Phil and Garth > Destinations > Asia > India > The Best Goa Photography Tour, India

The Best Goa Photography Tour, India

by Garth

Last updated: 7th May 2022




In this post we’ll review a photography tour we booked and paid for in Goa, India. Seriously it’s one of the best day tours we’ve ever experienced. Such a happy day meeting so many locals and photographing India’s vibrant colours whilst being expertly guided by Francisco – a professional photographer.

 

North Goa Photography Tour

We booked professional photographer, Francisco De Souza’s full day North Goa Photography Tour. It’s seriously one of the best tours we’ve ever taken.  From the moment we started to the end of the day Francisco constantly gave great advice on how to improve our technical photography skills with lots of practical tips. We loved the street portrait photography aspect of the day, Francisco taught us how to approach people for their photo and how best to photograph them in their surroundings.  We didn’t want a sugar-coated tour of Goa we wanted to see real life. The tour around the markets gave us just that. It’s a very well organised day with amazing photography opportunities throughout North Goa. Even if you’re not into photography, this tour of Goa would make a great day out.

Some portraits from our Goa Photography Tour

Some portraits from our Goa Photography Tour

Phil, Francisco and Garth

Phil, Francisco and Garth

 

Getting to North Goa

We were staying in Cavelossim in South Goa so it meant an early start to get to North Goa (1h 30min away) to meet Francisco at Mapusa market for 8am so we would have the best light for photography. Our taxi ride was entertaining, our driver was crazy driving so so fast! Constantly tooting his horn and jostling for position, narrowly avoiding dogs and cows on the road, it was quite a relief to arrive!

 

North Goa Photography Tour Itinerary

Street Portrait Photography in Mapusa’s Markets

Francisco met us promptly and we both said it was like we knew each other already because we had chatted lots over emails. He asked us both what we wanted to gain from our photography tour and soon grasped our capabilities with Garth on his DSLR and Phil on his iPhone. Our North Goa photography tour started straight away in Mapusa’s bus station where Francisco taught us the basics of asking people permission to take their photograph. Like calling older people ‘auntie’ or ‘uncle’ as a sign of respect.

This young guy was waiting in his bus and looking out the window

This young guy was waiting in his bus and looking out the window

Graphic design heaven with these textured walls near the bus station

Graphic design heaven with these textured walls near the bus station

This man was selling omelettes to commuters

This man was selling omelettes to commuters

Loved all the texture surrounding this guy's drinks shop

Loved all the texture surrounding this guy’s drinks shop

Francisco shows us some techniques using a smaller camera

Francisco shows us some techniques using a smaller camera

This man's small work station fascinated us, a whole miniature shoe repair shop

This man’s small work station fascinated us, a whole miniature shoe repair shop

Objects make interesting compositions

Objects make interesting compositions

 

Fruit & Veg Market

From the bus station we went into the various bustling markets and spent around 3 hours photographing. Some of the locals knew Francisco and were more than happy for us to photograph them. It can be daunting to approach people for their photo, but Garth has gained more confidence over the years travelling in asking people. Even if you can’t speak the language, you can gesture what you want to do.  From our experience people do say no, but not that many. Be polite and always show back to the people you have photographed the pictures you’ve taken – another tip from Francisco.

This lady was selling bananas from her cart

This lady was selling bananas from her cart

This guy was so proud to show off his bananas to us. Love the glossy textured yellow wall too.

This guy was so proud to show off his bananas to us. Love the glossy textured yellow wall too.

This is the man you go to for ginger by the looks of things

This is the man you go to for ginger by the looks of things

Time for a break and Francisco took us to a small backstreet cafe where Phil tried his first glass of chai, India’s version of tea which is really really sweet! Garth tried a ‘Thumbs Up’ India’s version of Coke.

The markets are an immersive experience from the sounds of people chatting, the smells of the all spices, and the distant sounds of constant car horns, this was exotic India. Just brilliant people-watching too, as fruit and veg vendors perform their daily tasks and folks go about their shopping. Now we we’re starting to look for diversity in faces – young, old and characterful people we could photograph.

