Join us for a Swiss & French Alps photography workshop to capture some of the most breathtaking landscapes in the highest mountains in Europe. From massive peaks, impressive glaciers, and epic valleys to photogenic waterfalls, turquoise lakes, and beautiful alpine villages, this region of the Alps is one of the best natural wonders in Europe.
We are running this Autumn Alps photo tour from October 17th to 24th, 2024, during the best time of year to photograph the forests’ fall colors and the first snowfall on the peaks.
Our Swiss & French Alps photo tour will mainly focus on capturing the most iconic landscapes in Switzerland, along with some magical locations in France, during the best moments of light. This moment of the year the fall colors paint everything in hues of yellow and red, making it one of the most beautiful seasons to visit this region.
Over 8 days, we will visit quintessential locations in Switzerland, such as Lauterbrunnen Valley, Oeschinensee Lake, and the famous village of Zermatt; and other stunning, little-known locations in France, such as Cirque du Fer-à-Cheval and some hidden waterfalls surrounded by golden fall colors. We will go up to different viewpoints by cable car and take trains and funiculars to access some of the most dramatic views in the Alps. If the weather is good, we will also take an optional-not included helicopter flight over Zermatt or the Aletsch glacier. That’s one of the most incredible experiences in the Alps.
We will personally help you capture the best possible images during our Swiss and French Alps photography workshop and show you the best techniques to shoot any subject in different light conditions: sunrise, sunset, midday, twilight, etc.
Before you continue reading, it’s important to note that this Alps photo tour requires a very good level of fitness.
While this is not a pure hiking photo tour, we take moderate hikes to reach the different locations almost every day.
Most hikes vary between 1 to 5 miles and 200 to 1000 ft elevation gain, sometimes in uneven paths.
Before booking this trip, we recommend reading the itinerary and the hiking chart below. Being in good physical shape is fundamental so that you can enjoy the experience.
The itinerary of our Alps photo tour can be flexible. We know the area very well, so our goal will be to photograph the alpine landscapes in the best possible conditions, depending on the weather forecast.
We will try to make the most of the morning and evening light, but the Alps also provide plenty of photo opportunities for landscape photography, even on overcast days.
This Swiss & French Alps photo tour will begin near Geneva Airport (GVA), where we’ll meet at 8 AM with the rest of the group. From Geneva, we will drive about 2 hours to the Bernese Alps in western Switzerland, where we will spend the next three days shooting some outstanding landscapes.
As we get closer to the mountains, the landscapes will become more impressive. Our first stop will be Giessbach Falls, a 500-meter waterfall that drops into Lake Brienz at the foot of the historic Grandhotel Giessbach. The hotel can be reached by a funicular that holds the title of the oldest funicular railway in Europe.
After that, we will drive to Sustenpass, where we will shoot the sunset from different viewpoints along the road. We will then head to our accommodation near Rosenlaui Valley.
On the second day of our Alps photography tour, we will wake up early to capture the sunrise at Rosenlaui, a green valley with majestic mountains, waterfalls, and rivers.
After breakfast, we will continue exploring the Rosenlaui valley by doing a beautiful 1-hour optional hike to a secret spot surrounded by massive peaks and glaciers.
Later we’ll drive to Grindelwald, one of the most beautiful villages in Switzerland, which is surrounded by massive, 13,000 ft-high peaks and glaciers. From there, we will take a cable car up to First, a breathtaking scenic overlook where we will spend the night in a very unique accommodation. Here, we will enjoy some of the trip’s most amazing views and take pictures of the most prominent alpine mountains, such as the Eiger and Schreckhorn.
From First, we will do a moderate 1.5-hour hike to the beautiful Bachalpsee Lake, where we will capture the sunset.
On the third day of our Swiss & French Alps photo trip, we will start by capturing the sunrise at First. We’ll be privileged to enjoy these fantastic views by ourselves since the cable cars will still be closed to the public.
Later, we will drive to the picturesque village of Lauterbrunnen, one of the most impressive places in Switzerland.
Lauterbrunnen Valley, also known as the “Valley of 72 Waterfalls,” is a spectacular glaciated valley surrounded by huge mountains and 900ft waterfalls. Tolkien was inspired by this valley to create Rivendell in Lord of the Rings, and as soon as you see it with your own eyes, you’ll understand why.
