Svalbard Photography Expedition

Svalbard Photography Expedition

This tour is now Sold Out.
New dates will be announced in our Newsletter.

Over 800km north of the Norwegian mainland is the archipelago of Svalbard; an icy, inhospitable wilderness like nothing you will have seen before. This is the end of the world as we know it, and a place where there are more polar bears than people. But despite the climate and remote nature of life this far north, there are many residents perfectly happy to have settled here. So what’s the secret? To find out, this photography tour offers an incredible Arctic experience enjoyed through the lens of your camera. Over the course of eleven unimaginable days we will open your eyes to the pristine landscapes, diverse wildlife, and effortless serenity of Svalbard.

10500 USD

double/twin with shared facilities (6,2,1)

11500 USD

double/twin with private facilities (4, 8, 11, 15)

9500 USD

triple with private facilities (3)

This photography expedition coincides with Svalbard’s opening sunset of the season, as the permanent summer sun of the Arctic reluctantly settles just below the horizon for the first time. Early September was a very deliberate choice for our visit. This far north the seasons are dramatic and long-lasting, and the summer sun doesn’t offer good conditions for photography. September marks the end of that extended summer, and this 11-day adventure in the Arctic will take full advantage of light conditions perfect for photography. Colours are more vivid, natural saturation is high, and our images will radiate the clarity and silence we come across at every turn. With incredible light guaranteed, the landscapes and wildlife will provide an array of iconic scenes throughout this photo tour.

The landscapes and natural life of Svalbard are dynamic and constantly changing. Because of this we need to be equally flexible. In order to make the most of every possible opportunity, for the duration of this tour we’ll have full use of a private ship. With an experienced crew, local guides, and professional photographers, we’ll glide through the serene Arctic waters in search of perfect pictures.

Naturally, our immediate focus will be on the animal kingdom and the wondrous Arctic landscapes. Spitsbergen, where we will be spend much of our time, literally means ‘deep fjords’, which gives you some clue as to what to expect in terms of scenery. Surrounded by muscular mountains, glaciers, and polar bears, we will spend time each day scouting out the best scenes in this ever changing landscape. We will have to make adjustments

during the trip, taking into account the ice situation and weather conditions, but having a relatively small group ensures that everyone’s photography prioritees will be taken into account.

Another advantage of travelling in a smaller group is increased mobility. Our little ship is unlikely to scare away any of the local wildlife, and it’s agile enough to go where larger vessels can’t. We also have a Zodiac craft that can be launched at a moment’s notice. This will come in handy when we need to navigate through tight spaces to capture the perfect shot, get up close and personal to the animals, or take a quick trip to the shore.

Our timetable is more or less free. Ideally we want to go to North Spitsbergen, but in itself that won’t be our goal. The main aim will simply be to venture around the area and get as many stunning shots of the Arctic as we can. We’ll make a point of searching for and shooting polar bears, and with any luck we should also come across fur seals, whales, walruses and arctic foxes.

Plans will change according to conditions, and you never know what photographic wonders we might come across. Because of this we will draw up a timetable at the beginning of everyday based on the information we have. One thing’s for sure: You will need your telephoto. 500 mm and 600 mm lenses will be a good choice for a close-up and 300 mm, 70-200 for a long shot and an extender.

Arrival & Departure

SAS fly regularly to Longyearbyen through Oslo and Tromso. We recommend that you arrive at Longyearbyen at 14:00 on the day before our journey begins. We suggest the following hotels, and ideally we will meet the night before for a meal.
Radisson Blu Polar Hotel is one of the biggest, most well-placed hotels in the area.
Basecamp Trapper's Hotel is good, colorful and quirky.

Our Ship

Our ship, the M/S Malmö, is under the control of a captain and crew with years of experience sailing through Svalbard’s waters.They are also actively working to man responsible expeditions that respect the fragile environment in this part of the world.

The exact route of our expeditions will depend on ice, weather conditions, group preferences and wildlife encounters. But having said this, the ship's captain will have the last word on when and where the ship will sail and when it is appropriate to put passengers ashore.

Day 1 - 1st September 2017

On day one (1st September) we will meet in the administrative capital of Svalbard, Longyearbyen. The group will board our ship in the afternoon around 16:00 (4PM) and this Arctic photography tour will begin.

