Wildphoto Travel
Who we are
Our history
WildPhoto Travel is a photo expedition company specializing in small groups of photographers to Polar regions. We are based in Longyearbyen, Svalbard with 19 years of experience in ship-based expeditions for photographers. Below is an overview of our history from our slow start back in 2006.
Our first organized photo expedition to Svalbard was in June 2006, leading a group of 12 photographers on the expedition ship MS Origo. At that time the company name was Naturfokus, founded by Ole J Liodden and Kirsti Liodden. The photo expedition in 2006 was successful and the next year Ole J was back in Svalbard with a new group of photographers, then more groups with photographers in 2008 and 2009. From 2010 Naturfokus organized at least three photo expeditions each year to Svalbard.
The demand for photo safaris and expeditions was growing and in 2010 Naturfokus started to organize photo salaries in Kenya and Rwanda. From 2011 Galapagos was also added to the list of destinations and with some clients on MV Spirit of Enderby to the New Zealand sub-Antarctic, we organized photo expeditions and safaris almost all over the world.
After a few years of running photo safaris and expeditions around the world, it was time to focus more on our specialty - photo expeditions to polar regions with expedition ships. In 2012 we also decided to change the business structure with Roy Mangersnes entering the company as a partner. We also changed our company name from Naturfokus to Wildphoto Travel. After 7 years in the photo travel business, Wildphoto Travel was now ready for new challenges.
Wildphoto Travel soon increased the number of photo expeditions in Svalbard and in 2014 we organized our first full-charter "Photographers only" expedition to Antarctica on MV Polar Pioneer. With more expeditions, our clients, partners, and WildPhoto guide team were growing.
In March 2014 we opened our WildPhoto Gallery in Longyearbyen, which was the most northernly gallery in the world at 78 degrees North. With this gallery, we could offer a meeting point for new and old clients, and visitors that just wanted to see some nice pictures from Svalbard. We also sold expedition clothing and books through our gallery, and could also give clients and visitors some advice about photographing around Longyearbyen.
In November 2015 we had our first full-chartered expedition to South Georgia on MV Polar Pioneer. This was one of our most successful expeditions, and since that time South Georgia has been - and still is - a very popular destination for our clients and partners.
In March 2016 WildPhoto was the first operator to organize a winter expedition to Svalbard with an expedition ship. On 18 March 2016, we had a landing on Moffen Island (at 80 degrees North) photographing walrus in the snow drift, which most likely was the earliest landing on the island ever. These winter expeditions soon became very popular.
Our expertise and reputation in Polar regions were growing, together with the number of clients and partners who wanted to join us in Svalbard, Antarctica, and South Georgia. In 2017 we organized our #50 photo expedition with ships to Svalbard, and that season we had 15 full-chartered photo expeditions to Svalbard, together with 2 full-chartered expeditions to Antarctica on MV Polar Pioneer, and 2 photo expeditions to Katmai, Alaska.
In 2018 we organized our first photo expedition to East Greenland (Scoresby Sound) with a 12-pax ship. This was a success, especially for the great icebergs and landscapes, and Greenland became a great addition to our photo expeditions in the Arctic. In 2019 we had a photo expedition to both Katmai and Kaktovik in Alaska, with clients photographing both Grizzly bears and Polar bears. By the end of 2019, WildPhoto (and Naturfokus) had grown slowly for 14 years, but soon the whole tourist business would be hit hard.
14 March 2020 we were supposed to start our first winter photo expedition for the season, but the Norwegian government closed the country and Svalbard due to the Covid 19 pandemic. This was a big disappointment for our clients and partners, and it was not a good situation to have an expedition ship in Longyearbyen in "standby" mode. After a few months, we were able to organize 6 photo expeditions in Svalbard in the summer with strict Covid protocols. WildPhoto was the only company to run multiple photo expeditions in Svalbard in the summer 2020.
2021 was also challenging for WildPhoto due to the Covid-19 situation with no expedition ships available for our photo expeditions in Svalbard. We were very happy to start our operations on MS Virgo from April 2022, together with our last trips on MS Origo. Our clients and partners immediately fell in love with MS Virgo. In November 2022 Roy Mangersnes decided to withdraw as a partner in WildPhoto Travel and we are thankful for the 10 years he contributed in the company.
2023 was our most busy year ever with photo expeditions to the Ross Sea, Svalbard, Eastern Greenland, South Georgia and Falkland Islands. A lot of work, money, and time was invested to secure and organize all these expeditions. After our photo expedition to Antarctica in January 2024 we decided to focus the rest of the year on our photo expeditions to Svalbard on MS Virgo (with 12 guests). The situation with bird flu in South Georiga, Falkland Island, and northern parts of the Antarctic peninsula was not under control, and it felt safer to not organize any photo expeditions to southern polar areas in the 2024-25 season. It was also good for our company, guests, partners, and guides to calm down a little after some stressful post Covid-19 years.
After 19 years in the photo expedition business, we are looking forward to the next steps in the history on WildPhoto Travel. We hope our expeditions will inspire and motivate our guests and partners to increase their awareness and love for the Polar regions and what challenges we have to deal with to protect the wildlife and environment for future generations.

WildPhoto Travel is a leading photo expedition company - specialized in polar regions. Since 2006, we have offered great photo opportunities for our guests and partners.