Here, we will explore the town and its best photographic points. If conditions allow, we will take an optional and not included scenic helicopter flight to photograph the valley and surrounding peaks from the air. This flight includes a landing in one of the glaciers to take images of this majestic landscape from the ice.
After sunset, we will check into our hotel in the heart of the valley, where we will stay in a special room overlooking the church and the giant waterfalls.
On the fourth day of our Alps photo adventure, we will wake up early to take a funicular up to Wengen, a beautiful village located above Lauterbrunnen with stunning views of the valley. We will then walk to our sunrise shooting spot, where we’ll enjoy a majestic view of the area and, hopefully, the typical Autumn morning fog rolling across the valley.
Later, we will head towards the Pennine Alps in southern Switzerland to reach Zermatt, the famous Swiss village with an imposing view of the Matterhorn. To get there, we will take a quick train from the village of Täsch since Zermatt is a car-free town.
After leaving our luggage at the hotel, we will take the Gornergrat Railway, the second-highest railway in Europe, to Gornergrat, a breathtaking 360° viewpoint with views of the Matterhorn and the Gorner Glacier. There we’ll take plenty of images and panoramas of this surreal landscape.
If conditions allow, we will hike down to Riffelsee Lake, a beautiful lake where you can see the Matterhorn reflected. We will do our sunset session here before catching the railway back to Zermatt.
On the fifth day of this Swiss & French Alps photo trip, we will wake up early to capture the stars over Zermatt, the magical blue hour with the lights in town, and finally, the alpenglow light hitting the Matterhorn, the fifth highest mountain in the Alps.
If the weather is good and the mountains are visible, after breakfast, we will take an unforgettable 45 min. heli-flight over the Matterhorn and its surrounding mountains and glaciers. It’s an optional and not included activity, so you can also take a walk in town or rest in your hotel room if you prefer.
We will then leave Zermatt and drive to Fiesch, where we will take a cable car up to the largest glacier in the Alps, Aletschgletscher, which is 14 miles (23 km) long. The views are spectacular here, and we will spend a few hours shooting in the area until the last cable car leaves for Fiesch.
After this, we will drive for 3 hours and cross the border to France to spend the night in Sixt-Fer-à-Cheval. If there is time, we’ll do a sunset stop around the French Chamonix Valley where we’ll photograph photogenic lakes, the popular French “Aguille”, and Mont Blanc, the second highest mountain in Europe.
On the next day of this Alps guided photo tour, we will shoot the sunrise at one of the most extraordinary gems of the French Alps: Cirque du Fer-à-Cheval.
We will spend the morning exploring different views in the area and will hike to some locations that look like they came straight out of a Lord of the Rings scene. In this valley, there are up to 30 waterfalls flowing from the tops of the mountains, some of which are among the most photogenic in Europe.
At the end of this hike, there will be an option to take the last steepest part and reach an upper spot where you can overlook the entire valley. The total walking distance and elevation are described in the hiking section below.
In the late afternoon, we will drive to Jura Natural Park in France, where we will stay for the next two nights. Depending on our arrival time, we may have time to visit one of the waterfalls next to the hotel.
On the seventh day of our Swiss & French Alps photography tour, we will be shooting a wide variety of waterfalls from Jura.
Autumn is one of the best seasons to visit Jura, when the area is painted with beautiful yellow, green, red, and orange colors. Here, the abundant rainfall provides enough moisture for the vegetation to sustain itself, and the moss-covered beeches create a magical atmosphere in the forests.
We will start the day shooting in one of the closest waterfalls to town and then move to different forests and waterfalls in the Northern Area.
At the end of the day, we’ll enjoy the tasty French cuisine in one of the local restaurants in town.
On the final day of this Alps photo workshop, we will capture the sunrise at one of the nearby waterfalls by Jura.
After breakfast, we will pack up and drive back to Géneve International Airport, where we will wrap up this photo adventure across the Swiss and French Alps. Expect to be at the airport no earlier than 12:00 PM, so you can take flights that leave at 3:00 PM or later.
