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Tracy Isaacs - London, Ontario

Ireland 2022 Tour

I just got back from the 2022 Ireland tour that Jim Hamel organized and led, focusing on the Wild West Coast. At some point during the two+ years leading up to the 13-day tour (delayed from July 2021 due to you-know-what), Jim said he was committed to making it the trip of a lifetime for us. He absolutely delivered.

I have travelled a lot (never on a tour, mind you) and this was definitely up there among the best of my travel experiences. It would be impossible to summarize all of the amazing dimensions of the trip here, but it was an impeccably organized tour with a full itinerary of sites both on and off the beaten path, fabulous accommodations and dining, and wonderful people. Jim and Roben (the other professional photographer on the tour) were generous with their expertise on all aspects of photography, including equipment, shooting, and editing (in Lightroom and Photoshop). So I learned a lot about Ireland, saw enough to make me want to go back some day, and at the same time improved my photography a lot and felt newly inspired to get better and better. Not only that, I have made some friends for life. 

Jim, his wife Susan, his brother Pat, and Roben (the hosts) took care of every detail throughout the tour so that we (the guests) just had to show up and enjoy. Which we did. Every day. I will definitely go on another Jim Hamel tour at some point in the future. Five stars!

Eric Jay Toll - Phoenix, Arizona

France 2023 Tour
The biggest challenge with the 2023 Paris-Mont Saint-Michel trip is condensing the experience into less than a booklet.
Five stars for everything – accommodations, sites, availability, transportation, training, assistance, food and cost.
Let’s break it down.
Accommodations: We were in fine hotels the entire time; even the short-take transfer to the hotel at Mont Saint-Michel and back to the base hotel was smooth and flawless. We had a centrally-located hotel in Paris within easy walking distance of almost anything and access to three different metro stations to get anywhere else. Using Uber as a fill-in was amazingly convenient from time to time. Even when our bus to Mont Saint-Michel was disabled, the downtime was turned into photo training.
Sites: We made it to every important and unexpected locales in Paris for photoshoots. The Parisians and other tourists must have thought it somewhat strange to have this herd of photographers snapping away at everything (although about half are HDR, my shutter count for the seven days topped 8,800 images. Jim’s pre-purchased timed-entry tickets meant we had more time for photos and less time for standing in line—a big plus in tourist-crowded Paris. The Seine dinner cruise with crooner was a highlight of the trip.
Availability: Jim and Roben were always available, always willing to answer questions—no matter how basic—and always willing to share tips. I started my European trip a week earlier than the course, and now I want to go back and take photos all over again. The quality of my images from before and after the class was such a significant change that even social media readers were commenting.
Transportation: Jim worked it out well for us to hoof it, take the Metro (lots of fun) or Uber. He offered the options based on participant capabilities and interests. We had a high-quality bus for the trip to Mont Saint-Michel, but a weird problem with the tire delayed the journey for several hours. Not one person complained. Roben set up an impromptu training on how to take portraits in noontime sunlight.
Training: This probably shouldn’t have been expected, but when learning that everyone was coming in a day early to Paris, Jim extended the course activities at no extra cost for the course, we did have to pay for the extra night at the hotel if we wanted to stay there more than the six days in the package, but the extension was at a special rate. Otherwise, Jim and Roben were always teaching something.
Assistance: Whether developing in Lightroom or Photoshop or composing a perfect shot, Jim and Roben were available and showed how to make an ordinary picture a pro shot. As photographers, we’re always behind the camera. Both of them made sure that there were pictures of us at sites so we could be in the scene and not just shoot the scene.
Food: Jim selected comfortable and good restaurants. No, we didn’t eat a Maxim’s, but the sidewalk cafes, the more formal dinner selections and the river cruise were meal highlights. We had a few times to buy our own, but nothing that added that much cost to the trip.
Cost: The trips are priced to be very affordable for what’s offered. I’ve checked out others, and the Jim Hamel tours are bargains compared to what some offer.
Sign up for one with confidence. It’s going to be a learning experience that will never be forgotten.

