Smoky Mountains Amateur Photography Tour


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4 Days
Availability : August 10-14, 2022
Min Age : 16
Max People : 10

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a nature lover’s paradise! And this 4 day tour is planned with the flexibility for you to also turn it into a family summer vacation.

This is a photography tour built for beginners but all skill levels are welcome. We will take you to some of the most incredible photo locations at the right time of day to come home with an amazing collection of images… classic mountain vistas, waterfalls, streams, wildflowers, historic cabins, wildlife… perhaps even bears. We’ll spend our mornings and evenings chasing some of the best light and vibrant landscapes while working on composition and developing your personal style.

The Bearskin Lodge in Gatlinburg, TN will be our hotel headquarters, right at the National Park entrance.


Presented by Procam

Tour Details

Whether you are an experienced photographer or this is your first time using your camera, our guides will be able to coach and educate you so that you can take home incredible memories of the Great Smoky Mountains. This is not a “class.” We believe the best way to learn new photography techniques is to get out into nature with your camera… explore and shoot! We will get you to the best locations at the best times of day for beautiful images… and then teach you a few tricks with your camera’s manual settings. Questions are encouraged. Group size will be kept small (6-10 participants) to afford each participant one-on-one instruction.

All levels of photographers are welcome.  Our groups usually include a combination of singles, couples, friends and family… travelers who prefer to visit unique corners of America and have some fun!  In order to keep costs low for this excursion, we leave the travel to you. This gives you the flexibility to fly, drive, or even turn it into a family vacation. We offer a hotel discount code (see “accommodations” below) which can be used for extended stays if you choose to plan an extended family vacation and then join our photo tour. (I can help with that too! Just ask!) Due to limited space in our vans, only paying participants can join our 3-day photo tour.

We will provide lots of info leading up to the photography tour including what to wear, what gear to pack and recommendations for restaurants and “must do” attractions for your free time.

Book Now for $994  (30% off for limited time)
$1,420 Regular Price
$500 deposit to reserve your spot, balance due 60 days before trip.
Click HERE to register

Your Tour Guides
  • SpikeYour host with the big mouth! He loves sharing his passion for photography, travel and adventure! Spike has traveled the Smokies and the world, chasing the perfect location to photograph. He started this small-group travel company to help others fulfill their bucket list and realize it's as much about the experience as it is about photography.
  • Bobby AlcottBobby Alcott is an award-winning commercial photographer based in New York City. The native Detroiter co-founded a global corporate photo agency and specializes in nature, sports, portrait, advertising and destination weddings. His images have been featured in advertisements and art galleries for over 25 years.

Departure & Return Location

Knoxville Airport (TYS)

Price Includes

  • 3 days of photography in the Smoky Mountains with transportation from location to location
  • Knowledgeable tour guide who has scouted locations
  • Professional photography instructor
  • Any necessary park entrance fees
  • Grab-and-go breakfast, water & snacks during photo tour
  • Printed guide to photography tips & techniques
  • Printed & digital guide to local Gatlinburg tourism area to help you plan your trip
  • Photo review & professional critique (optional)
  • Airport transfer to/from Knoxville for early-bookers (limited space, book now!)
  • Adventure, fun, inspiration, and a great time!

Price Excludes

  • Travel to and from Tennessee
  • Hotel accommodations (a group rate discount code will be given upon tour registration)
  • Most meals, alcohol, incidentals
  • Car Rental or Transportation except for airport transfers for some early-bookers

Day 1August 10

Check-in day. We will meet as a group before dinner for a quick welcome orientation. The night is left open for you to explore Gatlinburg on your own. For some, this is a first visit to the Smokies so we supply a guide with recommendations of things you might want to see that aren’t a part of our photography tour. If driving or flying, aim to arrive by 3pm.

Suggested flight from Michigan: Delta # 5042, 10:10am (DTW) to 11:36am (TYS)

Days 2, 3, 4August 11-13

Our itinerary will be planned around weather conditions, lighting, and recent wildlife activity. Each day we will be starting at dawn and ending just after sunset in order to capture the perfect scenes in the perfect light. However, we typically will take plenty of breaks to eat, rest and recuperate. Two of the three days, we will set up on a mountain ridge for sunrise. We will head into the valley on the third day to search for wildlife. Some of the sites we may visit: Clingman’s Dome, Morton Overlook, Cades Cove, Newfound Gap, Luftee Overlook, Mingus Mill, Mt LeConte, Oconoleftee Overlook, Chimney Tops, Elkmont, Cliff Branch Falls, and more. Weather is the number one variable for our schedule and each location we choose. We will keep this entire 3 day photography workshop fun and flexible!

Day 5August 14

Check-out and head to the airport

Suggested flight to Michigan: Delta # 5042, 12:25pm (Knoxville) to 2:07pm (Detroit)

We are authorized park permittees as necessary in all government regulated locations we visit. This includes National Parks and Wildlife Refuges. We follow all park regulations and uphold the values established to protect you and the park we are visiting. 

Your guide Spike is a partner to the National Park Service and supporter of the National Park Foundation, working to protect wildlife and park lands. A portion of the proceeds from every Explore With Spike tour on U.S. National Park lands will be donated back to help preserve the park’s history as well as help the next generation discover their own personal connections to parks.  Likewise, we are proud to celebrate America’s Indigenous peoples. A portion of the proceeds from any of our tours that visit a reservation will be donated to help preserve the land and culture of our country’s Native American histories.

Covid-19 Policy

While most of our photography tour will take place in the great outdoors, we will be traveling from location to location in two vans all day long. Because of this, we will require proof of vaccination to attend this photo tour in an effort to keep each other safe. This policy may change as we get closer to August and continuously monitor the spread of variants. Masks will not be required. Message me with questions or concerns. Explore With Spike’s tour guides, pros and staff are fully vaccinated and boosted. We wish to be respectful to each other and the people of Tennessee. Kind people are our kinda people!


Cancellation Policy

If you cancel more than 60 days prior to the start date of the trip, you will receive a refund (minus certain fees). In the event that you have to cancel your trip, we make every attempt to replace you with another paying traveler. In the final 60 days prior to the start date, the trip is non-refundable unless we can replace you and the tour sells out. Photo tours require an enormous amount of work, advertising and prepaying expenses that are not refundable which occurs long before the start date of the trip. It is really difficult to fill a spot within the final weeks of the trip. Please click the link below to read the full refund policy. We highly recommend you purchase Travel Insurance to protect yourself against unforeseen changes to your travel plans. Insurance for this trip costs less than $100 for most people. More info available below.



  • Rose Schultz, Shabbona IL"Well worth it. Affordable and fun. What a great learning experience! Spike was so approachable and helpful. I needed help with long exposure, he explained it to me on my level. I can’t wait to attend another tour with him!"
  • Richard Miazga, Canton MI"Before Spike's tour, I had only taken pictures in the auto mode. He had photography experts to answer your questions and assist you, a local guide, even camera equipment if you needed some. I learned about photography and some architectural history about Chicago as well. A great way to get started in photography."
  • Cheryl Malkowski, Whitmore Lake MI"I was a little nervous because I am so new to the photography world. The tour met and exceeded my expectations. Spike and the photography expert were both so helpful and patient and willing to answer any and all questions to help me feel more comfortable with my camera. I would absolutely do another tour with Spike!"

See more area photos on Instagram:  @GreatSmokyNPS  @VisitGatlinburg

Here’s some photos I took on my last Smokies tour when a rare hurricane blew over Tennessee: