About Our Photography Instructors

Active Photo Tours is a small company offering guided custom, private instructional photo trips for individuals, families, and friends as well as a few carefully crafted, guided, instructional landscape-centric scheduled group photography tours for active and adventurous photographers from advanced beginner to pro skill levels.

We focus on helping participants develop their creativity and photographic vision, provide technical advice on camera operation in order to achieve that goal, and help you capture memorable images from your (possibly) once in a lifetime trip.

We guide in locations where we have lived or spent a lot of time photographing and are permitted for which includes Southcentral and Interior Alaska, New Mexico, and Southwest Utah – all places with inspirational, striking and majestic backcountry landscape locations.

An award-winning adventure lifestyle and travel photography team, let us guide you on your next unforgettable photo adventure!

Guiding photo trips in Alaska, New Mexico, Zion National Park and Southwest Utah

Portrait of Photographer and lead guide Michael DeYoung

Photo: © Makayla Crist

Lead Guide: Michael DeYoung

Michael is an award-winning outdoor professional photographer, weather guru, workshop leader, dog lover and dark chocolate addict. He transformed his Air Force meteorological and weather forecasting training into mastery of outdoor lighting, with the presence of weather elements being a nearly constant thread throughout his wide-ranging library of work.

A prolific shooter, Michael also teaches and leads landscape, adventure and business related workshops focusing on creativity, vision and mastery of light. He was a workshop instructor for Rocky Mountain School of Photography for 7 years and now leads several workshops a year for Arizona Highways PhotoScapes. He has been a featured breakout speaker at North American Nature Photography Summits and for several camera clubs, ranging from Florida to Alaska.

Being an Eagle Scout forged a lifelong love of wild places, wilderness exploration and muscle powered adventure sports. He has always been drawn to mountains and the mountain lifestyle. He likes bold colors and simple graphic design. He’s mostly self-taught although he’s attended countless workshops and seminars in addition to reading many photographic technique and business related books which helped him with his success.

He is a certified Wilderness First Responder by Utah Wilderness Medicine and an ambassador for Breakthrough Photography & Colorado Tripod Company. Read more about Michael at Team Breakthrough

Portrait of Assistant Guide Lauri DeYoung

Assistant Guide: Lauri DeYoung

A former software engineer (a COBOL programmer), Lauri is the “1-800-Help-Desk” behind the team, and is, as Michael’s photo assistant on his commercial assignment and stock photo shoots, a valuable asset to the photography guide team. Her enthusiasm, organization skills, and “go get ’em” attitude provide participants the best user experience possible.

Like Michael, Lauri has a lifelong love of wild places and wilderness exploration especially when it involves being near mountains and rivers. Being outdoors is second nature for her. When not in the office coordinating logistics for a private photo tour or group trip or updating the web site, you’ll find her hiking some trail or in her canoe or inflatable kayak on some stretch of the river.

She is a certified Wilderness First Responder by Utah Wilderness Medicine.


The DeYoungs spend much of their time on outdoor adventures, including long-distance backpacking trips and whitewater river journeys. Dedicated to sustainable living, they reside in a passive solar designed home and office run 100% by photovoltaic power in the upper Rio Grande Valley.

The couple now live in Taos, New Mexico, but lived and worked in Alaska for many years where they still continue to shoot regularly. Their lifestyle, adventure and landscape images have appeared in hundreds of national and international magazines, books, calendars, brochures, websites and many other commercial products. The DeYoungs have done extensive assignment work in Alaska and beyond for the tourism industry.


See Michael & Lauri in action on an overnight backcountry photo adventure

DeYoung Photo Workshops, LLC