Cindy McEnery - Raleigh, North Carolina

Ireland 2022 Tour
Thanks again for a wonderful trip! As I go through my photos I’m reliving all the fun we had as we saw so many beautiful sights! Your planning was great; your attention to detail was amazing; your instruction informative, and your flexibility to handle the unexpected was beyond belief.
Thank you again for all you and Susan did to ensure that we enjoyed one of our most memorable trips to Ireland ever!!!

Joey Barnes - Houston, Texas

Ireland 2022 Tour

You don’t have to be carrying a big camera in order to appreciate and enjoy a trip with Jim and Roben (although if improving your photography skills is your goal, you are with the right folks).  I’m a non-photographer (except with my little iPhone), and I say you can’t go wrong on one of their trips!

No detail was left out from where we would stay, when we would arrive at a site, how we would see the site, some history so we would know what we were looking at, and the food!  Dinners were unforgettable!  And because the big tour buses can descend on the popular places, Jim had it all planned that we would either be at a site early or later and, as the big buses trudged on down the road, our little group got to see the most spectacular sunsets, countryside, and more (without having to deal with the crowds). Jim selected the best hotels that had access for us to explore in the early morning, late at night, enjoy local music, Irish whiskey tasting, and more.  And we did a Riverdancing class with a real Riverdance troupe member. It just doesn’t get any better!

If you are looking for an excellent travel experience, jump right onto the Jim Hamel Travel website and sign up for whatever they are doing. You won’t be disappointed!

Sara and David Guest - Carmel, Indiana

France 2023 Tour

We recently took a trip to Paris, France with Jim Hamel Photography. We enjoyed this trip immensely. The trip was well planned from start to finish including pre trip zoom calls. Jim, Ruben and Elizabeth were excellent hosts. They went above and beyond to make sure we all had a wonderful time and became better photographers. We would certainly do another trip with Jim Hamel Photography and recommend them highly.

Don Powell, Scottsdale, AZ

Ireland 2022 Tour

I have been on about 10 photography workshops over the years and this one to Ireland as the longest and most complex.  It was also the best workshop I have attended.

The organization of this trip was challenging since we traveled to a large area of the remote west coast of Ireland. Our accommodations and dining options were excellent.  The site selections for our photographs were among Ireland’s best.  Jim Hamel and his team executed this complicate trip flawlessly.

Some of the 17 participants on the trip had taken online photography courses from Jim, so we knew the instruction would be superb and we were very pleased with all the new skills we learned  Jim Hamel and Roben Bellomo were extremely helpful with all the participants ranging from total beginners to experienced photographers.  

All of us left the tour with memories and photographs we will treasure forever.  Jim and his team attract a very high quality group of participants who became good friends on the trip.  I recommend Jim Hamel’s tours for all who want to improve their photography skills while having the best time of your life.

Colleen Church - Austin, Texas

Ireland 2022 Tour
What an amazing workshop and tour Jim Hamel and company put together. I just finished 2 weeks with Jim Hamel and Roben Bellomo on the west side of Ireland and can’t wait to go back.
The knowledge that these two shared was invaluable. To say they are patient is an understatement. No question went unanswered.
These tours are appropriate for any level of photography.
See you in Paris 2023.
Thank you Jim, Roben, Pat and Susan for making this an experience of a lifetime.