We learnt there’s 2 types of pineapples - Jagged leaves for juicing & smooth leaves for eating

We learnt there’s 2 types of pineapples – Jagged leaves for juicing & smooth leaves for eating

Many of the sellers made these beautiful compositions displaying their vegetables for sale

Many of the sellers made these beautiful compositions displaying their vegetables for sale

Another vegetable display that looks like a piece of art

Another vegetable display that looks like a piece of art

Selling garlic and potatoes

Selling garlic and potatoes

The orange Tilaka mark on this mans forehead was really striking

The orange Tilaka mark on this mans forehead was really striking

Francisco has a very kind heart, he bought breakfast for a little girl on the street and bananas for a homeless family living on some scrubland.  These sights are heart breaking and can be quite a culture shock for some people. Sadly all over India, not just in Goa there’s a visible contrast between rich and poor.

Another portrait using a dark background to create a striking look

Another portrait using a dark background to create a striking look

 

Flower Market

Next up was a visual treat inside Mapusa’s flower market. So much colour around every corner, especially yellow, it’s really hard not to take a bad photo here. We watched ladies make various flower garlands using their hands and toes in some cases! The place is filled with tons of marigold flowers which are used for making garlands used as offerings in churches, temples and homes.

Garth started to approach more ladies for permission. A lady wobbled her head from side to side, so we thought it was a no, but actually a wobble and a smile means she was interested – it was a yes! She very kindly spent a few minutes rearranging her bright yellow sari and her posture for the best photograph. She was delighted with the result and gave us a huge smile back.

Inside Mapusa's flower market

Inside Mapusa’s flower market

This lady was so kind spending a couple of minutes to rearrange her sari, so she looked her best

This lady was so kind spending a couple of minutes to rearrange her sari, so she looked her best

A lady makes a small decorative flower garland using tinsel, flowers and small red roses

A lady makes a small decorative flower garland using tinsel, flowers and small red roses

Phil using his iPhone to take photographs

Phil using his iPhone to take photographs

Marigold and miniature red roses

Marigold and miniature red roses

This young lad came up up to us and asked for us to take his photograph at his flower stall

This young lad came up up to us and asked for us to take his photograph at his flower stall

Garth and Francisco take photographs inside the flower market

Garth and Francisco take photographs inside the flower market

Another lady makes marigold garlands

Another lady makes marigold garlands

This man was surrounded by his marigold flowers

This man was surrounded by his marigold flowers

Garth's favourite photograph from the flower market - Francisco taught us to get up and personal with people

Garth’s favourite photograph from the flower market – Francisco taught us to get up and personal with people

A henna design on a lady's hand

A henna design on a lady’s hand

 

Fish Market

The last market we visited was inside the fish market. We saw lots of big tubs containing all sorts of fish including crabs and baby sharks for sale. Just outside are a series of gutting tables where you can take your bought fish to be cleaned up to take home. 

Various crabs for sale in buckets at the fish market

Various crabs for sale in buckets at the fish market

Once you've made your purchase, men outside gut and prepare the fish for you to take home

Once you’ve made your purchase, men outside gut and prepare the fish for you to take home

Somewhat gory scenes of blood, fish and guts

Somewhat gory scenes of blood, fish and guts

 

 

Siolim Village

From Mapusa our North Goa photography tour continued as Francisco drove us to our next stop. A small traditional community fishing village called Siolim where fishermen bring in their catch for their wives sell during the day. We captured some more amazing portraits, including some extreme close-ups.

We stopped off at Siolim village on our North Goa photography tour

We stopped off at Siolim village on our North Goa photography tour

The Siolim fish market in North Goa

The Siolim fish market in North Goa

Love all the different green colours in this photograph

Love all the different green colours in this photograph

This guy was really happy that we asked if we could take his photo. Those reds!

This guy was really happy that we asked if we could take his photo. Those reds!

A close up portrait

A close up portrait

Francisco persuaded us to take more extreme close-ups

Francisco persuaded us to take more extreme close-ups

This lady was so proud of her huge fish!

This lady was so proud of her huge fish!

As we walked around Siolim village we bumped into a family who ran their own bicycle shop. Francisco taught us not to take sneaky shots of people and to go approach and engage with locals instead. He’s right it makes such a difference.