PRICE: $5,090 USD
Deposit: $1,500 USD
A $1,500 USD deposit is required to reserve your spot for this workshop. You can also pay in full at any time. The remaining balance is due 120 days before the start of the tour. If the remaining balance is not paid in full by the due date, you will lose your spot.
This workshop is mainly focused on landscape photography shooting mountains, forests, and waterfalls. We’ll also do some astrophotography when conditions align.
What you learn during the workshop will vary according to your goals and skills. Your instructors are professional photographers with extensive experience who will help you take your photography to the next level.
During the tour you’ll have the opportunity to learn:
Some of the photography basics you can learn during the workshop are:
Some of the post-processing techniques that you can learn with the included tutorials are:
David Aguilar will be the tour leader throughout this Alps photography workshop, and he will make sure that you get the best photography results and experience out of this tour. He will help you with your photography, technique, and composition in all your landscape and night images.
David is a real expert on the Swiss & French Alps after countless trips around this mountain range in all seasons. He has led photo tours here in the past, and he’s very knowledgeable about the most photogenic locations, the weather patterns, and the best techniques to capture breathtaking landscape images. He’s also a master drone pilot and can help you with your aerial photography on this trip.
David’s main passion is traveling and helping others with their craft. He’s traveled extensively, not only in Nordic countries like Iceland and Norway but also across vast areas in European Alps and South America. He currently leads photo tours in many different regions of Europe and South America.
He’s also a skilled post-processing editor and has helped countless photographers over the last few years with his online landscape editing courses.
Francesco Dall’Olmo will be the co-leader on this Swiss & French Alps photo tour, and he’ll assist you with all your photography needs.
Francesco is a landscape and night photographer. Additionally, he is a professional time-lapse photographer. He’s been honing his photography skills over the years in his backyard: the Italian Dolomites, which he knows like no other. He is also an expert in mountain photography, and he’ll show you the best way to photograph them.
He has traveled all over the world to photograph the most iconic locations, capturing breathtaking images in Atacama, Patagonia, and all over Europe, including the French and Swiss Alps, the Dolomites, and Iceland, where he is experienced in leading tours. He has also helped multiple photographers improve their skills in various photography workshops.
With Francesco, you’ll learn everything you need to take your night photography to the next level!
Below, you can find a summary of things you might need:
You will receive a complete list of recommendations before the tour.
The average temperature in the Alps in October is 46°F (8° C), but in the mornings or at higher elevations, it can drop below 32°F (0°C). You should come prepared for all kinds of weather and bring warm clothing. Rains and storms are also very common in the Alps. Some of the things that we recommend bringing on this Swiss & French Alps photography tour are:
You will find more items and details on the official list of recommendations that we provide upon registration.
The standard accommodation on this Alps Photo Tour is double occupancy in shared bedrooms with two individual beds.
The one exception is First, where we will stay at the “Berggasthaus First Mountain Inn” sleeping in double rooms with shared bathroom. This is the only option for accommodation there. Our reward will be having the opportunity to photograph the sunset, and sunrise in one of the most spectacular landscapes in the Alps.
We also offer private rooms in all the accommodations for an extra supplement of $1,000.
On this trip, most of the locations are next to the parking lot or the cable car station.
However, we are in the mountains, and therefore there are some moderate and long hikes that we’ll take and that you should consider:
Estimated Duration (Roundtrip)
1000 ft. / 300 m
2 miles / 3,2 km
Uphill at the beginning with a short rocky and slippery section at the end.
600 ft. / 180 m
1.6 miles / 2,5 km
Uphill, along the road of the village.
400 ft. / 120 m
4 miles / 6 km
Gravel trail, rolling hills and then mostly flat.
300 ft. / 100 m
2 miles / 3,2 km
Moderate hike on a slight incline gravel trail.
1150 ft. / 350 m downhill
1.5 miles / 2,5 km
Mostly rocky downhill with amazing views to the Matterhorn
200 ft. / 60 m
2 miles / 3,2 km
Moderate trail uphill along the road of the village.
Cirque du Fer-À-Cheval
750 ft. / 230 m
5.6 miles / 9 km
Longest hike. Moderate difficulty on gravel and mostly flat trail until the last part, which has 600 ft. elevation gain to reach the best views.
