truly unique and beautiful. I was constantly surprised by the changing light. I would take a photo with one kind of light, and five minutes later, everything would be different. It was really superb.
The atmosphere during the trip was very friendly. All of the participants shared ideas, recipes, and techniques. I enjoyed the exchange of creative ideas, and the local food was excellent.
Thank you, Amar and Isabelle, for your hospitality and kindness during this trip. You gave all of us a lot of technical advice, and you helped us succeed. I enjoyed the discussions we had during the photography reviews. I liked the fact that I was able to show you less successful photos and get good advice on how to improve. You were always able to answer my technical questions.
One of the things that I will remember from this workshop is how beautiful and varied the lighting was. Every day was different. I could walk away from a pond, come back five minutes later, and find that the mood of the light had changed completely. The evening was different from the morning. The area is beautiful, and it seems to be alive. I want to come back.
I had a great week of relaxation and vacation.
This wildlife photography workshop was very well organized and innovative. It was an opportunity for me to continue my quest for photographic inspiration. The technical explanations were simple and clear, the food was excellent, and the lighting was unbelievable. This is a photography workshop that I would take again as soon as possible.
I was hoping for advice both on photography and image processing from this workshop. But above all, I wanted a really in-depth discussion on how to design a picture (framing, composition, creating an atmosphere, and using light). I was expecting a workshop focused on creativity.
This course met all my expectations by bringing the most important thing to photography: simplicity.
The atmosphere during the week was good, with happy, friendly companions. No one was stressed by the challenges. We all became friends naturally and spontaneously. I could expect nothing more.
The trip’s organization made it easy to be friendly. It allowed the trainees to immediately connect with the group. Thank you, Amar and Isabelle, for your enthusiasm and simplicity. In my eyes, you have two essential qualities: sincerity and honesty both in your teaching and your interactions with others. You have great intellectual honesty.
The first thing I will take away from this workshop is that I need to think about a photo before taking it. After this course I will take pictures differently. I will think of the picture I plan to take before pressing the button.
The second highlight was definitely the group’s atmosphere. Amar and Isabelle organized the trip so that the students could have fun taking their pictures. We all learned and grew under their leadership.
The workshop was excellent, although there was a heat wave that came through. We rented fewer ponds than in previous years, and some of them held less water, but we saw a lot of birds. Because of the teaching and advice I got, my photos were much more creative than those I had taken during previous trips to the area.
I did not have any specific questions I wanted this workshop to answer. I was there to improve my general photography skills. Thanks to your advice, I learned more about various techniques, including backlighting. I managed to capture some very interesting colors in my photos. I also took pictures in many different styles because I worked in manual mode and I was able to vary the sensitivity and shutter speed of my camera. This allowed me to take excellent pictures.
I know the area of La Dombes well. It is a place where the tranquility and beauty of the ponds and the birds that inhabit them prevail.
The whole group, including the teachers, was excellent. All of the photographers were very skilled, almost professionals. This allowed us to have educational discussions and a good friendly rivalry. We also laughed together. It felt like we were just a group of friends who had met to have a good time and enjoy taking pictures.
The trip’s organization needs some improvement. You forgot to tell us that we should bring linens for the cottage and a tripod to photograph kingfishers. The floating blinds could also be better quality.
However, the organization in the cottage was excellent. The restaurants were outstanding, and they provided free delivery. The food was superb. In the evenings, each participant made a local dish to share. I gained four and a half pounds during the week.
If I had to list the two best things about this workshop, they would be the light at sunrise and sunset, and the extraordinary environment of La Dombes.
This wildlife photography workshop went very well. I discovered a new way to take pictures. However, even more importantly, I learned a new philosophy of photography. I made great progress in handling my camera. I learned how to use all of its functions. The floating blind allowed me to take my time, check everything, and make adjustments to improve my photos. Now, every time I pick up my camera, I take plenty of time to compose my pictures correctly. This workshop helped me understand how to create good wildlife photographs regardless of my location. Thank you, Amar, for your invaluable advice.
I was not familiar with the area of La Dombes. I saw numerous bird species that I had never seen before. They all have very different colorations and habits. I had never seen so many brilliantly colored landscapes with so many birds. The colors were both relaxing and stimulating.
This is my second workshop with you as teachers. The atmosphere was particularly friendly. People helped each other. There was mutual respect between all of the participants and the teachers. I thank the whole group, because I had a great week. I will come back the next time I have a week of vacation.
The trip was well-organized. Everything about the area was new to me. I progressed a lot, and everything went well. I ate well: the local food was excellent. I'm relaxed and well rested. Everything was well organized.
If I had to pick my two favorite memories from the workshop, the first one would be sharing my new photos with another participant. It was neat to share my feelings with someone else. The second would be photographing the kingfisher. It was a really great opportunity.