Alan Bloodgood - Alexandria, Virginia

Ireland 2022 Tour
I just got back from the Jim Hamel 2022 Ireland tour that was 2 years in the making. We did 13 days in Ireland starting in Dublin and heading to the West Coast. This trip was delayed due to COVID. Jim did an outstanding job. My wife and I are not tour people (this was the first one we have done in a long time) but Jim created a welcoming group of photographers (I expect to be keeping in touch with this group for a long time and hoping to do more tours together). This was absolutely one of my best travel experiences. I had picked this trip because I took Jim’s photography course (31 days to becoming a better photographer). I loved the course, Jim’s style and I wanted to do this in person with him. Jim and and his partner Roben (the other professional photographer on the tour) did a great job organizing the tour and sharing their expertise. There were many pre trip zoom calls to get prepped and awesome communication throughout the process. They kept us moving with travel during the day and instruction at night and much socializing in the middle. The great thing from a photography experience with Jim and Roben is that they have very different styles which made even more enjoyable and enhanced the learning. In addition, there were no egos so you could learn in an open and collaborative environment. On location, the shared with us framing and how they would approach the shoot and then later in the hotel how they would edit it . In addition, before the event even started, Jim created a set of podcasts on Ireland and the history to get us prepped and in the mood. The trip was well organized with options for all people. I am a hiker and my wife is not and Jim created days with hiker options and ‘not hiker’ options. I learned a lot and greatly improved my photography. It inspired me to try new things and to get better. I will honestly say that due to the inclusive atmosphere, I learned almost as much from people in the group as I did in the instruction and I have made some great friends on this trip. Jim and his team (his wife Susan, his brother Pat, and Roben) really took care of us, managed the details and managed through the curve ball called Covid to make this an incredible experience. 5+ stars and I look forward to joining another one of these tours in the future – hopefully with many of the same group!
Jim, Roben, Susan, Pat – thanks for a great trip!

George Conant - Boston, Massachusetts

Ireland 2022 Tour
There were five things I was hoping a good photography tour could provide: (1) excellent photo opportunities, (2) an opportunity to learn more about photography from Jim and his associates, (3) an opportunity to build friendships among a group of like-minded photographers, (4) an opportunity to experience Ireland deeply, and (5) a stress-free environment where everything from transportation to lodging to dining was handled by the tour operator. Jim and his team did all of that, and I truly can’t imagine the results being any better.
I first learned of Jim Hamel through his course, 31 Days to Becoming a Better Photographer, at Digital Photography School ( Even though I’ve been interested in photography since high school and have owned many cameras through the years, including DLSRs, his course taught me an incredible amount I didn’t know, and I’ve become a much better photographer for that reason.
When I found that Jim was offering a photography tour to Ireland, I and my wife (who is an artist) signed up immediately. I had never been to Ireland before, so it was an opportunity to visit a place I had never been and to improve my photography skills while doing so. To say I was enormously happy with the tour would be an understatement Here’s why.
First, Jim’s organizational skills are enormous. Even before leaving he had developed a web site for the tour which included both written and video information about the upcoming tour. Taking a photography tour is different from a normal travel tour in that it involves a lot of photography equipment one would not normally take on a tour. It also requires planning for walking and hiking at times over some distance. I should point out that Jim’s tour was available to people of a variety of physical capabilities and interests. So a day that would include a 7 mile hike for some would involve a horse-and-buggy ride for others who chose it. We pretty much didn’t have to worry about any travel planning details.
Second, Jim has been to Ireland several times. He really knows Ireland and where to go to have excellent photo opportunities. I can’t image coming across such opportunities on my own.
Third, Jim is an excellent photographer, and watching him was very informative. Beyond that, he’s an excellent instructor. We had group critique sessions. We had training in using Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop. I had a very informative one-on-one session with him providing constructive review of several of my photos. I feel I’ve taken some of the best photos in my life on this tour.
Fourth, Jim put together an excellent team to help with everything. That included Roben Bellomo, an excellent photographer and co-owner with Jim of Behn Gallery (see Jim’s and Roben’s interests and skills are complementary, so that gave us even more opportunities to improve our photography. It also included his wife, Susan, a physician always nice to have on a tour, and Pat, his brother who provided enormous help in setting up, moving, hiking, and providing a very informative history of whisky.
Finally, the other members of the tour were photographers or spouses, partners, or friends of photographers. We all spent considerable time together over two weeks, and I think we all really enjoyed each others’ company. My wife’s interests were in art, and she found the tour also perfect. She’s found ample opportunities to take photos and notes that she intends to incorporate in a book under development. All members of the group, whether the photographers or the others who accompanied them had opportunities to enjoy the tour even if their interests weren’t directly in photography.
I highly recommend any photographer who wants to travel and to become a better photographer to take one of Jim’s tours. You will like it and get a lot out of it.