200 ft. / 70 m
2 miles / 3,2 km
Moderate difficulty path, with a slight incline, gravel trail along the river
We recommend being in good physical shape to enjoy this experience
The currency in Switzerland is the Swiss Franc (CHF). In France, it is the Euro (EUR). We recommend getting CHF and EUR in your home country, although, if that is not possible, you can always purchase some at Géneve Airport.
In almost 100% of places in the Alps, you can pay by credit or debit card, so you won’t need much cash for the trip.
Please check if you need a visa to visit Switzerland and France. Both countries are part of the Schengen Area. We can help you with this process.
You should book your flight to Geneva International Airport (GVA).
The price of round-trip flights to Geneva from Europe is $200-250 USD, and from the US, it’s approximately $500-800 USD
We recommend this article to find the best flights to Venice Airport from your current location.
Meals are not included, except for breakfast at the hotels. Most days, we will have breakfast at our accommodation and have a big dinner in one of the local restaurants.
During the day, we will eat snacks and picnic to maximize our time for photography.
Supermarkets and restaurants aren’t cheap in Switzerland, so we recommend preparing to spend about $60-$80 USD on food per day.
All the parking, tolls, cable car, railway, and funicular fees for locations such as First, Zermatt, Gornergrat, Wengen, Oeschinensee, and Aletschgletscher, are included in the price of the tour.
The only activity not included is the optional helicopter flight from Zermatt if conditions and visibility are good.
Taking a heli flight in the Swiss Alps is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
The mountains, glaciers, and vast landscapes are simply breathtaking from the air. These flights allow you to take in the views but also to capture unique angles that are not possible from the ground or even with drones.
If conditions allow, we will take two flights in Lauterbrunnen and Zermatt, the two most impressive alpine areas in Switzerland.
The duration of these flights is around 45 minutes and they are optional and not included activities. Flying always depends on the weather and availability. Some of these flights include short landings in glaciers, so you can also capture images from the ground.
The price depends on the location and total number of people, but it usually varies between 200 and 400 USD.
Whether you are experienced or just starting out in photography, you are welcome to join us, and I am convinced that you will progress very fast. Together, we will get you back home with a greater and deeper knowledge of many photography topics.
Once you sign up for the workshop, we will discuss your skills and goals for this tour, and I’ll organize a teaching plan so you can make the most of this experience. You’ll also receive access to Dan’s Capture the Milky Way course so you can start preparing your astrophotography before the trip.
Most locations are a relatively short walk from the parking lot. The longest hike we will do will be in Cirque du Fer-à-Cheval: a 2-hour walk from the parking lot and another 2 hours back, stopping in some spots along the way. The hikes to some locations, such as Bachalpsee Lake, take about 1.5 hours, and many other locations are next to the cable car station or parking lot. All hikes are moderate difficulty, with some gradual elevation gain. We do recommend checking the hiking section for more details.
We will be driving, walking, and shooting a lot during the tour, so we recommend being in good physical shape to be able to enjoy this experience.
There is no age limit. This trip is perfect for anyone over 18 years old who wants to photograph the Alps with us.
Non-photographer companions are welcome to join the tour, and they need to book a spot under the same price and conditions as any other participant. (We don’t allow non-participant companions tagging along with the group). We have had plenty of non-photographer companions over the years and all of them enjoyed an amazing experience. As long as they enjoy nature, beautiful landscapes, and are a bit patient with the schedules of a photo tour, joining the trip can be a great experience regardless of the shooting.
Capture the Atlas is drone-friendly. Both tour leaders are experienced drone pilots and can help you with your drone photography.
We will advise you on the areas where you are allowed to fly and show you the best aerial photography techniques.
I’ve had the opportunity to work with and help countless photographers over the last years:
Massive mountains, impressive glaciers, alpine lakes, magical forests, hidden waterfalls…the scenery in the Swiss and French Alps is simply breathtaking.
Add gorgeous light, photogenic clouds, dark, starry skies, and the fall foliage in all its color splendor, and you have the recipe for a memorable trip.
The Alps is a region full of history. It’s the place where modern mountaineering was born, and it is one of the most accessible and photogenic mountain ranges in the world for good reason.
Are you ready to take an unforgettable Alps photo tour with us?!