From then on we will set sail into a world where natural forces dictate many of our decisions. Our exact itinerary depends on several factors, from weather to pack ice to the group’s preferences. What we can say for sure is that every day we will plan to make several landings with the Zodiac, scouting out the best possible scenes with the help of our expert photography guides.

Day 1 - 9 - The following are some examples of highlights we will do our best to visit on this Svalbard expedition

Svalbard’s fjords

Svalbard’s fjords, particularly Raudfjorden and Kongsfjorden, offer our intrepid photographers an opportunity to capture images of icy waterways dominated by glaciers and teeming with Arctic wildlife. Raudfjorden, in the north of Spitsbergen, winds inland into two branches; the cape between which was named Point Deceit by British adventurer Robert Fotherby.

Kongsfjorden on the other hand, is renowned for being the archipelago’s most spectacular fjord. This reputation is, as we will see, completely justified. Achingly beautiful glaciers aside, the promise of watching seals relaxing on the ice or polar bears stalk their prey is too good for any photographer to miss. The surrounding area is also home to several bird sanctuaries, so we can expect to focus on action high above, too.


On the southern shores of Kongsfjorden we will find Ny-Alesund, an Arctic research centre established many years ago in an abandoned mining community. The clash of old and new will provide a welcome contrast for our lenses, and we will take some time to explore the area with our guides.

Scouting for Polar Bears on the Pack Ice

As we sail north of Spitsbergen, there’s a great chance we’ll come across the Arctic pack ice. Understandably, not many ships come to this part of Svalbard. The ice can be difficult to navigate and it’s not suitable for larger boats heading east or west. Fortunately for us, a lack of traffic means we can make the most of this grand landscape’s eerie stillness.

Incredible subjects for photography will rear up at every turn, and as we’ll be taking things slow through the ice, there’ll be countless opportunities to shoot memorable pictures. Sailing in this part of Svalbard also makes it highly likely that we’ll come across polar bears. We will be constantly scouting for these majestic animals during the voyage.

The ice represents the hunting ground for many of Svalbard’s bears, and some of the furry predators we will come across weigh up to 900 kilos. It’s thought there are around 4,000 polar bears living in Svalbard, which mean that they comfortably outnumber the human population - So there should be enough for us to find! Aside from great white bears, Svalbard’s shores are home to plenty of other Arctic species, including fur seals, seals, walruses and the native deer.


If all goes well we will sail around to the basalt cliffs of Alkefjellet, which run for several kilometres of imposing coastline on the eastern shores of Spitsbergen. The steep cliffs are home to huge colonies of Brunich’s guillemots, a bird as close to a flying penguin as you will see. But even without the incredible birdlife a trip to Alkefjellet is well worth our time. The magnificent cliffs are fantastic to skirt along with the Zodiac, and the sight of the sunlight bouncing off the towering stone walls will make a worthy addition to your photography portfolio


On the eastern edge of Svalbard lies Nordaustlandet, the archipelago’s second largest island. Much of the island sits underneath an ice cap, so the scenery will be familiarly crisp.

But here the stone cliffs of Alkefjellet give way to glacial walls of ice of epic proportions. We will spend plenty of time navigating around the glacier, scouting for polar bears, and taking the zodiac out to the shore.

Barentsøya and Edgeøya

To the south of Nordaustlandet are the two smaller islands of Barentsøya and Edgeøya. Again we will sail through the whitewashed Arctic scenery, shooting in the soft light of early winter. These two islands are also home to vast tundra plains, where we will seek out some of the native walrus, arctic fox and Svalbard reindeer.

Day 10 - 10th September 2017

On the night of our tenth day we will sail back towards Longyearbyen. We will arrive to Longyearbyen around 11 PM. (23:00)

Day 11 - 11th September 2017

In the morning at 9AM we will disembark and begin the journey home, laden with unforgettable memories and loaded memory cards!
The majority of the accommodation on board our ship comes in the form of double cabins with facilities. All cabins have upper and lower berths, and 5 out of 6 have a WC and a shower. There are also single and triple cabins. So in total there are three types of cabin to choose from:

Our Guides

Dmitry Arkhipov

Dmitry is a photographer, traveler and polar guide. He was born in Moscow(Russia) and has loved photography since his childhood. Being a physicist by training, he started working at Russian space science program, then served in the military. After dismissal, he established a well-known IT company.

Dmitry traveled and photographed 112 countries so far. His five personal photo exhibitions attracted more than a million people.