John Miner - Boston, Massachusetts

Ireland 2022 Tour
Jim’s photographic tour of southwest Ireland introduced us to many sites both well- and lesser-known, including boating on the lakes of Killarney, riding in a pony and trap through the Gap of Dunloe, macro shooting in Dingle, visiting a working farm (and sampling poitin), perching near the edge of cliffs of Moher and Inis Mor. The accommodations at each of our stops were 4 or 5 star.
Jim obviously spent a great amount of time organizing this tour (it was originally scheduled for 2020, but COVID put a dead stop to that). He assembled a cast of 4 splendid players, including himself, a landscape photographer and teacher par excellence. In addition, his wife, Susan, an internist whose presence and medical advice were reassuring, was a warm and extremely competent organizer of separate drives, breakfasts, and lunches enroute. The professional portrait photographer Roben Bellomo provided detailed instruction in macro and lighting in both lecture format and individual instruction. Jim’s brother Pat was there to assist in stray logistics and practical matters (e.g., helping me up a steep, rocky ascent, not to mention his excellent introductory course on irish whiskeys). I mention these people to convey what a personal tour this was, from photographic instruction to navigation, to meal planning, to hiring informative and very responsible bus drivers (one could be a stand-up comedian), to informal conversation on the drives.
Jim could not have forecast how well the collegiality would be, but the support and friendliness were bar none. For me it will be hard to top this trip, unless Jim et al plan another elsewhere in the world. I should also add that the cost was very reasonable and worth every penny.

Colleen Church - Santa Fe, New Mexico

France 2023 Tour
I just got back from Paris 2023 with Jim and oh what a trip. Each day was filed with wow moments. Jim and Roben are wonderful teachers and guides. Thank you for getting us in early to venues and making sure we saw it all.
It was an added plus to have Elizabeth Hamel along to interpret and help with logistics.
Don’t hesitate to go on one of their trips. You will not be disappointed.

Nancy Bailey Pratt - Anderson, Indiana

2019 Ireland Tour

Jim planned an awesome trip to Ireland for the Daguerre Club of Indiana.  He had every detail laid out for us before we went.  I probably had 20 or more pages of where we were going, how long we would be there and everything else I might want to know and more   He included beautiful photographs of where we were going and the whole plan was color coded so we had choices of relaxing, regular, and aggressive trip so we could adjust to our own individual needs.  Our transportation was all taken care of, from airport pick up to airport drop off.  We had beautiful accommodations every where we went.  There was a nice variety of things to participate in and many gorgeous views.  Even though the trip was meticulously planed, there were opportunities for adjustments along the way and I would say before our trip was over we all had opportunities to do everything we wanted and more.  I decided at that point, that Jim should be my personal travel planner ( and actually photographer too, even though I am a Professional Photographer)  because he does everything to perfection and makes it fun too.  

Kevin Hudson - Bedford, Indiana

2019 Ireland Tour
Our trip was well organized from start to finish. 
We got to see so much more in our 15 days than most would ever have time for. 
It was so nice not to have to worry about researching all of the sights to see. 
Loved being with a group of people with a common interest. 
Our trip was so perfect because we got to see so many off the beaten path places and not just the tourist traps. 
Ireland and its people are simply the best!
We cannot wait to go back and see it again. 

Ed Lausch - West Lafayette, Indiana

2019 Ireland Tour

Our trip to Ireland with Jim Hamel truly was the trip of a lifetime.  I really appreciated Jim’s knowledge of Ireland and the history of the places we visited to photograph.  His itinery was amazing and every day you could choose between relaxing, suggested, or ambitious.  We photographed in many places in Ireland and we did not have to deal with throngs of tourists except at Cliffs of Mohr.  As a professional photographer there is nothing more frustrating than to be in a beautiful location and not be able to get a clean shot because of tourists.  At Jim’s suggestion I took only waterproof pants and used packing cubes to travel lighter.