December 12, 2008 / 3:10 AM / 9 years ago

Australia photographer runs picture-perfect holidays

SYDNEY (Reuters Life!) - You've been there, seen that and probably have the photos too, but for holidaymakers keen to add a professional edge to their snaps, an Australian travel journalist offering Asia Pacific tours may be just the ticket.

Melbourne-based Ewen Bell runs and designs photography tours in the region, offering technical advice, as well as fun, for small groups of up to 8 people.

Bell, who has hosted trips to destinations including China, Malaysia and India, says the tours are aimed at adding a creative touch to holidays, and no photo experience is necessary.

The tours have themes that include the "Silk Road" and "Ancient Kingdoms," as well as indigenous cultures and wildlife.

"We give passengers a 110-page photography manual, but this is more about helping people be more creative," Bell, who was named 2007's Travel Photographer of the Year by the Australian Society of Travel Writers, told Reuters.

"We tell them to treat the camera like a paintbrush, and like a brush, the results are unique to the hand that holds it."

Tours in Asia cost $3,800 per person and run for about two weeks. An Australian Outback tour planned for next year, which includes some of the locations used in the filming of Baz Luhrmann's Hollywood epic film "Australia," costs $8,500.

Bell also organizes specially commissioned tours, and there is always time for some good-old-fashioned holidaymaking.

"I've had people with point-and-shoot cameras and others with the latest digital gear," he said.

"The actual camera isn't a defining issue, it's having a good eye, but that said, passengers without digital SLR camera often find limitations."

Tours include themed sessions, individual tuition, photography notes, internal ground and air travel, accommodation and many meals. Flights to the destination and cameras are not included.

Bell said his clients were mainly young people looking to do "something creative with their lives," professionals nearing retirement who have more time and money to travel and professional photographers, such as those who do weddings, looking for something different.

"Anyone with a passion for travel or photography will find new inspiration on these adventures," he said. "

Writing by Miral Fahmy, editing by Sanjeev Miglani

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