Francisco teaches Garth ideas for framing portraits to tell a story

Francisco teaches Garth ideas for framing portraits to tell a story

This jolly chap loved having his photograph taken

This jolly chap loved having his photograph taken

A bicycle repair shop in Siolim village

A bicycle repair shop in Siolim village

Wandering around Siolim Village looking for interesting shots

Wandering around Siolim Village looking for interesting shots

After taking some more photos, Francisco took us to a local bar where the fishermen hang out. The interior was simple and small, we had 3 very welcome fizzy waters. The 2 guys having a beer and were up having their photograph taken.

These 2 guys posed for a photo whilst enjoying a beer

These 2 guys posed for a photo whilst enjoying a beer

A lady selling fruit and flowers in Siolim Village

A lady selling fruit and flowers in Siolim Village

Loving the hanging crisps displays in this shop in Siolim

Loving the hanging crisps displays in this shop in Siolim

 

 

Lunch at Mandrem Beach

After a packed morning it was time for a lovely beachfront lunch at The Lazy Dog in Mandrem. Phil went swimming to escape the midday sun and Garth talked to Francisco about photography. The beach is beautiful here too. 

Goan fish curry for lunch overlooking Mandrem Beach

Goan fish curry for lunch overlooking Mandrem Beach

 

 

Chapora Fort & Vagator Beach

It was back on the road, next on the itinerary of our North Goa photography tour was to learn about silhouette photography. We arrived at Chapora Fort and walked up to the top via the steps, quite tiring in the Goan heat! Shooting directly into the light to create dramatic silhouettes is something we’ve never thought about doing before!  The results are great.

Learning about silhoutte photography

Learning about silhoutte photography

There are some great views of the surrounding countryside and beaches from the top of Chapora Fort

There are some great views of the surrounding countryside and beaches from the top of Chapora Fort

 

 

Chapora Fish Market & Harbour

Finally it was onto Chapora Fish Market and harbour – the last stop on our North Goa photography tour. This was another visually fascinating place, so much happening – perfect for photography.

This was a lesson in taking candid shots of people at work and learning to look and predict their action. What struck us about the fishermen were just how old some of the men were. They carry huge buckets of fish on their backs, it’s achingly hard work just watching everyone.

Fishermen load off bowls of fresh prawns

Fishermen load off bowls of fresh prawns

Fisherman waits for a bite on his line

Fisherman waits for a bite on his line

It's a hard life

It’s a hard life

Pleased with this portrait of 3 guys waiting to carry huge petrol containers to the boats

Pleased with this portrait of 3 guys waiting to carry huge petrol containers to the boats

 

 

What An Amazing Day!

Francisco is so inspiring. We saw and learnt so much about Goa and photography and Garth was delighted with his pictures. We also loved all the bits in between like driving through the countryside asking lots of questions, like what it’s like to live in Goa? Thanks to Francisco for all the extra recommendations for eating out and the best beaches 🙂  Even if you don’t have a camera, just take a tour with Francisco as you’ll have the best time in Goa!

 

 

Phil and Garth’s Top 5 Goa Photography Tour Tips

Phil and Garth's Top 5 Goa Photography Tour Tips

Phil and Garth’s Top 5 Goa Photography Tour Tips

  • Tip #1: Wear comfortable shoes – you’ll be doing lots of walking.
  • Tip #2: Take a small mix of cash with you – so you can easily buy things you see at the market.
  • Tip #3: Carry some bottles of water and a bottle of sunscreen in a backpack.
  • Tip #4: Pack your swimming shorts incase you get time for a swim.
  • Tip #5: June to September is monsoon season. December to January is dry and peak season. (We went in early November)

 

How we did it:

  • We booked and paid a few months in advance for our full day North Goa Photography Tour directly on Francisco’s website.
  • The 10 hour full day photography tour cost £252 for the both of us. Check Francisco’s website for the latest price.
  • Taxi from Cavelossim to Mapusa cost 2,000 INR each way.
  • We booked a package holiday to Goa with TUI and stayed in Cavelossim, South Goa.

 

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