Dmitry is a winner of many photo contests such as: EPSON Int'l Pano Awards, Global Arctic Awards, Trierenberg SC, B&W Spider Awards, Int'l Photography Awards, Int'l Color Awards, Best Russian Photographer of the Arctic 2016 (Global Arctic Awards), Best Photo Travel Photographer 2017 (Trierenberg SC).

Dmitry's professional certifications include:

  • PPSA (Photographic Society of America)
  • AFIAP (The International Federation of Photographic Art)
  • QEP (Federation of European Professional Photographers)

Iurie Belegurschi

Iurie Belegurschi is a renowned landscape photographer based in Iceland and the founder of Iceland Photo Tours. But that isn’t where his story began. Iurie was born in Moldova, and developed an interest in photography from an early age after his uncle converted the family bathroom into a darkroom. From there he has memories of taking an old Russian camera into school. And though he hadn’t yet mastered the art a good photograph, he knew straight away that his new passion for taking pictures was going to be around for many years to come.

After studying Hospitality and Tourism at university, Iurie moved to Iceland in 2006. There he was suddenly exposed to one of the world’s finest photography destinations. Drawn in by the incredible light and landscapes all around, he began travelling the country, camera in hand, in search of inspiration and honing his skills. It wasn’t long before Iurie’s work was receiving critical acclaim. As well as continually winning awards in international photography competitions, his images have been published and put on display in a number of leading publications and exhibitions. In 2012 Iurie founded Iceland Photo Tours, with the ambition of sharing the many wonders Iceland has to offer with passionate photographers from around the world. He has since built a team of professional photo guides offering tours and expertise to some of Iceland’s most famous sights, including the northern lights and the seasonal ice caves.

Iceland Photo Tours has enjoyed huge success in recent years and has grown into the largest operator of its kind in Europe. With 4,000 happy customers and counting, Iurie’s company now stretches far beyond Iceland, offering expert-led photography tours of spectacular destinations including Greenland, New Zealand, Japan, Patagonia and more. Iurie is also co-founder of Guide to Iceland, the largest marketplace of travel services to the land of ice and fire. Now a fully-fledged Icelandic citizen, he firmly believes that his best moments in photography have been some of the most uncomfortable. Iceland’s harsh conditions can be the canvas for the most memorable photography, and it’s the experience of this epic challenge that he loves to share on his photo tours.

Total Price :


10500 USD double/twin with shared facilities (6,2,1)
      11500 USD double/twin with private facilities (4, 8, 11, 15)
   9500 USD triple with private facilities (3)
   Registration deposit: 3000 USD
   Maximum Number of Participants: 12
   Payment in Full: 90 days prior to the workshop starting date.

Sign me up!

After you signup, we’ll send you a recommended camera gear and packing list. Please pay special attention to things that we say are absolutely required.

We will have a range of European cuisine on board throughout the course of the trip, and there will always be access to tea, coffee and drinks from the bar.
  • Expedition on M/S Malmo ice class ship;
  • Accommodation of your choice: The first people to book the tour will get the right to choose the cabin.
  • All meals onboard
  • Zodiacs for landings and shootings from water level
  • Professional photo guides
  • Guides’ services and zodiac driver’s services
Not included:
  • Your flight to Svalbard
  • Hotel in Longyearbyen the night before the expedition starts for those who arrive the day before
  • Visa and insurance
  • Alcohol
  • Fuel extra charge*

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Cancellation and Refund Policy

We strongly recommend you to get a Trip Cancellation & Travel Insurance after booking your trip. If you cancel and the Workshop is otherwise filled, we will refund you the full amount you have paid towards the tuition, minus a $300 service charge. If you cancel and the Workshop does not fill, then you will be refunded according to the following schedule, based on the full fee of the Workshop:

Greater than 90 days from the start date of the Workshop: full refund minus $300 service fee.
75 days or more: 75% refund
60 days or more: 50% refund
Less than 60 days: no refund

Refunds will be paid by the same method that the original payment was made.


We highly recommend that you get a travel and medical insurance. Your own domestic government medical insurance and private health scheme will not cover you whilst you are overseas.

The tour is always dependent on weather, as the Icelandic weather can indeed be highly unpredictable. Likewise, visits to ice caves are dependent on favorable conditions, and indeed the ice caves themselves are not permanent. When it comes to the Northern Lights, while they are most likely to be seen between September and April, there is no guarantee that they will appear on a given day.